Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Just another Manic ...Tuesday

I'm back in the land of the living now, and don't I know it? Struth, I am so busy. Work can be a blessing sometimes, other times it can be a real curse.

Yesterday I went to Stonehenge. I've never been there before and really wanted to see it. I went in the driving foul rain and was awestruck by how beautiful it really was.

Astonishing really, to look at something that was erected 5,000 years ago. I began to wonder what the folk of the time looked like, how they lived, the purpose of the stone circle and such like.

No one really knows the purpose of the circle, it was most probably ancient worship - the sun sets through the various 'doorways' at regular monthly intervals, these stones, some weighing in at 40 tons were moved from nearby Marlbrough and set with precision at the time.

Now, heavily guarded, I learnt that the local blacksmith a hundred years ago rented out hammers for tourists of the time to chip away remnants as keepsakes!

I first saw sight of the stone circle coming from the A303 - it just hits you there - huge, impressive, slap bang on the side of the hill. The sheer size and beauty of the monument is breathtaking.

As well meaning as English Heritage is, I was disgruntled to pay to see the sight - after all, this is MY heritage. I hate this 'monetize' concept that seems so prevalent in this day and age.

Ok, £5.50 ( $10 ) isn't that much - but, this is history, my history. I pay staggering amounts of tax, seemingly for very little back.

For goodness sake, what upkeep is necessary for a stone circle over 5000 years of age?! I accept some money needs spending on security and such like, but, why gouge folk and deprive some who canot afford the visit, the opportunity to wonder at this magnificent piece of history?

What staggered and really surprised me was the site of other stone circles just a few miles further on in Avebury - again, so beautiful, and mysterious. I simply drove back home and almost crashed the car seeing something I wasn't even aware of at the side of the road. Here's a taster:

What a fantastic heritage we do have here in the UK. Sometimes, it's real food for thought to stop, pause and investigate the beauty around England and the UK and to look at the bigger picture than the pressure of work, finances, kids, etc.

If ever you're anywhere near Wiltshire, do take the opportunity to look for yourself.


Bernadette from Australia said...

Paul you obviously needed to get your act together sooner...when I visited your wonderful country in the mid 90's and went to Stonehenge then...not only didn't it cost me anything back then but, because we were there at the crack of dawn we got to wander around inside the fence! And yes it was awesome.

Don't get too upset about the fact I saw it without paying any English taxes though...I pay a staggering amount of MY income to the Australian Government and a fair chunk of that pays 'the dole' to a whole lot of English backpackers who won't go home :)


podcastpaul said...

Bernie - that makes me feel a whole lot better then!

I honestly wonder if Oz has any folks under 30 left? Virtually every bar in London has an Ozzie Baywatch babe....sigh.... oh to be young again.