Suck on that, Trondheim!

Snowman in Greenwich ParkSnow sure does odd things to people, doesn’t it? Suddenly, middle-class parents who’ve previously ruined perfectly pleasant dinner parties by expounding belligerently on the moral failings of those who let a child walk to school unaccompanied are to be seen gaily lashing their toddler to a tea tray and launching it down an icy slope across which burly thirty-five-year-olds with helmet-cams are already hurtling on snowboards.

To someone brought up on the broad majestic flood plain of the Lea – and who then spent ten years on the equally bumpless marshland of Vauxhall – the sheer number of tobogganeers out on the slopes yesterday was extraordinary: almost everyone in Greenwich, it seems, has not just an atavistic urge to hurtle downhill at the first sign of the white stuff in their genes, but also a brightly coloured plastic luge in their understairs cupboard.

Seriously, hats off to you people. Though not literally, as it’s bloody freezing. My only slight worry is that, should anyone from LOCOG have been in the park yesterday, we might soon find Greenwich going head to snow-goggled head with Trondheim in a bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, with plans being made for an SE10 version of the Cresta Run down Crooms Hill and for the Blackheath Tea Hut to receive a bit of a makeover in order to provide more of an après ski ambience.

Seriously, after the cable car, I’m not dismissing anything.

Snow Pig in Greenwich ParkThe park did look very fine, though, with an impressive array of snowmen, and possibly snowpigs – I’m really not sure about this one on the right, but it definitely seems to have a pig’s nose, so I’m going with snowpig.

Incidentally, speaking of pigs’ noses – which I rarely do, so hopefully you’ll forgive a small digression now I’ve got the chance – I sometimes worry that the pig is a pretty solid argument in favour of God/Intelligent Design, being clearly the work of someone who’d completely run out of ideas, i.e. someone, or possibly Someone, who simply made a big shapeless blob for the body and then, when it came to the nose, punched a couple of holes in the middle of the face like a minimalist pepperpot and said, “OK, peeps, that’ll do, six bloody days I’ve been working on this thing, I need a rest. I’ll leave finishing the naked mole rats till Monday.” Evolution, let’s face it, would never come up with an animal that basic in a million years. Or however long it takes. OK, I have digressed, and now I’ve stopped – apologies. Though I think we should all pause and look at a photo of a naked mole rat before continuing.

Naked Mole Rat

OK, back to the park. Or, rather, to the Plume of Feathers for a Sunday roast and a few pints of Harveys, after which we trotted off to the Old Royal Naval College in order to get ourselves embroidered on History’s Rich Tapestry (I’m afraid I often get embroidered after a few pints of Harveys) by witnessing Greenwich’s official gaining of the royal imprimatur, just like we were Tunbridge Wells or Berkshire or a packet of overpriced biscuits.

Now… I don’t want to come across as a royalist, any more than I want to believe that pigs were designed by an omnipotent deity on an off-day, but… there was actually something quite lovely about standing in the snow outside the ORNC watching Chris Roberts, leader of Greenwich Council, run back and forth between milk bottles to light the blue touchpaper on the rockets he’d refused to let Lewisham play with on 5th November, while a screechy PA broadcast Side One of the mayor’s slightly scratchy copy of Now That’s What I Call Patriotic Volume 35: yes, Thomas Arne’s Rule, Britannia!, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Blake’s Jerusalem, Skrewdriver’s White Power/Smash the IRA, all were present and correct (except possibly the last); in fact, once I’d got over the feeling that I’d walked into a Daily Mail Monday-morning pep talk, I really enjoyed it, even if I still can’t listen to Jerusalem without wanting to mutter “No” after every line of the first two verses (“And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England’s mountains green?” “And was the holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen?”) and “Get them yourself, you lazy sod,” after every line of the third (“Bring me my bow of burning gold!” “Bring me my arrows of desire!”).

And then, feeling suitably roused, I took it upon myself to convince various of the bemused tourists present that this was something we did every Sunday evening here in Greenwich – got together by the river and listened to patriotic music while watching fireworks.

I hope that’s OK with the rest of you. I’m thinking it will play well with the IOC when we launch that 2022 bid.

So suck on that, Trondheim!

As my mother used to say.


Greenwich Observatory in snow


One Comment on “Suck on that, Trondheim!”

  1. Mary Smithers says:

    Looks like a Lowry painting 😉

    and yes, it’s definitely a snow-pig. brrr

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