Some fairly pathetic snow, but snow nonetheless

Tuesday February 09 2021 – St Leonards-on-Sea.

An email brought unexpected good news late on Wednesday night. Eleanor has been granted an indefinite partner visa for New Zealand, Yay, Yay and Yay again! While we (mainly me) expected this to be the case we were taken aback by how quick the application was processed. We didn’t expect to hear anything until at least May or June. This means we can now start to plan a move to Auckland, where most of my family are, for at least the short term.

This is very exciting, but also a little terrifying at the same. There is a lot of thinking and planning to do and I definitely need to get through the emotion of it and start thinking practically else nothing much will happen. I will do a separate post on this at some point. I think.

I took Friday off work as it was forecasted to be the only nice day of the weekend, it is also a non-working day for Eleanor so we could hang out and talk free from the constraints of work. We walked along the seafront under a weak winter sun to Hastings and started to formulate a plan and think about some of the things we need to do, which seems to be an awful lot. The big question for me is whether I keep the flat and rent it while we are gone, or sell it now as the market appears to be good and I will make some money. I have a real estate agent coming to value it on Wednesday, much as I should be led on this by my heart; I am going to be led by the pound.

[edit] I am writing this on Saturday and the estate agent has advised me my flat is worth a little more than I expected, so at this point in time I am going to sell, more on that decision soon, once it is made. [/edit]

Sunday

I have been following the weather forecast all week as there has been a promise of snow for some time, and today is the day, with falls expected to start around 3 or 4 AM. I was excitedly up and out of bed at 7, pulling up the blinds to check outside; then making coffee and going back to bed. Rain. Bloody St Leonards.

However, the snow did come soon after we got up, then continuing to snow lightly all day, though not enough for it to stick around. Still, we wanted to get out for a walk and feel the snow so we didn’t linger in bed too long and were outside by 9. Not bad for me on a Saturday.

When we left home the snow was barely falling and it wasn’t too cold, though it got colder and the snow fall got slightly heavier while we were out. There were hints the snow would start to settle later in he day by the time we got home 90 minutes later. We walked down to the seafront via the lovely St Leonards Gardens, which are just along the road from my flat. The snow was falling a little heavier now, but the ground is so wet and warm that none of it is settling.

I am about to send a letter to mum with some photos of the grandkids and one of El and I. As we don’t have any recent photos of us I decided to try and take some using the self timer on the camera. It took a couple of goes to get it right.

Rather than walk the seemingly traditional way towards Hastings we chose to walk in the opposite direction towards West St Leonards. As is often the case I was surprised at the number of people out, we even saw two people taking their daily dip; one of them wasn’t even wearing a wetsuit. Hardy folk on the coast.

The wind started to pick up and the snow was coming down a lot more heavily and it started to get cold so we looped back up the hill to home and watched the snow falling, but barely settling for the rest of the day. This was as good as it got, and the first time I have not hated these view blocking trees in my neighbours garden.

Monday

A small amount of snow fell overnight and with yesterdays colder afternoon followed by a much colder night a small amount had settled on the ground on Monday morning. I took a photo out of the bedroom window, over my neighbours and down the coast towards Bexhill and Eastbourne.

I was out the door soon after, and back to the park, yet again disappointed at the lack of snow on the ground. I took a couple of photos as this really was going to be as much snow as we will get this winter.

There was a little more snow on the seafront promenade and I was surprised to find about a dozen people on the beach and in the sea.

Tuesday

To my surprise there was a little bit more snow overnight, and a little bit more on the ground inthe morning. Today I avoided the park and went straight to Milk and Hustle, our friendly neighbourhood coffee shop for a takeaway flat white. Since we have been living here a number of places have opened selling coffee, but Milk and Hustle are by far the best, and they are really nice people too. Like all good coffee shops, a flat white is the same price here as it is in central London.

On non-rainy days my routine is to get a coffee and walk along the sea front a short way while drinking the coffee, then back up the hill for breakfast and (sadly) work. On rainy days my routine is to stay in bed longer. I often take a photo on my phone and post it to twitter, but this morning I brought the camera for the last of the snow photos for the winter.

The Epping Forest Project, Phase 3-March

March 2018.

