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Nearly everyone at sometime in their life has had the occasion to have built or been involved in helping to build a sand castle. My collection of such an event is going to the beach, getting a bucket of wet sand and upending it with the result being a masterpiece of construction for all the family to see. I never did get into the realms of the giant size models like you would see in the competitions that seem to hit the beaches each summer, until I discovered a do it yourself kitset when I was in California. I thought what a bargain. 10900001 grains of sand in a plastic bag encased in a square hard plastic container. What could be more perfect? I could take it home with no hassles getting it through customs and work on it in my spare time. I knew I had to be careful as there were warnings on the back of the case relating to the care of the sand, such as “do not build near beach bullies” and “do not build during tidal waves”. I also knew that extra care was to be taken as over two and a half million grains were large, three and a half million grains were of medium size and the rest were very small. There was also a stars and stripes flag. The excitement was overpowering and I couldn’t wait to get back home to commence the building of my very own sand castle.
The big day finally arrived and I knew it would take some considerable time to complete the castle, but I was willing to make the sacrifice. Not knowing what size the finished product would be, I proceeded to lay out all the sand on a large tray. I made sure the tray had sides so as not to have any sand spill over and be lost. Like a jigsaw puzzle, I constructed the outside border first and that went well, only taking four years. A picture on the front of the container showed me what the castle should look like and where the flag should go. It wasn’t long before I realised that something was amiss as some of the pieces wouldn’t fit together. As much as I tried it just wouldn’t go. I reread the instructions to find that if I was having difficulty joining the grains, to add a little water. I tried that but to no avail. That was when I decided to check the quantities. To my horror, there were several pieces missing. Now the question was what to do? Being at home and having purchased the kitset in California left me with a bit of a dilemma. Do I go back to where I purchased it and request replacements for the missing grains, or do I go to the nearest beach and try to find some sand of the same size as the missing pieces. What was in my favour is that all the pieces of sand in the container were individually numbered so I new what numbers was missing and the actual sizes as well. I decided that my first course of action was to send a letter to the manufacturer advising them of my plight and hope that they would be of some assistance. Luck wasn’t on my side with that endeavour as about a fortnight later a letter came back advising me that the manufacturer was no longer in business. It would appear that they built the factory to close to the water and several high tides had washed the business away. I suppose they were close to the water to make it easier to get the sand, but this resulted in the business going into liquidation, so to speak. With this in mind I decided to do my best and just build a smaller castle, with what I had. So, here we are now, seven years later with only the castle half finished and no more sand. Although I had done my utmost to present a reasonable looking castle, it just was not meant to be. As the unfinished castle left a lot to be desired, I made an executive decision to collapse the whole structure and sprinkle the grains in the cat litter tray. The cats won’t know the difference as they only use the tray when they are not sleeping or eating. As for the flag, I’ll just glue it to the top of the container and pretend it’s a high rise building. There will be no more purchases of untested products, but I have to confess that I once bought a can of dehydrated Bunyip dung. They say that there is one born every minute!