Stonehenge – Tuesday 14th August
Sunny, cloudy and windy today, but at least it isn’t wet. Stonehenge is busy and getting busier, but at present, there’s clear space to walk around the walkways. Mark positions himself to the west of the stone circle on the newer grass walkway. We’ve been told it’s just temporary and might not be here next month so the race is on to do studies from this aspect while the opportunity exists.
Two slender Asian boys, very cool, head-to-toe designer wear, walk by. One carries a small paper carrier bag with a picture of the Beatles on the zebra crossing at Abbey Road. He speaks to an older lady who has been meditating on the grass. She offers to take a photo for them. They speak in English to each other, his is better than hers but they introduce themselves to each other. She is from Tibet, they from Japan. They’re very polite and sweet to each other and clearly delighted to have met. The United Nations of Stonehenge.
A girl in a red base-ball hat stands by Mark, her audio guide to her ear, her eyes flit-ing from Mark’s drawing to the stones. A man in an identical red hat and rugby shirt, ‘Australia’, written across his back goes to have a look too, then encourages the girl away. People are sitting on the grass studying the plan of Stonehenge in their entry leaflet. The plan is a birds eye view and quite useful to make sense of the site. Other people are lying down to pose for photos and some are just enjoying the sun and the outdoors.
The traffic is particularly noisy today. Must be the wind direction. One family has sat down to picnic, chomping on sandwiches and slugging bright orange liquid from an oversized plastic bottle. It’s an interesting phenomenon; when a few people sit on the grass, others are encouraged to follow suit. Soon there is a daisy chain of seated groups spread out along the grass path.
And at last, a helicopter, grey with a fluorescent pink/orange topknot flies in. Someone’s phone rings, a piercing digital ring, totally incongruous to the surroundings despite its familiarity.
A film crew arrives, camera, sound, someone to hold the large reflective disc and a presenter. Visitors take photographs of them. A group of people head towards us across the field from the byway. The EH staff walk to meet them and point them towards the official entrance, the ticketed entrance.
A mother stands, notepad in hand and draws the stones. Her young daughter comes to see the picture and together they discuss the view. The young girl takes the pad, steps towards the guide rope then crouches while she does her own drawing. Her mother and father admire the results.
Well, I’m not going to miss this opportunity. The Zorgman family are touring England and Wales for their summer holiday. They’ve travelled from Amsterdam and let me take photos of their wonderful drawings for the blog. Gitte continues to draw other stones and barrows in the landscape while I chat with her mum, Selma. Some people take photos, some people draw!
The film crew spot the artist. I watch the cameraman point at Mark suggesting him for some footage. They walk towards him and ask, I hear the words ‘History Channel’, then the cameraman gets various shots of Mark at work as another member of the crew hovers at his shoulder holding the large tripod. He’ll possibly be used as a cut-a-way. The soundman, boom in hand, loiters, slightly impatiently, checking the clouds scooting over.