Devon visit and Stonehenge

This weekend we are driving down to Devon. The start of the journey got a bit delayed but soon we are on the motorway heading towards Exeter and Devon. The drive takes us past Stonehenge, one of the famous pre-historic sites in Britain. Traffic usually grinds to a halt as we go down this route, which means we get a good view of the monument from the car. We have visited the site in the past and have no plans to stop today.

Stonehenge was built about 5000 years ago. The larger Sarsen stones are arranged in a horse shoe shape in the middle and again as an outer circle with the smaller bluestones arranged in between. The sarsen stones were brought from the Marlborough Downs about 20 miles away and weigh 25 tons each and the largest, the heel stone, weighs about 30 tons. The bluestones came from the Presili Hills which are about 250 kilometres away and weigh about 2 to 5 tons each. The sarsen stones were shaped, placed upright in the circular fashion and the horizontal stones were then stacked on top of the vertical ones using tongue and groove joints and slotted into place. The engineering feat that must have gone into transporting these huge rocks from these far away places, shaping them with the tools available at that time and then getting them into position is mind boggling. Some of the stones have fallen or disappeared over the years.

As we pass Stonehenge dark clouds start filling the sky and it starts drizzling. It doesn’t last long, and sun comes out again. When we near our destination the layout of the countryside changes. Low trimmed hedges line the narrow winding roads. Open fields cover the rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Most of the trees have now shed their leaves. Some stand in groups and some on their own as if guarding their perimeters. Sheep are seen grazing in the fields. It is only four o’ clock, but the sun will be setting soon. The dark clouds gather momentum and try to cover the sun. The crimson sky can still be seen in parts trying to peek through but the dark clouds win and the sky turns a distinct grey. Even the greyness cannot mask the beauty of the countryside. As I watch these scenes unfold and listen to Vivaldi’s concerto on the radio I am transported to my place of tranquility.

We reach the hotel before it turns completely dark. The hotel we are staying in, is the same one where Anitha and Simon had their wedding reception eighteen years ago. The wedding was in a nearby church that morning. The dining room where we had our lunch and speeches, evening reception area where the dance floor was, are all bringing back memories of the day. After a quick freshening up, we wait for Simon’s dad and sister who will be joining us for dinner. We sip our glasses of wine and sink into the warmth of the settee in front of the fireplace as we wait for them. There is a lot to catch up. We haven’t seen them for sometime.

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