January 28th, 2004


Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

I like the snow. It's actually not as cold now as it was yesterday (and it's easy enough to wrap up warm anyway), and Cambridge actually looks pretty for a change. As I walked into work there were loads of small children running around excitedly in the snow, and that never fails to make me smile. And the effects of light and shade on snow-covered Jesus Green were so beautiful that I couldn't bear to try to take a photo of it, because a photo just wouldn't have done it justice.

But from the sublime to the ridiculous: anybody else up for a snowball fight on Parkers Piece at lunchtime? :)


Walking home in that is going to be fun... $boss says I can go home early if it helps, but I think I might wait and see if the snow dies down.

Slip-sliding away

Well that was fun. The snow stopped about 10 minutes after I left the office, so all I had to contend with were the increasingly slushy and icy pavements. You don't really notice how steeply cambered the pavements in Cambridge are until you're sliding down them... As for the ramp on the Jesus Green side of Jesus Lock Bridge, that was just hopeless -- I couldn't have taken a single step up it. I had to pull myself up the banister hand-over-hand.

It seems rather ironic (to metamorphose for a moment into "Disgusted of Kings Hedges") that while the various traffic strategies do their best to make cars feel unwelcome in the town centre, it is only the cars which are catered for when the bad weather comes -- the roads are gritted, but the cycle paths and footpaths remain treacherously icy. And it's doubly ironic when you consider that the vast majority of the cars one sees around Cambridge are designed for coping with off-road driving in extreme weather conditions...

To be honest, though, I was more preoccupied with aesthetics than with transport politics; and it wasn't only the tourists who were pausing every few moments to snap pictures of snow-shrouded graveyards or the stalagmites of dreaming spires. I took a few photos, but none of them came out very well -- the light just isn't right in the photos, I couldn't really capture the way things are highlighted and shaded by their coatings of snow. I particularly love the way ordinary things like bicycles and railings are changed by the snow -- their shape is picked out but their specific nature is hidden; they're transformed from function into form. The eye tends to skate over some things and focus on others, to read the whole -- "a tree", "a building" -- and skimp on the details; by highlighting every surface indiscriminately, the snow forces the eye to take in every bit of what lies before it -- every curve, every line.

I got home to find a group of small (age 6-7ish?) boys making a large ball of snow, nearly as big as them, on our driveway. I said "I'm sorry, somebody's going to want to park their car there in about half an hour, so I'm afraid you're going to have to move that..." They looked at me, looked at each other, and said "Destroy it!" I felt a bit guilty, and said "I'll help you roll it somewhere else if you want..." but they said "Nah, this is much more fun," and kicked the ball of snow to bits. Last thing I heard as I went into the house was one of them saying "Die, bitch, die!" as he put the boot in.

Talking of boots ... my walking boots are soggy, and as a result my feet are cold and damp. I need shoes which have a good gripping sole and are waterproof, but I'm reluctant to buy such a thing just for the 2 days out of 365 when Britain grinds to a halt because of the completely unexpected weather phenomenon which we get every year.
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[Cambridge] quiz tonight

Oh yes, I forgot -- orchestra is cancelled because of the snow, so I will be able to go to the Carlton's quiz tonight, hurrah! Hope to see people there later.
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    quizzical and deorchestrated