Abney Park snowday


All back to normal, as I write this – admittedly, several hours before it will miraculously self-publish, but even so. We’re not expecting any more snow today.

So, yesterday I went to Abney Park Cemetery and took my camera with me – a small Kodak digital camera, nothing to get excited about. The place was just beautiful, really like Narnia. It isn’t captured in the pictures, happy as I am with some of them.I intended to walk through and go on with my stuff, but Abney Park quickly became my stuff and indeed sounded the note of the day.




It was a snow carnival! The place was full of people: walking, smiling, slipping, taking pictures, throwing snowballs. Couples, families, people just walking around. It wasn’t till I was just leaving that the big annoying gaggles of trendy N16 yuppies came in and the place started to feel noisy and crowded.

There was a huge snowball fight at a junction of two paths, where a family group had got mixed up with a group of twenty-something guys, and all threw madly at each other, laughing and the kids screaming with glee, for a few minutes before disentangling.


One young woman walking on her own caught my eye; I was walking along involuntarily smiling – I know, in London, what next – and so was she, and when we passed, we met eyes and both laughed out loud!

It looked a bit like this, but better:

I got in a long chat with two guys sitting on a bench, taking it all in with cans of beer. Not tramps – just guys who thought it was more fun to watch the snow than go to the pub. Tony and Mick.

“It’s more fun to sit here than in the pub,” Tony said.

“Yeah,” said Mick. “We can go to the pub tomorrow. So Tony said why not bring a few cans – ” I’m thinking it looks cold for beer, but who am I to say.

Tony smiles, raises his can. Fifties, I’d say, with a nice overcoat on; they both sound local born and raised. The lower half of his face is looking a bit bluish.

Mick is enthusiastic. “You know, I rode in from Kent this morning on my pushbike!” he says. “There was this birthday party… probably cancelled now. Still, you gotta take a day off and enjoy it, incha! You know – ”

Tony goes: “Yeah, his pushbike!” Shakes his head fondly.

Mick angsts for a moment about the weather: “We better check… did they say it was gonna stop this afternoon?”

“No, I say, It says ‘Monday: heavy snow. All day.”

“He’ll have to leave it here all week, now,” says Tony.

Mick continues: “You know, you hafta take a day off now and then, it’s great to see people out having a good time, this place is really full of people, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” I say, and tell them about the snowball fight.

Mick is enthusiastic. “This lady I was talking to a minute ago put it really well,” he tells me about three times, and then tells me: ‘It cheers people up‘, she said. And you know, she was right.”

Unfortunately the talk turns to the inescapable prejudices, crime and so on, and in the course of it all Mick says a word I like very much: he says something is according to “satiskits”.

When I say I must be going they introduce themselves and both shake my hand, exhorting me to take proper action if I should walk past in a few hours and see them frozen solid. I should have taken a picture of them.

My lens is full of condensation; but I think it’s cleared, till I get home and see this:




Then I went and had coffee, and went and bought some merino wool tights. I’m not having that thing happen again that happened at Euston Station the other night, when I was in my normal opaques. There is a reason they call it a “whipping” wind…

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