The thing no one mentions about Toyland is that Noddy and Big Ears only got to put their pudgy little feet on those green manicured hills and cute streets because someone went before them and laid waste to the land. And after they turned the blasted earth into Toyland they moved on to designing golf courses. Nature is hopeless at perfection, and both Toyland and golf courses require perfect landscapes that are shaved and clipped to micron tolerances. To achieve this it is necessary to first re-shape the earth in the style that a golfing man would have chosen had he been God round about the time of creation.
This is happening on what used to be a forested hillside near us where the ground-works for the new Royal Òbidos golf resort are underway. An army of huge dump trucks and diggers has scraped the land clean of every tree and blade of grass, with the exception of a copse of pines in the centre which I guess has been left there so they can show people what the land used to look like. This earth will be moved and moulded, dug and raked and piled into a golfer’s paradise – 18 holes designed by the great Severiano Ballesteros, interwoven with man-made lakes and cascading streams with spectacular views across the Atlantic Ocean and Òbidos lagoon.
But right now the scar that smacks you in the face as you come around the bend on the road from Praia D-El Rey to Bom Sucesso is so deep and so vast it takes your breath away. It covers 336 acres – an entire broad valley and both sides of the hill opposite, all laid out stripped and naked and waiting to be shaped into something more pleasing to a golfer’s eye. It is not an easy thing to see but I am sure it will be very pretty when it is finished. I just hope someone has ordered enough grass seed. Big Ears would demand that.