Stonehenge – Thursday 17th January
The journey up to Stonehenge is incredibly picturesque. The cold snap has arrived and the furrows in the fields and along the paths and byways shine with ice.
As we get to the car park, the very sparsely populated car park, small flakes of snow speckle the windscreen. The sky feels full of snow but it doesn’t seem quite ready to dump its load.
On the tarmac path there’s a film crew, a small one, but a camera, boom, several people with kit bags and a presenter standing exactly where Mark needs to be to continue his drawing of the trilithon. The artist is most put out.
We’re greeted cheerily by the EH staff, bundled up against the cold, and they inform us that it’s some documentary with an eminent academic, an authority on Stonehenge, doing the talking. We hover, chatting, waiting. Then one of the crew comes over to us and asks us to shut up. Apparently the sound department is picking up the laughter in our conversation. We oblige, begrudgingly, but only for a short while more. It’s been half an hour now. Mark waits for a break in the filming and then asks if he’ll be in shot if he sits on his stool. Apparently he’s just out of shot, he’s lower than the lens but only about three feet away from the presenter. Begrudgingly, the film crew waits while Mark sits down, uncovers his drawing and starts to draw.
The snow continues to fall lightly, perfectly described snowflakes settle on our clothes. They look as though someone has cut them out of paper with a template and is sprinkling them about the place.
In the distance I can hear guns, but I don’t think these are military, I think there’s a shoot on nearby, most likely pheasant and partridge will be the target.
Siobhan is here, as ever looking fabulous in her cloak and fur hat, a silver encircled pentangle glittering from the chain around her neck. She greets me warmly and tells me that Stonehenge really is special in the snow. If it lands overnight, we must come first thing to see it before footprints trample the scene.
It is incredibly cold. The camera crew eventually packs up and leaves, and there’s a sudden flurry of visitors. I think the filmmakers were very lucky in their timing here, they didn’t want people around.
The light is flat and the stones don’t look their very best, but that’s never a deterrent to determined photographers.
A new type of photography begins. A woman asks Mark if she can photograph him and his drawing. She stands close up and leans over his shoulder.
It’s really too cold to sit here for long so I take a walk along the path as a couple of people stop Siobhan to ask her for a photo. “With me? Of course you can, Darling,” she says. Then the man decides he’d like to be in the photo too so he asks one of the EH staff if they’ll take the photo. Of course they will. And as Siobhan stands laughing and chatting to the delight of the beamy foreign visitors, I spot another couple hovering, their camera at the ready to thrust into the hands of the ever helpful staff here, and take their turn posing with the flame haired woman with the goat head staff.