Well, with the recent (very surprising) cold snap and loads of snow here in Brighton, I’ve been looking for fun activities that I can do with Gammon and Chips whilst being snowed-in. I saw a pic of these really cool Ice Marbles on Pinterest (photo courtesy of Queen Vanna with caption by Slay My Boredom) and thought we could give them a go – they sounded simple enough to make. This is what they are supposed to look like.
So, we got out all our ingredients, which (for us) consisted of:
- 1 packet of multicoloured balloons (they don’t need to be coloured at all, but we had fun mixing up the food colouring mixture to match the balloon colour)
- A selection of food colourings, which you can mix to form new colours (e.g. yellow + red = orange)
- A funnel
- A jug of water
We (very stupidly) followed the instructions on the original photos, which clearly states to ‘fill balloons with water and add food colouring’. This meant that we mixed the colours up in the water first and (even more stupidly) faffed around with a funnel trying to get the water into the balloons (it definitely helped if we blew the balloon up first to stretch it, and then stretched the neck of the balloon out while pouring, so the pressure on the neck would force the water down to the body of the balloon.
But what we should have done (doh!) was to put a few drops of food colouring into the un-blown-up balloon, put the lip of the balloon over the tap nozzle, and then slowly fill the balloon up with water (the force of the tap helps the water swell the balloon).
Once the balloon is about the size of a grapefruit, you carefully take it off the tap nozzle and tie a knot in it (this is much easier to do than with normal ‘air’ balloons, as the water naturally stretches the neck, giving you loads of space to tie your knot).
Then place all the filled balloons outside in the snow.
What I should add at this point is that, the whole time we were filling up the balloons, there was a blizzard howling outside. Snowflakes were about the size of snails, and the wind was whipping the snow up into a frenzy, like the beanstalk giant had shaken his head from above after running out of Head & Shoulders shampoo.
At precisely the time we rugged up to go adventuring in the snow to place the balloons, the blizzard magically disappeared and turned into blue skies and sunshine. And the snow instantly started melting.
We lined them up next to the wall regardless, trying to find the only place in the garden which the sun wasn’t shining directly onto at the time. Afterwards, my engineer husband (Doug) told me I shouldn’t have put them so close to the wall as it would shield them from the cold – doh!
Anyway, we covered them with snow and left them overnight.
And (drumroll), what do you think happened, hmmm?
Well… sod bloody all, that’s what!
I went to check on them the next morning, and they were the same blobbery consistency they were when I left them, only now they were bloody freezing! They were so cold that I reckon my tongue would have got stuck if I’d tried to lick them (I didn’t, you’ll be pleased to know, but only because we have a resident fox who I know had been roaming the garden because I could see his footprints, and I wasn’t sure if he would have thought our marbles were the coolest thing since dead squirrels and want to mark his territory on them).
So what did I do in an attempt to save face with Gammon, who was already asking me if he could check on the marbles?
I told him it was too cold for him to go outside and carefully smuggled them into our chest freezer while he was engrossed in an episode of Mike The Knight – although I did leave the purple and orange ones outside, just in case the temperature gets down to a hedgehog’s toenail and Mother Nature decides to make this science experiment actually work.
So, after about 24 hours in the freezer, I went to check on them, and to my surprise, they were feeling pretty solid and icy in places.
Then we had a slight mishap.
I announced that I was making Quorn bolognese for dinner. Doug silently rebelled and started rooting around in the chest freezer for some ‘proper bolognese’ for him to heat up. Next thing I hear is a word that rhymes with ‘pollacks’ and the floor and freezer are covered in bright yellow liquid.
We manage to save some of the yellow marble which, to my huge surprise has actually frozen somewhat.
It doesn’t really resemble a marble as such, as I think it’s been too tightly wedged between a packet of Fish Fingers and a loaf of Kingsmill, but I squash it together a bit, turn it round to its ‘good side’, take it outside and place it next to the purple and orange balloons – hmmmm. Passable I suppose.
So hopefully it will be cold enough outside tonight for the yellow one not to melt while the remaining two in the freezer work their magic. Then I can swap them with the purple and orange ones outside (I went shopping today – the freezer is pretty chockers!) and we might even eventually have a full set.
Well, we’ll see.
I’m holding about as much breath as the balloons themselves… but watch this space!
I will report back.
In the meantime, keep warm!
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