Table goes as village grows

Eric McCarthy
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TIGNISH -- The Christmas dinner Jim and Bernadette Cobham usually host for family will have to be held some place else this year.

That’s because their dining table has been dismantled and stored beneath the latest addition to Jim’s Christmas village scene.

Cobham had lamented two years ago that the only way he could possibly grow his scene any more would be to take up the space in their 346 Church Street, Tignish home normally occupied by their table.

This year he did just that. The 64 square foot expansion grows this sprawling miniature village to 188 square feet. Although Cobham admits his wife wasn’t thrilled about losing her table for the Christmas holidays, he adds, “She’s glad it’s all done now.”

The scene is along two walls in the Cobham’s combined dining room/living room. The T.V. stays in the corner and the scene spreads out from it in two directions. The village is in full view while the couple sits to watch television.

“I love Christmas,” Jim says in explaining the reason for his seasonal display. It usually remains up until late January before being carefully packed away for another year.

At least that’s usually the way. The couple’s grandchildren live out-of-province and are never home for Christmas so, last May, before his grandson came for a visit, he put the village back together so that the five year-old could experience the detail, colour and variety.

He started bringing out the components for this Christmas’s scene October 25 and completed the set-up December 1.

The scene includes Tignish Park, Cobham Park, harbours, a train set that passes through a mountain tunnel and over a gorge, hockey arena, roads, stores, services, people, a flying Santa Claus and sleigh; roads, rocks and scenery; replicas of wind turbines, a variety of elevations and lots of Christmas lights.

Cobham estimates the addition allowed him to add 40 to 50 people and 20 to 25 buildings, many of which were given to him by people who were parting with their displays. In all, there are 116 buildings in his display.

The church, which now has a long set of steps leading up to it, and the train set, were the starting points of a village Cobham started building in 2008. He has been adding to it and reconfiguring it ever since.

Many of the trees in the display are small branches from real trees, painted to fit in. He built and painted much of the scenery and props, including the paper maché mountain.

The Cobhams are participating in the Tignish Christmas house tour, this Sunday, December 15. It gets underway at 6 p.m. and is a fundraiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation. The scene, the builder said, has changed drastically from the last time he participated in the house tour. 

Organizations: Tignish Christmas house, Wish Foundation

Geographic location: Church Street, Tignish, Tignish Park Cobham Park

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