Thursday, December 6, 2012

Housewife Spends 25 Years Building up Massive Collection of 1,000 Snowmen

While many households sigh at the prospect of dusting their decorations and untangling strings of fairy lights in time for Christmas, one woman is gleefully unpacking hers. But then Diana Howes' approach to festive furnishings is slightly unusual. For the married woman has got an army of at least 1,000 snowmen in all shapes and sizes.
The snowman fanatic always rolls out her stunning collection on December 1. But it takes her several days to get them all set up in the right place. After she bought her first little snowman 25 years ago, she became so fond of her frosty friend that she's now built up a vast array of the ornaments. Diana rolls out her battalions of chilly chums at the home she shares with bemused husband David in Briggate, near North Walsham, Norfolk, every December. The staggering squadrons of snowmen dominate her kitchen, lounge and stairs, with carrot noses and button eyes peeping out from the most unlikely places. There are cuddly ones, glass ones, candles, fridge magnets, cake decorations, mugs, tins, a tablecloth, snowglobes, snowmen on skis and sledges, tree baubles and wind-up toys. One is on a swing in the window, while another is gliding on a zip wire across the kitchen. But, despite the remarkably efficient arrangement of the snowmen, the glittery gathering began by accident back in 1987. Mrs Howes said: 'David bought me a ginger jar from Bonds 25 years ago. 'But I already had one, so I took it back. 'I had already seen a snowman cookie jar that I liked and when I got there it was half price. 'I swapped it for the ginger jar and it became my first snowman.' She splashed out on two snowman candlestick holders and a snowman Toby jug the next year. 'Then people started buying me snowmen and it just grew from there,' revealed Diana.
'I'd say that about 200 of the characters have been gifts from my friends and family while we've picked the others up on holidays and shopping trips,' said Diana. The largely British group is given an international feel by snowmen from New York, Switzerland and Spain. 'I don't think I'll ever stop buying them. 'If I get more than one that are the same, I arrange them into a family. 'I hate putting them away in the New Year,' stressed Diana. 'It takes me almost a week to do it.'
As for the reaction from visitors, she said: 'People love them. 'They all think I'm mad as a hatter, though. 'People actually come here just to see the snowmen. 'The collection is a village attraction.' As for ever-patient David, he is happy to support his obsessed wife's hobby, saying: 'I just let her get on with it.'

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