Sword arch in the snow

Memories of T. the Sailor:

– the only 8-year-old in the world to start a sentence with the words “Bearing in mind that …”

– the teenage years: mind of a 40-year-old theologian, sense of humour that can only be described as clinically evil.

– the minor contretemps of a few years ago that almost killed him.

– and this weekend, a sword arch in a blizzard, upon the occasion of his marriage.

As his father-in-law later remarked, it was the snow that drew everyone together. We went up a day earlier than planned with one eye on the weather. 2 hours on the M25: could have been a lot worse. Kings Langley is a pictureskew little place in Herts just off the motorway, where every flat surface has a building on it and the rest is all slopes. I should really have thought a little harder before choosing to park on the quite steep road where the church is, as the snow began to fall … We got out eventually, but only by turning round and going deeper in to get out again further down the valley.
And so it snew and snew. We were inside so didn’t mind that much. The bride however was 40 minutes late, due to the hired Bentley not being able to get up one of those slopes to the house. (It was theorised she might have turned up but no one could see her against the backdrop: maybe the navy contingent could walk around a bit, and she might occlude one of them and become visible.) Eventually she walked from home, and they went away after in a Landrover.
The sword arch were the icing on the icy cake: nine brave men standing at attention as the snow piled up on their heads and shoulders, slightly dreamy expressions suggesting that inwardly they were a long way away in a warm and happy place.

But they snapped to attention at the right moment, and the newly wed couple walked through, and all was well.
The couple were meant to be heading off on honeymoon to Brazil from Heathrow today. I don’t think so.
This car was completely snow free when I parked it, three hours earlier.

It got us there safely, and then up another of those slopes to the reception, and then back home again today at a sedate 50mph down a mostly empty, 2-lanes-mostly-clear M25 and M40. Shame it’s only a hire car – looking forward with interest to seeing what the regular one can do for us next weekend.

Narnian Tourist Board advises: lay off the Turkish Delight

There’s a school of thought that quite understandably sees snow as nasty slushy cold wet stuff, good only for closing schools, cutting power lines and blocking roads. But there is still a certain something to it: the blurring of all lines, natural and artificial, to smooth white; the token resistance and then yielding crunch of it underfoot. If Lucy had stumbled through the wardrobe into a desert land locked in a permanent drought, the Narnia series would never have got off the ground.

Best Beloved made it to work safely by bus and reports “10 perfectly formed snowmen symmetrically placed on the steps of the Martyrs’ Memorial, wearing sunglasses.” Sadly I have no picture of this. The two men in her life are at home due to closure of school and workplace so at least I’ve been able to take other pics to chronicle the event.

Albert muses that it’s better than pigeon poo, anyway.

Abingdon School manages to look even more like Hogwarts than usual.

Some of the inmates pupils have applied their privately-educated braincells to building an igloo.

I walked into town for the sake of it and bought a paper at West End Newsagents. The manager couldn’t contain his delight that the new under-cutting, business-stealing, utterly unnecessary WH Smith was closed, unable to hack it in a mere 12 inches of snow. That’s why Napoleon called us a nation of shopkeepers rather than a nation of chain store staff. He was correctly identifying our strength.

A flaw in the BCP

If the Chief Technology Officer is going to send an email to everyone saying “stay at home”, he really should do it earlier than 8.32, a time at which on a normal day almost everyone is at their desks.

My own manager did try to phone me, but the call came as I was pulling out onto the main road and I don’t answer the phone while I’m driving. By the time I had slithered into work and seen the almost deserted carpark, I could guess what the voicemail she had left would say.

The roads were much less crowded than yesterday but also much more slippery, cancelling out the advantage. To be honest I only pressed on to work because I had seen the queue of traffic heading in the other direction. Still, having got there I was able to give a colleague a lift back to Abingdon, to catch any bus that might be heading for Oxford, so I felt warm and fulfilled.

Tonight’s recipe: gnocchi bolognese, hot and with lots of garlic. Perfect for the season, I think.