Unlike his siblings, LA, aged 6, had no interest in reading or books whatsoever. This was a matter of great concern to his parents, as the rest of the family spent much of their time reading, and we believed this to be a critical life skill, both for work and during leisure time.
Bedtime stories were a regular thing (and had been all his life) and at school his teacher also tried to entice him to read using every encouragement possible. But all to no avail. The problem was that young LA excelled at phonetic writing and spelling, and this, he believed, was perfectly adequate – why would one need to bother wasting time learning a whole new set of reading/writing skills? It was a difficult argument to counter, and we just had to hope that one day a book would capture his imagination and start him discovering the power of the written word.
During this period, I was able to occasionally venture into large bookshops in our local capital city. It was on one of these trips that I ‘rediscovered’ a series of childhood favourite books. Our local library had had a very limited children’s section, but one thing they did have was Asterix comic books and I loved them – I found the witty use of words and ideas very creative and entertaining.
I could not resist buying the book I had found – thinking that I could relive some of the childhood pleasure I had enjoyed many years before.
But little did I realise the impact that this purchase was to have on my smallest family member. Not only did he enjoy the humour and the clever use of words and ideas, but he went back again and again to re-read it. Realising that I had struck gold :-) I then looked in every bookshop for every book I could find in the series! And he loved them all. 15 years later, we still have all those dog eared Asterix books and I am still reading and enjoying them!
But that is not really what this post is about.
Even at this very young age, LA was a very creative person and decided to build a Gaul Village, like those he saw in the Asterix books. Using a cereal box, twigs from the garden, small stones, some glue and some sand, he set to work. He made the most beautiful model village and I have treasured and kept it ever since.
This is what it looks like.
For those of you who are Asterix fans, you will recall features of a traditional Gaul village. All the buildings are surrounded by a high fence made of sharpened logs lashed together with twine (Gaul, it must be remembered was in conflict with the Romans at this time in history). Depending on the size of the village, there is usually a single gate which is guarded against invaders.
The houses and buildings have roofs constructed from round timber poles and are all linked with neatly marked laneways.
And there is no mistaking the hut up on the tree stump (where the acoustics are just so much better according to Cacofonix the Bard!)
Each of these aspects has been loyally reproduced in the model. Asterix‘s house can be seen in the village photo in the foreground – just near the gate. Below, the lashed fence provides a secure site for other houses in the village.
There are two main characters in each Asterix story – there is Asterix the mighty warrior, and his superstrong friend Obelix, who likes to carry about a big stone (a menhir) for fun. Other characters living in the village include Chief Vitalstatistix, the village druid Getafix, and Obelix‘s little dog Dogmatix.
Obelix has a quarry where he gets his menhirs, and below you can see Obelix‘s quarry. It is complete with menhir shaped stones (and a sign for the uninitiated!)
Those tiny fingers had trouble with constructing a hut on Cacofonix‘s tree house platform and the whole assembly still refuses to stand straight! In the photo of the whole village, this troublesome tree house can be seen on the top right.
As a final touch, the model has 3 pebbles glued under the base – three small feet ensuring that it remains stable when placed on a flat surface.
According to Wikipedia, 325 million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide and the books have been translated into over 100 languages from the original French. But I am willing to bet that I am the only mother in the world who has such a beautiful model made of this village by such a talented young Asterix fan! Definitely one of my favourite things!
This article was inspired by the Daily Post WordPress Challenge: A few of my favourite things.