Thursday, November 13, 2003

Snow, cool stuff…..

Snow, I love snow. And as I’m sitting here, looking out on a clammy grey damp day, sartorially dressed in my Hawaiian shirt, baggy shorts and plimsolls I’m wondering if I’ll ever see another flake of the wafty, white floaty stuff again.

My kids find it real hard to believe but when I was at school, winter mornings used to, quite often consist of traipsing through snow so deep it went over the top of your wellies and down into your socks.

Even 20 years ago, I can remember working in a converted office building – it was so cold at night, the pipes exploded. No plumber, obviously – so in order to ‘flush’ the toilet we would nip out, get a bucket of virginal white snow and chuck it down the pan. Due to its unique absorption properties, the snow suddenly acquired the look of a big, distressed orange flavoured ‘jubbly’ sticking out of the bog.

January, ten years ago – and joy of joys we got a sudden and unexpected heaven sent snow dump. Not much, but just enough for me to get out there and build the kids a snowman. Well not really a snowman – more a snowhobbit. It was very small and had big feet.

"Snow! – Great! – C’mon kids – let’s get out there and get building!" After a bit of negotiation, it’s agreed. I’ll go out into the zero-degreed tempest – and the kids will stay inside, in the warmth, and watch me through the double glazing …… seems reasonable.

As I build it, I get so short of white stuff material – it wasn’t so much ‘deep and crisp’ more ‘thin and soggy’. I dispense with his arms. – And the head reflects a certain minimalist look – rather like a Henry Moore sculpture.

"Where’s his arms? And why is his head so small"

"His arms are folded behind his back – and his head is small, because he hasn’t been very well"

Coal – for buttons, teeth and eyes? Sorry kids, we’ve only got gas central heating, we’ll use wine gums instead. One of the kids throws me a scarf – when I tie it around Snowy’s neck, it completely obscures his head. I change it for one of my natty, stripey ties……. Stylish!

No carrots, so I use a rather kitsch twirly, tapered red candle for his nose, I don’t bother with a hat, I can’t find one small enough. It’s finished.

I stand back and survey the scene. One snowperson (small), one garden (ruined), ten digits (dropping off). I turn in triumph to the window – no kids, they’re all watching telly. It’s dark and frost flakes are beginning to fall. I go in and get acquainted with a Famous Grouse.

Next morning, I go out into glaring sunny warmth. All that’s left of ‘Snowy’ is a kitsch candle, a stripey tie and some wine gummed coloured blobs of snow that haven’t yet melted. My unique snowhobbit has gone.

He was no ‘fair-weather’ friend………

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