I am so glad I managed to get out earlier in the month to take some photos as that was it for forest trips this month. I have to thank the snowy weather that got me there. I am making this once a month photo-blogging project of the ever changing Epping Forest far harder than it should be.

Here are a small number of favourite photos of the winter wonderland that was a snow covered forest, not in any particular order. As always they have all been posted previously.

I am trying to be more experimental in photography again so here is March’s Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) image, or impressionist photography as we used to call it.

On the hunt for the elusive ‘Skull Tree’

Sunday 18 March 2018 – Epping Forest.

In a tight clump of holly trees I once discovered an old dining room chair, alone and discarded, missing the companionship of its fellows chairs and the table itself. After an unsuccessful mission this morning to find ‘the skull tree’, I had resolved to at least re-finding the chair. This too proved to be unsuccessful. As I was crashing through a small, dense and tangled thicket of undergrowth, I spotted a very dark fox ambling through the snow in a clearing in front of me. Giving up on the chair, I forced myself clear of the holly and into the clearing. Hoping at least to find some fox prints in the snow that I could follow, in some sort of primitive huntery way. Though I was only armed with my camera.

Unlike two weeks ago, the snow was not thick enough to leave trace of light footed passers-by and my brief urge to be primeval man was over. Standing up I was looking around trying to work out where I was and spotted the back end of at least two small deer skipping away from me. I stood and watched until they disappeared from view, then spent ten minutes trying to find them. To no avail.

I did take this picture in the location I stopped looking. It is my favourite from the day.

The beast from the east made an unexpected and unwanted return this weekend, dumping a light load of snow on to London, most of which fell late on Saturday afternoon. Sunday was cold, much colder than two weeks ago, so I anticipated the snow lying on the ground for longer that it did on my last visit. Even if it didn’t last, going for a walk in the forest is always a good thing.

Last weekend, El and I went to a book reading and talk by the author Will Ashon. I enjoyed his book Strange Labyrinth and its stories of Epping Forest. On the cover of the book, and mentioned in its pages is a small skull carved into the trunk of a tree. I have tried, and failed, to find the tree before, and the talk inspired me to try again today. I had a broad idea where to look, but no specifics. In the questions after the talk I was assured it existed, but no further details were given.

Though I had to clear a light dusting from the car first.

The skull tree is supposedly not far from Loughton Camp so I parked the car nearby and set off, wrapped up warm as I was quite cold. Fingerless gloves to operate the camera not quite adequate enough while not under trees.

Strawberry Hill Ponds

Loughton Camp

Crossing over to the ‘lost pond’, I meandered around the trees for a while, not straying too far from trails, in the assumption that Will must have found the skull tree while walking on a path. I found lots of trees with writing, but no skulls.

I also found a summertime camp, looking long abandoned, and a small group with packs and furled away tents who looked like they may be nomadically living in the forest.

I was getting quite cold wandering around the lost pond area, and felt uncomfortable taking pictures if people were living in the area, so paid my respects to my favourite ancient tree before starting to walk back towards the car, though following a snow covered forest trail rather than the path.

I stumbled across the romantically named Loughton Brook Storage Pond, a place I have never been to, and then followed the brook back down to the car.

Before heading home feeling unsuccessful with not finding the skull tree, I thought I should try and find the old chair I came across back in summer, buried deep in a holly grove. I wanted to see it covered it ice and snow.

Leaving the mandarin ducks in the northern of the two Strawberry Hill Ponds I took to the trees again to find the chair, which takes us back to the start of this post, and a further lack of success.

I was quite cold by now, and getting a wee bit hungry as well, so after taking a couple of photos around the larger southern pond, I took to the main path, and went back to the warmth of the car. Next time I bring food!

Epping Forest in snow.

Saturday 03 March 2018 – Epping Forest.

What a difference three hours can make.

The meagre blanket of snow that covered the plain when I arrived on the edge of the forest was all but gone when I left. Arriving with hat, scarf, gloves on and jacket zipped to the neck, departing with all the accessories packed away and my coat wide open to cool down. It was a great morning’s walk between those points.

Three hours later.

The ‘beast from the east’ weather system passed through London, and the rest of the UK, over the last five days. The system brought some terrible weather to many parts of the country, though we in London were unscathed – as usual. What we did have was four days of on and off snow, resulting in the longest period of settled snow in the five years I have lived here.

