Stonehenge – Tuesday 26th March
It seems wrong to bitch about the cold when the news is full of stories of communities in the UK under 14 foot snow drifts, days without power or any hope of reconnection to the power grid any time soon, and yet…
You know it’s cold at Stonehenge when the staff members leaving the monument field are bundled up as though on an arctic expedition, scarves wrapped so closely their chins are buried in fleecy fabric.
On the tarmac path an American woman says to the two English Heritage custodians, “Do you spend all day here?” in a tone that suggests shock, awe and bewilderment.
Mark is determined to do something on his silverpoint drawing. We’ve been delaying visiting because of the freezing temperatures, but it isn’t actually snowing. We won’t be here long though. It’s harsh.
I’m well wrapped up. Thermal tights, thermal socks, snow boots, leg warmers and a long wool skirt, thermal vest, tee shirt, polo neck, woollen cardi, a parka, gilet, full length water proof coat, scarf, hat and gloves, but still. Hands and face are the first things to go numb, but not entirely. A dull ache throbs through the tissue.
The BRICS are here at present, but also a French education group and some Japanese visitors. A Spanish speaking family thrust a little pink compact camera into my hands saying, “Please”. “Of course,” I say, count to three and press the button. I give the camera back for them to check, and somehow, I have failed to take a photo. I apologise, remove my gloves and count to three once more, failing yet again. These people have asked the wrong person, but they give me one more chance to redeem myself. The husband shows me how to press the button and wait not for the first click but the second. Ah, now I know, and on the third attempt they get a photo of the three of them looking perished in front of some very dull Neolithic stones.
The sky is completely devoid of light but yet it is not dark.
Mark suggested on our way here that it feels like a lost season, a season between seasons, and not a very welcome one.
The artist is a brave soul. He gets on with his drawing while people hurriedly take photos of him, but it’s way too bitter for me to sit and watch. I take a walk around the grass or mud walkway as it is now.
The sheep are, as ever, being photographed. I take a picture of them too. The traffic streams down the A303 headlights piercing the gloom.
A man marches round with a small camera attached to a tall tripod. He’s wearing trainers, jeans and a very thin jumper over a t-shirt. I don’t understand why. He certainly looks old enough to understand cold. And he’s frowning deeply. This could be anxiety over getting the right shot, it could be an attempt not to weep as the bitterness of the wind cramps up his body. I’m not going to stop to enquire.