No surprises there then. London, a city which has had a few days of snow pretty much every year I’ve been here, gets a bit of snow and grinds to almost a complete standstill. As if to celebrate, Transport for London cancelled all buses today, and the Underground kept on running as best it could. I say “running”. It’d be closer to “a half-sideways stunted lurch, akin to that of an elderly hunchback with a club foot & dragging a piano filled with granite”.
There’s no denying that snow (or as TfL and every other institution who elected to use it as the excuse-de-jour referred to it, “adverse weather conditions”) makes streetscapes prettier – actually perhaps it’s not prettiness, perhaps it’s just variety? No, there’s a tangible aesthetic gain to be had in Camden when nice white fluffy snow covers up all the skanky grimy pavements.
The photographers were out in force today, which I guess stands to reason as the streets were essentially devoid of traffic (certainly not much bus or taxi activity taking place), and there was little incentive to get to work anyway – if you didn’t live right in Central London there was next to no way of getting to work, hence I imagine most peoples’ co-workers were missing.
Back on the topic of the Underground – they have quite a good Realtime Disruption Map, which displays the tube network in a light grey colour. The idea is that if any particular line or station is experiencing problems, closures or delays then that part of the map is rendered in colour so that at a quick glance you can see which bits to avoid. My pet name for this map is “The Christmas Tree Map”, as generally when I’m in a hurry to be somewhere I can guarantee that the map will be lit up like a christmas tree. Today was one of those days. Essentially every underground line which has any section of its track outside of the tunnel network (so, all of them excepting the Victoria line and the Waterloo & City line) was either suspended or severely delayed.
There is quite a lot of it, yes – people have been out snowboarding on Primrose Hill – but it’s intriguing that the stuff hasn’t arrived in the sorts of quantity that Moscow, or Stockholm, or even Tokyo get. And yet it seems to have completely brought this place to its knees!
So anyway, there’s apparently more of it on the way tomorrow, and later in the week – hopefully somebody figures out a way to deal with it, or at least works out whatever technique it is that bus drivers all over Europe, Scandinavia and Russia use to keep their buses running when there’s ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. Today loads of flighs were cancelled, and earnest commentators recommended that people not travel anywhere unless it was absolutely necessary (generally a sensible policy around here anyway, given the near constant level of hassle you encounter).
Ah well, see what happens, eh?
(Incidentally, I took all those photos – except the video – myself. There’s some more on Flickr. I didn’t take the one below, which instead I ripped off from the BBC News website.)
I also ripped this photo off someone’s Flickr page. I can’t remember whose it is, but it’s apparently somebody I know. It doesn’t relate to snow, but it cracked me up for about 17 minutes.