The buzz over the last week or so in London has been the weather. Now, we do spend a lot of time complaining about the cold and wet (year round it seems), but this this time around it's been centred around the snow. As most people know, it does rain quite a bit in the UK, and yes it does snow every winter, especially in the highlands, but we dont really get much snow in the South East. Especially not in London.
So from about last Sunday (the 6th), the conversations after church services, around the water cooler or in the kitchenette areas in offices was about the impending snow. Because, this time not only was the temperature going to drop dramatically to below zero (Celsius), but it was going to continuously snow over a period of a few days. Wow! What were we going to do? How would we manage?
There's been a stampede for water, bread and milk at most supermarkets. It's Y2K all over again!
I live in a flat with double aspect windows. On Friday morning I looked out of my bedroom window and mentally rolled my eyes, as the ground looked clear, but wet. No snow! I looked out the windows that face the back garden on the other side of the flat. Na da! I got ready for work and as I climbed down the steps leading to the street I realised that the rain actually did feel like snow. But it wasn't settling!
Hours later the snow really started coming down, but staring out the 7th floor windows of my office building it didn't look like it was sticking. The only white I could see was on the grassy lawn. I left work just before 5pm (one of the last leave because people were panicking about not getting stuck on the roads or trains because of the 'adverse weather'. I want to insert a disclaimer that 'adverse weather' were not my words. That was the phrase being bandied about on the London transportation system. You'll understand the reason for my disclaimer in a moment.
So I get to the Tube station without incident, really there's not much on the ground. Just a bit of slushy mush. When I came out of my station, it did look like the snow had finally started to stick, but the roads were clear. There was maybe an inch on the ground! Yes about an inch. I live about a five minute walk from the station. As I turned into my street, I was thinking about when I spent considerable amounts of time in New York and in Colorado where there was real snow! Feet of snow!
I was thinking, "you people dont know what snow is. One or two inches and everything almost grinds to a halt." Insert evil sounding laughter here, and that's when it happened! A second or so later I found myself half on my back, half on my right wrist. Now how did that happen?! Right there I started laughing at myself! Then gingerly got up, checked my legs and back, thanked the two men who helped me pick up the things I'd dropped and made my way home, all three yards of the remainder of the journey.
It wasn't until I turned on the lights and looked at myself in the hallway mirror did I realise that my glasses had actually fallen off my face when I fell. I didn't have to go back outside to search for them because they were stuck in my hair. Thank God for big hair.
The weather! Although I was born in London, my family moved back to Nigeria when I was six years old. I didn't return to live in London until I was about 20 years old. Although we have the regular, rainy and harmattan seasons in Nigeria, it's the tropics. It's always hot.
And so we dont talk about the weather. I remember reading books set in London and wondering why a good number of characters spent so much space talking about the weather and what they were going to wear.
Of course I understand now.
Ufuoma Daniella Ojo is a Senior Technical Author and Software Trainer. She lives in London. She is working on some new stories about relationships and is trusting God for connections leading to publication.