Avebury, Camera, landscape, Photography, Stone, Wiltshire

Some More Avebury Photos

I took quite a few photos during my visit, and never inflicted all that many on you. So, while my roll of film is (finally) getting developed (I misplaced it), here are some more of the digital shots i took.

album, Avebury, music

‘Haven Avenue’ album now out

After a very long gestation – a year? Something like that – our album of Ambient Poetry* is now out there for you to listen to and hopefully enjoy. And possibly buy (no pressure).

We were inspired by the neolithic stone Circle of Avebury and the surrounding landscape** – real and unreal. Some bits are real, some bits imagined by ourselves. The bit with the talking crow probably isn’t real.

The poems and field recordings are all by Daisy, and the music and other things are by Andy.

You can listen on the player widget below.

It is also available to buy from Google Play. Other services  (iTunes,  Amazon, etc) should all be live by next week.

EDIT: Now on iTunes  Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk and Spotify.

 

*Please, please, someone suggest a better term than that. How about Ambient Folk Poetry?

** And therefore possibly a concept album. There’s no law against it.

Avebury, landscape, Nature, Photography, Uncategorized, Wiltshire

Avebury’s energy, solar & otherwise

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It was a Whitethroat singing in the treetop, its notes bouncing and scattering as if juggled by the wind. It kept its mystery by wearing silhouette black until it trusted those watching not to pursue it with more than their ears and eyes.  Then it revealed itself with a flash of white and buff feathers, as cool a palette as the ground up on the Ridgeway, as chalky as the field edges. A sudden flicker of energy, the bird darted down into the hedgerow shrubs then back to the tree, like punctuation or a page turn. Then the watchers moved off, grateful but chased by the need to visit the valley before the threatened rain.

This was a good start to a wonderful walk in Wiltshire. A greeting of sorts. If the whitethroat sang the Matins, the rooks sang the Vespers (“sang” is a generous term, given their cries tend to sound more like warnings, or irritated judgements of those below their acrobatics). The omens were good, the forecast bad. The wind was doing its best to scrub away the clouds from a Wedgewood blue sky, but more were marching in, aerial icebergs moving magisterially along the width of the valley. Yet the rain took pity on the watchers and took a day off. The huge, muscular clouds knew how good they looked and puffed up with pride, resisting the relentless half-gentled wind trying to move them on out of the valley. This was weather on steroids. A sky on a trip. A sky for a trip. A good day to meet with a friend new to the place, whom I truly wanted to “feel” Avebury. Still, it was with trepidation that I stepped out, through the gate, into the circle of stones. Please, I thought, please like this place; please understand why I do.

I am used to Avebury taking me by surprise, despite my many visits, but this time I was almost silenced (a rare thing in company!) by the astonishing light and magnitude of sky almost dwarfing the stones. But of course, this just made me feel even smaller. A useful rebalancing of perspective is always the reward of an outside day filled with Nature: as you don’t matter so much, your problems matter even less. Avebury’s circle was peppered liberally with people, it being a school holiday. I am used to a more deserted space (or a Solstice throng!), so some waiting was needed for taking photographs sans smiling visitors…though I should add that I love the stones to be appreciated and shared. Avebury is not a Stonehenge, whose stones are as fenced off and aloof as race horses in the round; rather it is a wild scattering of curious mustangs. Visitors may approach and reach up to marvel at those which gather close, or wander wide and long to search out those more shy and less often seen.

For me, it was a relief to see that Avebury knew she had new people to impress, and my heart sang out gratefully to those big sunlit stones and wide bright skies.  The day was full in its generosity. Was that just a sparkle of the sun or did I see the Queen Stone wink at me? “Did you really think we’d disappoint, child?” she seemed to say. Hours of walking later, recalibrated, aglow with the Avebury energy, I levered off shoes caked with chalk and mud. Chalky white dust fluttered down. Like the scattering of notes of the Whitethroat singing its praises in a high hedgerow.

Panorama of the centre of Avebury circle

Avebury, Camera, Photography, Stone, Wiltshire

Avebury

 

DSCF9026 BW

I finally got to see Avebury for myself this week, which is a bit odd really, seeing as I’ve just made an album about it*. Me and Daisy both have lots of photos to share/bore you with, but I’ll leave this shot of the avenue for now, as we’re busy getting the album ready to release.

 

*The words are Daisy’s, she knows this neck of the woods like the back of her hand.

Avebury, landscape, Photography, Poetry, Stone, Wiltshire

The Poem for the Queen Stone – musings and an extract

The Queen Stone (my name for her)
The Queen Stone looms large in my imagination as well as the landscape

The Queen stone of Avebury has been mentioned on this blog before. I identify her as Queen because her top edge resembles a crown and she seems so distinct in shape, generally. Her form is feminine: rounded, generous, sheltering, yes, but sharp-headed and standing strong against the withering, weathering winds of the place. Raindrops linger and shimmer on her upper edges, like a mystic’s pool, or tears of regret on a proud face.

If Avebury was indeed a site of pilgrimage or worship, (holy or heretical, holistic or hubristic), or even simply a gathering place for tribes and traders, there will have been people of rank as well as the common folk making up the crowds, so maybe a queen or a priestess held court there. I imagine this stone as encapsulating this commanding presence.

When I wrote a poem about her, to be set to music by Andy for the upcoming Haven Avenue album, the words tumbled out without much need for summoning or marshalling: the Queen was calling the shots. She had a tale to tell, orders to give, private tears to weep, and she wanted no pity. I felt the form of the poem was vital: like a royal protocol or a formal dance, there was an order and a structure to follow, verse to verse. It imposed itself – yes I wrote this poem, but it found me, bubbling up from within.  I think of my doughty Queen as holding onto power in the midst of change and challenge: she will not cede, not yield, …not yet.   The poem begins thus: for the final verse, you’ll have to check out the album!

She buried him deep, her king.
Refusing to weep, she walked instead.
Trod paths round and round.
Turned thoughts in her head.
Told sons to wait their turn.
After her. Her heart turned to stone.
Her crown, three jagged points.
A Trinity devoid of jewels.
And yet she glitters in the sun.
Her beauty untouched by four thousand years.She buried them deep, her fears.
Refusing to weep, she talked instead.
But made not a sound.
On mud paths she’d tread.
Told us to wait and learn.
Look at her. Her face turned to stone.
Her throne, a chalk circle.
A Divinity devoid of rings.
And yet she welcomes everyone.
Her soul untouched by four thousand years.
(copyright of author, please respect!) ©2015