I always have mixed feelings before re-reading a book that had a profound effect in my youth (and isn’t that really the age when the most profound effects of books occur?) There is the hope that the original, thrilling magic might still be there, waiting to be unleashed once more. And there is the trepidation that the experience will be a disappointment, or a bore, or even an indictment of one’s youthful naiveté.
I was browsing through January’s issue of the Journal of Sporting Archaeology when a notice caught my eye: ‘Professor Allison’s lecture on “The Druidic Origins of Association Football” scheduled for the 20th March has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.’ When I contacted the journal’s editor he was unable to explain what those ‘circumstances’ were but he did put me in touch with Professor Allison.
What do we call them, these hybrid, liminal places? ‘Parks’, it seems. ‘Park’ being a word that conjures nothing of their reality, their bounty and their dearth. Solstice Park, an outgrowth by the A303, erupting from the earth between the ancient town of Amesbury and the ritual landscape of Stonehenge, is one such place, part warehouse locus, part service station, part tourist stopover.
On his way back from the 2014 NATO summit at Newport in Wales, Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Stonehenge. The president was helicoptered in to Boscombe Down airbase and then motorcaded to the site, where he was given a guided tour by an English heritage curator.