Some people like to build models that come in a box, while others prefer to start their projects from scratch. Some folks think spending a few hours on a model car or plane is more than enough, while others may invest days or weeks.
And then there’s Alec Garrard, who has spent 30 years working on an elaborate model of the Jewish temple during the time of Jesus. The model, housed in a separate building outside his home in Norfolk, England, is 20 feet long and 12 feet wide, surrounded by walls painted to look like the hills surrounding Jerusalem.
Garrard said he always liked building models and had wanted a project that would keep him busy for the rest of his life. He spent three years researching the famous edifice known as “Herod’s Temple,” and has since invested more than 33,000 hours working on it. He forms every brick and tile from clay, bakes them in an oven, paints them if necessary, and painstakingly fits them into his intensely realistic creation. No less than 4,000 carefully sculpted figures, each about one-half inch tall, populate the courts and corridors of the temple complex.
Garrard’s wife thinks he’s mad, he told The Daily Mail. “She wishes she’d married a normal person.” After 30 years, he still devotes hours each day to the 1:100 scale model, and doubts he’ll live long enough to finish because he keeps thinking of things to add.
That’s the way it is with life, I suppose. We may not live as long as we want to or accomplish every goal we’ve set out for ourselves, but we keep plugging away until we can’t plug any more. Then, believers hold, we’ll be on track to visit a temple not made with hands, and to meet a Creator beyond imagining.
[These photos by Geoff Robinson from The Daily Mail, which features other photos, as well. Garrard has slide sets available for sale at this site, and has also published a book of photos called The Splendor of the Temple, available online.]