Here's something to try once summer comes along (though judging from the last few weeks in Australia, that could be never). Architect Renzo Piano, the man behind The Shard in London, has a few tips on how to construct a sandcastle that should better withstand nature's assaults.
Speaking with The Guardian's Rosanna Greenstreet, Piano starts by declaring the folly of crafting a sandcastle in the first place:
Be clear about the fact that building a sandcastle is a totally useless operation. Don’t expect too much; it’s going to disappear, mainly because there’s no point making the castle too far away from the sea.
With the practicality out of the exercise out of the way, Piano recommends positioning your castle close enough to the sea so that it has "waves to flirt with". After all, why make a sandcastle that has no enemy to defend against? Then, you need to create the "mass" of the castle by digging up the sand with your hands. You'll want to end up with a "little mountain" some 60cm tall with a 45° incline. You should also end up with a trench around the castle 45cm wide and 30cm deep.
You want a moat, don't you? That's up next:
Make an entrance in the ditch for the sea to enter. The magic moment is when the waves come and the ditch becomes a moat. If the castle is in a good position, you can watch the water ebbing and flowing for 10 or 15 minutes. To capture the image in your memory quickly, close your eyes when the water comes in.
Sure, it's not going to outlast humanity, but it should give you little more joy than upturning a sand-filled bucket. Alternatively, you could always make it out of the kinetic stuff, though that's kind of cheating.
Image: Son of Alan