Saturday, 14 June 2014

It's a bit BIG for a Calendar, isn't it?

druid baby naming ceremony and healing rite at standing stonesHe woke me up at 9 something, and there's me thinking it was Saturday. Chivvy, chivvy, things to do, places to go.
Recently we have been struck by a new obsession, that of collecting old bullets and shell casings in memory of a 20mm round I discovered in an antique shop on Portland Bill in about 1978. The internet is a wonderful tool for bringing obsessives together with their quarry and we therefore drove to deepest Wiltshire to pick up some shell casings from some bloke whose father-in-law was clearing out his dead Welsh mother's house, you know the way it is.
So this chap is in the Military Police, because Salisbury plain is just full of army types, and when we phoned him up saying we're right by where Google Maps says you are but can't see the house, he said Oh yes, there's 2 roads of that name in the bustling metropolis of Bulford (pop 528), very 'elpful it is too.
So he came to meet us in his work vehicle (which is of course a Police car) so we could follow him to the right place: so we chased a Police car through the countryside (better than the other way around) and the heavily armed soldier gave us some shells, as you do.
welsh bluestones and sandstone sarsens stone circle stonehengeA stone's throw from that location (provided you have a howitzer) is little-known pile of old rocks 'Stonehenge'. Parking in a generously proportioned traffic jam on the A303 (even the road has a calibre, hoho), we finally made it to the swish new visitor's centre and caught the groovy little land train up the hill, with lots of Teutonic totty.
It's a jeep with 3 carriages and it stopped at the top for us to get out and savour walking the last 1/2 mile because you just don't get silence, hayfields and open space in Pompey.
The monument itself is big. The stones were much bigger than I expected and it's 4 or 5 thousand years old so it really needs the builders back in again, but the warranty has probably expired. I liked the way the tall upright ones had securing nobs on like Lego.
Occupying one of the last nesting places for mammoths in the whole of Wessex, technically, it's a calendar. It's a bit BIG for a calendar, isn't it? You'd look pretty silly with that on your desk...
Barrows dot the landscape around it, and the fields were full of rolled-up bales of hay.
woven hazel twigs dwellinghouses stonehenge buildersYou have to go round it on the path and you're not allowed in unless you're one of the 40 or so Druid types we saw in there. They sang and waved and wore strange costumes and one of them looked like Slash from Guns'n'Roses and several of them looked like Gandalf, even the women.
At one point some of them did a parade around the stone circle holding a really big smoking herbal cylinder following a chap with a drum. Apparently it was a baby-naming ceremony with added healing rituals, not a bad temple in which to hold a party (as long as you don't end up under the altar stone in a crouching position), I mean, look at the trilithons on that!
jennings funfair in jubilee playpark bulford and durringtonAnyway we caught the much faster bus back to the centre and looked at the exhibition of bones and maps and books and excavated remains and artefacts. Outside is a pretend block (prefabricated domino) on the kind of rollers they believe were used to bring the Bluestones in from Wales, of course we know it was done by Neolithic helicopters.
They've also got some iron age roundhouses and they're a bit whiffy inside, I can tell you. The whole area is popular with foreigners: most prevalent were Japanese, American and German.
The shop is big and cool and we got biccies and choccies for the PuddleMummies and a pen and medallion and little model henge and everything in there is quite nice but basically they've quadrupled the price for etching 'Stonehenge' on it.
Then we had genuine Mesolithic chicken and bacon pasta and real Druid-blessed Ploughman's sandwich and kosher stone age locally sourced pasty in the refectory, and sat next to some of the Druids who had finished harvesting mistletoe at midnight. Next week is their big thing anyway, for the solstice.
105mm 40mm explosive round 3 pounder Whenever we travel to exotic locations, I am promised a go on what passes for a swingpark in said destination. Jubilee Park is right around the corner from where the Policeman didn't live and it was a pleasant enough swingpark, it has a rolling barrel, wobbly climbing frame, extra-long fireman's pole and a surprise circus in the field next door.
So clearly I had a go on the fun-house, the giant bouncers/suspended bungee rope trampoline thing, and the Ghost ride which was not scary so much as loud.
With just a short stretch of going the wrong way on the A34 (you've got to do this every journey) we sped home and showed Jof all our booty.
Oh yes, if you remember, this little venture was all to get some brassware. Here they are: 2 x 105mm shells of different lengths, a pair of 3-pounders and a 40mm explosive shell. Not bad for £30. Need a polish, but what the hey. On the mantelpiece you can see the .50 cal and friends for scale.
Meanwhile, Jof cleaned the house.
Sent to bed at the end of the first half of the England match because it was tomorrow.

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