I woke up this morning sandwiched happily between Leftwing Idiot and Nez. It wasn’t a beautiful dawn chorus that woke us but the low roar of construction vehicles and the bustle of the builders who are building a new accommodation block for the pub where we’d parked for the night. We surfaced slowly, had a leisurely breakfast and headed off towards Avebury and the stone circle that surrounds it.
We stopped on route to climb a nearby hill and had a brief debate about whether the wheelchair would make it to the top. We concluded it wouldn’t, so we set off with me supported on either side by Nez and Leftwing Idiot.
We made it. The view was amazing and the sun kept breaking through the clouds, lighting the landscape dramatically. We sat at the top for a while chatting and laughing, and it was lovely to have time just to sit about outside, not thinking about the next thing to rush off to. Then we made our way down, carefully and sensibly.
Stopping off to climb a hill turned out to be a recurring theme of the trip, but coming down carefully and sensibly did not.
We arrived in Avebury at lunchtime and had a look round the stones. It’s an amazing place. I’d not been prepared for the scale of the circle, which takes in a large part of the village as well as surrounding fields. The stones were erected about 4,000 years ago. Originally there would have been over 600 of them but now only 76 are visible, with a further 20 buried under the ground apparently.
We headed back to the van for some lunch and decided to go and explore another ancient site – the West Kennet Long Barrow. This is on top of another hill, and we took the chair this time as the ground was flatter, and because I’d just fallen out of the van during a ‘ticcing fit’, so I was a bit sore.
Leftwing Idiot powered me up the hill. The Long Barrow was fascinating and consisted of a network of burial chambers lined with large stones. We stopped for another break at the top to admire the view and then let gravity power us back down again. We free-wheeled all the way, with Leftwing Idiot balanced on the roll bars on the back of my chair. It wasn’t very careful or sensible, but it was exhilarating and I loved it.
This was only the start of the extreme sport flavour of the day. At 4:30pm the public toilets in Avebury closed which created a new extreme sport I like to call wobbly peeing. Outdoor urination is tricky for most women but when you add chaotic limb and body movements it’s even more unpredictable. However, over the course of this evening I’ve made considerable advances at managing it and I’m becoming quite skilled. But I do need to take more care not to put my hand in clumps of stinging nettles when I’m trying to keep my balance.
We were back at the stones at sunset in time for the solstice ceremony. As part of it, two gongs facing each other were sounded, creating an incredible channel of sound. The equinox has never had a particular significance for me but I really enjoyed marking the changing of the seasons in such an amazing and ancient place.