Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow Sunday

After the snowfall on the Saturday night of 4 February, I was out clearing some of the snow from the pavements in my neighbourhood in King's Cross on Sunday.

"Its treacherous here", said one passing neighbour in my council estate, a woman probably in her fifties. "If it freezes overnight, it will be icy here. The council are useless here aren't they?  Why haven't the cleared the snow?" I said that I had got a snow shovel from the council a couple of months ago just in case of this eventuality on a weekend. "I have been here forty five years" she said. I keep buying lottery tickets, as soon as I can get out of here I will. I did my own kitchen and bathroom a few years ago, with checked pink and white tiles, in the Laura Ashley style that was all the rage then. The council came along later and insisted on tearing it all out to redo the bathroom and kitchen. I said no. My husband died some years ago, and I have stayed here."

Another, more elderly man came out to say he was just staying put in his flat for the Sunday during the snow. "How can people go and visit friends? Why not put it off a week, all that motorway driving with the snow on the roads?" Later, the first woman returned, and the man explained I was not from the council. "You would know how it is here Mick, you've been here about thirty years, not quite as long as me. I could have let out my flat to a hundred and fifty Bangladeshis, on their benefits, you know how they are."

A group of young girls was playing and making a snowman in the estate playground opposite. "Look at the (Bangladeshi) kids playing, they have probably never seen snow before. Well, they've got nothing else to do."

Later, in Argyle Street, two young (Bangladeshi) girls approached, "Can we help you?"
"Here you are, do this section up to the tree."

I went to the coffee shop, snow shovel in hand, and seeing the icy pavements along Pentonville Road, I popped around the corner to look at my study patch, Caledonian Road. I spontaneously but casually decided to clear pavements in front of a couple of favourite shops, Housmann's and Drink Shop and Do. I continued clearing past IPB Postbox while I was there, but the pavements outside the pub on the corner had already been done. I noticed the pavement in front of Tesco across Caledonia Street had not been cleared, nor the south-east side of Caledonian Road in front of Leo's Deli, which being Sunday, was closed.

As I crossed over King's Cross Bridge, I thought better of clearing the pavement there, but passing by Subway on the corner, and having cleared some of the pavement opposite beyond the hire bikes on the south side of St. Chads Street, I did clear a walkable path along the pavement on the north side, in front of Comfort Hotel. Later I found a friendly Polish contractor (working for Camden council on a Sunday casual contract until 9pm) in Birkenhead Street who was willing to come and grit in my council block. "In my country, its minus 30 now, everybody does this themselves."

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