notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

La Neige 2

Winter in Paris is always cold and grey. There is always more grey than sun in the sky. Some days the grey is so heavy that it is hard to know what time of day it is. This year has been mild and rainy with lots of grey gloomy light and some terrifying flooding of the Seine. I have not walked down to the river in the last few days to see how much the water has receded. That is because now we are distracted by snow.

The snow is pretty, of course. It is pretty when it is falling and it is pretty when it has freshly fallen. It is not so pretty afterwards. There seem to be no systems in place to take care of the snow. The first fall was a wet one. It quickly developed into slush. And then the slush froze. The cars do not have snow tyres. The city does not appear to have snow plows. The city does not appear to have trucks full of sand or grit or road salt. The city told people with cars to stay at home or at least to leave their cars at home. The few cars creeping around were scary. They did not have much purchase on the road and there was a lot of skidding. It was not a good time to be a pedestrian, nor to be an oncoming car. It was probably not a good time to be a car parked on the street either. The people who cleared the area in front of their shops and buildings did not have the right tools for the job. Most of them used brushes and brooms which were not great for moving slush nor for frozen slush. Some men from the city have been around with the long brooms that look like witches brooms. The long brushy bit is made of some bright green plastic material. Most of the pavements are now treacherous with thick lumpy ice. It would not be bad if the snow had been cleared. The clearest places are close up beside the buildings which is where the dripping hits the ground. It is also where clumps of snow land when they slide off the roof. Some people are out with little delicate indoor shoes and some are out with huge mountaineering boots. These boots might actually have good traction. Many of the boots are too bulky to be flexible. Traction has a lot to do with flexibility. They are probably not great on the ice.

It has been snowing again all day today. This time it is a steady dry snow. After the wetness of the last snowfall, a lot of people are out with their umbrellas. Which looks silly. EVH


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This entry was posted on February 9, 2018 by .
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