Archive for June, 2012

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A Hampshire She-Wolf

June 24, 2012

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This creature (left click for full image) appeared at a New Age Travellers’ site off the A30, near Micheldever Station, a couple of years ago.  While she was there she was actually situated at the crossing of the old Micheldever-Andover road (which survives as a sliproad onto the A303 which replaced it) and the A30 Stockbridge Road (an old Welsh drovers’ road to London) – she’s a veritable crossroads goddess.

She’s actually a prop from Grange Park Opera’s staging of Cavalli’s 17th-century opera, Eliogabalo, about the decadent Roman emperor Heliogabalus.  The travellers were employed to clear the site, which is how they came by this representation of the She-Wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.Image

I think she very much fitted in with the sibylline geography or psychogeography of an area which draws together Danebury Ring hillfort, Woolbury Ring (which evokes wolves in its name) and a clump of trees on West Farm, Popham, which overlooks a site of lithic activity stretching from the Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age – a period of over 40,000 years. This latter site – a high-point beside the modern A303 – is aligned on by a dead-straight 3-mile stretch of the A30 between Stockbridge and Sutton Scotney, which aligns in a westerly direction on the southern rampart of Woolbury Ring, a hillfort where a Palaeolithic hand axe has been found associated with a Roman temple.

The She-Wolf appears to have gone from a site threatened by an eviction notice from Winchester City Council.

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I don’t see what possible harm they’re doing.

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Here’s a view of the slip-road of the westbound A303 which was actually the original Andover Road – note the squat, tree-covered bulk of Danebury Ring (named after the goddess Danu?) at the centre of the picture…

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And here’s the Grange Park Opera link to Eliogabalo- the She-Wolf appears exactly 2 minutes in…

 

 

 

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Confluences: The Meeting of the Rivers Arve and Rhone at Jonction, Geneva

June 16, 2012

From Raoul Vaneigem’s The Revolution of Everyday Life: “According to a Chinese philosopher, ‘Confluence tends towards the void.  ln total confluence presence stirs.'”  I’m presuming that Vaneigem’s quoting a Tao philosopher, Lao Tse perhaps…

The Rhône, seen on the left, flows straight out of Lake Geneva – Lac Leman, as it is otherwise known – while the Arve meanders down from the Chamonix valley.  Their confluence is viewed here from a railway bridge.

I will, become come coming when, upon the mingling of our waters, wish to wisher, like massive mountains to part no more

James Joyce Finnegans Wake

 

 

 

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Shadows in the Water

June 15, 2012

A tributary of the River Dever, the Cranbourne rises just to the east of the A30 Stockbridge Road, north of Sutton Scotney  – an old Welsh drovers’ route and the main route for centuries between London and the South West.

Abutting a bend in the A30 is this moated site, formed by the Cranbourne, the remains of a ‘homestead moat’, probably the site of a Mediæval Manor House and 14th/15th century chapel.

Looking at it, I can’t help thinking of the island of Angharad Goldenhand in Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, a refuge for Colin and Susan as they take flight from the morthbrood: “Dreams, glamour, they are not easy to tell apart… The Lady of the Lake is a skilled weaver of enchantment.  She knew that without help we could not have survived the night.”

The stream and moat are overlooked from the south by two tree-covered Bronze Age round barrows, known as Cranbourne Clumps.

It seems to be yet another example of the association, noted by researchers and archaeologists, between such funerary monuments and bodies of water.  As Richard Bradley remarks of Bronze Age carvings of footprints in the rock art of southern Sweden: “we might envisage a path cutting across the landscape of the living and linking two distinct domains: the higher ground, the ‘heavens’, where Bronze Age barrows celebrated the ancestors, and the sea of the dead to which they had to travel.  If the footsoles do represent the hel-shoes of the recently deceased, they may record the path from the grave to the world beyond.” (Richard Bradley, 2000, An Archaeology of Natural Places, London: Routledge, p.145).

 

 

 

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The crookedness of life

June 10, 2012

I was struck by this report by Boyd Tonkin in the Independent on the Calabash Festival in Jamaica:

“Philosophically speaking, I have a problem with Kantian subjectivity,” said the veteran Jamaican poet and artist Ralph Thompson.  For Kant, the Ding an Sich – the “thing in itself” – can never be known.  Yet the artist, in word or image, has no other mission than to make this intangible reality legible and visible.  Even when – as Earl McKenzie, another Jamaican poet-philosopher, reminded us – the abundant local reality has “an aversion to straight lines”.  Jamaicans, as his poem “Against Linearity” puts it, “fear the straight line/ for it is as rigid as death”.  So their art must catch “the crookedness of life”.

I like that…

 

 

 

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Farewell, Charlotte

June 3, 2012

Colmer's Hill, Symondsbury

We can’t believe you’ve gone.  We always thought, inspite of the years of not seeing you, that we could pick things up where we left off and catch up on all the news.  It was not to be.  We missed you before, now it’s forever, but you’re always in our minds.  Loving you and missing you.  Farewell.

 

 

 

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