I came across these pictures recently and thought I'd post them up. They're from Godshill Model Village, on the very strange Isle of Wight (which you can read more about here). I tend to prefer my miniature landscapes a bit less cute generally - check out Madurodam in Holland with its miniature miles of reclaimed polder land and container ports, or this beauty - but there's something about the overabundant landscaping at Godshill that is mildly surreal at least.
There is something inherently inherently peculiar about a model village on the Isle of Wight, mainly because the island itself is a sort of miniature version of the UK. The relationship between the two is curiously inverted in the phrase "You can put the whole of England on the Isle of Wight", which forms the starting point for Julian Barnes' slightly leaden satire on theme parks, fakes and copies England, England. In the book a miniaturised theme park version of England is constructed on the Isle of Wight and gradually starts to replace the real thing.
It's the odd, left-over bits I always enjoy the most though. The back of a pub, or a deserted station car park. It's nice that someone went to the effort of making them and getting the particular quality of forlornness, or the colour of the drainpipes, just right.
There comes a moment in every model village where the carefully contrived scaled down world is fatally unbalanced by the intrusion of a real object. Normally this is a human sized foot, or a hungry blackbird, but there are subtler signs such as super sized raindrops or some peculiarly large and unconvincing rocks.
Some suitably heroic engineering spans across the rockery and takes the railway over the algae filled lagoon. No sign of a 1:25 scale model of Richie Edwards' car nearby though...
The verisimilitude of this section of the village suffers from the size of the concrete aggregate in the road. The wind farm also sounds an oddly contemporary note in a village otherwise dedicated to representing an agreeable 1950's utopia of butcher's delivery vans and plentiful cake.
Finally, what all miniature villages need, a miniature airport. Question is, where do they fly to?