Silly Saturday – Censored Scenes

Films, television and the media are to come under strict scrutiny and indecent images are to be banned. People dealing with lockdowns, social distancing and Pandemic Pandemonium ae finding it very stressful when they turn their television on for escapism and relaxation only to be confronted with scenes of people shaking hands, hugging and even kissing. Seeing a crowd scene is liable to cause a total breakdown.

Here is your handy guide to what pictures you must NOT put on Facebook, Instagram or blogs.

Silly Saturday – Stonehenge’s Stones

A good news item this week was that ‘a new scientific breakthrough has, for the first time, allowed geologists to pinpoint almost exactly where Stonehenge’s giant stone uprights and lintels came from. Scientists from the University of Brighton have traced the stones to a small very specific two square mile patch of woodland just south of the village of Lockeridge, Wiltshire. Builders of Stonehenge probably chose it as their source of stone because of the exceptional sizes and relative flatness of many of its sarsen boulders.

So no one has ever noticed before that in a little wood nearby, there are huge stones lying around that just happen to look like the ones at Stonehenge? Did no one ever trip over them or fall down the holes left when the Stonehenge Sarsens were extracted?

Warning, photo taken before Covid 19 social distancing

The other ‘exciting revelation was this… ‘Professor Nash was able to analyse the Stonehenge sarsens because a core extracted from one of the monument’s giant stones during repair work in the 1950s (and taken to America by one of the engineers involved in that work) was returned to English Heritage last year.’

What! Some chap is tidying up his office and suddenly thinks ‘Now where did I put that bit of Stonehenge sixty years ago…’ Was he embarrassed to return it after all this time?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/stonehenge-stones-sarsen-archaeology-a9644436.html

Silly Saturday – Guide to What’s Not On

When I wrote on Silly Saturday exactly a year ago How To Cheat At The Chelsea Flower Show, I never imagined that the BBC would be cheating this year.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/silly-saturday-how-to-cheat-at-the-chelsea-flower-show/
The presenters have been standing in their own gardens at home this week and showing clips of previous shows, because The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the many events that is Not On this year. We all know why, but I’m not going to mention Covid 19. Does it really matter? Thanks to television and television archives, unless you were planning to go and mingle with the heaving hordes, one flower show is much the same as the next on television. Lots of colour, same presenters, some more irritating than others and all that is missing is the scent of the blooms.

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If you want to know what’s on this year, the answer is probably nothing. Those theatre tickets you got for Christmas and the whole season of your favourite orchestra you purchased months ago are all wasted. Nothing beats a live performance, whether you are squashed between two hefty modern patrons in a narrow row at a very old West End theatre or wading through mud at a pop festival, watching on television will not be the same. There are advantages to your humble or perhaps gigantic wide screen television such as comfort, no queues for the toilets, eating your dinner on your lap or enjoying a takeaway.

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Optimistically the BBC has apparently delayed announcing the 2020 Proms till the end of May. Will it really go ahead with all those people filling the Royal Albert Hall, or will they have a spaced out audience of a few dozen and only soloists or string quartets dotted on the stage. They could dress orchestras in full protective clothing, but any safe option would rather detract from the festival atmosphere. Most concerts are not broadcast on television, the BBC could get away with showing a few old concerts, though music lovers might notice the difference if they broadcast a black and white 1940s concert with Sir Malcom Sargent conducting.

https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/research/the-proms-and-the-bbc

Whatever happens, the Sun will surely rise on June 21st BUT
‘This year’s summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge have been cancelled because of the ban on mass gatherings prompted by the coronavirus.
Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon said it was disappointing but unsurprising. The sunrise will instead be live-streamed on English Heritage’s social media.’ 

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It won’t be quite the same.

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Bournemouth Air Festival has been cancelled so don’t come round to my beach hut in August this year. Air shows are best seen live. We may watch the Red Arrows doing a fly past over Buckingham Palace on television, but I’m sure it’s more exciting watching from the balcony of the palace.

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What events will you not be going to this year?

Silly Saturday – Summer Solstice Sunday

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Don’t worry if you think you missed the Summer Solstice, it has been moved to Sunday. Every year there is confusion as to the date it will occur, 20th, 21st or 22nd of June; so from now on the Summer Solstice will take place on the Sunday nearest those dates, which this year is the 23rd. This will also make it easier for people who wish to greet the dawn at special places and don’t want to bother having to go to work afterwards.

The solstice also marks the first day of astronomical summer, so if the meteorological summer has been a  disappointment so far there is a new summer to look forward to.

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And there is still time to order your ‘Make your own Stonehenge kit.’ Parents of young children are advised it may contain small parts that are a choking hazard.

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Silly Saturday – Fifteen Favourite Facebook Fotos

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Sue has checked in to Toytown International Airport.

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Chocolate Moose has changed his profile picture.

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Wanda has changed her profile picture.

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When one door closes another one stays shut.

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We all need libraries – in our own homes…

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        Behind every cloud there’s rain.

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Donald Trump buys Stonehenge for new golf course.

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New Spiderman film, the 27th in the franchise, promises to be the blockbuster movie for 2019.

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The clock is ticking backwards towards Brexit.

 

 

 

 

 

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Government announces new technology to deal with drones.

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Know what you are getting when you book a cheap holiday flight.

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Hey guys, wish you were here, this is the view from our holiday apartment.

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Day 53 of our world cruise.

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Doctors successfully separate conjoined twin rabbits.

