Stonehenge – Tuesday 22nd January
The snow is still covering the landscape but the roads are mainly back to tarmac so we take the risk and head for Stonehenge. The car park has been scraped clean and an impressive bank of snow sits piled up at one end. Many of the fields around remain virgin white, no footprints, or tyre tracks or any sign of melt. It is stunning.
The barrows sit up on the horizon, perfect white domes in a row, the trees like clumps of scribbled lines.
It’s quiet here, though there are a few cars parked up.
Siobhan is here, regular staff members are here, the crows and jackdaws are here, and the stones are still here. For us it’s all tremendously familiar, apart from the snow, and the walkway around the stone circle is closed off today, visitors have to stick to the tarmac path.
Mark is determined to do another session on his trilithon silverpoint drawing. Luckily, the snow hasn’t stayed on the mighty stone doorway, though it is providing a downy smooth cover to the sarsens resting prone inside the circle. Mark says the snow is quite helpful in some ways. It’s acting like a giant poly-board reflecting light up towards the great stones and describing details and features not normally so visible.
I take some photos and the light is bizarrely flat. Everything looks monochrome, though standing close up to the guide rope on the tarmac path you can clearly see the colours in the sarsens and bluestones. The snow is making everything look different and making us look at everything differently.
Several people watch Mark and make complimentary comments. There’s an unusual intimacy between everyone here today.
But it’s too cold for me to sit and write, so after a short while I head back to the trusty truck for some shelter.
The Stonehenge tour bus has made it up here but only carries a couple of passengers on this trip. A delivery truck pulls in off the road and the driver gets out for a cigarette and a cup of something hot. And then a couple of coaches arrive. It’s freezing here, but Stonehenge in the snow is special. I think these visitors won’t forget the experience in a hurry.
Feeling guilty that Mark is sitting out there in the cold I go and buy a couple of cups of tea from the booth we call the café here. On the way through the turnstiles again, one of the staff asks me if we’re staying today. I tell her that Mark is actually up by the stones drawing. “Still? In this?” she asks. I nod. “Oh no,” she says, “He’s lost it”.