Tuesday, November 30

A chilly reception

The cold weather continues unabated. For the last five days we’ve woken to new images of snow smothering Northern England and Scotland. Photos show ground cover at least knee-deep after five days of steady snowfall. It’s the heaviest November snow cover for more than 17 years. In Austria my brother says snow is now falling in Kitzbuhel's town centre, not just on the surrounding hills. Garry and I are thrilled. We’re guaranteed a spectacular winter wonderland for our eight-day train tour through the Alps next month.

Until now London has been spared the snow. Instead we’ve endured day after day of literally freezing temperatures. The Met Office helpfully declared last Saturday as the UK’s coldest November day for 25 years. However, our turn for snow has finally arrived. Tomorrow we’ll be waking to almost five centimeters of snow, with new falls continuing throughout day. Even better temperatures will drop late-afternoon to -2°C, accompanied by bitterly cold winds. More snow is forecast follow in days ahead.

Here at Swiss Cottage the cold snap’s impact is increasingly evident. Mid-afternoon yesterday we found our car still covered in frost as we ventured out to the Supermarket. This morning I discovered the entire boating lake in Regents Park had frozen over as I walked to work. We’ve also had the central heating cranked up every evening yet still feel a need to throw on the occasional sweater.

Today our winter woes were added to as the tube endured the fourth network-wide strike in as many months. As a result every local tube station was closed forcing me to walk 20 minutes to Baker Street to catch a working line (hence my icy discovery in Regents Park). At 8.00am the temperature was exactly zero, not what I consider ideal conditions for walking. My freezing walkabout was repeated this evening as strike action kept our local station closed. I was forced to travel an extra stop and back-track home by foot. Fortunately the temperature had climbed to a more comfortable 1°C.

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