It’s been two days since my last confession. Okay, London was as promised… exciting, busy, fast, expensive, historic, and packed full of new discoveries. As per Jane Austin’s advice, I am on my way to bath for the cure.
The english country side is a patchwork of florescent mustard fields, dark green crops, and pale yellow wheat fields. Large manors and old farm houses pepper the landscape. The narrow roads are walled with trees that form archways like thresholds into tiny boroughs. At times, one lane disappears leaving only one remaining lane for traffic traveling in both directions. It becomes a tenuous game of chicken. I’m sure that even the most skilled driver has white knuckles in these stretches of road.
A fifteenth century English manor in Wiltshire is the next stop. There is an interesting combination of thatched roofs, tennis courts, country clubs, fruit stands and Maseratis leading up to the lane way. Each rosebush competes with the next as they appear to be trying to out-bloom each other. Tea and cake are served on the veranda. The country air is perfumed by the beautiful gardens on the estate. It feels so refined and proper I almost want to be introduced as “Ms. Elyse”. Any minute now, Mr. Darcy should be dropping in, I’m sure of it.
But, despite my romanticism of this place, I am determined to get to the bottom of the prolific alien mysteries of the crop circles and Stonehenge. Angie, (the owner of the manor), is a believer. Three crop circles were discovered in neighbouring fields the day of our arrival. Could it have been an extraterrestrial welcoming party or a bid to attract tourists with an affinity for sci-fi? Whatever it was; it’s still pretty cool… and a bit spooky.
Stonehenge is another marvel. The great 45 ton sarsen stones and bluestones were brought from the Cambrian Mountains in Wales to this site. They were most likely transported down the Bristol Channel to the Avon River and carried a large distance over land from there. Together they form a sacred prehistoric network of standing stones. Believed to be built anywhere from 3000BC to 2000BC, these impressive stones draw tourists from all over the world. Still no one knows why.
On Angie’s advice we travel to Avebury to see another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Avebury boasts its own set of stone circles and is a place of particular importance to contemporary Pagans. (A few of whom we met along the way…)
A short distance from the stone circles, is Silbury Hill. Many archaeologists have put a great deal of importance on this neolithic site. However, it just looks like a big hill to me. Some researchers have tunnelled to the centre of it in search of gold and jewels… The searches have yet to yield consequential findings.
Finally, we make our way to the West Kennet Long Barrow. This tomb was constructed around 3600 BC. I spot a man at the entry way lovingly caressing the rocks and sticking his head into the grooves in the stone. As I move closer to him I realize that he is listening to the rocks. I wonder what they could be telling him. Maybe, “This is a sacred and ancient burial ground that has magical spiritual and healing powers”, or possibly: “You have made bad life choices… the first was saying ‘yes’ to drugs and the second was spending the summer in a camper van in search of spiritual enlightenment.” Either way, I may have solved the alien scenario. He needs to return to his mothership.
My search for spiritual enlightenment ends at the local pub, The Swan Inn. There is no shortage of good food in this town. Everything is local, fresh and delicious. Our server even finds the need to tell us that the purple heirloom carrots are “supposed to look that way”. (Some people have probably sent them back for not resembling the drab, colourless vegetables sold in grocery stores.) They are washed down with a cold glass of white wine and visit from the local Prince Harry look-a-like. Yes, I am enjoying the sights here in Wiltshire.