British expat at war with neighbours over quirky British tribute

Published:  11 Sep at 6 PM
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A British expat in Germany is causing uproar amongst his neighbours with his quirky ideas on garden design.

Tree surgeon Gary Blackburn lives in the German town of Kretzhurst and obviously misses his homeland very much – or at least the artefacts he believes define British culture. His German neighbours, however, don’t share his tastes, beginning with the huge 52-ton Centurion tank he’s parked on his front lawn. Other remnants of old-style England include a red telephone box, a Royal Mail post box and a model of a propeller airplane, perched precariously on his roof until he can get hold of a real one.

An original lime-green Mini decorated with a portrait of Mr Bean is a prized possession, and a recently-acquired three-wheeler Reliant like the one driven by Del Boy in the TV show ‘Only Fools and Horses’ has pride of place amongst his collection. His quaint Robin Hood-style log cabin holds life-sized models of Queen Elizabeth complete with a corgi, and its walls are hung with suits of armour and medieval-style weapons.

Even the model cows in the garden are painted red, white and blue, and a huge tea set is a reminder of summer Sunday afternoons in Blighty. Believe it or not, Gary’s amazing representation of a Britain long past is his reaction to Brexit. When the result of the referendum was announced, he decided to recreate his very own Little Britain in his front garden.

A long-term resident in Germany, having emigrated 32 years ago, he explained to reporters his tank is a sign of peace as it’s decorated with white doves and dozens of red poppies commemorating the fallen dead during two world wars. Two neighbours have made complaints about the tank, demanding it be removed, but the German Interior Ministry have stated it’s demilitarised, on private land and can’t be seen from the street.

One German newspaper has also taken offence and a Christian Democrat MP believes it makes a mockery of war victims. Unperturbed, Gary is asking passers by who look in amazement at his creation to sign a guest book, and is hoping it will attract more tourists.
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