It has been a really busy month at work so I was not able to take time off to get to the forest, so it was a little worrying to see the snow no longer falling on Friday evening. It was with some nervousness I peered out from behind the bedroom curtains early this morning to see what it was like. Snow on the ground, very flat grey sky and the roads were clear. Perfect!

I am not sure what I wanted to achieve this morning, take photos being the obvious objective, getting some quiet time also appealed. I never listen to music when I am there, one of the few places where I am on my own that I do not. Wandering vacantly appears to be what I excel at.

Chingford Plain


Warren Pond


Butlers Retreat – where I stopped for coffee on my way home. Very nice coffee and cake 🙂

Surprisingly I was alone for most of the morning, only seeing a couple of mountain bikers and a few dog walkers. I saw no-one on the main routes apart from one solitary runner, the dog walkers were all in the trees on what I have considered bike trails. Perhaps they just took the opportunity to roam more freely than usual? There were signs others had been here mid-week.

I was really (pleasantly) surprised how many animal foot prints I saw in the snow, though this is a forest so not sure why I was surprised. Deer, rabbit, fox and bird trails criss-crossed every human marked trail. Great signs for a healthy forest. Apart from birds I saw none of the animals that left these trails, though I was looking.

The snow was very shallow and very light; a foot step enough to disturb it, leaving earthen trails behind. Enough to cover light undergrowth and tree fall. Brambles, nettles and ferns were barely visible and where I would normally walk around the undergrowth I just walked over the top, only becoming entangled the once. It allowed for a more random path though the trees, inevitably letting me get hopelessly lost. As always.

As well as providing an amazing contrasting backdrop for photos and letting the trees stand out from the natural toned background the snow made finding my way around far harder than I expected, I was lost almost immediately I was into the trees and I never found the spot I was at barely two weeks ago. Though discovering this small grove of beech made my morning. The coppery gold leaves just popping out of the background. Humping the tripod around was worth every ounce of extra weight.


Following a bike tyre trail from what I thought was Cuckoo Brook I was aiming to get to a stand of silver birch near the church at High Beech. Silver birch in the snow is a real cliche I know, but then I do love a cliche. I never did get there. I had no idea where I was by this stage.

The morning was getting on and it was time to head back towards the station, with no idea of my location I turned towards the distant traffic noise from Epping New Rd. With the snow and the flat low clouds the forest was very quiet, I could hear the squeak of my shoes on the snow, the occasional bird and a dull but constant, surf like hum in the background. It was almost like being slightly inland from the sea.

I followed one of the main paths for a while, seeing one of the few people that were also out enjoying this rare solitude.

I soon left the main path again and back into the trees hoping to find Connaught Water. It turned out I still didn’t know where I was, though I did find a nice stand of young silver birch to make up for missing the one I was aiming for earlier. It is all a bit Scandi !

Finding another one of the main paths I experimented with a bit of impressionist photography before checking the map on my phone, finally working out where I was and setting off in the right direction.

The paths around an almost totally iced over Connaught Water were almost empty of people, I found this so unusual as this place is normally full of walkers. I had visions of families and young couples out enjoying the snow, tossing snowballs at each other and admiring the dedication of the birds sitting on the cold ice.

The snow was slowly melting away where there was no tree cover and I was quite shocked to see grass that had a white top coat when I arrived was almost bare of snow as I left.

I was really pleased I made it in time, that I had not followed my normal weekend routine and had a lie in.

It was a lovely, peaceful, beautiful morning out, and I hope you enjoyed the photos.

The Beast from the East

Thursday 01 March 2018, London.

Yay, winter is over!  Spring officially starts today. the first day of March. The signs of its arrival have been showing themselves anew every day over the past week. On Friday I took a few photos of the daffodils that are popping their blooms out of the grass in the parks on the way to work. In fact it was getting light enough and nice enough that I had started thinking about cycling to work.

With predictable unpredictability the official start of spring was marked by the worst weather Britain has seen in decades. ‘The Beast from the East’, as the weather system was dubbed, arrived from the Siberian steppes over the weekend bringing chaos and heavy snow to the north. For us in the south it was a bitter wind that set the ball rolling, preparing us for what was to come.