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Please share – our darling fur baby Tiny has gone missing.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past – Episode Two

There is only one event certain to happen during the Christmas season, the winter solstice; Winter solstice 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere will be at 22:23 Greenwich Meantime on Friday 21st December, it is a moment, not a day. But for those of us who are not scientists it just means the shortest day; 7 hours 49 minutes and 41 seconds in Britain. While the shops are crowded with shoppers, others will flock to Stonehenge; the prehistoric monument is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset.
People were celebrating at this time of year long before some spin doctor had the brilliant idea of tacking Christmas on to Yueltide. Apart from the weather, Christmas is what we make it and after all the media and commercial hype, when Christmas Day finally arrives it is centred on the home, each family creates its own traditions.

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Events in our lives can be marked by where we spent Christmas. When I was twenty I arrived at Heathrow Airport at six o’clock on Christmas morning, for a six month working holiday that stretched into infinity. The airport was huge and deserted, but by some miracle I found my way to the waiting relatives; back at their home I saw colour television for the first time. The weather was mild and damp, pretty normal for the south of England, but I had forgotten how early it gets dark at that time of year. On Boxing Day I was glad to get out with the relatives for a walk and fresh air; day two, out on a misty Surrey heath, it felt right to be back, but on day one in the airport I could never have guessed I would end up living nearby, working there.

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Friday Flash Fiction – The Stones

 So Lar looked over the plains; how many had passed this way over the years? Weary bodies, bent limbs and always murmurings of revolt, lives lost as well and for what? Tomorrow would demonstrate what this had all been for and So Lar would be proved right. A new age of enlightenment would begin on the longest day as the Sun bestowed His blessing. Of course it was hard for the workers to see what they and their fathers and forebears had been labouring towards, what So Lar’s father and grandfather had dreamed of, knowing they would never see the day when it was complete.

The old pagan beliefs would be buried for good and they would look towards the one true God, the Sun God. But as the long warm evening began to fade into twilight So Lar had the first misgivings, dark clouds rolled over the indigo sky. When night had fully set over the plains the moon could not be seen, not one single star could be seen. Without clouds there would be no rain, man and beast needed rain, but not tomorrow…

There was no sleep for him that short night; most souls in the camp were sound asleep, trusting the night watch to wake them in good time for the revelation So Lar had promised at dawn. If the blanket of cloud was not drawn back then they would not see the first rays shine through the entrance of the temple of knowledge.

Blackness turned to grey, dawn had arrived, but not a glimmer of gold could penetrate the dark clouds. They surrounded So Lar now, angry and afraid. Rab the trouble maker spoke.

‘So much for your Sun God, we have angered our gods, desecrated their sacred plains, your stone temple is a terrible scar on the landscape that should be torn down. The gods will not let your weak sun god shine until they are appeased.’

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So Lar lay bound inside his precious circle. These people would never be enlightened, would never understand how the heavens and earth worked without the need for human intervention. They still thought blood needed to be spilled, that he must be sacrificed if the sun was to shine again.

 

 

Stonehenge – September Staycation Part Three

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 When you are on Staycation you will visit places after breakfast that others have crossed the world to see. We had not been to Stonehenge since the new visitors’ centre was built, out of sight of the World Heritage Site. The A344 which previously enabled motorists to ‘come across’ Stonehenge, but also intruded on the peace of the past, is now used solely by the fleet of buses with destination The Stones on the front.

If you belong to English Heritage or the National Trust entry is free. You can hop on the bus or walk; divert off the road through chalky fields to enjoy the peaceful scenery of Salisbury Plain. There is nothing at the stones now so make sure you avail yourself of the visitor centre toilets and take a bottle of water.

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On a Monday morning, with school holidays over and the website stating timed tickets were not needed, we thought it would be quiet. The lady at the booth issuing our free tickets said it was very busy as several cruise ships had come in; this presented a strange vision.

It was almost a pilgrimage, Pilgrimage Lite perhaps. We set off at a brisk pace, overtaking lots of people and hearing various languages, we’re British, we can walk fast…

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We started to anticipate the moment when Stonehenge would be revealed; round the next copse or over the next brow? Alas, the first view was partially blocked by the ubiquitous buses and queues of people. Queues waiting to have their tickets checked and file between the ropes to the stones, even longer queues waiting to get back on the shuttle bus.

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Only a low rope separated us from the stones, creating enough space inside the circle to imagine how they were when they stood alone. A young Canadian tourist asks to have his photo taken, with the toy penguin that is to accompany him on his trip round Britain.

We ask a tour guide where she’s from.

Portland

USA?

No, Dorset…

She had come to meet passengers who had left their ship at Dover and been coached to Wiltshire.

But the tourists that morning were not rushing and ticking off another place visited, they were in genuine awe that they were really there looking at an ancient construction no one can explain for sure.

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This year marks one hundred years since Stonehenge was given to the nation.

 On 26 October 1918, Stonehenge was offered by Cecil and Mary Chubb as a gift for the nation. Cecil Chubb had bought Stonehenge for £6600 at a local auction three years previously. Prior to 1918, the monument was propped up with wooden poles and some of the stones were in danger of collapse. Increasing numbers of visitors through the late 19th century had led to damage, with people regularly chipping the stones for souvenirs and scratching their names on the monument.

http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/30-things-you-might-not-know-about-stonehenge

The first guidebook in 1823 claimed Stonehenge survived Noah’s flood. We do know the stones came from South Wales, that is part of the mystery, how they got there. Stonehenge was built between about 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC and its purpose remains under study. What is certain, if you stand in just the right place inside the monument at the summer solstice, facing northeast through the entrance towards a rough-hewn stone outside the circle, known as the Heel Stone, you will see the sun rise above the Heel Stone.

http://earthsky.org/earth/gallery-the-summer-solstice-as-seen-from-stonehenge

A few days later visitors came round and asked how the staycation was going and where we’d been.

‘Oh, that heap of old stones’ was their reply.

 

 

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See more pictures at my Beachwriter’s Blog

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog

Look out for Friday Flash Fiction as the Stones theme continues…