King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Wednesday, August 29

Babbacombe Model Village

One of the premier tourist attractions near Torquay is a model village. Set up in 1963, the main creator, a guy called Tom Dobbins, started the 13 acre park all by himself. What has grown up is a legacy to his sense of humour, and even though he passed away 10 years ago, you know that he would have been a likeable character.
The actual park is split into 2, with the first half being the "out of town" part and the second half being a city centre. As you walk round you spot more and more puns, plays on words, and comical situations all showing a real sense of fun. Such delights as the window cleaner being screamed at by the woman in the shower, the dog nicking food from the back of the butcher's van, and the names of companies or people. Such delights as
  • Healthyway Farm, run by Jim Nastick
  • Bodgit and Scarper, Property Maintenance
  • The stately home "Lord Elpus Hall"
  • W.E. Scratchit Removals
  • Moordust and Chippings, the local quarry.
  • My personal favourite, the Satellite Earth Station, run by Mark Owney.
Unlike most tourist attractions, you actually are happy to pay the £8 admission price. It takes about 2 hours to walk around, and you feel that even at that pace, you've rushed. There's a real sense of disappointment when you get near the end, but this year for the first time, the end doesn't mean the end. As you leave, you get an invisible stamp on your wrist, and that way you can return later in the day when it's gotten dark, and you can then see inside all the buildings. Admittedly it was disturbing to see some of the cobwebs on some of the models inside, but still nice to see things like the family sat around watching the TV whilst the father is up on the roof doing a Rod Hull impression. A nice touch this time round was actually stopping to chat to one of the gardeners. My first question was how they cut the grass, being that some areas are only a foot or so long and wide. I thought they must use nail scissors or something, but apparently they use a real rotary lawnmower. In his own words, "sometimes things get a little tight." I'll say! They only have a handful of staff, consisting of 4 gardeners, 2 oddjob men, an electrician on call, and 2 model makers. When you think about that, and the size of the queues to get in, it makes you realise how much of a gold mine this place really is. On top of all this, someone at Youtube has video'd their trip there, and so I thought I'd make it this week's video.

All in all, thoroughly recommended. Oh, and what would a trip to Torquay be without a manic hotel owner?