Monday, February 02, 2009


Hooray! Hooray! It's a public holiday!
Well it may as well be in cold, wintry Brighton where the city's tens of thousands of London commuters are stuck at home, building snowmen on the beach and filling the pubs. "It's like the War!" said a blackboard outside one, with a tiny note below "but without the war bit".

Snow doesn't normally reach Brighton, a city more used to the bracing sea air of La Manche, but if it does it just means travel to London is a little more cold and difficult. Except this morning, worst snow for 18 years, there were no trains, buses, or even routes of escape by car. Hordes of office workers suddenly marooned in Snowtown-on-sea.

"You can't have sausages" said the barman, "We only had two to start" perfectly illustrating that morning's expectation of a man and his dog coming in for a half pint of stout at lunchtime, instead of which he's got card schools, men in suits, babies crying and general pandemonium.
"Why don't you go over the road to the shop then?" he was asked.
"Well even if I could go over I haven't got anyone to cook it" he said, pouring a pint of Harveys with one hand a Guinness with the other.

Meanwhile, this being Brighton, beach snowmen with seaweed hair, were being supplemented with anatomically correct snow women,

snow rabbits,

and snow bicycles.

Back in the pub, a man is on his mobile asking bus inquiries if there is likely to be a London service tomorrow. "No?" he asked, slightly worried, unaware that the whole pub was listening to him until they broke into spontaneous loud cheering. "Call the railways too! You're good luck!"

Today, the recession seems very, very far away.

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