Sunday 22 April 2012

A giant little girl and her dog called Xolo

We got up today to a dull grey sky that threatened to pour with rain.  We had decided to go to Liverpool on the train to see the much talked about giant little girl puppet and were not disappointed despite the odd shower.  

The sheer size of Mary was impressive

In Liverpool, the girl is representing a real life schoolgirl from the city, May McMurray, whose father was a steward on the Titanic. She wrote a touching letter to her father the day before the ship sank, and the story goes that the larger giant is her uncle, a diver, who has found his reply.  Along with the girl and her uncle, there is a third giant - a dog called Xolo, which is the size of a van, and which plays with the girl, its eyes darting, tail wagging and ears twitching as it goes.  

We waited for over an hour in the rain but that finally stopped.  We managed to get a front row view and it was well worth the wait when Xolo the dog bounded into view tongue dripping real water, tail wagging and heading for the crowd to have his head patted by the children.

The crowd loved Xolo's playful antics, twitching ears and dripping tongue

Next came Mary.   She towered over us and was a magnificent sight, so realistic in her movements it was easy to forget she was not real.

The guys in red are the Lilliputians

Yes they are even sitting up behind her in the support gantry

Mary's size can be seen from this later photo Chris took from 1st floor of Travel Lodge

You cannot help but fall for that smile

It takes 10 people to tug the ropes that moved her arms alone.  She is 30 feet (9m) tall and made of wood, but as she blinks, opens her mouth and looks around, patiently watching the workers scurrying away below, it is tempting to think that a part of Lilliput has come to Liverpool.  Her face movements are subtle and realistic, and her eyes - the window to the soul, after all - are beguiling enough to tempt you to suspend your disbelief.

Following Mary came her even taller uncle (who dove on the Titanic and found the letter to Mary).  A real giant of a man (quite literally) and the  Lilliputians (as the puppeteers like to be known as) were working up a real sweat leaping off the support crane in order to move his limbs.

You sure wanted to be out of the way of these boots!

The uncles dive boat braving the storm

being tossed about by the waves and making the crowd wet too

Here you get an idea of the sheer scale of the uncle - huge!

Notice the red coats leaping off the platform to raise one arm.

Thousands had gathered to see the event, you could not move.
The uncle takes 31 people to control at any one time, using ropes, pulleys and motors. The girl is accompanied by 24 Lilliputians, while the dog has a crew of 21.  If you are interested in seeing more watch BBC North west at 7.30pm on Wednesday 25th April as the whole thing is being televised, but in the meantime here is a preview on YouTube (click)  Much better than my video.

The whole event was absolutely amazing, the atmosphere great, and I managed to get some great video of it which I'd put up on YouTube when I get 5 minutes.  After a great day we had some lunch in Subway and then queued to get on the train home.  

Thats all for now as we are putting our aching feet up and having a much needed cuppa.


Wozie nb Oakfield said...

Lovely pictures thanks for sharing them with us all.
We think we may have met you at Stoke Boatyard when we had a long chat and you looked over Oakfield.
Was that you?

nb AmyJo said...

Hi Wozie,
Thanks for stopping by, yes the giants were pretty fantastic when you are only 10 feet away as we were. My photos do not do them justice.

I'm afraid you may be thinking of someone else as I don't ever recall going to Stoke boatyard at any time though we did pass it once during one of our hire boat holidays a good while ago. Perhaps our paths will cross one day and then we can have a good natter :-)

Del and Al said...

Saw this on the TV, it looked fantastic! Bet you had a great day....x

nb AmyJo said...

To be truthful I only went along because Chris wanted to go and I thought what the heck, this will only happen once so why not, but I have to admit the whole event was a great day out and the crowd and atmosphere were fantastic. The giants were really life like and it was so easy to forget they were puppets when they passed by so close.

Hope your both OK and Del's back is improving.

Jo Lodge said...

Fantastic photos. We saw all about this on the news and thought wow and your photos are still wow, I wish we had been there to see it live.

nb AmyJo said...

Hi Jo,
It was pretty exciting, just wish my photos did them better justice.

I hope the weather is not spoiling your trip up the LLangollen. If this drought continues much longer we're going to run out of umbrellas :-)