Avebury – Part 1

Welcome to my other second favourite stone circle.

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A very different place to Stonehenge.  At Stonehenge you have the imposing circle of stones and if you take time to stop and look round you, well you can see how the circle is positioned on the plain surrounded 360 degrees by burial barrows.
Its stunning and unique.

Imagine the power commanded at Stonehenge, the power to organise a community to build the monument, the links to Wales, the ability to feed so many people at gatherings.  Then there are the links with the other monuments so close by and of course the significance of the solstice.  Stonehenge is all power and ownership of the land indicated by ancestor burial, links to the cycle of the year by using the solstice “calendar”.

Avebury is different, but the same.  Possibly due to the village that’s built around the church – purposely constructed within the old pagan site.  (Did you know that pagan simply means “other beliefs”.  It doesn’t mean devil worship and naked orgies). 

Avebury sits in a different landscape. 
The power it commands is the same and this monument also took thousands of hours of hard labour to build.

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Avebury is also linked the other sites, notably by the Avenue, a long double row of stones leading to the river.  Many tourists don’t realise its here, but this is the way one should enter Avebury, so we duly walked down, chilled out and walked back (to the pub).

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Man you’ve just gotta chill out and relax. 

Listen to the butterflies and hear the daisies in the wind.

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Again I made a quick sketch of the Avenue and wrote down some words.

promise
wonder
excitement
what’s next?
skylarks
buttercups & daisies
hawthorn
cowparsley

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I wore my necklace all day.
Yes, I got a few funny looks.
I’m at the age where I couldn’t give a stuff.
Its dried out and sitting on my dressing table as a memory of a lovely day.

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A stone circle, within a stone circle.

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DS had a lesson in archaeology and geology – how to dig ditches with bones and why the soil was white.

Imagine this bank, much higher than it is now, with no grass – imagine how this would have shone when the sun hit it.
Wow.

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Our trees.

Special from the first time DH and I photographed them at 5am one cold morning 20yrs ago.
We’ve got older, but the trees are timeless.
Here they are in colour and  B&W.
Iconic.

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Mother Earth being simply stunning.
Once again.

Stonehenge

The start of our three day hippy trail and yes, lets gets this over with first shall we? 
DS is now taller than I am.
I’m still the boss though!

For years I’ve wanted to introduce my son to Stonehenge. 
When he was 6 weeks old I took him to Castlerigg Stone Circle and presented the past to him, and him to the past.
Now he’s almost 13 years old and we’re at my second favourite stone circle.

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I know that some people don’t like Stonehenge because of all the other people.
I find it easy to forget about them and the look and listen to the land.

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I stopped and made a quick sketch and wrote down a few thoughts.

meeting point now and then
360 degree view
silence
wind
smooth and rough
straight / leaning
buttercups & daisies
history collides
ancestors looking on
barrows & cursus
claim to the land
power
timeless

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We walked up to a set of round barrows and looked back.
For a World Heritage Site its a  truly dreadful view.
That’s our motorhome in the field – with decent coffee and a clean loo, something you won’t find elsewhere here.

There is a new visitors centre being built, we drove passed it and it looked good, but its MILES away.  How are they going to transport everyone?

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That night we drove a few miles towards Avebury and to a campsite we’d stayed at 15….no 20 years ago.  Lovely wooded campsite….. to sit and chill.

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Flag Fen and The Wedding

Flag Fen is the site of a 3,5000 year old wooden walkway.
A very LONG walkway.

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Awls found in the area.  Would be good to think they were used for stitching?

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The wooden structure, only a small section is uncovered, the rest is under the fields to preserve it for the future.

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Can we build one in the garden?
Of course we can darling! (Actually, yes we could…..and Dad has requested a removal roof for the telescope, a school holiday project?)

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Another lovely herb garden.
I’m gathering ideas for my garden on this trip.

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On 1st June we attended the wedding in Huntingdon.
Here I can show you a DH who looks like he’s in the mafia and one very smart DS (I was a very proud mummy).

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Looks like I’m about to tell DH off!

I wish you could see my hair, but I never got the boys to take a picture – I had a gorgeous hair brooch set in my up-do.  I’m planning to wear the necklace from Anthropologie as much as possible.

To the Fens

Neither of us had never been to the fens area and looked forward to exploring a new area.

Burghley House was the first stop east, its links to Elizabethan history was the big draw for me.
By this point on our travels we knew to park in the coach park for ease of manoeuvre and I was phoning in advance to check the parking facilities.

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Sometimes the small details caught my eye.

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Sometimes the long vistas.

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As you can see above I was struggling to get the photo I wanted with the “handbag” camera.

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Beautiful craftwork.

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The Heaven Room

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The Hell Staircase.

Both heaven and hell were stunning, how many other people have stood here and admired (or been reminded of their sins) in centuries past?

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Detail of the Tudor fireplace, which reminded me of the Art Nouveau style.

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One day, in my garden I will have a smaller version of this rill.
One day.
Eventually.

 

The Garden of Surprises was great fun.

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Ophs, timing is everything!

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Note the water stripes down DS’s back.
He loved it and we all had a go.

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Another sculpture park with some great art.

It’s very flat….

When you’re used to living surrounded by hills and moors its very odd to see no humps or bumps in the landscape.

