The last October snowfall in London was in 1934 so I celebrated with my camera, a cigarette, a can and a complete stranger

Which probably indicates something apocalyptic about climate change but I don’t care.

I’ve just had one of those lovely experiences that makes me grateful for both life and London.  I have a big smile on my face.

Firstly, I should say that thanks to your incredible generosity (see a previous post for what was going on), I paid my bills (two yesterday, two on Friday) and had enough left over to pay half (one half being Rob’s) of a second hand camera.  That felt a bit cheeky but it was £verylittlemoney.  I felt like I’d lost a limb when I lost my camera.  Well, a finger, maybe.  So thank you from the bottom of my granite pebble heart for helping me out. Things are settled and back on an even keel now.  My bills being sorted is such a load off my mind, I had really been panicking over it and eyeing up things to sell (my body, for example.  A packet of crisps and a some cigarettes, in all likelihood.  But I like crisps.  It’s a fair trade).  I was going to post that yesterday but wasn’t sure how to crowbar it in between zombies and Kerry Katona. Thank you too for understanding how uncomfortable it was for me to make that post and being very tactful. And everyone seems to love Dead Set, even amongst my contrary circle of friends I have yet to see a bad word about it.

Secondly, sorry for yet another off topic post.  After an extremely traumatic fortnight, I’ve really needed a break from the intensely analytical mentalist posts.   I have a lot to talk about on Thursday (The Reckoning, oh dear), so it’ll be back to business as usual.  I’m sure that you’ve, er, missed the posts about mental illness?  It must be dull…not reading about it?  Really, what’s the etiquette for mental health blogs?  When people feel better and spend their days flicking through books rather than streaking down the street in their flimsy underwear, do they apologise for it?  It’s a tricky medium.

It’s bitter winter here now, and I’d had my thick drapes shut all day, warming my hands on cigarettes and strong cups of tea.  Then Rob called, telling me it was snowing.  I opened my curtains, and there it was, fat flakes storming to the ground.  When it snows in London, due to the heat of pollution, it’s just farty, feathery little scraps that dissolve as soon as they touch solids.  But this was proper snow.

I threw my coat on, without any socks, pulled my hood up and tore downstairs with my camera swinging around my neck.  I live on the Holloway Road, possibly one of the least picturesque locations in London, but it was beautiful, the snow was swirling around the street lights and I must have looked slightly odd standing in the street, laughing my head off, with my arms outstretched at 10.30pm.  The insurance with actually being mad is that you never mind if someone stares at you, you’re used to it. People were shuffling by clutching umbrellas, and then a man wrapped in a tartan scarf walked past, spotted me and gave this great, big beaming smile, and we looked at each other and laughed with pleasure.  I love the fact that snow brings the child out in some people.  (I know that at twenty three I am technically a foetus.  I find new nubs of flesh every day). Some people sneer at it, but fuck ’em.

While I was snapping and giggling, a blonde girl appeared and commented on the brilliance of the rare London snow.  I’d never seen or met her before, but it turns out that she’s my neighbour and lives next door to me.  We chatted for a minute, introduced ourselves and then made the snap decision that we should go to Highbury Park.

We were both fagless, since we’d just leapt out of our flats in the spur of the moment (and the streets were pretty dead), so she ran indoors and grabbed some cigarettes, then reappeared with gloves for me (my hands looked like cuts of meat) and some cans of booze.  Then off we went, smoking our fags and swigging our beer, looking like tramps.

It was still snowing by the time we got there, and looked beautiful.  Highbury Park runs incognito behind the main road into Finsbury Park.  It’s lined with expensive looking houses that belong in a Richard Curtis film and black Victorian streetlamps.  The snow had settled on the grass and cars and a few footprints muddied the white asphalt.  Our hands were frozen as we clutched our beers but only one other person was around and we were alone the haze, and the park was untouched.  Only the heads of the blades of grass peeked out The snow had started to lessen and sleet, so we would be the only people to see it like this, carpetted and lovely.

I wrote my name on a car windscreen (childhood habits haven’t left me; I also valiantly attempted a three line cock) expecting the alarm to go off and for us to end up sprinting and sliding home.  It was so quiet, and everyone had their curtains shut.

We were freezing so had to turn back onto the main road with cars slooshing by.  It was a drizzle by then, with people hurrying home.  We had a victory cigarette, wiping wet hair out of our eyes.  By the time we reached our doors, it has almost stopped.  We said cheerio and hurried inside.

I’m glad I ran outside and played in the snow before it disappeared. It’ll be gone in an hour, and it might not snow again all winter.  And what a lovely way to meet your neighbours.  It’s made me really happy, even though I’m freezing and I’m using the cats as slippers.

Here’s some blurry, excitable, shaking hand photos.

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Obligatory, “I’m in the snow!” photo.  Incidentally, only the third photo of me anywhere without make up on.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I need to grow up.

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35 Responses

  1. You’re a person, not your mental illness. I read your blog because you have something interesting to say and you say it well, not to be informed about manic depression. Fuck anyone who chastises you for straying off-topic. You’re the topic and you have your own life to lead.

