Stonehenge – Wednesday 29th May
The starlings are back. We arrive in the Stonehenge car park to a riot of squeaks and squawks as a flock of starlings loops around the adjacent field before perching in the trees and bushes at the visitor centre. They like a chat.
I made a recording of them last year when we first arrived here, but because of the basic nature of my recording kit and the prevailing winds, it’s a recording of starlings and wind.
It’s still windy. And it looks like it might rain. The clouds are plentiful and various shades of grey.
Mark goes up to the Stones to continue his silverpoint and I stay in the truck for a while to do some writing and recording. The sky gets lower and I decide to go up just in case the heavens open and I miss my chance.
Mark is in his usual place in front of the trilithon. I walk past Siobhan on the tarmac path. “Yes of course you can, darling”, she says to a woman who wants a photo taken with her and she stands smiling with the thrilled visitor as the moment is captured.
It’s quite pathetic that after 11 months here I don’t know the names of the helicopters that fly overhead, but today I spot one of the custodians who I’ve been informed is the go-to-guy for all things military. He is! I’m told that the helicopters I’m identifying are: the Lynx- the smaller camouflage painted helicopter; the Squirrel – the one with the yellow top; and the Merlin – the larger grey helicopter that we see that’s almost as large as the Chinook but only has the one set of blades. So now I know…
Mark has been here for quite some time and informs me that he has a numb bum so we decide to take a turn around the grass walkway together, along with all the other tourists. A young Chinese girl is directing her boyfriend as he takes her picture. She’s quite bossy, or is that just me misunderstanding the tone of the language. Whatever, he seems very devoted and she is very pretty.
“Stop.” A woman says to her husband, “There’s another one to listen to.” “No. I’ve just listened to number six,” he says, releasing the audio guide from his ear. “But there’s a number five. It’s an extra one. Did you listen to that?” she interrogates him.
A plastic bag is resting on the ground, beautifully positioned between two of the stones lying on the ground. Then the wind catches it and it rises slowly and sedately like a jellyfish gently wafting through water. I imagine it’ll feature in rather a lot of photos.
We walk round to the bridge by the mighty Heel Stone and it starts to rain.
A helicopter flies over and I see it has a yellow top – must be a Squirrel. But looking at it, it’s got a long tail and in profile looks like a shark. It’s a confusing thing this helicopter naming and identifying business.
Mark slips his own plastic bag over his drawing board and we hurry along towards the car park. At the top of the entrance slope a grown man is pulling on a knitted hat in the shape of ‘Fozzy Bear’. We congratulate him on it. It’s brilliant.