Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A Touch Of Frost

In less than 24 hours I will be back up north on the last leg of my journey to the proverbial “In Laws”. For nearly an entire week I will be out of London. I will see greenery. Perhaps even the sky. Whether my sanity will still be in sight is another matter.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m really looking forwards to Christmas. But on top of the usual stress of being in an enclosed space with family for extended periods of time, there’s the stress of being stuck in the middle of no-where. Without a car. The “In Laws” live in a tiny village that, to its credit, has a handful of shops and pubs, but not enough to keep you entertained for more than an hour or so. The village my parents live in is quite a lot bigger, but even the town it is attached to struggles to keep me occupied for an afternoon. Oh well. Let’s face it, I won’t be venturing out much anyway. Way too many mince pies and sherry to consume.
To be fair, it will be nice to get away. Assuming that we can. Over the last five days there has been snow in London. Not exactly Arctic quantities, but enough to bring the capital to a standstill once more (remember February?). On Monday evening I was in a hurry to get up to Archway from Highbury Corner. It’s a journey I would normally do on foot, but with a bit of show and ice on the ground and sub-zero temperatures I decided to catch the bus.
Bad idea.
The bus took 50 minutes to go 4 stops up the road. It was total gridlock. After about half an hour I asked if there had been an accident up the road - nope, just snow. Apparently an inch of the white stuff is enough to cause havoc. Shortly after my enquiry the passengers started to revolt. They rang the bell and shouted for the bus driver to let them off the bus. But he refused. The bus was not in a bus stop you see. We weren’t moving but that clearly was not the point.
Eventually he gave in and opened the door for a split second, allowing one passenger off only. That really did it. Someone pressed the emergency exit button and a handful of rebels escaped. The driver quickly closed the doors. A stream of irate passengers decided to take their chances. The door was opened, the driver closed it. The door was opened again, the driver stubbornly closed it again. Then he really sat his dummy out and turned off the engine.
This did not go down well.
Complaints were shouted out about a "lack of decency” or “common sense”. He shouted back that we were all breaking the law by getting off the bus. We pointed out that we were still on the bus.
“My kids are soaking wet and freezing. If they get pneumonia I am holding you responsible driver!”
“There are more of us than you driver so I suggest you turn the engine back on and get moving!”
Eventually the cat calls died down and we continued our crawl up Holloway Road. It was painful but we eventually reached a bus stop.
At this point I cut my losses and disembarked. I figured probably better to chance the slippery pavements than sit on the bus for another 50 minutes.
The next day at work I realised I was one of the lucky ones. There were stories of people not getting home until 11.30, having to abandon their cars and not picking up their children from the nursery until 9. I was clearly one of the lucky ones.
The moral of the story? Buy some hiking boots and live within walking distance of work. Or move somewhere better prepared for a bit of snow.
The north is looking more appealing already.


  1. was it better or worse than Feb? The Feb snow crisis was hilarious...

  2. Well, I guess the buses were still running, even if they weren't moving...