Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Airports

hollywoodEver feel like you want to escape from the modern world with its never ending stream of deeply worrying problems? Fancy a bit of head in the sand action for an hour or so? Well should you ever find yourself in the settlement of Beaconsfield, as I did recently, you can do just that by purchasing a ticket to Bekonscot model village. Originally created in the 1920s by Roland Callingham in his back garden as a labour of love, this fictional land has become one of the country’s most popular model villages.site

The ‘village’ (which is actually made up of 6) is a beautifully landscaped 1.5 acre plot set out with rolling hills, mountains, rivers, lakes and beaches. Railway lines a-plenty wind
theirtrains way around the site with miniature trains howling out of tunnels and pounding across bridges just as they would have done in the golden age of steam. To quote their website, ‘There are more than 200 buildings, 3,000 inhabitants, 1,000 animals, hundreds of vehicles and many models move right before your eyes’.

The architecture, as you might expect, includes houses, churches, castles, farms, schools, hoovershops , a windmill and colleges. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.. we also have London
Zoo (with iconic penguin pool), a cement works, a circus, Royal Ascot, Brighton pier, a cattle market, a coal mine and an oil refinery all stuck in a 1930s timewarp. As if all this wasn’t enough, I was hopping around like an excited child by the unexpected appearances of some interwar modernist buildings:hanton2 Hanton airport (modelled on Shoreham maybe?), a little art deco bungalow, and as part of a brand new unfinished section, The Hoover factory in London.

In essence, I loved it! When can I go back?!

PS – it’s worth adding that it’s also got a fantastic play park.. should your children be less than excited by model Hoover buildings!

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Kitchentopia

Well it was a long time coming but on Saturday February 13th we moved into our kitchen. Key utensils, bags of saucepans and cans of miscellaneous grub were whisked from one end of the flat to the other as efficiently as we could manage. This all happened in a frantic rush after work as I simultaneously tried to clear an air lock in the central heating and cook a romantic Valentines meal. A candlelit food shoveling exercise followed while baby Beatrice balled away in her bouncy chair, making the most of the cavernous acoustics of the new room. Bliss!

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The weeks leading up to ‘the big move’ had proved full of ups and downs. Our lavish plan of numerous bands of sweeping colour on the walls had been thwarted by paint adhesion failure (the low tack frog tape removed all paint back to the bare plaster even when only lightly applied). After much head scratching I opted for a simple two tone effect of grey and white. The black band provided by carefully stuck electrical tape running around the room! It sounds a bit Heath Robinson admittedly, but it’s actually quite effective and shows no signs of pealing some two months on.

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The severely damaged original floor is still in place and has been buffed, sealed and waxed within an inch of its life. Not that you’d notice, it’s still rather rough and ready, but exudes plenty of character. new kitchen 003

The gloss white kitchen units from Diy-Kitchens were delivered on time and proved extremely easy to fit together. I wrestled with kick boards, handles and the integrated dishwasher but ultimately emerged victorious. The ‘Maron Jupiter’ (dark brown) quartz worktop arrived a couple of weeks later and was swiftly fitted by the suppliers, Natural Stone.

Last job was a spot of tiling. The choice of a combination of large slabs of gloss black with mosaic counterparts on top was a last minute decision but proved fairly quick and easy for the enthusiastic amateur to fit. I personally think the final result looks rather nifty, if perhaps a bit more 21stC modern than 20thC Modernist.

Above the mighty fireplace hangs a modern deco-inspired beveled mirror mounted on an angle so that you can see yourself stood in the room below. new kitchen 006The beautiful veneered larder is a tall boy I managed to extract from a full suite advertised new kitchen 018on ebay. The clothes rail was removed, shelves fitted, a charity shop spice rack hung on the inside door and obligatory Robertson’s Golly Enamel attached to the other.

The delightful table and chairs are were a donation from my aunt and uncle. This original mid 30s ‘magi-cube’ set was the very same suite that my mother dined at as a child. A light new kitchen 010sanding and varnish plus new seat coverings were all it needed to restore it to its former glory.

In one last act of total indulgence we treated ourselves to a new fridge, toaster, kettle and microwave all in gloss white. But what should we sit our precious new Akai microwave on? The plan was always to have it separate from the worktops next to the fridge. The answer presented itself on Valentines day as we strolled around the huge Malvern Flea Fair. A totally dilapidated early Bush television (Some later internet investigation dated to 1951) presented itself with a £20 price tag. It quickly found its way into my workshop and 7 days later I’d sanded, varnished and moved the rather heavy fellow into its new home.

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So 12 months in the planning and about 5 in the making we’ve got ourselves a splendid room the whole family are in love with. The only problem now is my lack of motivation for converting the old kitchen into Dorothy’s new bedroom! In my world, the winter is for interior design stuff and the summer is for playing with old cars.. the summer is on its way so I better get a wriggle on!

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