In the good old days before Global Warming, when large political parties had principles, organic was a branch of chemistry and there were far fewer types of yoghurt, it quite often snowed a lot in England. It doesn't much any more, unless you are up a mountain (or maybe I should say big hill as England is rather lacking in mountains). When I was a young lad, sometimes it even snowed so much that school was cancelled. At the time I could not understand why a load of snow outside meant that school had to be cancelled, but I wasn't complaining as it meant an entire day of completely unexpected bonus fun.
On one such occasion, my elder brother John and I decided that we would make the biggest snowball in the world. Not just East Anglia or Europe and Western Asia, you understand. That would have been rubbish. The biggest in the world. Our house was about half a mile walk away from the school which we both attended. The snow was the perfect type for balling. With snowball battles raging around us, John made a suitable sized ball his hands and we began rolling it towards our house, gathering more and more snow with every roll. After only a short distance the ball had already become so large and heavy that we had to start taking it in turns to push, with the non-pusher taking a chance to rest and recover. Other kids passed us, able only to watch in admiration at our splendid endeavour and to wish that they had the imagination and determination to bring such a project to fruition.
By the time we reached the end of our street, the snowball was almost as tall as me and we were unable to push it any further, despite both of us putting our shoulders into it at the same time. The field next to our house, where we had planned to park our world-beating creation, was only a tantalising few hundred yards away and the ball was only a few yards away from a slightly downhill section of road, where pushing would be considerably easier. Yet between the two of us, we could not budge the frosty globe. So we had to start calling on the help of other kids who were making their way slowly home to streets near ours. In return for their hard labour, they would be allowed to play with the coolest kids in the village for a while. With such an incentive on offer, we quickly managed to gather a small army and once again the icy giant began to move. Before long, it was standing proud in the field next to our house. We briefly considered calling the Guinness Book of Records, but soon decided that we didn't need to bother ourselves with such technicalities. It was quite obviously the biggest snowball in the world and we didn't need a man with a tape measure and a clipboard to reassure us. We weren't in it for the fame and fortune, but for the sense of personal achievement.
Inevitably, after standing and looking at the monument to our efforts and sighing deeply with satisfaction for a while, we needed a new challenge. What should we do with this thing? We can't just let it sit there and slowly melt. The obvious thing to do was to roll a somewhat smaller giant ball and lift it on top to make the biggest snowman in the world. But this was just a bit too obvious and besides, we didn't have a crane.
Eventually a plan hatched and we began to hollow out the massive ball from the top. We got a milk crate and packed more snow into this to make a lid or hatch. Eventually, we had made ourselves a quite unconventional igloo. I was able to get into the hollowed out ball and then pull the snow-packed crate into the gap that was left in the roof, creating a completely enclosed little room. As the youngest brother, I was the only one small enough to get in and fully close the lid. Such a great privilege meant that I forgot about trivial issues such as having enough air to breath and over the next few days I spent a considerable amount of time in the chilly cocoon. We delighted in inviting less brilliant village kids round to view the now famous giant snowball and I would suddenly jump out of it as they were gazing in awe at the spectacle, adding surprise and shock to the already heady experience.
Long after the snows had melted, the biggest snowball in the world stood defiant. Every day we hoped for another snowfall so that we could reinforce the giant. But alas it was not to be and eventually, after what seemed like weeks, it finally passed into legend and folklore.
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