In amongst the castle (Hever - beautiful but hopeless for children because you can't walk on the grass and Eve didn't quite understand why she couldn't - cue much toddler wrangling), palace (Eltham - stunning and a world away from Eltham's normal associations with deprivation and murders), parks (Richmond to see the ducks, deer and horses) we went to a model village at Beaconsfield. I have very fond memories of model villages. Although my parents can only recall me going to one on one of our periodic holidays to the Isle of Wight, I seem to remember going to thousands and loving them. When my brother-in-law suggested that we take the kids, and to one with a small ride-along train too, I was jumping up and down and almost wetting myself with excitement. The Boy, having had altogether more international (and expensive) holidays in his youth had never been to one and turned his nose up at the thought of such a parochial activity. Anyway, off we all trotted down the M40 to relive my youth.
If you've never been to a model village, it is hard to describe how truly escapist it is. It is like a dolls house on a huge scale with little people doing everyday things in scarily accurate replicas of houses, pubs, schools, race-courses, lakes, beaches. You name it and the model village we visited had it. There were moving cable cars, a house that would set itself on fire every 5 minutes to allow the miniature firemen to put the fire out, even an airfield (although sadly no moving planes). Eve seemed to enjoy it, I loved it and danced around getting more and more excited. My sister and I recalled the one we had visited in our youth where the cricket field came complete with streaker, and the Boy warmed to his subject incredibly and took photo after photo of the little people.
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