Sunday, June 02, 2013

‘BB’ The Forest of Boland Light Railway (1955)

     ‘BB’ The Forest of Boland Light Railway (1955) In this fantasy, written for children, the gnomes build a Railway to help them get their gold from the mine. Their mortal enemies, the leprechauns, attack, are defeated, attack again, win, and are finally routed with the help of the cowzies. The whole thing is a bit odd, an strange mix of twee daintiness, with coy references to wombies (female gnomes) and gombies (gnome children), and allusions to quite brutal doings. The gnomes are not cute looking little old men a la Disney, but the real thing, with large noses and ears and hair lots of hair.
    The book has inspired at least one modeller, Andrew McLellan, to build a layout, see:
     but Andrew did not follow BB’s lead and make a quasi-GWR narrow- gauge loco, and decided that the locos must be more along the lines of Blenkinsop's and other pre-Stephenson products. The book seems to have a cult following, or rather the author does, for he also committed a lot of nature writing of the kind that is gently mocked by Evelyn Waugh in Scoop, as far as I can make out. I likely won’t ever read this book again, but it does inspire thoughts of a fantastic narrow gauge layout. ** (2005)

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