This morning I woke up to Narnia outside my bedroom window. A Narnia without ‘the talking Lion who’s supposed to be Jesus’, as David Walliams says. A true winter wonderland with powdery snow clinging to the trees and rooftops.
It’s been snowing on and off since Friday morning. Big, fat flakes of glorious snow as if the gods are shaking off their dandruff in the freezer. The ice on the roads is twinkling and the light is low and blue and there is that curiously soporific muffled sound when the sky is fecund with snow.
By Saturday it was past its best, trampled by footsteps and scored by sledges. Grey slush pushed into the gutters by slow moving cars. We wandered across to Primrose Hill to take stock of the snowmen. A standing army of sentries, in disguise and dead still.
We saw lone snowmen, snow families, a snowman with a walking stick and a snow cat. I love that some people are organised enough to bring carrots with them for noses. The one at the bottom left is definitely a boy. Or at least he was until Arthur castrated him with a well aimed snowball.
We exchanged a few snowballs and retreated back to the warmth of our fire and the snuggliness of our flat. We had home made cheese scones. We watched the snow. It snowed all afternoon and all night and yesterday there was acres and acres of fresh, new snow.
Yesterday we went back to the park, crunching along the pavements in the perfect snow. We watched the sledging on the hill. I couldn’t believe how busy it was, it reminded me of the crowds that gather to watch the crazy fools cheese rolling on Cooper’s Hill on Spring Bank Holiday. There was a crowd of people standing on the top contemplating their imminent demise. Sledgers whizzing down the icy paths in single file like an orderly motorway. Some were going extremely fast. I was surprised not to see any major collisions with pedestrians or the plethora of trees.
We don’t have a sledge. It’s one of those things you don’t think about until you need one and then of course, when you do, you can’t buy one anywhere. We contemplated using crate lids but decided that was too embarrassing, only to find many people on the hill doing exactly that. There were old fashioned sledges and plastic toboggans, crate lids, crates, trusty Ikea bags and all sorts of make shift sliders making their way down the steep hill with a calamitous passenger on board. I noticed a fair few dustbins and recycling boxes missing their lids on the way home.
The snow was getting a bit too well used in the steepest part of the hill.
Virgin snow is one of life’s small pleasures and it is democratic. No matter how privileged or rich you are in London, nobody has a hill in their garden and so everyone has to make their way to the nearest incline and there is a wonderful family atmosphere. In this country snow is fleeting enough, like sunshine, for people to grab it with both hands and revel in it. Nobody is nonchalant about snow are they? Almost everyone loves it and I find it hard to understand people who don’t. It’s something that immediately takes you back to your childhood, for me it’s memories of schools being closed and villages shut off from civilisation and having milk sledged in from the nearest farm.
Primrose Hill looked beautiful in the snow. The elegant houses painted in pastels blending in with the white snow was exceedingly pretty. Every time I walk down the hill to Primrose Hill Road I feel a little spike of glee and want to pinch myself to believe that I’m now living somewhere so utterly lovely.
Primrose Hill is inhabited by a lot of American expats and I don’t know why but I find that really glamorous, something to do with the movies I’m sure. Hearing the accent and seeing little American toddlers building snowmen made me realise that I’m living somewhere with no compromises and I still can’t believe how lucky I am.