    Great pictures. Surprising good for the conditions. Bet you were pleased at the way they turned out. (Also, you are daftly cute, even without make-up.)

  2. I love it!

    Beautiful done, my dear!

  3. I. Love. England. I can’t wait to get home now. How much do I miss it!?

    Alot alot. x

  4. The pictures are beautiful, thanks for them. And it doesn’t bother me one bit that you’ve been off-topic, as you call it. You have fascinating things to say, and I like listening to the way you say them. I think it’s important for you to write what you’d like to write, not to worry about keeping to a theme. There’s plenty here for people to read about mental illness, if that’s all they’re interested in reading. I, for one, like non-sequiturs. They make me smile 🙂

  5. ditto on or off topic – life is too short to specialise.

  6. Yay for the off-topic posts! 🙂

  7. Awww cool photo’s!🙂

    x x x x

  8. OH I’m jealous!! I would love to have snow like that. You are beautifu without make- up hun. Just thought you should know that

  9. So glad you’ve got a camera again, and that you could pay all your bills!

    Don’t feel you only have to post about things bipolar. It’s fun for us to have some context about other things as well, provided of course that you feel like posting.

  10. I love those photos!

  11. Thanks for the photos! I missed the snow (asleep) & was bummed out – and now I feel a little bit like I didn’t miss it after all🙂

  12. Lovely photos. It was proper snowing, I in the harsh north-east of Scotland got a few flighty flakes and that was it – bitterly cold though.
    Your neighbour is cute. You have my phone number. You know what to do. *S
    As for blogging. Well well is less dramatic but why should that stop you writing. I have exact and edited science, exact for when I am unwell and edited for when I am well and feel like tidying up the better exact posts. I also have my own blog for friends.

  13. What gorgeous photos! I love snow!

  14. I’m reading all these comments and just thinking, “Wow, what a bunch of crack addicts!”

  15. It’s also just occurred to me that it’s now very easy for people to work out where I live. Please don’t stalk me.

  16. Beatiful pictures, they really make me miss living in Islington and the really long slide in finsbury park and the outdoor swiming pool that was always empty. Damn Manchester for being cold and rainy and not having snow.

  17. I would not worry about the etiquette factor or staying on topic with strictly mental health posts. As someone said, you are the blog’s subject. You always have interesting and well articulated posts regardless of the subject matter. Keep posting on whatever you want to write about – I think your readers agree on this point. I dislike compartmentalizing the different aspects of myself into subsections of mental health, work, home life, etc. I like it when we can integrate these things and a blog is the perfect place to integrate.
    Beautiful snow. I thought England had snow frequently – I must be mistaken.
    Here in Pennsylvania USA it is freezing and flurrying. I hate the bitter cold.

  18. That looks/sounds brillant!

  19. Great photos. Glad you’re back in action with your camera!

    I love snow. This country doesn’t have enough snow. Just grey bleakness and pissing rain. Hmm that could be my first album. “Grey Bleakness and Pissing Rain by Mad Me and The Mentalists”.

    Anyway, soo….yea… The off topic posts, please stop… no one likes a happy Manic Depressive don’tcha know!

    Take it easy girl…

    Slán

    Me….

  20. Seaneen, it has always been incredibly easy to track you, if one wanted to…. there have been posts where you give everything short of the position of the doorbell and the colour of the doormath…

    Anyway, yesterday in Reading snowed too and I thought about you because of this post… And about your neighbour, what an AMAZING way to make friends! to meet in a snowstorm (“Remember that year?” “Yeah, I just got out from the my flat, in such a hurry I forgot my lighter, I was franticly looking for it… and there you were, standing by that lamp post with your nose up”…)

    Best

    G.

  21. Thanks for the link. I think your blog is excellent and enjoy reading it.

  22. In fact… can I steal a picture for my album cover?

    Cheers…

    Me

  23. What kind of camera did you get? My POS is dying and I need a new one and sort of want a decent one…

  24. Wow! That snow was better than Brum’s, we got a splattering that didn’t stay!
    And if you don’t write about mental illness sometimes, it doesn’t matter because your writing is great whatever you write! xx

  25. Wow, those are beautiful! I live in New England, and the one thing I can say about that is that snow photographs beautifully!!!

  26. 1934! Wow! I did think snow in October was kind of weird, but I didn’t know it was that rare!

  27. It snowed here in New Jersey, too! Did it snow all over the world today? Beautiful pictures.🙂

  28. We got a bit of snow… not so much and it melted in about two hours!

  29. Lovely pics! Amsterdam is just dreary and cold right now…

  30. Yesterday was my very first expedition to London – well, also to any capital city other than Cardiff which hardly counts as it’s my substitute hometown. And I got the snow! – oh it was such an exciting day.:mrgreen: I love England.

    Erm. I just felt like sharing my newborn patriotism with the world…

    Suzy x

  31. Wow – snow in London – In October. Here, in the West Kootenays of B.C. it hasn’t snowed yet – but it’s coming soon. Loved your pictures.

  32. Beautiful. I walked through the snow that night too, on the way home from a meeting. Devilish pretty.

  33. I love England, I love snow, and I think I feel the same way about you too, S of magic.

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