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Paddington Bear and the snow after bonfire night


West is Best

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Posted
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    According to Michael Bond, shortly after bonfire night Paddington Bear meets snow for the first time. It's lying snow. Proper snow. It's enough to build a snowman (or snowbear). It's enough for him to lob a snowball through Mr Curry's upstairs window. And it fell just after Nov 5th. If my memory serves me rightly, the remains of fireworks are still around as the snow falls.

    For 35 years this story has troubled me. I jest not! Snow, in London, lying snow, in the first half of November? Was Michael Bond using a bit of narrative, poetic, licence (fair enough I'll forgive him because I adore Paddington Bear!). Or was there an actual event which he has remembered?

    Has there ever been lying snow in London in the first half of November ...?!

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    Posted
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    CMD - many thanks. That does look a very interesting month indeed.

    The flaw in the hypothesis is that Michael Bond's 'More About Paddington' came out in 1959 (amazing but true!). So we have to search for something even earlier. Using the excellent material you have provided, how about 1952?

    '1952 The month had a very cold second half with snow and some severe frosts; very cold overall. Although it started mild, with a temperature of 17C at Totnes, Devon on the 1st, it soon became cold. The first bad weather of the month came on the 6th as a rapidly deepening depression moved quickly SE off eastern Britain - presaging the great disaster of three months later. On the night of November 6, there was a widespread severe NW gale which caused considerable damage. There were gusts of 97 mph at Bidston, near Liverpool, 85 mph at Fleetwood and 75 mph at Felixstowe and Birmingham. The morning minimum was -11C at Dyce, Aberdeen on the 25th with a maximum of only -5C later there that day, and Eskdalemuir on the 29th; there was a maximum of just -4C at Glasgow that day. Heavy snowfalls across four days led to a cover of 15cm on lowland and 30 cm in some places with higher ground across the Midlands as a depression moved east along the Channel. Some snow landed in north London. The Chilterns were impassable. A train got stuck in 3m drifts in the Welsh valleys. In the cold snap, -12C was recorded at Kielder, and -15C at Dalwhinnie. It was probably the snowiest November in England since 1919.'

    OK, so that's the second half so I'm cheating if it's that one.

    By the way, I notice that November also started very mild, had a severe storm up north around 6th, and ended up the snowiest since 1919!

    There was lying snow at Hampstead during late October 1926.

    The problem with that as a theory of personal memory is that Michael Bond was only born that year.

    He may of course have just made it up (apparently Paddington Bear is fiction?! :lol: ) but I always wondered if he was drawing on a memory ... I reckon 1952 is a possible there.

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    Posted
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
  • Location: Longden, Shropshire
    didnt it snow in london just after firework night in 1993 or 94?

    I suspect it would have been in 1993 due to the fact it was a cold month, whereas November 1994 was the mildest November on record! I know it snowed around the 19/20th November 1993 when London and the South East were affected.

    :lol:

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    Posted
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    I suspect it would have been in 1993 due to the fact it was a cold month, whereas November 1994 was the mildest November on record! I know it snowed around the 19/20th November 1993 when London and the South East were affected.

    :lol:

    For the reasons above 'tis not possible! The book came out in 1959!

    But 1993 sounds remarkable too, though I don't remember it being so. Nov 85 is the one I always bang on about - ridiculously cold really but not 'snowy' as such, and anyway later than the book.

    Edit - actually Nov 1985 was snowy as well as cold:

    1985 Cold (4.1C CET) and wintry. There were a few mild days early on, with Guernsey seeing 18C on the 8th. There was a severe frost in the southeast on the 14th (-8C). Snow in the south on the 18th. The 19th was a cold day, with temperatures close to freezing in easterly winds. 2-5 cm of snow were laying in Kent and east Sussex by the 20th. Even Jersey had a cover of 12 cm of snow on the 20th. It was then less cold, then very wintry in Scotland at the end of the month, and a particularly cold spell from the 27th to 29th. Snow showers moved north: 12 cm on Shetland by the 27th. The 27th was a very cold day, with temperatures beneath freezing all day in Lincolnshire with snow. There was a minimum of -14C across central Scotland on the 28th/29th, with a maximum the following day of only -8. -20.9 at Kinbrace in the Highlands on the 30th. The month ended with very mild air spreading north during the evening of the 30th, where the temperature got up to 14C in the southwest. This was month saw the second lowest November temperatures of the century (after 1919), and was the coldest November since 1919. Altogether snow fell on five days in London, and 19 days in the more vulnerable parts of Scotland.'

    But, again, too late for the book!

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    Factoid of the day: Jeremy Clarkson's Mum was the original illustrator for the books.

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    Hello Richard,

    Thank you for your email and your obvious interest in Paddington.

    The fact is that the first Paddington book was written over 50 years ago when weather patterns were significantly different to those we have now. So, even though snow in London in early November was rare in those days it certainly did happen from time to time. So, although this wasn't based on a specific event, it was based on a combination of memories from Michael Bond's childhood with a small sprinkling of artistic licence!

    We hope this answers your question (which, we must confess, has also occurred to us when reading those particular stories!)

    Best Wishes

    Paddington Bear's Website

    :lol:

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    Posted
  • Location: Herts
  • Location: Herts
    Hello Richard,

    Thank you for your email and your obvious interest in Paddington.

    The fact is that the first Paddington book was written over 50 years ago when weather patterns were significantly different to those we have now. So, even though snow in London in early November was rare in those days it certainly did happen from time to time. So, although this wasn't based on a specific event, it was based on a combination of memories from Michael Bond's childhood with a small sprinkling of artistic licence!

    We hope this answers your question (which, we must confess, has also occurred to us when reading those particular stories!)

    Best Wishes

    Paddington Bear's Website

    :lol:

    well done on finding out :):D :lol:

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    Posted
  • Location: Nr Bude, Cornwall
  • Location: Nr Bude, Cornwall
    Hello Richard,

    Thank you for your email and your obvious interest in Paddington.

    The fact is that the first Paddington book was written over 50 years ago when weather patterns were significantly different to those we have now. So, even though snow in London in early November was rare in those days it certainly did happen from time to time. So, although this wasn't based on a specific event, it was based on a combination of memories from Michael Bond's childhood with a small sprinkling of artistic licence!

    We hope this answers your question (which, we must confess, has also occurred to us when reading those particular stories!)

    Best Wishes

    Paddington Bear's Website

    :D

    That bear writes a very good e-mail, can't be easy with all that marmalade on his paws... :D

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