Thursday 8 February 2007


I woke up at six this morning after some slightly surprising dream and had a peep out of my curtains having been warned by the BBC to expect "heavy snow" overnight. I was greeted by a bright sodium orange Meadow. After discounting my short-lived fear that a slightly yellowed version of the Red Weed from The War of the Worlds might have taken over the landscape, I realised that the Beeb/MET Office had been right. It is a rare fragment of hope to those who contend that I have become a hopeless cynic that after this I was too excited to sleep.

Snow, it seems, sends everyone a bit mental. The advent of affordable digital cameras means that even fairly early this morning when I was out a-photographing, Oxford was crawling with snappers generating terabytes of information. And, if you weren't photographing it, you were probably building with it. I have never seen so many snowmen in my life.

Early in the day, it was quite cute. The little snowman atop Lincoln College's wall overlooking the Rad Cam resplendant in scholarly attire merited a few pictures, as did a jolly-looking snowy fellow juxtaposed cheekily against an authoritarian sign. I even snapped the three snowmen which illustrated the top story on today's BBC News front page, broadcasting their climate change message from the bottom of the Martyr's Memorial. It wasn't even the end of the morning by the time I was dying for a landscape which hadn't been desecrated by anything from your basic massive rolled-up snowball, through a variety of snow people to giant photograph-ruiningly-phallic snow cocks.

The general ambience of excitement and adventure persisted throughout the day in spite of the fact that the snow had already started to melt by noon. Snow broke down conventional social barriers and allowed me to have about five brief conversations with total strangers. (Contrast with twice-daily Tube journeys over the summer which I think saw two such interactions in my entire time crammed between people.)

One was unfortunate and terribly sarcastic, but it was OK because the man who made the scathing comment didn't know that it was one. I had lost my LCD cover, which is a small transparent/frosted white piece of plastic, in a pile of snow, and spent about five minutes squatting next to it to avoid paying Nikon a tenner for 20p's worth of product. He walked past and jovially noted "That's snow, that is." I nodded and smiled. His flippant and unwitting prognosis turned out to be correct when the LCD cover eventually turned up behind me. Why is it that if you drop something or it falls out of your pocket it seems to be able to bounce to locations prohibited by the laws of classical physics?

As is probably becoming clear, my day was rather defined by taking photographs. I took about 400 in the end, and a small selection of the best can be found in by searching for photographs tagged "snow" in my photo gallery.

Snow!!!!! I hope it snows again soon.

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