Friday, 18 January 2013

Snow Problem

It is snowing in London. They predict more snow and travel havoc for the UK all weekend. This morning I walked half an hour to see Chris, my producer, at a café in Notting Hill because cycling in this weather is as much fun as putting on wet socks and standing naked (except for the socks) in the fridge.

I sucked back the peppermint tea I’ve started to drink since I decided that chai tea latte was giving me baggy eyes and mentioned the forecast. Chris looked stricken. I saw the look and feared what it meant.

‘Is it my eyes?’ I said.

‘Is what your eyes?’

‘That look. Is it my baggy eyes?’ I patted the sensitive skin under my lower lids where the puffiness swells.

‘You don’t have baggy eyes.’                           

‘Yes I do. I have small balloons where my cheekbones should be.  I am redolent of – a - bloated corpse.’

Chris narrowed her gaze.

‘You don’t have baggy eyes.’ She paused. I breathed in. Was there something worse? Was my skin bad? Was this lipstick wrong? She studied me carefully.  ‘You freak,’ she said.

I smiled, coyly.

‘Don’t smile, you fuh-reak,’ she said, emphasising the part of the sentence I’d been ignoring, concentrating on You Don’t Have Baggy Eyes! ‘I’m thinking about the board meeting and the weather. What about the board meeting? We have the MY Production Company board meeting tonight, we have two members coming from out of town.’

I tsked.

‘They’ll be fine.’

I pulled out a bar of 7,000% chocolate I’d brought to ameliorate the tedium of the non-chai tea. I know chocolate hasn’t been giving me baggy eyes. I KNOW it.

Chris continued to panic.

‘Our financial director is coming from Farnham, the secretary from Kent, from KENT, my god it really snows in Kent.’

‘It’s not a problem.’

‘How do you know it’s not a problem? It could be a problem. What if it’s the wrong kind of snow on the tracks?’

I sighed. I looked at Christine in a kindly yet, it has to be said, condescending way. And that’s because –


Interior. A car. Canada.

SY, ie. Muggins, is driving to see SKYFALL with my sister and her husband. It’s been snowing on and off all week, and now it’s snowing hard. We are on the highway, passing trees, hardly visible, rising out of three-foot banks.

My brother-in-law is moving what looks like the sedate family car rather swiftly through the driving white.

‘Do you have new, high-tech snow tires?’ I ask, curious. I know about these high-tech, urban assault snow tires. I’d seen my sister-in-law’s glee the week before, storming a white, two-foot barricade at the end of her street, singing out ‘Snow tires!’ as we rose over the drift like a dune buggy over sand.

My brother-in-law turns and looks over his shoulder.

‘Sure. And get a load of this.’ The street is clear in front of us as we’ve passed all the sensible drivers. He jams his foot on the gas, steers the car wildly into the adjacent lane where we skid for six blocks before he swings it back. My sister rolls her eyes. My brother-in-law grins.

‘Four wheel drive!’


Interior. Café. London. 

SY shrugs and dips the chocolate into the tea, making a gooey mess that threatens to drip onto Christine’s new (fake) Moleskin 2013 diary.

‘They’ll be fine’ I say, inhaling the goo and glancing outside. It was damp but only with rain and the streets were clear.  'There’s no snow.’

‘But there will be by noon.’ She chewed her lower lip. ‘I can put up two of them if they are stranded.’

‘No one’s going to be stranded. It will be a few flakes.’

Chris thumped the table.

‘I don’t know how you can be so cavalier!’

Before you dismiss Christine for her timidity at the prospect of chilly weather (HA! CHILLY! it was -27c on the way to SKYFALL) (but never mind) you have to remember that she is Australian.  She was raised with dingoes in tropical heat.

She has never lived like this:

‘I don’t think you’re sympathetic,’ she protested.

‘Au contraire,’ I said, pulling my six layers tighter about me and re-fastening my scarf. ‘It’s bloody freezing in this country. I’m never this cold in Canada.  We insulate our homes.’

She was mollified.

‘Oh. So you don’t think I’m a wuss…’

‘Do you really think I don’t have baggy eyes?’

I ate another bar of chocolate (it makes me feel better about the bags). And waited.

As teeeeeeny white pellets sprang up and darted across the window...


  1. Australians have no point of reference when it comes to cold...

  2. There are a lot of people who would pay good money to see you pulling on wet socks and standing naked in a fridge... I venture to suggest!