If Papa Lazarou did model villages…

We have just returned from a few nights camping in the Norfolk Broads with some friends and their kids. The highlight of the evening adventures was last night, an evening with beer and rum, a visitation from a hedgehog and a plaintive plea to protect the sleeping children from being scoffed by a fox.

We had a sunshine and shower day out in Great Yarmouth. It’s always interesting to visit fading British seaside resorts. I lived in Morecambe for a couple of years when I was a student, and I think places like Southend, Clacton, Morecambe and Great Yarmouth give a real insight into what we as a nation enjoyed tremendously in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. They’re the kind of resorts that began what was probably a terminal decline with the advent of the cheap package holiday.

All Nissan GTR’s!

Still, there is plenty for the discerning 5 year old to do and see, not least a beach, a pleasure beach, a pier and…. a model village! Merrivale Model Village strikes me as the labour of love of some old chap who started off with a potting shed and rapidly got out of control.

It’s apparently 50 years old now, and some of the models look every bit that old. In typical seaside tradition, you don’t get any idea of what sort of value for money you’re getting before parting with almost 22 quid for a family ticket. So what do you get for your hard earned spondolicks? Well, if you do it in the wrong way, you’ll be out of the door in about fifteen minutes, moaning about being gulled. However if you really drag it out and let the kids fight over every single “interactive” button*, you can spend well over an hour there.

I amused myself by spotting all the Nissan GTR model cars- obviously a job lot as there were over a dozen of them dotted all over the place. However it quickly became apparent that there was a very dark sense of humour underlying it all, as the following photo’s show…

a hacksaw???!

if she weighs as much as a duck, she’s a witch…


*the same elderly gentleman provides inane vocal commentary at all the set pieces.