070622.Stonehenge, Druid Woodstock From Dusk Till Dawn

June 22, 2007 at 11:19 PM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Chisel Marks, Gardens & Parks, hippies, people, Pilgrimage, Salisbury, Sculpture, Supernatural, Wiltshire | 6 Comments

Stonehenge Solstice 2/3: [One], [Two], [Three]
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Our position throughout the night looking east, high up in the inner circle on one of the fallen slabs. This was near the center of the sacrificial mosh pit, where there was a nightlong drum banging concert. Maybe it was music, maybe. It was cheered and had many replacement musicians. The final twilight shot includes the ominous cumulus cloud that here forms a lintel but soon joined with other clouds to block the sun.

Sunset: 9:26 pm
Sunrise: 4:58 am

With that said, I will state that my group was running late…. The bus dropped us off after nine and a good mile or so away from the Henge, nevertheless, we could see the pink-glowing stones. Having now seen the Henge on several occasions and in different lights, I’ll tell you it is like the Taj Mahal, which continuously changes color during the day. However, this being England, the stones are mostly gray due to the overcast climate. Sure enough, before we could get a good shot of the pink stones from afar, a cloud moved in and blocked the sun. This became a theme of the experience: relatively cloudless skies skewered during the final moments by a streak of clouds. Why the ancients ever decided to build the monument dependant on sun-caused shadows in England beats me, but they did – and I came.

Getting There:070620.513.WI.Stonehenge

While walking with thousands of others through the fields to get to the Henge, I began to familiarize myself with those in attendance. There was a good number of students, many parents with children, several elderly and disabled individuals, many adult tourists/hikers, an overwhelming number of twenty/thirty something New Agers, with the rest of the large cast made up of adolescents with Lord of the Ring or Dungeon and Dragon inspired consumes. Also, I met several tourists from quite a far ways away in the US and Canada who came with large families for this event.
Were there any Druids without these pop-culture inspired robes, frills, and walking sticks? Hardly. Somewhere in that mix were the Emos, Goths, Hipsters, and Punks. It’s fair to say that every single person in England who had a shaved head or mohawk was at this event. And one in every two people in attendance had dreadlocks. This will be better detailed in tomorrow’s post on the people there.

Because all of these subgroups were all English, (I assume), they were all quite polite – even the excessively moody ones. One robe-wearing girl (or young woman) with gnarly walking stick, who appeared to be quite old from behind stammered out a thank you when I held a sheepgate open for her. Those words looked like they were killing her. She was supposed to be an elf, or witch, and supposed to be deeply lost in thought – but she yielded to the civilized culture. Very odd.
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Druids:

Early on, the Druids were kind of lame [Lame, Better, Nice]. I saw one solemn adolescent Druid in a brown Franciscan robe with cord being escorted around by his decidedly middle-aged, ordinary, and slightly embarrassed parents. I explained that many of what might be considered Druids at the event owed more to D&D or LotR, and others were more like aging hippies, but I don’t know. The ones that were there had banded together to chant and play on small drums or recorders, truly the devil’s instrument. One group, reduced to hyping modern tourist gimmicks, tried to get folks to vote for Stonehenge as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Only later did I see Druids throwing (hopefully non-human ashes into the crowd) and sprinkling them at the base of each stone. That seemed cool (largely because I avoided being hit with the suspect ashes.)

There’s too many photos to post here, so I won’t try even uploading that many. None were great.

Music:

The center of the Henge had one or two bongo/drum players at all times. There was sometimes a recorder or horn there. These were not Druid musicians, who were forced outside of the Henge with their screeching animal horns. Whenever a musician handed over the bongos to another, there was clapping but no audible change in music. I stayed in the center perched high on a slab for most of the night; the night was clear and the stars were incredible from inside the Henge…and the outside of the Henge glowed blue from floodlights set up by the authorities for that night.
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There were bands of Druids roaming outside with horns and other small drums, but the funniest other musician was a lone bagpiper outside the Henge for a long time. Not one person was listening to him, it was extremely sad and he eventually quit.
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Sunrise:

