Sunday, 24 March 2013


the first layer is the toughest
it takes ten and a half large blocks to complete the circumference
but each succeeding layer becomes easier as we slope inwards
the snow is perfect
plentiful and sticky and easily compactible into strong blocks
we take turns making and stacking blocks and filling in the gaps with mortar
totally engrossed in our work and proud of our achievements
as the light gradually fades
windows prove something of a challenge
we are over ambitious and the first lintel we construct collapses
we hit on a taller narrower design organically fashioned into a graceful arch
it occurs to me what an ideal building material snow is
for children to learn about construction and engineering
it is safe and mouldable and remouldable
it teaches the principles of compression and loadbearing
spanning and vaulting
even cantilevers can be built in
as night falls we are five or six courses up - about four feet
more snow forecast tonight
tomorrow a roof!

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