Last weekend I achieved two things. The first, a lifelong ambition, the second would be cause for any writer to celebrate.
I started the weekend with an extended journey on the M25. Lovely on a Friday afternoon when everyone is spilling out of London, desperate to retreat to anywhere that is not within the bustling metropolis. Rob and I inched our way through the junctions, avoiding white vans, blue vans, green lorry’s without indicators and all manner of the usual death defying driving that you need to employ when braving the largest car park in the world. For that is what it ends up being at 4:30pm on Friday. (At this point, I have to add that I’m pleased I’m managing to keep typing, as Lewis is sitting on my arms and keeps nuzzling my hands, so I’m actually typing around a very fluffy cat who’s suddenly turned over affectionate- right, he’s gone. I’m safe to continue – wait he’s decided to sit behind me. Sigh He’s much bigger than he thinks he is these days and no long fits on my shoulder! )
Now, where was I? The M25, of course, wonderful. Now, we turned off the Motorway and made out way to Amesbury. The next morning at 5:45 we woke and drove 6 miles to an ancient wonder of the world, somewhere, I had dreamed of visiting for years, Stonehenge. Did you know that if you book far enough in advance you can arrange to visit either at sunrise, or sunset and walk amongst the stones? You step beyond the perimeter rope and can walk right through the stones themselves. Amazing. Truly, truly remarkable.
I’ll never forget my first sighting of the stones. We were on the A303 and on our way, we cleared the crest of the hill and they were there, to the right. Bathed in a soft golden light and tinged with pink in a dawn sun that rose behind them. They looked as though they’d been made from molten gold. I could barely contain my excitement, and couldn’t stop staring at them, until they’d gone from sight once more, (this did almost cause us to miss our turning as I was supposed to be navigating.)
We parked and wandered through the barriers to the hill. Only a small group of people had gathered and booked onto the slot. So we stepped over the usual barrier and approached the stones themselves. I had always imagined a vast circle, but the circle itself was much smaller than I expected, but the stones were much larger! The remaining central stone looked at least 50ft high. It was amazing to walk through in the early morning light. Some of our party had bought tin whistles and played music, which was a bit strange but seemed to suit the time of day, in a weird way.
I was astounded at how quickly the hour passed us by. I walked between the stones, dew sinking into my Converse. We completed a slow circle around the perimeter, counting the post holes within the ditch. One sarsen stone was out of place at the perimeter and we named it Jimmy; a place to mark the start and finish of our wander before we returned to the inner circle. We were shown where an axe and spear had been carved into one of the inner stones. Honestly, it was an incredible experience and one I’d recommend. I also managed to take some amazing pictures!
Now, for my second achievement… I had set myself a target of writing 500 words during the week and I’m pleased to report that I managed this as well. Overall, the weekend finished on a satisfactory note. One lifelong ambition down and a small writing target met.