The Chalk and the Cheese

The month of May brought myself and the band to Wiltshire. Our first stop being Avebury which lies on high chalk grassland.

I first spent an hour in The Henge Shop for a book signing, an emporium of esoteric ephemera: crop circles, crystals, tarot and books on everything from barrow mounds to green men. I challenge any cynic to dismiss wanderings into mysteries and wonder, for beneath the goddess knick-knacks and swaying dream catchers are far greater and more complex questions. After sitting for an hour in this world of spiritual exploration I felt more open to creative endeavour – even if I still believe that crop circles are a marketing strategy organised by the Wiltshire Tourist Board …

Remaining open to possibility is a great human quality. The pedestrian and authoritarian world of certainty stunts creative development. Surely it doesn’t matter that we don’t understand?

The next day Captain Swing and the Blacksmith roamed the stones and stumbled across a spinney of ancient hornbeams. Votive offerings had been left by visitors which swayed above extraordinary tangled roots – a wild maze of searching lines that sit on a raised hillock above the mysterious stones.

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Great Somerford, that lies on a clay vale, the traditional northern cheese making area of Wiltshire, was the destination of our next performance.  The addition of Downton Chamber Voices who bravely wandered north of the M4 was a beautiful addition. We had one group rehearsal before the show and all went well and beyond expectations. Their voices lifted and emphasised the drama of the songs giving a tantalising taste of the possibilities of what could be achieved in a full folk song musical.

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