I left for work on Monday morning, prepared for anything, a very light snow had started to fall just before I left the house and the forecast hinted that this would be the start of a long week of snow.

I was excited to find when I got to work that the snow was still falling. I do not actually work here,  though my office is not far away; and not quite as palatial.

Unfortunately for me, but not so much my work colleagues, or the majority of working Londoners, that seemed to be the end of the snow. There was no layer of white as I walked back to the station after work. Tuesday was equally disappointing. During the day at least, the night was a whole different story!

Peering out of the bedroom window when I awoke on Wednesday I was confronted with a sea of white in the street below me, and to make the sight even more welcoming the sky above was a lovely crisp blue. I was up immediately, feeding the cat and then out to take a couple of pictures in the garden before anything more than the neighbour’s cat left tracks in the fresh blanket.

I am quite lucky in that my commute is quite short and very crowded, it is completely unpleasant. The Victoria Line is fully underground and is not impacted like so many of the overground train lines by adverse weather. I still hate every one of the 25 or so minutes I am underground though; not due to fear of undergroundness, or claustrophobia. I just hate commuting! The only good thing about my commute is exiting the tube at Green Park station, and the 15 minute walk to the office; traversing both Green and St James Parks. I have been waiting all winter for today. Stunning !

Crossing the Mall to take a photo of Buckingham Palace I was told off by the police for standing in the middle of the road. I have been waiting for the right day to take a photo of the dodgy neighbourhood I have to walk through to get to and from work.

St James Park was very busy this morning. At this time of the day it is rare to see more than a couple of tourists, the odd jogger and bunch of bored and tired office workers trudging, head down through the park. Today, there were smiles and ‘good mornings’ and seemingly everyone was taking pictures of the snow and ice. I took a few myself.

The daffodils were looking a lot less happy than they were last week!

That was the end of the sun for a few hours. Lunch time the cloud cover was low, it was grey, bleak, windy cold and snowing. Heading out to buy a sandwich I grabbed the camera to take a couple of pictures as I went. It was not particularly nice, though a large group of tourists were enjoying a snowball fight on the edge of the park.  At least the traffic, which plagues this part of London, was light today. A silver lining in every snow laden cloud.

Fortunately it was all smiles again late afternoon, leaving work early I took a few more pictures as I went.

I also tried my hand at a bit more intentional camera movement, impressionist images as I went.

Obviously this weather system was not all jolly japes like it was for me in relatively unscathed London. It has had a terrible impact on other parts of the UK, with roads and rail lines closed, people stuck in cars for many hours and a number of people losing their lives to the bitter cold. The snow levels in some places hit historic levels, and the cold set new records. It was so hard to plan or predict anything, forecasting seemed to have gotten so much better over the last few years, but this week nothing seemed to work as predicted. Snow fell when it wasn’t supposed to and did not when it was. The one thing they got right was it lasted all week.

Thursday was a blanket of grey, it was colder than it had been all week, colder than the rest of winter, crossing the bridge in St James Park the cross wind was savage. I pity the poor pigeons. Brrrrr. There were no smiling, welcoming commuters today.

I left work early for the fourth day this week (any excuse), a break in the snow was a good time to nip off. El has been sick all week, finally succumbing to the cold I had when we were in St Ives, so I had a mission to make to the chemist on the way home. (Thankfully she is over the worst of it as I write this, four days later). I managed to grab a couple of final snowy images on the way through the St James Park.

Friday was bleak, and I was finally over the cold, windy and damp weather. I still love the snow though.

The Beast from the East finally finished in London with a brief but heavyish snow shower mid-afternoon on Friday, and then it was, thankfully all over. Even I had finally got bored with the snow. Bring on the grey slush !

Hollow Pond

Sunday 10 December 2017 – Walthamstow.

The snow continued to fall throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. By the time we returned from our morning walk the footpaths either side of our road had mostly been turned to grey sludge, though the footprints I had made in the garden were slowly being buried under crisp new flakes.

I was itching to go out again, and by mid-afternoon that itch had proven unscratchable, so I donned jacket, hat and gloves and went back out into a very light sprinkling of snow. I had initially considered taking the car up to the forest, but was a little concerned about the roads. Less about my driving, more about some of the pillocks out there roaring up and down the icy main roads! It was a decent, if not cold and wet day for a walk.