At twilight, it began to rain lightly and then quit, just God’s way of washing Druid-hippies. I usually hate umbrellas but here they looked interesting in profile and in shadow. It had been clear, if quite cold, all through the night … but as sunrise neared clouds suddenly moved in. It was like a race between the sun and the clouds. Everyone knew when the sun would rise over the hill and they could figure that the overhead clouds’ speed meant that there was no hope in seeing the sun unobstructed. Some left, but others continued to hope since they were only minor clouds….nothing happened. More clouds came and what had been a clear day turned into one that was completely overcast. Thank you England. Twenty minutes after sunrise a very small hole in the clouds cleared that allowed the sun to be seen, if not shine through. It disappeared before I had zoomed in on my third picture.

If I can manage it, I’ll post some videos….and more photos tomorrow.

070314.Bath, No Tulips to Tiptoe Through Yet

March 14, 2007 at 2:26 AM | Posted in Bath, Bathampton, Bradford-on-Avon, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Claverton, Claverton Down, countryside, Flowers, Gardens & Parks, hippies, Light and Shadow, Overcast, somerset, towns, Trees, University of Bath, Wiltshire | 7 Comments

Considering it was the only reason people know “Tiny Tim,” statistically it’s no surprise that that was the last song he ever performed. Seriously, he suffered a heart attack while singing it at a Gala Benefit for the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. I have a lot of flower photos I want to unload to prove to everyone that it’s spring. This has taken a lot more work than I thought it would. Maybe I’ll have more but if you don’t hear from me again, you, you dear audience are my Woman’s Club of Minneapolis.
Someone knowledgeable about flowers told me the following: “The larger dark blue/purple are primroses. The smaller blue are scilla, the very small white are wild cyclamen.” Someone less knowledgable told me if I ever go back in time that I shouldn’t step on anything. Photos presented chronologically with most recent on top.

Below: Claverton Down, Bathwick Hill Road wall with “I think (not sure) it’s creeping phlox — a particularly strong color. Usually creeping phlox…is pastel — pastel white, pink or lavender. This is a really strong color so it might be something else.” The second photo is the view from my window.
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Below: Claverton Down, University of Bath
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Below: Bath (Twerton?), High Commons, Commune Garden:
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Below: Bath (Twerton?), Royal Victoria Park’s Botanical Garden (5Mar07): (with the exception of the night shot in Claverton Down)
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Below: Bath, Royal Victoria Park (5Mar07):
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Below: Bathampton, St Nicholas’ Cementery back on the 26th of Feb.
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Below: Claverton, St Mary the Virgin’s Cemetery back on the 26th of Feb.
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Below: My first flower shot of spring(?) in Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts. back on the 30th of January!
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070131.Bradford-on-Avon, Vigilance is a Fifteenth-Century Granary’s Best Friend

January 31, 2007 at 12:29 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bradford-on-Avon, Dogs, Gardens & Parks, hippies, Sculpture, Wiltshire | 6 Comments

…or “Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To?”

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Two days ago I found an old report with life-shattering facts about my assignment due on Friday. “Wowee,” I said. “This is great. Now, I just have to get it down on paper.” And down it went!
Unfortunately, “down” doesn’t mean with me. I was so eager to follow up a footnote that I had found in one county with its corresponding source in another county that I left the paper with the sketches and some facts in that first library. Yeah, this is stuff that I should keep to myself.
In any event, I came back to Wiltshire early yesterday morning, and left just as soon. It was still where I left it. I love small towns, unless I’m stuck in them. I stopped only briefly to get some photos of newly discovered areas of importance…and Rallo, here. No idea what Rallo’s real name is or what type of dog Rallo is, or even his/her gender, but I will tell you that that granary Rallo is guarding is from the 15th C. Yeah. I don’t know if it’s a sheepdog but it should be called a conservationist dog. I’d hate to be an arsonist near Rallo.

Good dog.

(Ironically, the Barton Grange Farm Granary is now a hippie-enclave selling New Age mirrors and emotion rings with candles and incense lit everywhere. Pray for the Grade 1 Listed Granary.)

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