Stonehenge – Tuesday 1st January
Tuesday 1st January 2013
It’s a crisp cold bright day. The sky is blue, and it’s a wonderful way to start the New Year. Stonehenge is busy, a popular destination for the winter holiday season. People are smiley and happy to be here.
Mark sits on the tarmac path, the silverpoint drawing on his knee and as I take a photo of him a woman with a South African accent standing next to me says, “This is worth the trip. This is the only reason I wanted to come to England.” I’m glad the rain has held off for her. The stone circle looks tremendous today.
A father walks past with his small son, “We’re going to KFC and then we’re going home” he says.
A woman in a black hooded duvet coat and carrying a silver hip flask walks round shouting Russian down her mobile phone.
A couple stand with a Chilean flag covered in signatures posing for photos, and a large party of Japanese visitors photograph and video their entire journey round.
“Do you want to go round? It’s all muddy…” says a woman, obviously hoping to persuade her partner and their small children that they don’t. But they do. And yes, it is a bit muddy. But at least the grass walkway is open.
Across the A303 four deer run across the ploughed field and towards the cover of a small wood.
The odd small light aircraft glides into the immediate airspace and out again. An ambulance tears past on the road.
Siobhan is here, a spring-like garland crowning her mane of red.
One of the English Heritage staff asks a man not to walk into the stone circle and to step back over the guide rope.
It’s quite a typical day here.
A noisy buzzing causes people to look up. A formation of three microlights drifts over the monument field. They look like scooters with sails. Cameras are pointed.
A young Indian man sits next to me on the bench and his friend takes a photo that obviously includes me. I’m just writing this and pretending I’m invisible.
It still amuses me watching people taking photos of Mark as he’s drawing. Many people take a sneaky photo, but he knows they’re there. There’s the one where the photographer gets someone to stand right next to Mark as though the photo is of them, the friend, but the camera is angled so that the shot is actually of the artist working, and of the drawing. As I stand behind Mark I can see all of this, and of course see what is on the digital screen of the camera, phone, tablet, whatever is in use. Some people are very creative.
Then at last, one man, Japanese, stylish, leans in and quietly asks Mark if he’d mind him taking a photo. Having been granted permission, he takes out a smart phone from his sheepskin jacket pocket, composes the shot, says thank you and then walks off down the tarmac path admiring his photo and beaming.