Woke to a birthday breakfast of bagels and peanut butter, beautiful cards from hubby and children, a phone call from Bailey, hand drawn pictures from the girls and jewellery I had picked out from Lyme Regis yesterday. We were packed and out of the holiday cottage by 9.30am, we've had such a lovely week here and would definitely stay here again.
Wasn't feeling much like celebrating my birthday this year but then I had a call from my dad first thing to say my aunt was likely to pass away within the next 24 hours. She has been fighting terminal cancer for the last two years and so it was kind of expected but still very sad to hear. It comes on top of grieving for husband's uncle and so a difficult time. I wasn't very close to my aunt, she lives in Manchester and so I haven't seen much of her over the years but I felt very sad for her children. She has been incredibly brave and fought so very hard. *It was actually another 8 days before my aunt passed away, she was such a fighter*.
We pressed on with our plans to see Stonehenge as we had booked tickets, Piper has always wanted to visit and was so excited. It was incredibly busy and is a well oiled machine in the terms of scheduling and timing, the buses are very efficient and it only takes 5 minutes to get up to the site. I think the road here was once open to traffic but as you can see from the other side of the road it does cause traffic to slow quite heavily! There were lots of tourists from all around the world, lots of selfie sticks and everyone walking around with audio guides. We chose to just look around ourselves. The ticket price for a family of 5 was over £45 but thankfully we used our National Trust membership so it didn't cost us anything, I think if I'd paid the full ticket price I'd be quite disappointed.
It was pretty windy but the rain managed to hold off just long enough for our visit. This is as close as you can get to the stones, which is a shame but I understand the need for it to be protected.
To be honest I was a little disappointed by the whole experience but when we blocked out all the hundreds of people and just looked around at the views over the fields and thought about the actual bringing of the stones to this point, some of them from as far as Wales you can see some of the magic involved. Or at least the blood, sweat and tears that is must have required to get it to this point. There's a sign up in the exhibit area that says they aren't sure if the people involved were slaves or part of a community project-I think its a bit of a no-brainer, I can't imagine anyone moving these huge pieces of stone for a community project! Its definitely made us want to look into it further anyhow, I'd like to experience the summer solstice here, when all the ropes are taken down and you can stand next to the stones. Maybe it would feel more sacred?
The gift shop was quite an experience in itself too but we headed through quite quick and back to the car, just in time for rain!