May 22 2013 Latest news:
By STEVE DOWNES
Thursday, December 6, 2012
If you visit David and Diana Howes during December, you are guaranteed a Frosty reception.
For Mrs Howes has a Christmassy collection of 1,000 snowmen – more than enough to make you freeze on the spot when you enter her home at Briggate, near North Walsham.
The swarm of snowmen dominates 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.
It is a collection that would surely make even Ebenezer Scrooge smile.
But, despite the remarkably efficient arrangement of the snowmen, the glittery gathering began by accident.
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 said the following year she bought two snowman candlestick holders and a snowman Toby jug.
She said: “Then people started buying me snowmen, and it just grew from there.”
Mrs Howes always gets the collection out in time to have the snowmen displayed from December 1. But it takes her several days to get them all set up in the right place.
She said “about 200” of the characters were gifts from friends and family, while the others had been picked up by her and her husband during holidays and shopping trips.
The largely English group is given a foreign feel by snowmen that have been bought in New York, Switzerland and Spain.
Mrs Howes said: “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. 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.”
For Mr Howes’ part, he is happy to support his wife’s hobby, saying: “I just let her get on with it.”
To see a photo gallery of the snowmen, visit www.edp24.co.uk