A failed DIY skiing session inspired Gayle to craft some snow sculptures… with mixed results.
Unless you were living under a rock, you’d have noticed the huge amounts of white stuff that blanketed the country earlier this month.
Living in the wilderness, I was well and truly snowed in for days – there was no way I was going anywhere.
Typically, I had some time off work and was desperate to “do” something, whatever that may be.
Ideally, I’d have been sunning myself in Barbados, or skiing at Glenshee, but seeing as neither of those options was possible, I had to think outside the box.
As the snow continued to fall, the temperature plummeting overnight to a teeth-chattering -12C, I watched a video of a pal zipping down one of Dundee’s steepest streets on his skis and felt a pang of envy.
Another mate told me he’d been snowboarding on the slopes of Westhill golf course, soaring over bunkers and devising improvised “jump ramps”.
Perhaps I could follow their examples… in the Angus countryside?
I dug out my skis, slipped into my gear, and headed for the nearest hill.
It was extremely hard going. There was a heck of a lot of snow but it was pure powder which meant every step was a major effort.
Once I’d huffed and puffed my way up to the top (it wasn’t that steep but it felt like climbing Everest), I clicked on my skis, pointed downhill… and sank.
Yup, there was just too much snow – too much powdery snow – and it proved to be utterly useless for skiing.
My skis disappeared beneath several feet of the stuff and I shuffled along like a penguin with a bad case of the piles. Ach well. I did try.
The following day, undeterred by my supreme snowsports failure, I decided I’d try to craft a series of snow sculptures.
Anyone can make a snowman, right? But I was aiming for something a bit more impressive.
He took two days to build the sci-fi characters, having constructed a fantastic snow statue of Darth Vader in 2018.
Meanwhile, in Invergowrie, gran-of-nine Ann Hay created a dinosaur sculpture, using food colouring to dye it green.
While stunning, these seemed rather complex so I decided I’d create a snow dog.
First, I built up a rectangle of snow into what I imagined would be the shape of the dog, with a slight peak for his back.
I then used a spoon to carve out his legs and belly before attempting his tail.
This started out as a sad-looking stump and I wondered whether I should forget my initial idea of crafting a Labrador and instead, opt for a pug, or at least something with a docked tail.
I added more snow until it became a little longer and then started on the head.
This wasn’t easy. The shape was all wrong and once I’d glued it onto the neck with more snow, it was poking skywards at a rather unsettling angle.
The ears were next. I used a kitchen knife to carve out small triangles which I hoped would stick onto the side of the dog’s head so that they would droop in the style of a Labrador.
Alas, they fell off, so I attached them from the base instead.
The shape was all wrong and once I’d glued it onto the neck with more snow, it was poking skywards at a rather unsettling angle.”
At this point, I was thinking my dog was in fact some kind of Pit Bull.
But the face was so round and featureless, with no apparent snout, that I was left wondering what on earth this beast had become.
On the verge of giving up, I poked a couple of pebbles into makeshift sockets for eyes and one for a nose, and then used tiny twigs for the mouth.
I then stood back and gazed upon my creation… with absolute horror.
It, whatever it was, looked utterly demented! Was it a grinning cat? Some kind of rabid monster? I have no idea.
The addition of a pink bow tied round its neck didn’t help matters.
I had to do something to make this beast disappear. I had to transform it back into a dog.
It wasn’t that difficult as I simply removed the twigs, eyes and nose, added more snow to make a snout, and then stuck on a new set of facial features.
OK, so it didn’t look brilliant, but I imagined it resembled some kind of cute dog although I’ve since been told by friends that it looked more like a sheep, or “something weird”.
Determined to outdo me, my partner got in on the action, expertly crafting a more realistic looking dog, perhaps a Westie, with its head cocked to one side as if waiting for instructions.
We then worked together to create an igloo which turned out pretty well.
The moral of this story? Being stuck at home can be fun.
Alas, as I write, the snow is melting and no doubt by the time this publishes we’ll be reading stories about flooding.
But snow will fall again at some stage and when it does, perhaps you can take inspiration from my wonky sculpture project, even if only to do a much better job.