Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Is It Just Me ?

When I was a small child, there was always a little girl standing outside the newsagents who made me feel sad.  She was wearing an ugly calliper on her leg, and held a collection box for the Spastics Society [now called Scope]. I'd beg Mum for a farthing [I knew we were poor!] to put in the slot. It wasn't her leg that bothered me, it was her sad expression,  the chipped paint,  and the fact she stood alone and miserable,  day in, day out,  outside the shop. I felt a bit scared. Those papier maché figures are rightly deemed politically incorrect now, and you don't see them anymore. 
But here in Dorset they've got other spooky children standing around,  outside the school gates. 
Billy and Belinda Bollard are designed to make drivers aware that they are near a school, and slow down. But I really don't like them - and anyway,  by the time you notice them flanking the school gates,  you've already passed 20mph sign,  a school sign,  and a flashing speed sign and more.  

And now my town is filling up with more creepy figures. This time they are life size metal silhouettes of WW1 soldiers. These are the army of Silent Soldiers representing the men who survived the war and came home again in 1918. Two outside the British Legion and elsewhere.
These seem equally disturbing to me - especially at night. The middle of the War Memorial has a red poppy which glows red at night. Cycling home down this empty road at night, it reminded me of a railway nightwatchman with his lantern. Similarly, approaching the roundabout, it looked as though there was someone crouching behind the bushes on the other side. I find it all rather sinister.
Is it just me? or do these figures make you feel a little bit uneasy too?


  1. I remember a little blind boy with his guide dog, which I always petted - again rather melancholy and chipped. I agree with you that those cut out figures are rather sinister. On some main roads in France, they have silhouette figures where people have died in road accidents, often with the age painted on them. There are some stretches where the number of silhouettes passed is quite frightening. I suppose it does make you consider...

  2. We have lifesize metal sculptures of people. One is a person sleeping on a bench and every time I pass it I want to wake him up. Creepy.

  3. Yes, I can see where they would be disturbing. On a fairly recent trip to Oklahoma we saw all those big white wind turbines and I thought those were frightening!

  4. Why are these figures deemed to be politically incorrect?

    1. The term "spastic" is no longer considered acceptable, because people starting using the word "spaz" as an insult. Therefore the society changed its name to Scope, and refer instead to "those who suffer with cerebral palsy" [similarly the terms leper and mongol have also been abandoned]

    2. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  5. I don't mind the soldiers so much - but yes, the "children" are a little creepy!


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