Readers will know how punctilious I am in never criticising my canonical superiors, even by implication. Today, however, I shall break the rule of a lifetime.
Every year, on this day, the Summer Solstice, New Age and Neo-Druid and assorted nutters gather at Stonehenge to observe the rising of the Sun.
This year, it is reported, Providence intervened with a cloud cover preventing Sunrise from being visible.
This is good, but it is only one step in the right direction.
If I were Providence, I would ensure that this happened every year for a dozen or so centuries.
Eventually, they might get the point.
Am I the only person who reacts to all this "Stonehenge is a primitive astronomical observatory" stuff by murmuring "The port is with you, my lord"?*
*Vide the film Kind Hearts and Coronets.
21 June 2015
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But at least the nights will start drawing in now!
Today (or, to be exact, at 2 hours past midnight tonight, local time), is the austral winter solstice; and the weather certainly reflected it: overnight, temperatures dropped below zero by 10 pm, and only rose above freezing after 9 am - with the results that our water pipes froze, and there was no running water to be had until late in the morning, when they thawed at last.
It has been a cold day.
After William Herscell discovered the planet Uranus, King George awarded him a small pension and gave him the task of showing the planets to the Royal family. On the first (and perhaps other) occasion he took steps to guard against cloudy weather. He arrange for servants to hold up poles on which were nailed pictures of the various planets, so when the Royal family looked through the telescope they would see Jupeter and his moons, Saturn and his rings, and even perhaps the peacock blue disc of Uranus.
Perhaps a similar artifice could be employed with someone holding a lantern at a distance in the direction of the heels tone and exposing the light at the point of sunrise?
Surely the point is that no-one knows what Stonehenge was for. We have only the faintest glimpses of the religion(s) which immediately preceded Christianity in these islands, and that was only yesterday compared to the gulf of time which separates us from the people who built the henges.
I do wish folk would just let it be, and that includes Tony Robinson's Time Team and the gentleman from Coronation Street whose name I forget but who apparently likes dressing up in bedsheets.
If you lived in my part of the UK Father, it wouldn't be a problem. Rising of the Sun. I mean I've heard of it. Wonder what it looks like?
Ah, Kind Hearts and Coronets. Another saying by the parson: "I always say that my west window has all the exuberance of Chaucer without, happily, any of the concomitant crudities of his period". One of my favourite film quotes, along with "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"
It's only the Rising of The Son that matters.
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