Updated: Dec 28, 2022
‘In less than a week, it would be the Solar Autumn Equinox. There was always going to be the one place I was’
That is all that is left of the original draft of the post I was going to publish a few months ago. The computer not only wiped out the blog post, but also removed the back-up! I have now created a second back-up of the post drafts! (As you may remember, I have long since written several posts in advance of publication.)
I am incredibly upset by the loss of the work that constituted this particular post. I had all sorts of crazy thoughts go through my head as I was trying to understand what had happened. Why wipe out this particular post? Why also the draft? How is that even possible!? Stonehenge is also an emotive subject for the State, particularly regarding our rights of freedom. But the idea that the State would interfere in my ramblings is entirely ridiculous. Besides anything else, I’m nobody. Few people are interested in what I have to say. I’m not a threat to the State’s control.
Anyway, weeks later, I’m none the wiser. I have no idea why or how my draft was deleted. I’m never going to get it back, so I need to move on. I think the worst part is that each time I relate a story, it’s different, despite being the same story. So, the following is not going to read in the same way as the rest of this chapter, ‘On the road again’. I apologise and hope that it doesn’t detract too much from your enjoyment:
After my farewells to everyone, tacked down, cats on board and caravan hitched to truck, we pulled off of the Ridgeway, turning left towards Marlborough, where I picked up the A345. The road skirts the Vale of Pewsey to Upavon where it cuts across Salisbury Plain. At Durrington, I turned towards Larkhill. Just before the edge of town, a left turn leads to the northern end of what’s left of an ancient drove. I made my way slowly along the track. The further I went, the busier it was. Eventually, I found a spot that suited with a good view of Stonehenge.
At this point of rewriting this post, events took a devastating turn. Arian was killed. I don’t need to go over the details again, especially as I’m sure you’re well aware of what happened.* Writing stopped for a while. Then I set out travelling again. As a result, I have been busy keeping you up to date with my travels.
So, to continue:
It was great seeing so many friends. I spent time wandering up and down the Drove chatting to friends new and old. A number also visited me.
In the early morning, before sunrise, access to the stones is granted for a couple of hours. This is possible thanks in part to a mate, Wally Dean, and other campaigners, particularly Druids for whom Stonehenge is a very important religious site. Restricting access to Stonehenge to people, again, particularly Druids, is unlawful as it is religious discrimination. An analogy is closing Canterbury Cathedral, building a fence around it, then charging exorbitant fees to view it. But allowing the Christians access for a couple of hours on Christmas Day and Easter Day!
Dean has been to Stonehenge every year since first going as a child with his parents in around 1980. The Wally monicker is in homage to Wally Hope, one of the founders of the free festival, who was arrested and confined in a psychiatric hospital. He was released and died shortly thereafter as a result of the psychiatric drugs that were administered during his internment.
I had not been to Stonehenge for 35 years, except once when I stopped briefly when passing with a girlfriend in the late ‘90s. We were unable to get anywhere near the stones as they had been fenced off. The last time I was there was for the free festival in 1984. The festival always took place in a large field across the road (no longer in existence) opposite the stones that is bordered by Savernake Forest. 100,000 people had gathered peacefully and remained peaceful throughout the time they were there. In 1985 I had been en route when I heard about the violence that had been launched against the people who were beginning to gather for the yearly festival. I diverted and went somewhere else. Police and undercover agents attacked the travelling folk, destroying their homes. They even attacked women, including pregnant women, and children. News reporters had cameras confiscated and the film containing the evidence destroyed. Some footage did get out and is easily researched. Some travellers managed to escape to land owned by the Earl of Cardigan who refused the police right of entry. No investigation has ever been launched into what one reporter said was "some of the most brutal police treatment of people" that he had seen in his entire career as a journalist.
*see entry Last days in Hastings
**header photograph courtesy of theguardian.com