Hollow Pond is a far corner of Epping Forest, not far from where we live. It is an interesting place. There is a small boating lake, an area of clear heathland, and some scratchy forest. It is mostly surrounded by busy roads. It is hugely popular with local dog walkers and families; lots of places for children to run, kick and throw balls, fly kites and do big outdoorie type things. It also has a dark, dirty and sleazy side and is a well known location for dogging and men wandering around in the forested areas looking for sex. There is a strange mix of people and uses. It was here I decided to walk to;  I was hoping for solitude.

I was wearing my trail running shoes, they have great grip in slippery conditions, but they are not really waterproof, mildly resistant is an apt description. The footpaths were really slushy, so lack of grip was not really the issue, wetness was possibly going to be though. I decided to walk in the road, tyres of passing cars had cleared two nice, reasonably dry lines. There was not a lot of traffic on the side streets and bizarrely I could hear the water from the melted snow rushing through the drains beneath my feet. There must been a heck of a lot of water.

Passing through St Mary’s churchyard I stopped to take my first photo, I was hoping for some interesting churchy/graveyardy covered in snow scenes, but nothing much really caught my eye. Though I do like the door and the cracks in the wall and the snow in this, the only picture I took.

There was not a lot of people out on the streets on a snowy Sunday afternoon, enough to mush things up, though not as many as normal, I suspect a lot of people had been out in the morning. With the low sky and the falling snow and the lack of people it was surprisingly quiet, even with the traffic noise. I liked it. The first scene that caught my eye was a small copse on Whipps Cross Corner, a small scruffy stand of trees between the roundabout and the hospital. There was just enough colour in the remaining leaves to attract my attention.

Crossing the road I found a small trail between the snow loaded and bent brambles and the, thankfully, buried nettles that led into the tree line. Given the time of day I was surprised at how much snow was left, the well walked paths were worn and muddy, but snow lay to the sides and I managed to avoid the worst of the mud. 

I found my way to the edge of the boating lake and to my favourite tree skeleton. I have taken a few photos of this tree, none successfully, and I am not overly happy with this one either. But it was the best I managed today.

The lake was half iced over, there were a large number of gulls standing on the ice, though the moored boats seemed to be in free water.

I drifted back into the trees for a while, randomly following short narrow pathways running between the road and the major paths, the little bits of the forest I do not normally venture into. Not that there was anything much that caught the eye of my camera. I continued on a fairly random path out of the forest on to the heath, back to where the larger trees had space to grow, clear of holly and bramble. I love scenes like this, living in London with its lack of snow I so rarely get to see them, when I do I appreciate them even more. 

There were a few more people on this side of the lake, I could hear families playing in the distance and sign of their earlier presence was everywhere. Away from the road, my own presence is all I noted, I could hear my footsteps, see and hear my breath, and when I looked behind I could see, even mixed with other prints, where I had been.  I must be utterly fabulous to be out in the wild on a day like today.

The day was drawing to a close, so I started to end the loop around the boating lake, coming across this large gaggle of geese. A man had arrived with a bag of bread and they seemed to be familiar with him and his gift.

Following  the lake I stopped to take a last couple of photos of the boats, and my favourite tree before starting the schlep back home.

I had not noticed but the snow had stopped falling while I was in the trees, there had been no wind all day so it was not particularly cold now, though a very light rain had started to come down as I walked. I made faster steps home than I did on the way.

That was pretty much the end of the snow, there was not a lot left when I went to work in the morning. Hopefully we will see some more this winter! Next time I will get up earlier, wrap up very warm and ride my bike up to the forest, get into the areas less travelled and wander around leaving my own print on the land.

Yay! Snow in the ‘Stow.

Sunday 10 December 2017 – Walthamstow.

A couple of days ago El and I were  visiting Liverpool and it was absolutely freezing, culminating in a small sleet/snow flurry as we were on our way to the station to catch the train back home. London seemed almost tropical by comparison.

El had just gotten up to make tea, I was planning on a decent lie in after a couple of nights of poor sleep, when she called out from downstairs that it was snowing, and it had been settling. I leapt up, looked at the window, and YES. SNOW!

