Stonehenge – Thursday 29th November
Cold, sunny, beautiful, so we’re taking the opportunity to visit Stonehenge.
We’ll be able to stay for as long as our hands can stand the freezing temperature and keep working.
Mark is continuing his silverpoint study of the trilithon. There’s a steady light flow of tourists around the monument, a few wispy clouds hang around the blue sky.
A group of junior school children arrive on the tarmac path. I recognise the tabards, I’ve seen them before. An education leader from English Heritage leads them around Stonehenge. If it’s the workshop/trip I’ve seen before, someone is going to be shot at with small wooden arrows round on the far side of the grass walkway. It will be a grown up, presumably to avoid tears.
“So are we going back home after this? Because I’m getting bored already,” says a girl with a strong Liverpool accent. Her chap speaks to his mate in a Slavic language. The men seem happier to be here and stand discussing the stones. Matters of engineering.
Siobhan is here with her goat’s head staff. She looks particularly fabulous today. A blaze of autumn colours. She’s wearing a deep rust coloured fur hat on her flame red hair, a russet orange sheepskin gilet, melting into a rich purple velvet jacket over a full-length white dress. Her black cloak shimmers with flashes of purple silk lining as the breeze catches it.
I see her talking to a tall handsome man. I think she might have enchanted him.
I can still hear the military activity, guns, in the background, but it’s quite relaxed up here at the Henge. People are bundled up in winter wear and happy to stroll around.
The sheep are a big hit. I think they’ve currently usurped Mark from his photo must-have spot.
A large glossy crow lands in front of me then waddles towards the rope directly behind the bench I’m sitting on, jumps onto one of the metal supports and wobbles as he gets his balance. Another crow flies in and dive-bombs him, nearly knocking him off his perch. They have words.
A Chinese family walk by. One of their leaflets blows over the guide rope. The family members individually reach over, the rope straining against their shins as they try to retrieve it. The young boy in the group crawls under the rope, gets the paper and crawls back. Commando style.
“Are you listening?” asks an American woman of her friend, “you can hear them going Baa-aaa! It’s hysterical. Did you ever see the screaming sheep on UTube?”
An ambulance tears along the A303, blue light flashing.
A woman in a knee length knitted poncho stands next to me with her camera held out in front of her. She stands steady then slowly twists at the waist, sedately turning, as her camera makes a series of rapid digital clicks. Just along the path a girl in a bright yellow duvet coat attempts animated self-portraits, her camera at the end of her outstretched arm. This is a very stylish coach load of visitors here. Some very expensive handbags are going by. And they are going by. Rapidly. Been here, done that. I believe Bath has a Christmas market on at the moment, I guess people are eager to get on to the next stop.
In the distance, a Chinook criss-crosses the plain.
A couple stop a pushchair right next to Mark. His drawing board is head height for the seated child. A tiny monarch on his mobile throne. The parents crouch to discuss the activity with their little prince.
Suddenly the skies are full of activity; a large flock of jackdaws and crows is airborne, and a desert camouflage helicopter flies from the Cursus and across the byway. The noise is tremendous. Then just as suddenly it stops.