Thursday, 27 May 2010

In which it turns out I am, as suspected, a hippy at heart

A small mini round-up of recent holiday exploits, which feels like inviting you around for tea on the pretence of talking about writing and then just when you are comfy I pull down a screen and proceed to bore you with holiday snapshots.

Stonehenge. Gosh you’re a big rock, aren’t you? And you. And you.

It is hard to see the majesty of this site in-between a hoard of over excited school-children released from various sweaty coaches. They were all much more interested in taking pictures of their friends on their mobiles, and Stonehenge was almost like some sort of giant accidental rockery in the background. In fact, the ‘information wand’ (pre-recorded thing that you hold to your ear and listen to as you walk around) solemnly told many theories of why the stones were there, but never hit upon the idea of a rockery for gardening Druids. I am a genius.

Glastonbury. Ooo crystals and dragons and faeries! Repeat ad nauseum.

My first glimpse of the town of Glastonbury was entrancing. I had found a place where it is perfectly acceptable to grow old wearing fluffy fairy wings. What more could you want in life? The shops are charming and I can well see why it draws open-minded people, however there was a creeping ‘business’ sense drifting on the conversational wind that made me wonder a little – like the men sat in the vegetarian cafe discussing a crystal workshop ‘money-spinner’, and the women angrily discussing how a tarot reader’s advertising board was obscuring their own sign. I know places have to make money – you can’t live just by skipping around holding a daisy – but the world of wonder makes a strange bedfellow with the world of business.

More Glastonbury images...

Love the fact the shadow makes it look like Batman has appeared in the doorway of the church below.

The Chalice Well. Ommmmmmmm....

This is one of those holy spots where holy things happened a wholly long time ago. It is also blessed with a lovely well-kept garden and obviously is run by people who take a great deal of care in keeping it that way – benches are placed at thoughtful interludes for moments of calm reflection and peaceful meditation. I lay under the cool green canopy of trees and just revelled in the quiet. I also had a moment of pretending to be the Blackthorn Fairy, but thankfully for other visitors it didn’t last long.

Some Barrow Thing. The hillside around these parts has Mumps.

There are lots of lumps and bumps on the landscape in these parts, mostly because they were all ancient burial mounds, or natural watch towers from when the lower ground was long-ago covered in water. At the top of this one was a ruined church, guarded by sheep of an uncertain disposition. I went into complete city girl panic – it’s a sheep! It is looking at me! It has horns! It’s a ram! It looks a bit pissed off! Will it eat me? But I survived, climbed the hill, admired the view, and pondered the church. It had curious wording – something like it has been given in case local folk wanted to use it to commemorate people who died in the Second World War – not that it ‘was’ a memorial, but in ‘case’ they wanted it to be in the future. Odd, but nice.

Avebury. There’s a rock! And another. And another.

It was a sweltering hot day to land up in Avebury, the site of a large henge and several stone circles around the village. The white dust from the road mixed with the atmosphere, making everything a little dust-blown and hazy as I followed the circular trail from large stone to big rock. I wanted to be grabbed more by Avebury, but the picnicking tourists and midday heat didn’t make me feel any awe, apart from ‘awe I really need to find the loo’, and ‘awe can we sit in the shade’, and ‘awe does this shop serve ice-cream?’

I think Autumn would probably suit me better, towards sunset. Wearing some sort of flowing gown with a pint of ale waiting for me in the nearest brewing establishment. And after that I could skip around holding a daisy to my heart’s content, slightly sozzled.


KarenG said...

Glad to see you're back! The photos are amazing!

DL Hammons said...

That's some nice photo's indeed.

Nice to meet you as well Jayne! :)

Laura Marcella said...

Gorgeous pictures! Looks like you had a fabulous time, despite the terrifying sheep. ;)

musicobsessive said...

Sounds glorious. In fact if you really want to know about ancient stone circles in a sort of knowledgeable yet slightly mad way, then Julian Cope's your really, him of the Teardrop Explodes and 'World Shut Your Mouth'. He has researched them all for donkey's years and produced a massive, and I do mean massive tome called the 'Modern Antiquarian' so something. It has the seal of approval from learned academics and everything. Despite being off his head, old Jules is a bit of an authority on old stones. Figures really.

Old Kitty said...

Isn't that always the case - you walk to a mystical part of ye olde englande and then wham coachloads of kiddies and people picnicking on ancient rock and burial grounds! Oh and sheep.


But seriously!! What absolutely lovely places to visit and why not in the autumn too? I like the idea of rockery gardening al a Druid stylie. Why not? :-)

And Glastonbury proper without the festival sounds so charming - I guess it was less business-like a few decades ago (like the music festival), but it's still lovely to know there are shreds of its mysticism kept intact.

Lovely pics of the gardens and the spooky church! I could see batman at the door - scary!

Thanks for a lovely time and for sharing your holiday pics! Welcome back!

Take care

mise said...

It sounds like a trippy trip. Would you reconstruct the Blackthorn Fairy impersonation for us?

Joanne said...

Thanks so much for the photo tour. I've heard so much about stonehenge, it must be an amazing sight. Seems like you had a picturesque journey ...

Crystal Cook said...

