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One Man's Unique Way to Combat Depression

Six years ago, Simon Dell began creating his Hobbit-style ‘mini shire’ when he spotted a wild mouse in his back garden and wanted to protect it from neighbourhood cats. Since then he has slowly and painstakingly added numerous new additions to the 'mouse village' - all constructed from recycled materials and repurposed trash.


Simon Dell and his mouse village
Simon Dell and his mouse village | YouTube

Simon, 50, photographs daily village activities and posts the images across his social media channels (George the Mouse in a log pile house). “Without photography, and the fun of making little things for little things, I could soon sink back into deep depression,” he says. “Photography gave me a reason to get up and out again and the mouse village gave me back my smile. I hope it gives others the same joy it gives me.”


At the beginning of his positive mental odyssey, when he created the shelter for the original mouse - which he named George - he began adding more homes next door. Within days, a few mice pals had moved in, looking to also benefit from the creature comforts of the Hobbit-style village.


The wildlife photographer began adding intricate detail to the tiny houses, fashioning dining tables, clothes washing lines and picnic tables, and giving them props for hobbies like painting, working out, gardening, and photography. Simon admits it can be challenging to take good photographs as they are wild animals. "But when it is sunny, they seem more than happy to strike a cute pose or two in exchange for a bit of home made peanut butter or some seeds."


All photos credit: Simon Dell


Today, Simon says there are around 20 mice, with possibly two family groups - and a lot has changed in the village. “The only limit is my own imagination and skills at making the new buildings - as everything is made by hand from recycled bits of wood old logs or just about anything I can find in skips or the trash that could be given a new life.”


Simon says the mouse village has given him - and many of his social media followers - immense joy amidst personal struggles.

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