The biggest snowball in the world, ever.

She's contemplating the snow, he's admiring my taste in music. (Anyone know the artist?)

The snow began as I wandered along and around Portobello Road, past stalls selling printers type, old maps, bananas, crepes or cheese or “antique” candlesticks.

I was chewing the fat with the bloke who sells world music as we listened to The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria.

Then the snow began to float down like slow fat broad-winged moths. All movement around me slowed too as people paused to take in the sudden change. I felt both detached from and oddly more conscious of the surrounding streetscape.

Gradually I realised that the reality was that everyone had begun scurrying to shelter themselves or their wares from the snow, slow-falling like ash flowers from a bonfire. The loose contents of the street – people and stalls – bulged and swelled as umbrellas opened, coats puffed out, covers and tarpaulins divided the free space and severed sightlines. Trying to make outdoors indoors.

But amidst the duck and cover, a woman carried on regardless, unmoved. Only her fingers and bow arm were alive with quickness. She faced a stall selling felt hats, but wore no hat herself. Her coat hung on railings. She played on seemingly oblivious, her music a scent passing through the snow air, the few coins in her open violin case disappearing under blank IOUs.

I left her and the city behind. The snow was waiting for me as I walked home through the woods. More came overnight and throughout the morning.

It was too thick for sledging. Or I was too heavy. Even at the steep-sided “bomb hole”. Handy enough for pulling the boys along though – as they snowballed my back. An appreciative bunch they are.



The girls were more independent. They disappeared off for hours together.





But it was the boys who had the biggest snowball. Too big to throw. We and others who added their shoulders pushed and shoved and heaved it along till it got too much. Then we gave it a few kicks and left it – like the cars abandoned at the bottom of the hill.

It was the biggest snowball in the world. And if someone else has pushed it further, it’ll be even bigger now.


Can you beat it?





Here are a few more snow pics from the village – taken on a phone.



Filed under In the village, life

12 responses to “The biggest snowball in the world, ever.

  1. It looks like we are in for the long haul this time.

    • blackwatertown

      Yup it does. Which is fine while the Baileys, ginger wine and Rebellion flows. Which reminds me – I have to try to leave the village tomorrow. We’re out of Rebellion.

  2. Enchanting article and writing-loved the pictures!

  3. Ah, you made me swoon. “…like ash flowers from a bonfire.” and “… her music a scent passing through the snow air…” I love the creative metaphor and simile and so today I appoint you Poet Laureate King. Such imagery! And the photo of the cross – The Death of Winter as the emerging spring arrives. Now that’s a good one too, eh?

    • blackwatertown

      Ta to you both – Sorrygnat and CD. Wahey I have the crown! But then you snatch it back again immediately with your death of winter.
      Still, ’tis better to reign so briefly than never have reigned at all.
      Anyway – you can both come again.

  4. Thank you Paul for my timely reminder about snowballs. Every year I reflect on how I should fare if the three ghosts visited me as they did Master Scooge.
    ‘For, the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee; calling out to one another from the parapets, and now and then exchanging a facetious SNOWBALL — better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest — laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong’.

    The effect that ‘Christmas Carol’ had on me was similar to manyinternationally, hence the continued significance of its place in world literature.

    “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”
    – A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

    If only!

  5. From my perspective as a townie caught out in the latest volley of snow, it was an equally charming if somewhat offbeat experience, bringing out a selection of cheery individuals dressed as Santa, Jack Frost, a Christmas Pudding and what looked like a bizarre hybrid of a snowman and the Great Cthulhu. I don’t know if they were collecting for something or just trying to spread a bit of Christmas cheer, and as usual I was too socially awkward to ask, but they certainly added to the festive mood. I only wish I’d had my camera handy.

  6. You have a great way with words, love the way you wrote that 🙂 It was very cool to be transported into the snowy world of Portebello Road with you! I was even shaking the snow out of my hair when I reluctantly catapulted back to reality…A magical experience thank you 😉 LoL…of course the snowball was too large too throw! It was the largest snowball in the world ever wasn’t it?!! Lovely photos too…full of atmosphere!…one last thing…”Snowball alert!!!!” Yes!! Gotcha!!! Right on the nose! Splat! Whack! Splodge!! Na na na na NA!!!!!!! 🙂

  7. Barbara

    You do have a way with words! What a wonderful scene, notes of music and snow falling together… two of my favorite things… And then walking through the snowy woods – what a wonderful day you and the kids had! On the news we’ve been hearing about the unusual snowstorms and blizzards hitting Europe lately – sounds like everyone is making the best of it. I love snow, and that is one amazing snowball!

  8. I’m from Miami … still, I could feel the quick, cool flakes on my skin; hear the sweet, soothing notes float across the wind; and watched the huge white ball rolling down the hillside.

    Once again you have taken us there.

    Great work – Maxi

  9. Aww this was lovely. Nice too see the personal side of Blackwatertown. Would you believe we had six inches of snow in Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains yesterday? 13 in Sydney! A little warmer today but I think it’s going to be a cool Christmas although I rather envy yours.

  10. Chenab Mangat

    …my high and low search for a larger snowball has not succeeded!

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