Saturday, 21 June 2008
I sleep for a few hours after solstice, have a baby wipe wash and set off for the Silent Circle Cafe in Calne, conspiracy centre and meeting point for 'croppies'; those who investigate, document and chase crop circles. It takes me a while to find it because it is not there anymore! Eventually I am led through twisting country lanes to the new base "The White Horse Inn".
I enter the pub and am cheerfully greeted by the landlady. I order fresh cream of tomato soup and a beer. People chat about how little sleep they have had. "Did you see the Kings drummers last night? Bloody good show."
I'm part of them, I boast. I suddenly become a minor celebrity in the pub. Tourists, locals and croppies want to know everything. Who are we? Where do we come from? (When I tell Lionel Sims at the camp later about this, he says "Don't tell them. Let's retain our mystery and make them think that we emerge each solstice from fissures in the ground having waited all year for this moment")
Next door in the crop circle information centre, there are ordinance survey maps pinned on the wall, with magnetic numbers showing the latest circles and how to find them. It's like a war room with a battle plan. A man working there points out yesterdays' fresh circle. "Damn" he says "I've camped for nights in that particular field cos I had a feeling there would be one there soon. But I missed it."
I talk to a guy with a 4 wheel drive who is visiting all of them, driving over fields and dykes. "So you are into crop circles?" I say "No, I'm into neolithic monuments really".
I follow the instructions to East Kennet, drive through a travellers camp and up onto a dirt track. My van makes a strange sound underneath. I walk the rest of the way. There is a tin box with a plea for donations by the farmer. I walk past a couple of French women into the field. I walk the circle. I don't really know what it looks like from the ground, what shape it is. But I am impressed by the simple beauty of the vegetation and I feel calm, I can think more clearly than I have in days.