Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not just a 'bunch of rocks'

Yesterday was the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year. Naturally it would fall on a Monday. When I hear the words summer solstice I think of Stonehenge. We lived just over an hour from the site and we visited with every set of house guests often.

Sorry 'bout the photo quality but I scanned them from my scrapbook.

The first time we went out to Stonehenge it was just the four of us. Our kids had been 'warned' by their classmates that this is a place they would be sooooo tired of seeing by the time they left England but at the time it was still new to us. As we drove out into the beautiful English countryside they asked what exactly we would be seeing to which my hubs replied, "It's a big bunch of rocks." Yeah, we didn't exactly know what we were going to see either. They said, 'We're driving an hour to see some rocks in a field?" Oh you can just imagine how excited teenage girls were to hear this. Plus it was gray and windy. In fact, every time we went to Stonehenge, which, did I tell you was ALOT, it was gray and windy. And sometimes drizzly too. And actually 'big bunch of rocks' pretty well describes it.

I'm not sure what we were expecting but essentially you are rolling along thru the beautiful English countryside and suddenly you see a 'big bunch of rocks' sitting in a field. There they are...just plunked right down in the middle of the lush green grass and the sheep and not a lot else. We parked in the car park and got headsets and you might not think there is a lot to be said about a 'big bunch of rocks' but its actually pretty interesting/mysterious/not boring.

There are many theories as to the how and why these rocks are set in a very purposeful pattern in this particular location but they know for certain it was associated with burial grounds. And it is pretty much agreed that the alignment of the stones marks the summer solstice which is what brings literally thousands to Stonehenge on the longest day of the year. Modern day druids, pagans and party people turn up every year to view the sunrise here on summer solstice. Did you know there were still people who call themselves druids?

Course, in my mind the best thing about Stonehenge is that it is only a short drive from one of my favorite towns in all of England...Bath-

The town of Bath is beautiful and old and filled with so much to see and do and wonderful little shops and restaurants...

The Abbey is spectacular and the Roman Baths are amazing. If you're a Jane Austen fan you can do a walking tour and see the houses where she lived and the settings for some of her books.

The baths are very cool...they are underground and the first spring was discovered here sometime back in the 800's BC. That's old.

And let me just add that when you travel around Europe you definitely realize that those Romans were an industrial lot. There is hardly a city around without Roman ruins of some kind. As I was reading the signs telling you not to touch the water (for your own safety) hubs informed me they were hot. And daughter 1 chimed in with 'really hot'. There are rule followers in this world and there are rule breakers. We have both in our family.

Course if you visit Bath you must have lunch or tea in The Pump Room. I miss English tea. And lots of things. However, I'm off to play Bunco this morning and that's fun too. Did you know Bunco originated in England as something called the 8 dice cloth parlor game?

Hey, this blog is nothing if not educational.


  1. Thanks for the pics of England! I loved Bath the one time I was able to visit it. Walked all over the town. Bought a china teapot that I still have (after 13 years and four moves!).


  2. I want to go to England. Take me some day, will you? :)

  3. Ahh stonehenge! Believe it or not I miss this big ol' pile of rocks. Loved this post!

  4. How interesting! I would have a field day in England taking pictures. I remember reading about Stonehenge in school. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have fun with Bunco.
    until next time... nel

  5. I feel very educated! So glad I can see the world through your eyes. : )

  6. I am glad they came up with Bunco the other name is a mouthful. I love Bunco and played it a lot when I lived in the south. I am fascinated with mysterious things...so I would have loved the "big pile of rocks". Love your pictures and just the other day I had to scan some out of my scrapbook, but I am so far behind that I don't have to do that much...haha

  7. I never did see Stonehenge (and I lived in the UK for 33 years!) but I did visit Bath and loved it. Thanks for sharing the pics:)
    And have a great week.

  8. Very interesting post, Joyce! Thanks for all of the information. I really do appreciate it and I do enjoy hearing about your time spent in England! :-)

  9. I'm always so impressed by the age of things in other parts of the world. It's hard to find anything older than 200 years around here.

    We have Carhenge. :)

  10. When I was in England we did not get to Bath or to Stonehenge. I enjoyed seeing your pictures. Hope you had fun at Bunco. Love & blessings from NC!

  11. Thanks for enlightening me on what exactly Stonehenge is. Great pictures!

  12. I always learn something when I read your blog! And, I'm always so jealous! :D

  13. Your posts about England always make me expat sick! If we have the opportunity, hubby and I will jump at the chance to go back...

  14. Great post about a big bunch of rocks. I'm so glad that we decided to take the long trip from where we lived to witness it. It is amazing how while driving and searching for them, bam!, you see them atop a hill in the middle of nowhere. We loved going there. Unfortunately Bath was on our to-see list and we never made it there. Bummer!