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This campsite was the cheapest of the holiday and was, perhaps predictably, the best one. 
Very few people, fantastic shower block and a view across the duck pond to the horizon.
Our van is the left of the block of four.  Unrivalled views of the ducks and swans.

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Impossible to judge distances.

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We went for a short walk and found an abandoned building near a bird reserve.
In colour and B&W, I couldn’t decide which I liked best of all.

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We sat in a hide and watched the birds, I SO wished my camera hadn’t broken.

Sudeley Castle

Home to Catherine Parr (1512-1548), like many women in history  her life was defined by the men she married – and Catherine was married four times.  She survived Henry VIII, her third husband and afterwards married Thomas Seymour, with whom she had her first child at the age of 35.  Unfortunately Catherine Parr died at Sudeley six days after giving birth.

The castle has a wonderful exhibition of textiles and embroidery, but no photo’s allowed, no postcards, no book and for me, no time to sketch. 
Real shame.

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The gardens were damp and misty when we visited – ethereal and magical with the C16th ruins as a backdrop.

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Sometimes looking up can be magical too.

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The first of several herb gardens on our journey.

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A Peacocks tail.

And that, dear reader, was the point at which my Nikon D300 camera lens ground to a halt. 
Literally made a crunching noise and refused to move.

Darn it.

Kelsmcott Manor

Perhaps I should have said on the first holiday post – we didn’t just go to the YSP, we went to LOTS of places and I hope you enjoy the journey.  I’m enjoying looking back and remembering the days.

Kelsmcott was once the home of William Morris.  It was more than a bit soggy the say we were there.
You’ll need to take a look here to get a sense of the inside.
Seeing the Burne-Jones drawings made my day.  Meeting a friend and talking about the drawings and embroidered hangings really, really made my day.  Thanks Maggie.

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To lust for….

No, not a man (or woman) but a car.

Yes, its the only car I lust after, but lust I do.
Lots.

Hand made by the Morgan Car Company.

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The boys took part in a guided factory tour whilst I took a look around the museum looking at older models and sporting memorabilia.

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Did you know you can hire a Morgan?

I’m already planning the long weekend in the Cotswolds…….

Bewdley

After Yorkshire we headed down (on a tour of the motorways of England – A1, M1, M6, M42 then M5) towards Kidderminster and some friends we’ve known for a long time.

We girls have known each other since we were 16, the boys (young and old) all get on fabulously. 
It was one of the highlights of the holiday.

One evening we walked Ozzy and Deli in Bewdley.

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A soggy Ozzy, worshiping the act of “Catch the Ball”

Bewdley is somewhere I visited a lot as a child (when Dad went fishing).  The shops have changed – not so many antique shops, but the buildings and the river front still look the same.

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One shop that NEVER changes is Teddy Grays sweetie shop.

Childhood dreams are made of this.
NOTHING seems to have changed in 35yrs.

All the sweets are still handmade in Dudley (close to my original home). 
You can see a great video here.  Really, make time to watch this, its a piece of history. 

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Well, we had to go in didn’t we?

Then on to the fish ‘n’ chip shop. 
After a huge order for six we headed back to the van to eat the chips and open the bubbly.
Really it was perfect.

Who needs posh restaurants? 
You just need great company and a glass of something fizzy.

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“Three Men and their Bacon”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist this photo!

We didn’t stop talking for days and I do wish we lived closer.
Still, we have several holidays booked for the future, including a kid free jaunt in 2020 (which involves the hire of sport cars – more later).

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We left in the rain and drove through England’s Green and Pleasant Land to Great Malvern.

I really didn’t want to leave.  Must get back together soon!

What I did on my holidays.

 

For the last two weeks we’ve been away on holiday touring middle England.
With a wedding to attend on the 1st June near Cambridge it was the perfect opportunity to introduce DS to more of England, catch up with friends and family and visit some new places and old haunts.

We left as the Cherry Blossom came into full bloom and I was sad to leave it but really excited about going away. 

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We hired a motorhome – a really fabulous way to travel if you
1. Self cater –  for dietary issues
2. Have a child
3. Want to visit a different place almost every day

We stocked up the fridge (full sized) and thought we would be using the (also full sized) oven, but to be honest we almost always picked up an easy meal, good salads and a decent coffee from Waitrose, M&S and Costa at the motorway services.  A decent bottle of wine too.

Is this glamping?

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The Van was upgraded from a 4 to 6 berth, giving lots of extra room, but also an extra 6ft at the back end.  I soon learnt to call ahead and check out (coach) parking facilities.

Our first stop was at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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We couldn’t help wondering what Granddad would make of this? 
Was is straight?

We walked for quite a while to see a special installation by Richard Long.
Mmm…. was that it?

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Heading off in the opposite direction we walked for miles. Up the “71 steps” (we counted and yes there were 71) and then through a stunning bluebell wood.

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Eventually the sculpture we’d really wanted to see was in sight “Hanging Trees” – by Andy Goldsworthy.  It was well worth the long, uphill walk.  Every time I achieve such a walk I realise how much has changed with my energy levels over the last two years.

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There were three of these large “boxes”, each with a tree, only one had plant life and this really added to the organic / inorganic contrast.

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Overall a great first day out with wonderful weather and lots more sculptures to assess (some we liked and some we really didn’t!)

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