Frozen in time
Today’s version of snowbound LONDON is like that Monty Python Sketch, the one about who was poorest : " that was nothing, we had to live on . . . . . ." So let’s tell you that this current record breaking London winter is nothing, compared to 1963 when the Swarmite family got stuck in 6 feet of snow visiting friends in Uxbridge Middlesex, and we couldn’t get back to our home in Kingsbury, North London for a week. Memories as a schoolboy huh. . . times change : then you put 2 pieces of coal in the snowman for eyes and now the only cole we see is on the telly, maintaining it’s all about the hair and that you’re worth it. Debatable progress.
Like the impact of IRA bombs in the 70′s and recent terrorist bomb attacks, London marched on regardless
and continues to do so. With a shrug of it’s shoulder it say’s that’s nothing . . . we survived the Great London Frost of 1683-4 when the Thames was completely frozen for 2 months, 11 inches thick of ice.
As people in therapy or recovery have discovered our survival instincts freeze memories and emotions. I can remember the great snow drifts of ’63 but I can’t remember where I slept up to the age of 14. We lived in 2 rooms and a kitchen, we had a coal fire in the front room ( the only heating we had ) but I think this was after we gained rooms upstairs. I was born upstairs but to pay the mortgage my father had to let that part of the house to keep the roof over our heads, so two rooms it was, but I can’t tell you which room downstairs I slept in and years of therapy has not unlocked the truth. Does it matter? Not really as long as I don’t obsess about NOT knowing, as if I should.
What I do remember is loving, spirited and funny. My Dad was a bit eccentric (now you know where I get it from) and when Mum asked for a wall clock for the hall, he said he would sort it. Having been to an auction he arrived home with a MASSIVE parcel, much to my mother’s horror " what on earth is that? . . she asked. It’s the clock you asked for, Dad replied. Soon the packaging revealed AN OFFICE CLOCKING IN CLOCK complete with card stamping machine, work cards and a circular paper till roll. I remember that week well, when they refused to speak to each other using me and my brother as intermediaries. The atmosphere was frozen those 7 days I can tell you.
Humour is a natural vehicle for survival and melting of hearts and Londoners have it in stokes. How would we survive without taking the piss? No wonder Monty Python only connected with a minority of Americans, who understood the truth behind " that was nothing. . . we lived on Pine needles for a year", a dead parrot and silly walks.
Therapy is oft misunderstood as dragging up the past to check out the painful in frozen storage, when real recovery occurs when we not only remember the dysfunction and how we survived it but also those times when we displayed courage, intuition and playfulness, be it with snowballs or new pranks. Workaholics caught up in work identity could learn from this extended wintry holiday period and return to a period of childhood when it was safe to play outside, when mum cooked a meal and you ate it, when you saw the snow outside with wonder.
So I wonder how you could make your day more wonderful today – don’t tell me – but tell yourself and act on it.