Monday, 30 November 2015

Sunday walk in the rain

On my quest to hit 10,000 steps today, I wandered around the not hilly bits of Zug, Switzerland where I live.

We had snow last week - and this is all that remains of what was probably quite a large snowman.

It made me think about the trade off between the effort that had gone into building the snowman, and the transient nature of the result. I wondered if the child(ren) were disappointed by this - or if they only remember the fun of building the snowman in the first place.

I started thinking about the transient nature of everything we do. My house in Inverness has an extension that was built in the 1960's. The house is on a hill that, we have discovered, is predominantly made of delft pottery, that was used as ballast for the ships that came into Inverness harbour in the 1800's. This means that if the foundations are not drilled deep enough, then the structure is liable to subside. I guess they didn't know this in the 1960's... or the builder didn't think that it would matter, because he would be long gone by the time any problems arose.

I should add - the extension is probably the worst piece of architecture in the house. The main house was built in 1850's and is stone construction. It is a proper Scottish house with lots of lovely features. The extension is a flat roofed monstrosity that is very functional as a kitchen - but UGLY to look at.

In deciding how to replace the crumbling extension, my partner and I considered this idea of transience. We decided to build something which would cost more, but fit in better and last longer.

Is that the right environmental decision? Would we be better building something which would melt into the ground slowly over time like the snowman?