At the start of December, Shaun Shakespeare reminded me that it’s been a good few years since I’ve written about the End of Time estate, and suggested taking another look at Jacob, one of the regions within the estate, and which has traditionally stood a little aside from the rest of the regions there in terms of looks and presentation.
Currently, the region sits as a winter setting, designed by Holly Texan (Dacotah Longfall) that is both simple and effective – particularly if you enjoy long, bracing walks through a snowy landscape, hearing the crunch of fresh snow beneath your feet and feeling the crispness of cold air in your sinuses. It’s a setting that is ideal for photographers and rich in subtle details.
The landing point is tucked into the north-west corner of the region, within sight of the some of the other regions in the estate, the water channel between them and Jacob apparently frozen. A welcome sign informs arrivals that clothing is optional – although skipping through the snow sans boots and clothes is not my idea of a fun afternoon, so was decidedly with clothes during my visit 🙂 .
The snow leading away from the sign is rutted with tyre tracks that run between fencing that marks out individual fields on either side, before the southern side of the road opens out to an ice-covered lake. Passing over a covered bridge, the tracks point straight and true to a farmhouse on the east side of the region. A second set of tracks points northwards, perpendicular to those running across the front of the farmhouse, and lead the way to a large barn where best wishes for the US Thanksgiving holiday and the Christmas holiday season are offered to all who visit the region.
A flat landscape, the region is home to the fields mentioned above, where horses and deer wander and attempt to graze on the grass sitting under the carpet of snow. Copses of trees are scattered across the land, whilst to the south-west, an old steam locomotive is huffing its way along tracks that curve across that corner of the region.
The touches of detail can be found in the way that the deer and horses have left their own footprints in the snow – so often in winter regions, animals appear to be able to move across a landscape heavy with snow without ever seeming to break the virgin surface (although admittedly, there are elk that also appear able to do so!). Similarly, the grounds of the house show signs of human handiwork not just in the presence of snowmen, but in the footprints criss-crossing the snow, suggesting the industrious hands that have made them.
As a Calvin and Hobbs fan (and who among us, having read Bill Watterson’s tales of a young boy and his stuffed tiger isn’t?), I couldn’t find the snowmen in the grounds of the farmhouse mindful of Calvin’s antics: one apparently up to his neck in “quicksand” (although he doesn’t seem unhappy about that), and the other having lost his head, which lies with a broken nose on the snowy ground. Whether or not both are intended to evoke Calvin’s approach to snowman making, I’ve no idea, but I like to think of them in that way, adding as it does a sense of fun to the setting.
For those who need them, rezzing rights can be obtained by joining the End of Time group – but if you do rez props, etc., for photography or anything else, please remember to pick things up behind you.
Easy on the eye and on the viewer, Jacob remains a light, engaging visit.
- The Pines / Peace Angel at Jacob, rated Moderate