|My many trips to the Rollright stones are usually characterised by howling winds, plummetting temperatures or both. Yesterday was, therefore, unusual: no breeze, blue lark-filled skies and warm sunshine. I met with treaclechops, Lissy and Cloudhigh at the King's Men stone circle. We sat and watched as families and tour groups quickly came and went. Bikers hung around for longer. The benefits brought by the 50p entry fee, which has been charged for a few years now, are clearly beginning to show. A new gate. A new fence. A 'cared-for' feel. Perhaps it was the sunshine and the lack of mud, but it did seem, well... loved. A little excavation has been going on, revealing some fallen, smaller stones beneath the inner path.
Situated halfway between the place where I was born and the place I now live, the Rollrights form a kind of symbolic fulcrum in my life which is neatly played out every time I cross the few steps over the road from the King's Men stone circle in Oxfordshire to the King Stone in Warwickshire. (Christ! that sounds like something from Pseud's Corner!) The King stone has such power standing on the ridge commanding you to look out north over Long Compton and into the rolling countryside of Warwickshire. Lissy felt very strongly that because of it's position at the highest point and it's upward motion towards the sky it must have something to do with stellar alignments. Not being astronomers we didn't have clue what...
Crossing back into Oxfordshire, we walked the few hundred metres to the Whispering knights caged up in their metal fence prison, standing out starkly with the crop being so low. I tried to describe what the chamber might have originally looked like to Cloudhigh, who had never been here before. After Lissy, professional-voice-over-artiste-extraordinaire, had surveyed the megaliths, she treated us to a gripping display of her vocal talent with the sexiest shipping forecast we had ever heard, thrilling us with commentary like: "Fisher, Dogger, German Bight, rising slowly..." Wiping the drool from our chins, we headed back towards the cars for our next stop at the Hoar stone at Enstone. As I pulled away, in my rearview mirror I could see Cloudhigh flashing his Jaguar eyes at me, then treaclechops jumped out and shouted "You've got a flat!".
More of a Rollwrong than a Rollright. Bugger.
It's at times like this I turn from being a resourceful, independent, free-thinking woman into a namby-pamby big girl's blouse, in need of help from swarthy, thick-necked, hairy-armed men with 3 days of stubble saying "Awright, darlin', jes' sit over there and have a cuppa while I'll fix it for you." Sadly, there were no swarthy, thick-necked, hairy-armed gentlemen available. But treaclechops, Lissy and Cloudhigh, who, sensing my girlish panic, stepped in and changed the wheel in no time just like the swarthy, thick-necked, hairy-armed men of my fantasy.
The Hoar stone at Enstone was a new one for Lissy and Cloudhigh. It's remarkable to think that anything so big could be so well-hidden! Cloudhigh got quite excited by the rising earth just metres from the stones, thinking it could be a some kind of undiscovered barrow or earthwork... until we pointed out the 'Thames Water' signs.
Lissy was moved by this place and felt a very great power off it, spending some time sitting the chamber, thinking. Meanwhile I showed Cloudhigh the great craftsmanship visible on the stones which hadn't even occurred to him... the fact that the inner surfaces were flat and clearly dressed, and that the outer facing sides were unworked. We admired the bulk and straightness of the edges and marvelled at its stoicism.
I had to leave at this point, as I had tickets to see the movie 'Frida' in Oxford. Lissy, treaclechops and Cloudhigh went on to the Hawk stone to see the sun sink lower and shadows lengthen. A great place indeed to do it.
"And what about the movie?", you ask.... well...
If you like films about action, plot, sci-fi, gratuitous violence and escapism, you'll hate it.
If you like films about human relationships, beauty, struggle, lust, betrayal, love, sex and death, then you'll probably find it as profound and as wonderful as the Rollright stones.
Posted by Jane
24th March 2003ce
Edited 9th May 2003ce
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