A trip to Plumpton on Sea, Second Life

Plumpton on Sea, March 2023 – click any image for full size

I’m going to start this piece with a reference that is only going to resonate with people from the UK of a certain age group, for which I apologise to everyone else. However, whenever I hear the name “Plumpton” a little voice from my childhood years starts up in the back of my head, “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb,” followed by mental images of a stop-motion fire engine and its crew trundling along little streets – and it’s a reaction I had when visiting Plumpton on Sea.

The most obvious explanation is the alterative nature of Plumpton and Trumpton, a children’s TV series made in the 1960s and repeated right through the 1970s and into the 1980s as a staple of BBC children’s television. However, it’s also likely to be because of the legend (urban or otherwise) that the actual Plumpton – a village in East Sussex, England was the inspiration name for Trumpton and that both nearby Plumpton Green and Chailey being the inspirational names for Trumpton’s sister shows, Camberwick Green and Chigley.

Plumpton on Sea, March 2023

Within the physical world, and regardless of any connections with television shows of my childhood, the real Plumpton, East Sussex is perhaps best known for its horse racing course, and (again for me personally) for being close to a number of Bronze Age sites which have been the targets of visits for me when visiting friends based down on the south coast.

And it is as a coastal location – something not shared by the original – which forms the focus for Plumpton on Sea in Second Life, thus helping to establish it as a place of the imagination, rather than necessarily rooted in the physical. That said, as a place created by Dave Piss (Cherish Demonge), who hails from the UK, there may be a little physical world resonance in the choice of names for this setting – I’ll leave you to cogitate on that.

Plumpton on Sea, March 2023

Dave was one of the people responsible for Puddlechurch, a Second Life location I wrote about back in March 2019, and so the fact that Plumpton on Sea is his build was a reason for the region catching my attention. Caught in a summer shower – or “liquid sunshine” as my father used to call it – this is a setting primarily built with photography in mind, the region offering multiple backdrops suitable for creating small scenes. The core of the build is a little town square, rich in detail – if a little run-down, and at first glance seemingly without an exit – although looks can be deceiving.

The landing point sits on one side of the square, the rain falling gently from clouds which touch the rooftop. A short walk away is a small bus stop, one wall of which is festooned with posters, all of them celebrating (if I might use that term) some of England’s most popular seaside locations – and for those familiar with them, the tag-lines are bound to raise a smile (although I was surprised with the inclusion of Leeds…).

Plumpton on Sea, March 2023

Built around an overgrown garden, the square sits caught in a summer rain, some of its townhouses undergoing renovations – possibly conversion into individual apartments, and the cobble road itself is also under repair. Hidden among the buildings are a couple of ways out of the square – one for vehicles in the form of a false tunnel, the other a very real underpass passing below and behind one side of the square to reach a corner beach sitting below high cliffs.

Within the square many of the buildings are façades or shells, but some do have modest interiors which offer additional opportunities for photography, one of which is a small arcade of games, whilst a sense of life is provided by the construction / repairs going on and the presence of some NPCs (which, again for those familiar with the shows, perhaps have a slight Trumptonshire ring to them 🙂 ).

The little corner café offers perhaps the most obvious place for avatar photography, with the beach offering additional opportunities; however, the square and beach both having a run-down charm which is attractive in its own right. Those who might want something more interactive can additionally find a trio of table-top games set out on the beach.

Plumpton on Sea, March 2023

Completed by a matching sound scape, Plumpton on Sea can be a little hard on the viewer if you have all the bells and whistles enabled, so do use good judgement when visiting and tweak your viewer settings accordingly if you encounter issues with running shadows, etc.

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