Frogmore: Swedish childhood memories in Second Life

Frogmore, August 2019 – click any image for full-size

Update, November 2019: Frogmore has relocated to a full region. The SLurls in this piece have therefore been updated to point to that location. A review of the new region location is available here: Frogmore: more Swedish memories in Second Life.

Frogmore – or to give it its full name, Frogmore Gamla Stan (“Frogmore Old Town”), is a homestead region designed by Terry Fotherington (of {PAPPADO} – read more here and Kekeland  – read more here – fame) on behalf of region holder Bengta. The region’s design serves a very specific purpose, as Bengta explains:

Frogmore Gamla Stan is a memory of life as a child in Öregrund, Sweden. The air is filled with the scent of the sea, old fishing boats, and smoked herring. A simple life filled with love and laughter.

Frogmore, August 2019

A quick check on Öregrund reveals it to be a small town (population 1,500-ish in 2010), on the Baltic coast of Sweden’s Uppsala County. It’s apparently a place that was largely ignored by Sweden’s 19th century industrialisation; other than bar iron passing through the town’s harbour en route to places like England, the town itself largely remained centred on fishing, although in the late 19th century it did became popular as a spa resort.

It is that history as a fishing town, as Bengta notes, that Frogmore draws a part of its inspiration, together with the rugged beauty of the Scandinavian coast, to form a wonderful little fishing hamlet clinging to a rugged coastal region / group of islands. Given that it is only inspired by childhood memories as visualised through the eyes of another, direct parallels between Frogmore’s look and Öregrund perhaps shouldn’t be made.

Frogmore, August 2019

Instead, it is better to simply wander along the single, cinder-topped road, passing between brightly-painted wooden places of business and cabins (none of which are furnished within, to allow the focus to be on the landscaping and overall setting, to where steps climb upwards and more inland. The waterfront cabins and buildings are literally that: right on, and sometimes over, the water, with steps and moorings for rowing boats, nets drying as they hang from walls, and sofas and benches set on raised porches.

More houses and places of business can be found on the stepped shoulders of rock rising on the landward side of the road, and with a little care and scrambling, you can make your way to where a primitive log bridge spans a narrow watery gorge separating the two largest islands. This is worth taking, as it leads the way past a superb little rocky stream that tumbles down from one pool to another which, presumably has an opening somewhere under the cold-looking waters to allow the flow to continue on its way. Created using one of Alex Bader’s new Animated River Building Packs (see here and here), it really shows what can be achieved with what is  – to me – the best mesh river system available in SL.

Frogmore, August 2019

Exploring the region can be both fun and a little frustrating. Fun, as there are little cinder trails to be found here and there, offering the way between rocks to cabins or down to little beaches and coves. Frustrating, because although there are a couple of paddle boat rezzers to be found on the different islands, the lie of the land means you can’t actually use them to get from the little town to the other islands or vice-versa, leaving flying the only alternative.

The other peculiarity I had with a visit was that on our first (exploratory) time in Frogmore, the region was backed by off-sim mountains. On my return for photos, these steadfastly refused to render (and I tried 3 different viewers and various tricks to try to force them to render). Hence why some of the shoots accompanying this article may be different to those of Frogmore you may have seen elsewhere. Chatting to a couple of other people on the region, I learned they were having similar issues between visits – sometimes the mountains would render, sometimes not.

Frogmore, August 2019

But, mountains or no mountains, there is no doubting Frogmore’s beauty or its uniqueness among public regions, not just because of its appearance, but because of its founding inspiration and the “third-party”, so to speak, interpretation of that inspiration by the designer.

SLurl Details