I shall always remember the week beginning Sunday 7th February 2021 as the week of the Igloo. When Richard announced that he was planning to build a house out of snow, I did not realise the scale of his ambition.
As I left College for my lunch break, I did pause to congratulate him on his innovative use of plastic boxes as moulds for perfect snow bricks. However, when I returned forty-five minutes later, I was astonished to note that the walls had reached head height. Next, following inspired technical support from Adam and Kelsey, a sturdy roof was added.
I do not know how long it takes Inuit parents to teach their offspring these skills. What I do now know is that our Pioneer Scholars are an astonishingly innovative bunch who learn fast and collaborate brilliantly. The finished igloo was a tribute to their team spirit and resolute refusal to be beaten. How the household involved managed to avoid hypothermia, I do not know. It seems that, contrary to official wisdom, drinking prosecco from the bottle in sub-zero temperatures can bring joy to a JCR President. Richard certainly deserved the reward.
So, an architectural triumph to astonish Buckminster Fuller. But this igloo was more than that. It brought smiles to faces all over College and reminded us that even while we remain socially distant from each other, we are a community, and we celebrate the achievements of our members.
The igloo did not last long in The Plaza, but it will last for ever in my memory. It is evidence of the wonderful collaborative spirit - and eccentricity - that makes me immensely proud to be Principal of South College. To Richard and all the Igloo makers, thank you very much. You didn't just make a stunning igloo. You made my week. Next, please, a treetop nest large enough to accommodate Oswald - and remember that he weighs 350kg.