I’m back from a glorious expedition across the English countryside, which is as good a reason as any to shake off the blogwebs and share some of the beauty and magic I’ve encountered along the way. There’s nothing like a road trip to reset and fall in love with a place, which is precisely what’s happened over the past two weeks.
On July 20th, having just taken down a sizeable exhibition (a fantastic one, at that, read about it here), we piled into a rented Citroen, Micron in tow, and set off for our first stop, Avebury.
I’ve managed to visit Stonehenge, the better-known Neolithic construction, twice in the past couple of years. What’s struck me is that both in the bleak dead of winter and in hot summer sun, that mystery edifice seems to radiate a sucking sort of darkness – almost as though the entire thing exists just to keep something in. For lack of better terminology, Stonehenge, for all the speculation surround its assembly and purpose, feels dead. You might think so when you visit, or you might not, but do let me know either way – I’d love to hear all about it.
When it comes to Avebury, which is just 20 odd miles away from Stonehenge, the case is quite the opposite.
There is a striking lightness amidst the megaliths making up three vast circles surrounding the village of Avebury – their purpose as much a mystery as that of Stonehenge.
These boulders are immense, with all sorts of curious shapes, textures, and lichens – I felt compelled to stroke and lean against their cool surface, taking a strange comfort in their age and grandeur.
Wandering between the stones led us up a neighbouring mound, which revealed bright golden fields and grazing grounds. The light from the almost-setting sun was too brilliant not to sit and admire.
We’d only been out of London for a few hours, but the reality of Vacation set in just then, among the wildflowers.
After a pause, G and I continued along the bank, noticing the ditch it encircled and being reminded of Ireland’s “fairy forts”. Lost in conversation, we were caught off-guard by a totally enchanted apparition.
Four massive beeches intertwined, with a great tangle of roots sprawling overground and snaking their way down the slope, adorned root-to-crown in charms, amulets, notes and rainbow ribbons streaming in the wind.
Have you ever seen something that makes you feel like there is music in the air, even in total silence?
Mesmerised, I walked under the cascading canopy, into the centre. I stayed a while.
When the sun began its reluctant departure, so did we. It was getting to be dinner time, and the plan had been to stop in at The Red Lion (a thatched-roofed local pub), before heading on toward our first temporary home. However:
As we approached the pub’s promising-smelling vicinity, another field emerged, and its eager occupants were too wooly to pass by.
Micron was utterly outraged by the dozens of sheep, grazing peacefully in the shadow of more megaliths. I can’t be certain as to which of the chihuahua’s sensibilities the cattle offended, but judging by her yelps, squeaks, and whines, their crimes were significant.
Much to the dog’s chagrin, we spent another half-hour’s worth communing with the flock. I was especially taken with the Rorschach-snouted specimen above, but she proved a little camera-shy. Still, The Red Lion beckoned, and soon we had to bleat our goodbyes – which is what I’ll do here, too.
Until The Future,