London and their snow paralysis

Being in London at the time of a little laplanders’s mold (lappmögel, Swedish for a little light layer of powdery puffsnow) was almost hilarious. The Brits were paralyzed to the point where they didn’t know what to do. Just seeing this was unreal: guys, you take in the outdoors seating when it’s wintering. Like, it’s as basic as using winter tires if you drive a car.

Oh wait, Brits don’t do that either.

In this picture, we can see a) a café which still hasn’t taken the snow off its outdoor seating, much less taken it inside and b) grown men in the background making snowballs with the glee of middlestage schoolkids.

I had quite a bit of fun at my personal mockery at the Brits for their paralysis over a little puffy snow, and little did I realize they would take full revenge on me. My flight home was planned for December 20 at Gatwick.

No delays or cancellations as we went to the airport. A little alarm when they first said it was delayed, some more when it was delayed further. When departure times disappeared to the tune of “More info will follow at 2200 hours”, I started to sense something was beginning to go seriously wrong.

And there it came. At 2200 hours, Gatwick’s speaker system: “Attention, all passengers. There will be no further flights today. All flights until 0600 in the morning are cancelled. Please leave the airport and call your airline tomorrow. Oh, and merry Christmas.” Actually, they didn’t say that last part.

I realized quite immediately that my Yuletide celebration was in danger. Planes would be full on the 21 and the days following, and they were already operating a good bit below demand. Anyway, train back to London and I managed to re-book at the same hotel where we had been staying. More fortunate than a good bunch others, I learned: there where 140,000 Brits stranded. Some stayed in tents outside of Heathrow.

I also learned that we caught the last train from Gatwick to London that day. The one after us froze itself stuck.

So, back to London and Bayswater. The next day, we managed to book a new flight – after Yule as predicted. December 26. Oh well, sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet.

To top it off, there was a Tube strike on the morning of December 26 when we were going to the airport. Had to take two taxis…

Bottom line: Don’t mock people for being incompetent, because they can hit you with that ability with hurricane strength.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Tommy

    Haha, kul. Precis så kul du hade i London har vi Norrlänningar varje år åt sörlänningarnas till synes helt oförstående och tomma blickar åt att det minsann kom snö i år igen. Novemberkrockarna i Stockholm, t.ex. De kommer som ett brev på posten, varje år 😉

  2. Magnus

    Now you know what people in the northernmost part of sweden think when a bit of snow falls in the south.. hilarious.

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