Thursday, 14 March 2013

Fifty years ago

An item on the Today programme recently reminded me that it is just over fifty years ago since the south-east of England was hit by a crippling snowfall. I have this vague memory of being at the birthday celebration of my flat-mate's girl-friend, in the old Dive Bar underneath the Hop Exchange in Southwark, sometime in February of 1963. When we left to walk to London Bridge station, we noticed that snow had fallen. What we were not to know was that it would continue to snow and that even after it stopped it would hang around for weeks because the temperature didn't rise enough for it to thaw. I can't pin down the start date in my old diary - clearly I didn't need a written reminder of that party - but a Pears Cyclopaedia record of Events of 1963 confirms that March 5th-6th was the first frost-free night of that season since December 22nd 1962.

From that list I also see that March 8th was the date of the military coup which brought Assad sr. to power in Syria, and in a fortnight's time we shall see the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Beeching Report, the consequences of which on the railway system we are still living with.

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