Stonehenge – Monday 10th June
We were excited that the traffic lights had gone. This is how small our world has become. But today, horrors! They’re back by the new build.
Oh, actually, it’s OK, they’re just here to protect the workforce painting smart new white lines on the newly laid tarmac.
It probably is just as well that our year here is coming to an end. I never thought that the subject ‘road works’ would ever occupy any area of my interests. But the new roadways are almost fully operational and the old road, the A344, is about to close for good.
We park up and head to the monument field where apparently we’ve just missed an event. The custodians have only a minute ago had to deal with an incident in the middle of the circle and we weren’t here to witness it. It does have a post-event kind of feel here, but it’s calm, and very probably nothing of note will happen now.
Nevertheless we’re here to visit and Mark sits down to continue the silverpoint drawing.
The usual photos and videos are taken and a little boy dances around close up to the seated artist clearly excited by what he’s seeing.
“That’s Amazing! You’re a great draw-er”, says an American woman. “Thank you”, says Mark, “It’s just practice”. I think he’s being modest, but if being expert is putting in your ten thousand hours, Mark has certainly done that over his life.
Suddenly the walkways are awash with teenagers. A German and American party have arrived together and they’re very excited. They pose in various combinations along the guide rope. It seems to me that the girls, on the whole, are far more interested in how they look than where they are. They could be anywhere.
A little girl rolls on the ground in front of her pushchair. She’s obviously found a request from her parents to be wholly unacceptable and is letting everyone know. I’ve got a feeling they want her to get into her pushchair but she’s not having it.
Siobhan’s here, looking fabulous as ever. As she walks along the tarmac path with her goat headed staff, all eyes are on her. It takes one brave soul to ask her for a photo and suddenly there’s a queue. She handles it all with such grace, complimenting people on small details and always managing to pose with a warm smile for the photographer.
Mark stops drawing and looks up suddenly. Another small child further along the walkway is hanging on to the guide rope and bouncing it furiously up and down. It’s knocking Mark’s drawing board. He waits patiently for the activity to calm, then gets back to drawing.
A tour guide leads his group with a small Brazilian flag held high above his head. It’s not actually so busy up here that his group might lose him, but that’s how he’s doing things and I suppose it’s useful to set the rules of engagement for wherever they go.
I sit on a bench some distance from Mark. When I look up, I can’t see him anymore. He’s buried in a surge of visitors.
He’s desperately trying to get this silverpoint finished by solstice and it’s only ten days away now. How strange to think we’ve been here almost a year.
A helicopter flies low along the Cursus – a Lynx if I’m not mistaken. Look what’s happened. I can comment on road works and military hardware. And I’ve learnt a little about the Stonehenge stones. They’re numbered. Currently, Mark is drawing numbers 21, 22 and 122.
A woman stands close to me next to the bench and impatiently calls to her friends, “There’s another three sides to take pictures of yet”. Her friends are not in any hurry…