On a day with the highest snowfall in two decades, south London got the highest. I measured 50cm on my balcony brickwork around noon. But despite – or perhaps because of – the frozen roads, the paralysed transport, the biting cold, London came alive in a way I’ve never seen.
People of all colours and creeds were out in the park, laughing and playing. Perhaps the one day in twenty years when a white guy can throw something at a group of black guys and the only retaliation is laughter. An impromptu snowball fight started in my Mews, with adults flush-faced with joy. Everyone was talking, chortling, alive.
It just made me think: if something so simple can get people talking – people who’d never speak or would brush past each other with fearful glances – why can’t we just all get along? The leader of Hamas and the Israeli Prime Minister: get ’em here and invite them to dress a snowman. President Ahmadinejad and Donald Rumsfeld: they’d get along just fine after lobbing a few snowballs at each other. Even al-Qaeda: what if the leading terrorism brand just had the chance to make a few snow angels with the CIA?
The world could be at peace, if the right people had just been in south London today.
London. Strangers together, warmth and humanity amidst the cold and wet. Snowball fights participated in: 2. Snowman count in my street: 6. Wonderful.
The economic hit was £3.5bn, at a time when Britain’s coffers are already dry. But nonetheless, Following on from June 5th 2008, February 2nd 2009 was the most perfect of perfect days.