Picture the Second.
What they don’t tell you, in all the films and on all the publicity blurb, is that there is a road runs by Stonehenge.
The A 303 can grind to a halt, and you can take pictures of Stonehenge on one side and a pig farm on the other. Thus, photographing these world-famous monoliths is a matter of telling the driver to take it easy while you point-and-click.
I have parked in the car park and walked all the way round Stonehenge with a punishingly sulky eight year old, but one can’t touch the stones these days, and I’m a tactile sort at heart. It is strange standing goggling at them without being able to run one’s fingers over the rough stones hewn thousands upon thousands of years ago. How the druids manage not to touch them is beyond me.
I am reminded, incidentally, of a set of grey stones on my windowsill. Whenever I go to the sea I find them: slate stacks and smooth pebbles, millions-year-old-keepsakes which have seen who knows what? Every gracious ridge and layer speaks of aeons of time taken in the creation. They are time-chroniclers, speakers of a scale of creation which makes us men seem like so many scurrying ants. Did the Stone Age ever end, really?
When it comes to it: what is the difference between the great monoliths hauled onto a hill near Salisbury, England, and the keepsakes on my windowsill? The difference is that this age has created such celebrity for these standing orthostats they are no longer open for man to touch. And I would venture that touch is one of the reasons they were positioned as they are.
Give me my windowsill-stones, and the great natural menhirs of the Cornish coast, any day.