I was in a blizzard today in London!
If you were also in a blizzard or had any other form of snow today, then you may wish to enjoy SNOWPOCALYPSE DAY 4!
If you weren’t lucky enough to have snow, then you may enjoy a brief digression into SNOWPOCALYPSE DAY 4!
The blizzard hit during the early hours of morning.
By the time it was over, Egbert and friends were up and ready to obtain the various forms of nourishment they had said they would obtain the night previously. The coldness of the dawn made them shiver and groan and Egbert noted how much like zombies they seemed.
Outside there was now another murderous two inches to the snowfall from the previous day.
Cider Sy went down to the pub alone to get the beer drums, leaving Egbert and Jimmy to go and get food. Mistletoe was staying in, filling up the bathtub with fresh water and speed-sewing fleecy draught blockers for the doors.
Out on the streets, the story was much the same as the previous day. Egbert and Jimmy weaved and ducked between and behind things like abandoned cars, lampposts and post boxes to avoid being too obvious. The lamppost thing did not work too well; while Jimmy was just about thin enough to get away with it, Egbert was most certainly not. They had just ducked behind one particular lamppost when a policeman further down the street clocked them.
‘Quick!’ Jimmy grabbed Egbert’s hand and dragged him into the nearest alcove. By pure chance, it was the alcove of a newsagents and they hurried in, cursing the tinkle of the shop door as they did so.
‘How handy,’ Egbert murmured, but it was a moment too soon, for the bobby’s helmet was bobbing up and down outside the window. He was dragged around one of the aisles by Jimmy and they raced to the back of the rather small and cosy shop, squishing themselves into the narrow space below the counter.
The door tinkled again. The policeman had entered.
They waited with bated breath. The sounds of footsteps came closer and closer until soon they could see the policeman’s boot on the other side of the desk.
Egbert balled his hand into a fist, getting ready to attack should he need to, but before it came to that, there was a loud noise and another loud noise. His delayed-onset interpretation soon became Oh god it’s a dog! Oh hey, it attacked the policeman, he’s yelling! He’s going out of the shop! We’re saved!
But no sooner had they scrambled out of their hiding place than the dog had turned its attentions on them.
‘I don’t want to hang around to find out who the owner is, do you?’ said Jimmy.
‘No. Let’s just grab stuff, pay and leave,’ Egbert replied.
Dodging the incessantly barking dog all the while, they took an assortment of things off the shelves, after which Jimmy started heading for the door. She turned to see Egbert dump a load of coins and notes on the counter.
‘So you were really serious about the paying part, eh? Interesting.’ And with a flash of her golden hair she was out the door. Egbert followed her, leaving the dog to bark its angry solo out to the tinned peas and mackerel.
They managed to avoid trouble on the way home, but had to take a somewhat circuitous route to do so, for there was a gang congregating further down the street from Egbert’s house. This route led them further in the direction of Egbert’s office before doubling back and heading home, and he wondered briefly if the other Berts were still holed up in there. What had become of Cuthbert, and his bag of salt?
The whole world had gone crazy. Egbert was glad to get home, and by chance, Jimmy and he arrived at the same time as Cider Sy, who had brought back an armful of scampi fries along with the empty drums.
By the time they got inside, they discovered Mistletoe had found an old wind-up radio from her Luddite phase and managed to get radio reception. Only Radio 1 was working, and the news was not quite what they had expected.
It emerged that the Prime Minister had died in the morning snowstorm, caught between Number 10 and the Houses of Parliament. What was once a short walk had ended up a death march, and now the country was leader-less. Well. Unless they still counted the monarchy, who were all still holed up in Buckingham Palace, which they didn’t.
A scuffling sound roused them from their meal. Egbert hoped it was not more trouble headed their way, and no doubt everyone was thinking the same thing, for they all fell silent. The scuffling continued, getting louder and more erratic. Mistletoe hesitantly got up without scraping her chair on the floor, and peered out the window.
‘What is it?’ Jimmy hurried over to join her. ‘Hah! It’s loads of gritters, look.’
Egbert and Cider Sy joined them.
‘Militant gritters are out in force,’ murmured Cider. ‘Oh, that’s going to make the evening news.’
‘They’re fighting a losing battle,’ said Egbert with a noticeable trace of irony. ‘It’s definitely going to snow again tonight, with the clouds like that. A couple more inches and they won’t be able to overcome the terrible freezing foe.’
The snow suddenly began to tinkle down again, and the flakes became bigger and faster until soon they could barely see a metre out the window.
‘Wow, well it’s tonight already,’ said Mistletoe, ‘and it’s only lunchtime!’ Egbert groaned.
‘Okay, okay. No weather forecast is perfect!’
As the snow began, there was a deep, ululating hum and they realised the gritters were singing. The sound was haunting, and it carried on and away into the street, whisked away on the blanket wind, merging and lapsing into the now more common sounds of rampant gangs and human chaos.
The whiteout lasted the rest of the day. It blocked the radio signals, it blocked their vision, it stopped everything dead still until all they had left to do that day was eat scampi fries and put on extra pairs of socks. Egbert was afraid, but he tried not to show it. Yet again, he wondered what had become of the other Berts. Cuthbert and his grit – had he now joined the gritters? He hoped so – there was safety in numbers. The other Berts – it was unlikely that they had reached their homes further South.
What would they all do if the snow did not stop tomorrow?
He supposed the whole escapade was still better than filing claims forms, at least.