Stonehenge – Friday 28th September
It’s stormy today. There’s no rain but the sky is full of metallic clouds and the wind is up.
Once again, Germany is visiting Stonehenge. A group of about forty students form orderly rows, some standing, some crouching in front for a picture by the stones. They’re giggly and happy to be here despite long sleeves being pulled over cold hands and wind tussling long locks. The boys walking round with hands deep in trouser pockets look particularly frozen. It is glove weather, already, again.
It’s difficult to identify the main body of visitors today. Incredibly mixed age-wise and nationality-wise. A large tall man in a white t-shirt with dark dungarees over the top and a white baseball cap on backwards is taking photos. He looks like he’s come to decorate. A middle-aged deeply tanned dark haired man wears a long earing with a feather dangling from a bead. A father carries a pink swathed toddler under his arm, a smartly dressed retirement aged couple mooch around the walkway, her expensive looking silk scarf threatening to escape the neck of her shower proof jacket.
The tour guides don’t appear to be walking round, they must be back in the warmth of the coaches with a steaming cuppa.
The A303 is building up to the regular Friday onslaught down to the West Country, the crows and jackdaws are busying themselves on the banks of the Henge ditch and around the sarsens.
Along the A344, army jeeps pass by in convoy. Across the circle I can see a man in jeans and a vivid red t-shirt doing a handstand – obviously there’ll be a photographer close by. Further round a pretty young Asian girl flirts knowingly for a picture taken by her super stylish boyfriend. It’s an act, a performance, expertly executed. They stand together and look back at the images on the camera’s digital screen. Then it’s his turn to pose.
A woman in a biscuit coloured waterproof matching her biscuit coloured hair, stands close at Mark’s shoulder, her camera leaning over to capture the artist’s work.
The clouds grow darker. A military jet, a booming grey dart, pierces the air above us.
A couple in their 30s hover for ages next to Mark watching him drawing, occasionally whispering to each other. I approach and they beam widely at me, their camera dormant in his hands. He nods towards Mark’s picture and says, “ This. It is better than the real thing”.