Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who models the modeller?

We have been exploring an exotic location. Somewhere that we have been to before but, in retrospect, it seems we have only passed through, like itinerant travellers too caught up in their destination to take note of their current surroundings.

Basically, it's where we live.

We don't seem to notice lotsa things almost in our own back yard. Stuff people come from all over the place to see, so it's a bit daft not to play the tourista in you're own ghetto, innit?.

And because we can't really afford a holiday at the moment, as well as having the cute, drooly shackle of a baby in the house, we are having a staycation. This is holiday speak for not going anywhere even though you've got a week of annual leave booked.

Well, this isn't exactly true.

When deciding on a staycation, you must still make the effort to go places, and to experience stuff that you know about yet rarely do, otherwise, well, you're just staying at home really.

For instance, about forty minutes from us is Bourton-on-the-Water, which has got a bird park and a model village.

Bird parks are cool. They've got birds in them, and birds are pretty interesting, especially if they talk, or scream, or are brightly coloured, or eat other creatures, or are bloody huge. In fact the best bird would combine all of these traits and be some sort of meat-eating, osprey-sized super parrot. I was excited.

They didn't have a carnivorous super-parrot, which was a touch disappointing, but on the whole it's a nice place. Lots of birds.

Model villages though. Are they cool?

Well, seeing as I have never, in all my decades, been to a model village, I didn't know. And as this one was right there and I had a kid with me, it seemed an opportune moment to go and have a look.

It messed with my mind man!

First of all, there is the ominous photos of your darling, tiny cherub looking like Sprogzilla:

I was tempted to 'Shop in some lasers coming out of his eyes, and then stick a tiny picture of Tom Cruise flailing about with his hair on fire, but when I say Phototshop I mean Microsoft Paint, and it's a bit of a faff. You'll just have to use your imagination.

Go on. Picture Tom. Picture his hair. Now . . . WOOF! And off he goes

The model village uses Bourton itself as a template, although only roughly as the ephemeral structures of humanity are wont to change, so it's not entirely accurate. I didn't see a tiny bird park, which was a pity. I considered suggesting they set one up, maybe using painted wasps as the birds for lifelike realism.

Other than that, the buildings are startlingly realistic, and it's a little surreal watching folk wander about, towering over them. As I hadn't got specific permission to show peoples faces in this blog, I have blocked them out with appropriate ogre masks using the magic of awesome Paint skillz, which I feel is artistically sensitive to the context:

The village had another trick up its sleeve, which I quite liked. In one corner, behind the model of the pub in which the model village is situated in real life, is a model of the model village:

Now, that was bit cool.

Hang on though. Look in the corner of the model model village:

It's a model of the model model village!

A model model model village.

And look! By Neptune's Soggy Beard, could it possibly be? Yes, yet another model of the model model model village:

Okay, my inner geek did like that quite a bit, and I might just have tried to get close to see if there was yet another microcosmic representation of the model village. But there wasn't. Or at least I couldn't see it and presumed that there wasn't, which raises a few existential questions about things being there if you can't see them.

This isn't the same as the question "If a tree falls in the wood and no-one witnesses it, does it make a noise?" because the answer to that is patently no. It makes lots of sound waves, which travel through the air as pressure differences, but only become audible when they hit a listening device such as an ear. Never understood why that was a conundrum. It's just a matter of physics. Which is possibly what everything is.

Anyway, my inner child struggled up past layers of fossilised responsibility and the diamond-hard strata of mature levelheadedness that usually make up my personality, to surface briefly in my psyche, and I imagined tiny people looking up at not so tiny people, who were looking up at slightly bigger people, who in turn gazed fearfully up at even bigger folk, and so ad infinitum, until at last they got to the pinnacle of the event, the ultimate being, the one looking down at all of them and their tiny lives, an indulgent smile playing on a beatific face, like the very sun itself looking down on them from on high.


With the universe constantly making us feel small by being all mind-bendingly huge and that, it was nice to be in a place which, quite literally, bigs you up a bit.

Oh, go on then:

Run, Tom, Run!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you, for both probing a bit of existentialism this morning (morning for me, anyway) and for lighting Tom Cruise (the rat bastard) on fire. I do believe I've got a new desktop background to install now.

  3. A model of a model of a model, this village alone is worth visiting the UK for.

    A giant carnivorous parrot-like bird for your gentle readers.

  4. That first picture gives me flashbacks of when I visited a Smurf village at a theme park. I was 4, I think. Could have been the start of an irrational fear of miniature things.

    Or not. Could have been something else entirely.

    Laser beams and Tom Cruise on fire = Best picture ever.

  5. Nicole - lol; I hope you're dreams are full of such visions!

    Eric - Orsum and win!

    otherworldlyone - Glad you liked it. Would you be extra terrified of a tiny, tiny tiger?

  6. We have a 1/6th scale town called "Tiny Town" (I would have liked to see the discussion among the marketing geniuses that day) up in the foothills above us. It is pretty cute:

  7. Fantastically disturbing- a giant child, even without the laser beams!!

  8. That's so much cooler than stupid Legoland!

  9. Wow! That family sure does look alike! I think it would be cool to visit there!

  10. SkylersDad - See, that's just soooooo American. Even your miniature stuff is bigger than ours!

    Cass - It is isn't it? How would you get him to eat his greens?

    BetaDad - I expect I'll experience Legoland in due course. Seems obligatory these days.

    BPOTW - There is a certain resemblance. Perhaps they came from the Frest of Dean.

  11. Pretty sure most things in life can be improved with the addition of laser eyes and a burning Tom Cruise; its a wonder someone hasn't started a religion based on this already.

  12. First off, The Sprog is very cute, especially with the laser-beam eyes. Who does he get those from?

    Secondly; you mean to tell me that in an entire forest there's not one damn squirrel? Or that all of the happy forest critters somehow lost their hearing? Something with ears, or at least some sort of auditory sensory organ, was around to hear that tree.

  13. Nicole - I believe he gets them from his mother.

    And you're right, the likelihood of there not being any sort of ear around in a wood is pretty minimal, so chances are the pressure waves will be translated as a noise.

    But if there wasn't anything, it'd be silent.

  14. I was wondering if there was a Russian doll of model villages there before I came to that bit in your post. Beaconscot model village enchanted me at the Sprog's age. And I liked St Agnes Model Village for the Brobignagian dinosaurs which are scattered bizarrely around it.

  15. My head is bouncing from this conundrum. Your staycation sounds better than mine will. I have IKEA to look forward to. But that is a bit like a model village too.

  16. We dont have these miniature village things here in Oz, not that we have villages... Cant see what you see in th...No Wait, it is kinda cool!
    Judging by your photos, your area must be the inbreeding capital of the world..the locals are pretty ugly and all look related...Dontya think?!

  17. Brother Tobias - They are a bit magical, aren't they? Dinosaurs would add interest to any buccolic village scene, I think.

    Mdme DeF - Pick up a Billy for me would you. Or a Gorm.

    Tempo - How dare you. Say that again and you'll get hostile stares from the locals, and you won't want that big single eye in the middle of their foreheads looking at you like that, I can tell you.

  18. Annah - Managed to snap it just before he aimed his laser eyes at me and demanded a Fruit Shoot.

  19. I am uber impressed at the model makers geekiness. That has made my day! Although a little disappointed to hear there wasn't even a nod to a model of a model of a model of a model.

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