1. Stonehenge – Wednesday 5th September

      5th September drawing

      I arrive at Stonehenge a couple of hours after Mark, which is a first. I had to wait in for a package, so I’m much later than I intended to be and Mark is sitting on the eastern side of the monument, very nearly finishing his study of the day.

      He’s attracted a friend. A round young woman is sitting very close to him and has her sketchbook out. She’s obviously very put out that I’ve arrived and makes quite a show of packing her stuff away so I don’t even get the chance to ask her if I can take a photo of her and her work.

      The usual photographers are around Mark getting a picture of the artist.  One woman asks her chap very loudly, “Did you get it?” – yes he did.

      A small aircraft flies overhead with one of those slow, lazy sounding engines. It buzzes about the immediate area like a persistent bluebottle.

      It’s not too busy today, but still a good showing of family groups. A man in a pith helmet walks round with his partner and two small children. It’s sunny and breezy, the jackdaws make occasional chirrups to each other, the starlings line up along one of the uprights.

      The A303 is quite busy going west today. All those people back at work and school. Someone hoots as they go by.

      Pen and ink in progress

      The guide ropes are being moved their daily distance by the English Heritage staff – a nightly ritual to re-position the grass walkway so that it doesn’t wear out. This has been one of the trickier aspects for Mark trying to draw the stone circle. It is impossible to turn up on consecutive days and be sitting the same distance from the stones. As a visitor, you may turn up on a day when you are close up to the Henge ditch and therefore closer to the stones, or several yards away from the Henge ditch and therefore even further from the stones.

      The one thing you will be guaranteed is a clear view of Stonehenge. So all visitors can have a photograph of themselves with the most famous of Neolithic monuments as a backdrop as if no one else is there, whatever the distance.