Stonehenge – Tuesday 15th January
The cold is biting but the sun is shining. We drive up to Stonehenge for an hour or so. Mark is determined to finish his silverpoint drawing of the mighty trilithon by the end of the month. Much of the country is under snow but somehow the South-west has escaped it…so far. It’s a lovely day.
The jackdaw calls echo around the inside of the stone circle, the noise bouncing off the sarsens. In the distance the artillery fire bounces across the plain. Bright flares hover then fall over the horizon.
There aren’t too many people here again today, but as ever it’s a mixture of International visitors. I watch two young children posing goofily for their father. They’re Russian. A party of Chinese visitors take every variation of person combination possible in front of the stones while another man, again possibly Chinese, holds his digital tablet at arms length to take a self-portrait with a Stonehenge backdrop.
A couple walk across the field and onto the tarmac path. They’re quickly met by one of the staff. I realise it can be confusing for some people to identify the entrance to Stonehenge – it is after all on the opposite side of the road. But some people are obviously just chancers and trying to avoid the entrance fee. These people look like they’ve made a mistake. I don’t know why but they don’t look like they’re trying sneak in. If they have, it’s a tremendously bold move. There aren’t enough people here to disguise their passage.
The stones look wonderful in the low winter light. The facets highlighted in the brightness and long crisp shadows thrown out in front.
The sheep are still in the meadow next to the Henge, continuously munching.
I’m not always aware of it here, but today I am acutely conscious of being surrounded by traffic. Both the A344 and 303 are constantly noisy, large trucks delivering groceries, aggregates, straw and cars.
A green/grey camouflage painted helicopter flies over the byway, that noise briefly obliterating everything else.
A jackdaw flies into the protected area inside the guide rope with a beak-full of something, tourist food most likely, and is chased aggressively by another. They make little panic sounds as they twist and turn, low to the ground then up. But the hunter manages to retain his catch, his big chunk of leftover lunch, and escapes to feast in peace.