Searching for solace in the Solstice ……..
This is my favourite time of the year. I love it. The light, the warmth, the booze, the greeny stuff, the flowery colours and the burst of life – everywhere. How does the rhyme go? Oh to be in England now that strong lager is here…. (or something like that). I’m at my most optimistic, most sagely, willing to give anyone and everyone, pearls of pearly wisdom – whether they want any or not.
It’s all building to the Summer Solstice on June 21st. I love sitting outside at half eleven at night watching the sky go a deep inky azure blue, gazing at bats as they chase Britain’s biggest moth, the gi-normous and bright-orange coloured Elephant Hawk moth.
Then the great day dawns – sometimes I stay up all night, sit outside (with a few scoops obviously) and see just how short the time of complete darkness is – which is very short indeed.
I’m not a druid or anything – or a tree hugger, it’s just the atmosphere that gets to me. I’d like to go down to Stonehenge – just to see it happen, the Sun rising over the heel stone and central Trilithon – it must be a really awesome event. Of course, modern ‘Druids’ and ‘New age travellers’ have ruined it for everyone – who the hell gave those tossers in white hats and gowns the right to have control of the ceremony for most of the 20th Century anyway? Every ‘Midsummer News Report’ would show yer actual troop of local Druids doing the business at Stonehenge. Once in the ‘80’s, Corry’s most overrated and over wooden actor – William ‘Woody’ Roche was there, dressed in his floppy white, flopsum and whitesum gear, inspecting entrails, waving his sticky stick in great comical cosmic circles, casting spells and swinging crystally things about.
That’ll do it then, the Sun will come up again for the next year – it will bathe the planet in life giving warmth – it will sustain billions of life-forms for the next 12 months …. All because Ken Barlow and his magic crystal from Coronation Street in Weatherfield says so.
I’ve been to Stonehenge a couple of times – and have been truly humbled. There's a rope around it now, courtesy of English Heritage. The last time I was there, a young American dude took exception to the fact that this barrier was impeding his progress and stepped over it. He made his short-baggy trousered, tasteless Hawaiian shirted way towards the great stones. All of a sudden, out of the very depths of the monument a little wiry man jumped out waving his hands about a lot. The goblin of the monument was making a statement to this New World traveller…. "Go on, bugger off out of it, yer bloody bugger" And he did.
Then it’s over. Post June the 22nd means that the nights start drawing in – it’s down hill all the way until those damp, dreary days of darkest December, when the Winter Solstice is reached.
June 22nd also means that my eldest Son starts to pack for Glasto’ – and the inevitable annual assault on my wallet that goes with it…. Ho hum.