14 August 1985 – Stonehenge

From Salisbury to Sidmouth, stopping of at Stonehenge on the way…


Breakfast!  Ho mama cereal, eggs, etc.  Massive, delicious, incredible, beautiful.  Unfortunately we then had to check out by 10.  It started raining and we had to walk to the train station in the pouring, blustering rain.  we checked our luggage and got on a bus tour to Stonehenge.  Our guide was a very typical middle aged British woman who told awful jokes (to which everyone laughed).  The windows were foggy and the weather was awful so we couldn’t see very well what she was describing, but over all it was very beneficial.  Saw thatched house, the wilder wall (all chalk w/ thatched top and dry bottom), fossilized animals as door post, remains of old Sarum, which predated New Sarum or Salisbury.  The remains of the Old Sarum cathedral make up the wall around the New Sarum Close (area around cathedral), markers for “prehistoric man”.  At Stonehenge the sky opened up its full wrath.  As we rose from the crosswalk there were cows facing us — guardians of Stonehenge, against the distant grey sky.

Jim at Stonehenge 1985

So Anyway, as soon as we got back, the sky cleared and it was a beautiful day.  We found a pub to eat at.  Then went to InfoCenter and while they arranged for a reservation at Sidmouth we ate dessert at the corner restaurant.  I had a pineapple crumble and custard and a coke float.  We went back to InfoCenter and everything was set up.  Then to train station and Honiton (above Sidmouth).  I helped an old lady with her bags getting off the train who then thanked us by giving us a ride down to Sidford and our guest house (The Mariners)!

She (Mrs. Gush) lives in Sidbury (Dave country).  We settled in, then walked down to the Blue Ball Inn (pub) for dinner which took all night because we had to wait for a table (and 1 1/2 pints in the meantime).

On the train to Honiton

On the train to Honiton

“Massive, delicious, incredible, beautiful” — both the breakfast and Stonehenge!  I guess back in those days (not long after Stonehenge was built) the idea of phoning for a taxi to take you to the train station when it’s pouring rain and your friend is sick was unheard of.   What did I know about taxis —  I just learned about espresso a week before!  And it probably would have cost us more than an Parisian ice cream sundae. So we walked.  On the bus, it’s funny how I thought I knew what a “typical middle aged British woman” was like. Hey, I watched TV!  

Going to Stonehenge was a life goal ever since my father told me about it and then I saw pictures from my parents 1972 trip.  I must have learned about it at the same time people were walking on the moon.  I’m still completely enthralled by it.  I love the picture that Frank took.  It’s me, and this was a special moment.  During the Summer you were no longer allowed up around the stones, which must have been disappointing, but I don’t remember caring — just being there was incredible.  You had to walk under the roadway to get there, and these big, wet, dirty cows were waiting in the rain, welcoming us to one of the most super-cool places in the universe.  I made a little mythology out of the contrast.  I entertain myself that way. 

And then on to “Dave Country”.  Our original plan was to go to Devon, meet up with Dave Cousins of the Strawbs, and then for 3 days “tour the West Country” as we described it in the itinerary we left for our parents.  Maybe we’d head out to Penzance where my great-grandmother was born.  None of that happened, but it was still one of the best parts of the trip.    

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