I love snow. Just the fluffy white stuff fresh on the ground, not the grey dirty muddy trampled slush that it turns into once it has stopped falling and humans have traversed it. Living in Auckland for so long and being too lazy/busy to make the trip to the mountains in the centre of the North Island, I hardly ever saw it. This is my fifth winter in London and I have only seen snow once in that time. There was a scant fall last year and in previous years it waited till I was out of the country to pay a visit.

A quick coffee followed getting dressed and we were out the door fairly quickly. I could already see local kids playing in the street, as it was not particularly early we were keen to get to Lloyd Park, near the end of our street, before too many people arrived to mess up that lovely cold white blanket. Wrapping up warmly, as the snow was still falling, I popped the little camera in my pocket and we were out the door. Slipping and sliding down the hill.

The William Morris Gallery sits just inside the entrance to the park and was our first stop. I love this building at the best of times but with snow falling and a big Christmas tree out the front, it looked magnificent today.

As did this nearby tree. I could see we were early enough to find the snow untrampled, and to hear the crunch and squeak of the snow underfoot as we walked round the gallery into the park itself.

I ended up taking a few photos as we walked around the park, though a lot of them were quite smeared and blurred by falling snow. I did not think to bring anything to clean the lens as we walked…

The park was gradually getting busier and busier as time moved on and more and more families arrived with young children in tow. Quite literally in some cases, there were a few plastic sleds on display. Though Lloyd Park could not be any flatter!

This is my favourite photo from the short outing. I Like that the scene is mostly monochromatic from the bare trees and the snow, but human intervention has added a smattering of colour. This is largely unedited by the way.

After completing a full circuit of the park we passed the back of the gallery, and headed for the warmth of home.

It was still snowing a couple of hours later, leaving a good covering on some old garden furniture. I popped my head out the bathroom window and took this photo, which I may well print one day.

I will sneak out again a bit later on in the day…

A walk in the park. In monochrome

Monday 21 January 2013 – Kensington, London.

After a fairly busy past week I had fully intended to spend today doing not much at all. I am well into a Rebus novel on my e-reader and have one chapter left in the real book that I bought myself for Christmas. It just seemed like a good day to do nothing more than read and listen to music. However, the weather forecast for the week has taken a turn for the worst – or better, depending on your point of view of course, and the snow that was due tomorrow is no longer arriving – at all. Bugger !

Today was obviously going to be the day I went to Kensington Gardens to see the snow in more park like surroundings. I was hoping to be there as it was falling so I could capture some images of fresh snow. unsullied by humans and their pets, but as that was not to be I wanted to at experience as much of a white world in London as I could.

Even with a planned activity for the day I still managed to laze in bed for a while before dragging myself out into what was actually quite a nice day. Sadly for the snow it was relatively warm and once I had reached the park gloves and woolly hat were no longer necessary. I walked around for a couple of hours, taken pictures here and there, but mainly just enjoying the relative lack of people in such beautiful surroundings.

As the scenes were quite monochrome, I have just nudged them all a bit further in that direction.

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On the way home from the park I stopped by what seems to be my new favourite organic cafe for a coffee and a wee slice of chocolate chip flapjack. Heavenly.

A street art walk in the snow.

Sunday 20 January 2013 – Shoreditch and Islington, London

I was awake far too early yet again and yet again I whipped the blinds open to see a completely unchanged garden of green plants and grey concrete 😦

However, just like Friday at around 8:30 the snow started to slowly drift down from the clouds and by the time I had myself organised to meet a friend up at Shoreditch and was out the door there was an inch of snow on the front step; and I was going to be the first one through it.  It looked like it was going to be a good day !

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I caught the train up to Liverpool St again and with new yet still vague knowledge of the area headed off towards my first stop, which was going to be Columbia Rd flower market. However I had not gone too far up the road before I started to find street art to photograph, there is just so much here and I just cannot help but stop and look at it.

I think this piece from Broken Fingaz crew is quite new as I was only reading about it earlier in the week. I was surprised to find it as the location was not divulged, I just walked up the alley after seeing the “Kilroy” at the entrance and there it was!

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I spent the next thirty minutes or so wandering the area near the Village Underground, the venue where I saw Mono play a few weeks back. There is a lot of art here and I have added it and the rest into a slide show at the end of this post. The words have been there for a while but the Phlegm piece is quite new, and of course I love the “tube” carriages on the roof.