I would really love to hear the Blackthorn fairy thing too :)

Lovely photos! And I really want to live in a place where it's acceptable to wear fairy wings, wouldn't that be fun :):)

Falen said...

awesome pics! We don't have anything cool like ruins in "exotic" Minnesota - just lakes.

Happy Frog and I said...

Lovely! :-)

Talli Roland said...

Welcome back!

Funny, we tried and tried to find these stones at Avebury and no-one seemed to be able to tell us where they were!

Priya Parmar said...

that made me want to reread sarum and the mists of avalon--thank you!

Lilly Higgins said...

This is a great run down of your travels! I feel like I was there!

Eliza said...

Ooo I must dust off my fairy wings :-) The photos are great, I'd love to go to Stonehenge and Glastonbury, I've never been! I'll just make sure its not school trip season.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Great pics! I would love to see Stonehenge someday. I think those big stones have some sort of magic surrounding them! Must be my Gaelic heritage coursing through my veins! LOL

Al said...

Great piccies.

I loved Avebury.

It was summer and warm not hot for an Aussie :-)
But I am with you on the crowds

Rose said...

I quite like a rock/ standing stone- who knows what is going on with them though!

I find stonehenge most powerful from a distance. would be amazing to go when no one else was there.

did you see the bbc tess of the d'uberville's recently? wasn't the best but the stuff at stonehenge seemed to really be there and i couldn't see how they got permission, unless it was a really good set.

Tuppence said...

Hi Jayne.
Sounds as though you had a great time.

There’s a little something for you over at my blog

Have a lovely weekend.


Palindrome said...

I love all of your pictures. Especially the castle! I love castles. I can't wait to visit all of Europe. I will need a lot of time off. :)

Glad that you're back!!

Carol Kilgore said...

Welcome back. Loved this post and your photos.

Fran said...

'Some barrow thing.' Loving your captions. You put over the enthusiasm so well.

Anonymous said...

Some beautiful photos. Looks like you had a fantastic time.

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Great pictures! I was in the UK in 2008, where I got to go inside Stonehenge at dawn, and see the sunrise between the stones. Magical. I was in Avebury as well - did you know Sting lives around there? Every year, he has a BBQ for the entire village. I might just move there...

Janet O'Kane said...

My home territory - glad you enjoyed it. Sorry you didn't make it as far as the Cerne Abbas Giant. I would have loved to see your caption for that one!

Jayne said...

Karen - Thanks!


DL – Cheers!


Laura – I did, despite the scary sheep!


Martin – Really – Julian Cope? I remember that ‘World Shut Your Mouth’ song.... how funny! In a way it does figure quite well!


Old Kitty – In a way I love National Trust for looking after places so well, in another way I feel sad that everything is so efficiently organised and you cannot just stumble across magnificent things anymore. And yes – still shreds of mysticism!


Mise – Haha. The Blackthorn fairy impression only happens in person, I am afraid. After a glass of something swish.


Joanne – Stonehenge is amazing, but I will try to go again out of hours to avoid the people!


Crystal – Haha – as I said to Mise, you’d have to meet me in person for the Blackthorn fairy thing to happen! Usually helped with alcohol.

Jayne said...

Falen – Oh but Minnesota sounds lovely to me! Lakes! Lakes are gorgeous.


Happy Frog – thank you!


Talli – Cheers! Really?? I had the impression that you couldn’t miss the stones at Avebury – they seemed to be right there from the car park onwards! But I was with someone who had been before, maybe she knew the best place to go to see them.


Priya – Happy reading!


Lilly – Thank you!


Eliza – I wonder if school trip season ever stops?!


Melissa – Stonehenge is a very odd place. The main thing is no one knows why they are there – and the fact they were dragged to that spot from such a long way away... it is awe-inspiring, and makes you wonder who those people were once upon a time.


Al – haha! I was so hot, but yes, as an Aussie you may have found the temp just right. :)

Jayne said...

Hi Rose – I also love standing stones, and cairns, and barrows. It is the ‘why’ that intrigues me. Stonehenge is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, in a way. I think the Beeb’s adaptation of Tess was actually filmed there, they must have got permission from the National Trust.


Hi Tuppence. Have already popped over to say thank you!


Hi Palindrome – Thank you! It was actually a church, not a castle, but still gorgeous. You definitely will need a lot of time off to get the best of sight-seeing Europe!


Hi Carol – Thank you!


Hi Fran. Yes, I can see that sounds less than enthusiastic but can assure you it was fab, really!


Hi Cassandrajade. I did! Thanks!


Hi Alexandra – Wow! Seeing Stonehenge at sunrise sounds perfect. I didn’t know Sting lives near Avebury either – wish I had landed in time for the BBQ!


Hi Janet. I actually did make it to the Cerne Abbas giant! But for that I used my long-lens camera (coughs discreetly). :)

MissKris said...

I would love to see Stonehenge someday. And I would love to see where my Dad spent a good part of WWII at an air field called King's Cliffe that, as far as I know, is no longer in existence. Somewhere near Manchester, I believe.

Jayne said...

Hello MissKris. Stonehenge is definitely worth seeing. And wouldn't it be great to find out more about the air field where you dad was based? A lot of the old air fields have gone now, but there probably will be a museum somewhere all about it.