Stonehenge – Monday 3rd September
The day has got hotter and hotter. It’s afternoon and we arrive at the Stonehenge car park in serious heat. Queuing for ice cream are some shaven headed men in orange. It’s funny how things seem to go in phases up here.
It’s actually serene up at Stonehenge. People are dotted around the grass, sunbathing, chilling. And it’s not too busy. Small drifts of visitors are sauntering around the stone circle.
Mark is going to do a drawing over on the east side of the stones today, pen and ink. He’s not been over this side for a while. The view is quite different.
People are photographing, people are on their mobiles, definitely mobiles and not just audio guides pinned to ears. I can hear several conversations going on as people make social arrangements.
The wind is calm and unusually, very unusually, I’m overdressed. I take off my jacket and waistcoat, socks and boots and enjoy the cool of the grass on my sunned feet. I’m going to chill too.
A trio, two girls and a boy, young, petite and glamorous, walk round taking photos of each other and everything else. They’re from one of the South East Asian countries and full of excitement. One of the girls in a skin-tight full length black dress and jewelled flip-flops, stands to take a photo of Mark, then her attention is caught by a little girl in a floral dress running around. “Emily!” her father calls. Emily crouches, dummy firmly plugged in while she examines the grass intently. The girl in the black dress photographs Emily.
The jackdaws are busying themselves on the sarsens; the starlings are pecking about the Henge ditch.
“I’m a quarter-horse not a thoroughbred,” an American woman says walking by.
Right in front of Mark, from the ditch, a single hare emerges. I know they’re seen up here but this is my first sighting. It crawls up the grassy bank then sits for a short while, twitching its black tipped ears and acclimatising to the full sun. A young woman says, “ Ooh! A rabbit! I love rabbits. Cute!” and takes a photo. Then the hare lollops casually towards the stones and into the stone circle.
“I don’t like short skirts just because they’re short. I like them because they’re cool!” a young man explains to his young lady as he walks round, his arm draped around her plump shoulders. I’m thinking, “ Good luck with that one, Buster…”
So far there is a complete absence of helicopters. A tour guide walks round explaining in Spanish the wider landscape of Stonehenge to her group. I don’t actually speak Spanish, but luckily her mime is very good. I do speak fluent mime.
A young girl in a vest and wellington boots, stands and watches Mark. She’s at that age where everything’s gone long. I’ll guess she’s grown a couple of inches over the summer holidays.
There’s a bit of a swell on the walkway. Several coaches must have come in. Indian ladies in beautiful silks walk through clouds of Spanish and American English.
A Chinese woman waves to someone then points at Mark. Her partner arrives with the camera and is directed to photograph the artist at work.
Another young girl, co-ordinated in shades of beige and carrying a ‘Barcelona’ tote bag stands and peers over Mark’s shoulder. A man in a checked shirt returns to take a photo of Mark, or his work, or both. I should be used to this by now but I still find it a little bit bizarre.
And at last a helicopter, really high, flies above the A303, but even that isn’t too hectic today. We’re into a whole new season.