Although the official records will say that bookmakers paid out on a ‘white Christmas’ in London in 1999 and 1996 (the technical definition being a snowflake falling on the London Weather Centre on that day) the last proper blanketing of snow on Christmas Day was apparently in 1895, which is right back in the picture-postcard days of gas-lamps and horse-drawn carriages.
So, given that we are heading to have some pretty decent snow-cover on Christmas Day this year…
White Christmas, London, 2010
So, this, then, after all these years
is a White Christmas in London:
the reek of burning clutches
sliding buses and late parcels
snaking queues at abandoned airports
while angry trains, delayed and sniping,
lose power and freeze on lines
alongside motorways stuffed
with abandoned cars,
the empty shells of thwarted plans.
And this, then, after all these years
is where we’ve digressed from
the nostalgic postcards with
breasted robins and holly
in its Dickensian element:
where we once entered the stillness
of silent nights and
were moved only
by the nativity journey,
we now fetishise movement,
and, determined to travel
head out on naive journeys
refusing the silence and stillness
of here and now,
running after elsewhere,
grinding to brown slush
that which would, left alone
retain its clear beauty.
Stop moving, people. Localise. And enjoy.