callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,
callmemadam
callmemadam

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Unhenged

Adam Nicolson writes lyrically in today’s Telegraph about Stonehenge and its problems. His solution is a radical one: to drive a 2.8 mile tunnel under the whole site, at a cost of £1,070 million. My solution is even more radical, at once populist and elitist. It is to pull down the horrible visitor centre, remove the car-park and make access as difficult as possible except on foot. Then I would look after the monument but stop promoting it as something for people to go and look at. In the immortal words of Adrian Mole, ‘Went to see Rob Roy’s grave. Saw it. Came back.’ What is the point? I think it perfectly reasonable that people should be able to see it from the road, thinking either, ‘OMG, WTF is that?’ or ‘Stonehenge already, I’m in good time’. Because we have lives, too, just as those now buried round about once did.

Remember ‘Seahenge’? I would have taken photographs of it from all angles, measured it so that a reproduction could be made and then let the sea take it back. Likewise, the Mary Rose would have stayed in her watery grave and all other wrecks, whether ships or planes and especially if they contained bodies, would rest on the sea bed suffering a sea-change. All mummies, bogmen, peatmen, icemen would stay in the quiet earth, not be exhumed and examined and exhibited to satisfy the morbid curiosity of the masses and the vanity of the professionals who extrapolate such fantastic theories from their discovery.

When you walk in the City of London you have 2,000 years of history under your feet but you don’t have to see it.
W H Auden wrote these wonderful lines:
‘Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.’
The past is ‘altogether elsewhere’ as much as a place may be. It is enough to know that it is there.
Tags: conservation, history, stonehenge
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