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I then headed up to Columbia Rd and was surprised to find the flower market was on considering the snow was falling lightly but steadily. The snow would continue like that for the rest of the day, surprisingly it was not that cold, as I had dressed reasonably well for it though and staying dry was the key.

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The streets were fairly deserted which is kinda weird for London, one of my NZ friends commented in an email that London looks so much better with a layer of snow, I think she is absolutely correct.

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I walked back to Shoreditch and stopped in a pub for a coffee and a heart starting brandy as I waited to meet my friend and then we were back out into the falling snow with umbrellas up to walk the streets and enjoy the relative peace that snow fall brings.

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We decided to walk a section of Regents Canal that I have not done before and walk up to Islington. The canal was just beautiful under the snow, and once the odd car was out of sight, some of the canal looked like it was back in Victorian times.

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It was a great walk, capped off with a delicious and warming leek and parsnip soup and a  decent glass of red before heading off home.

It was very nice out walking in the snow !

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Snow !

Friday and Saturday, 18 and 19 January 2013 – London

During the week the weather forecast had been building towards a snowy end and I must admit that I was getting a wee bit excited as the doom mongers forecast cold white chaos for Britain’s transport systems. There was a report in the Metro, a free morning daily paper that the coldest winter for one hundred years was coming – and soon. If you have ever lived in England during an autumn or a winter, you will know what snow means to the trains ! And Friday was to be the day it started.

As usual I slept poorly and was awake very early; I eagerly opened the blinds with the expectation of seeing a blanket of white outside, but no, all I saw was the same old concrete and green – so back to bed, roll over and attempt more sleep. When I next looked outside there was a small smattering of white on the leaves of the bushes and top of the wall and I started to get a wee bit more excited. Over the next couple of hours the depth of the white started to grow and more and more was falling from the sky. What started as a sleety mix of snow and rain eventually turned into just snow and I knew it was finally going to happen. I smiled 🙂

I had arranged to meet a friend in Pinner, North West London. Pinner is towards the edge of the city, has some nice old buildings and there are some green fields up there as well, so we were going to go walk for a bit and I would get to see some different parts of the greater London area. We had factored in that it might snow a bit but had not really expected as much as there was. There was a pretty good covering even at Shepherds Bush station.

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By the time I got Pinner the sky was dark and the snow was falling quite heavily.

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We decided to sit it out for a while; I was dressed for the cold, but not really for the wet that comes with the snow melting on jeans and jacket. After a few hours over coffee and wine or two – and a fall of three or four inches, the snow finally abated enough to go for a walk around a few blocks before the dark set in and it was time to head home again. While the trains were still running !!

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I lost a glove, I think it was on the tube. This is the second glove in seven days, not an auspicious start to winter. Not the brightest end to what was a very nice day.

It was a similar start to Saturday, though this time the snow failed to come at all. I will admit this was as forecasted (roll on Sunday though !). I could not be fagged getting out of bed for a run, ( in a running rut this week, I hope it ends soon !) so lazed for a while and read in bed.

I finally made it outside in the early afternoon. I wandered around to Holland Park which is closer to my house than the other big parks, though strangely I have not been there before.

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This was obviously a serious mistake, it is a beautiful park, especially under a moth-eaten and holey snow blanket. It seems to be more of a peoples park than the royal parks, it had a play ground and a sports field as well as walks, trees and of course the traditional large house. The park was being well used by families sledding on the gentle slopes and lobbing snow balls at each other. It was nice, and I think nice is the right word.

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As I was leaving the park I found a meman, the first meman I have seen in many many years.

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A very long time ago I watched the Raymond Brigg’s “The Snowman” on video with the daughter of a friend or family member. I cannot remember who, though I vaguely recall it may have been the daughter of my cousin Pamela and I think it was 1985; it is only a vague recollection. What I do remember is how much the young child loved the movie and it was the called “the meman”. Ever since that day I have thought of snowmen as memen. Weird how some things remain in the head.

After the park I grudgingly made my way to the mall and bought another pair of gloves, pair number four. These are so much better than the last ones though, lovely soft leather – thank God the sales were still on. Hopefully this is a sign and I won’t lose one of them!

It appears I have a white balance issue between the two days of photos !