Thursday, 25 January 2007

Snow in London

It snowed on Tuesday night in London, and we awoke yesterday to a thin covering - a rare enough occurance these days that had me and the Organ Scholar diving for our cameras after Lauds, and forgoing breakfast to snap the scene.

Simon, far more intrepid than I, raced up the campanile and headed for the roof for some evocative shots of the Cathedral domes.

Above, the pitched rooves of the sacristry (left) and south transept. For my own efforts, I made for the Clergy House terrace, which affords a good view of the Cathedral apse (below).

Alas, the snow quickly melted with daylight, although the Choir School boys made the most of it!
None of this is a patch upon the last time snow fell heavily in London, which was a few months after I first arrived here, in January 1991. At that time, all London was blanketed, and its usual rumbles were reduced to a blissful silence. I snapped this picture of the Piazza then.

Winters nowadays certainly seem milder, with frost (let alone snow) rarely seen in the centre of London; yet another small piece of evidence in the case for the existence of global warming.


st columba said...

"...raced up the campanile and headed for the roof..."

Recently, on TV, I saw a 1940 movie by Alfred Hitchcock--"Foreign Correspondant". It was not the best of movies, but one scene has the villain (played oddly by Edmund Gwenn who always is portrayed as a kindly man) attempting to push the hero of the story off the top of the campanile of the Cathedral. The villain erred, and he, not the good guy, went flying off the tower.

Before they ascend the campanile, we can hear a Requiem Mass being chanted inside the Cathedral (which we are not allowed to see.)

Hitchcock, I believe was Catholic--educated by the Jesuits.

Mark Langham said...

Hitchcock was indeed a Catholic, and the Film you mention gives a fascinating glimpse of the Cathedral in the '40s. The entrance they use is now closed off by the Gift Shop, and several Daughters of Charity (in their distinctive 'butterfly wing' headdress) pass by. The Campanile viewing platform is open to the sky, allowing the villain to be thrown off. Nowadays, there are bars securely in place, although someone did squeeze through a few years ago and threatened to jump. mercifully, the Police managed to talk the person down.

Andrew said...

The snow looks wonderful.
We do not have snow in Malaysia and the weather is particularly warm right now.

One of the problems the Churches here have is the annoying buzz of the industrial strength fans that we must install to cool the buildings down. Besides mucking up the walls, it's the silence that we miss most.

Sigh...what I wouldn't give for some snow...

st columba said...

Did Hitchcock have a certain affinity for the Cathedral?

Anonymous said...

Great pictures. I loved the Christmas card available in the gift shop featuring a painting of the Cathedral dusted with snow and worhsippers making their way to the warm glow coming from inside. Evidently I wasn't alone as this sold out - will reprints be available for Christmas 2007?

Many thanks!

Mark Langham said...

Not only do we hope to have the card you mention for 2007, but also a 2008 Calendar, featuring seasonal pictures of the cathedral (inside and out!.

I am not sure whether Hitchock practised his faith regularly, but the film certainly shows a great feeling for the building. I imagine, anyway, that the great Director would have been attracted by the light and shade of the Cathedral.

Dear Andrew - all I can say is that in a grey, damp, freezing London January we miss the warmth and sunshine deeply!

Anonymous said...

I think, Monsignor, if you look very closely in one of those photos from the roof of Clergy House, you can see some frozen saliva! Now how did that get there? Greetings from the "US of A" - Patty, Mike, Susanna and recent addition Christopher. God bless.

Mark Langham said...

Mike, Patty - it's so good to know you haven't improved one jot! Wonderful to hear from you, and to know thje famoly is growing. Much love! (Now, I wonder if I've got any old photos....?)

Anonymous said...

Hello from Canada, Father, and thanks for the wonderful pictures. I was in the UK during the summer of 2001, and attended Mass at Westminster on the Sunday before I returned home. At the moment we are enjoying (?) snow and frigid temps, after a "green" Christmas (v. unusual). Winter seems to be making up for lost time. At any rate, I was v. happy to see your photos, which brought back happy memories and made me want to hop on a plane and go back. When that happens, God willing, I'll definitely stop by the Cathedral for a visit. God bless, Patricia Gonzalez

Anonymous said...

I think you should ask Mike to explain what he means Father! We would all love to know!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure vicky really wants me to answer that question, on the off chance it might incriminate others.