On Thursday 13 July a shockingly inaccurate and nasty report appeared in the press. Maybe the most unpleasant pieces in the article is the suggestion that all money collected from circle sites is taken by people posing as the farmer and then pocketing the proceeds. There may be certain isolated cases of scurrilous behaviour but there are several farmers who are persona grata and who are collecting money for charities. There is one in farmer in particular who has raised a substantial amount of money in memory of his wife who recently died of cancer. He set up a charity to equip a breast screening radiotherapy unit to be built on the site at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, as the closest unit was in Oxford as before people had to travel many hours for a daily treatment lasting a few minutes each time over a period of six weeks which was altogether too exhausting and draining. He opens his fields so that visitors can visit the circles on his land and we are all delighted to contribute to such an excellent cause that is benefiting so many people.
The target of £2.9 million has already raised £750,000. This is a really splendid and worthwhile charity worthy of support. The charity, Brighter Futures https://www.brighterfuturesgwh.nhs.uk/
who are running the appeal have received support from other companies in Swindon such as Sainsbury’s 'Stratton and TE Connectivity'. Staff at other companies including Corporate Events, Arval, Jury’s Hotel, Nationwide and Santander have all supported the appeal by fundraising for the charity.
In addition money raised from a crop circle in Dorset this summer has raised a considerable amount, much of which has been donated by the farmer to the local village hall.
After an objection was lodged by one of the farmer’s involved, an amendment was placed on the Facebook (but not reported in the national press) saying:
The national paper in which I first read the article had the headline "Police target crop circle 'criminals' who profit from drone footage." Who are these criminals? I am not sure who instigated this press release, but they certainly provided incorrect information which unfortunately the police did not check out before providing material for their interview.
The piece suggested that web sites using drones are profiteering from advertising. I cannot see why they are targeting drone users when other web sites using other means of flying such as helicopters who could also be making money from advertising. I do not see the difference. Could there be something vindictive behind the scenes in whoever got in touch with the press in the first instance?
Another strange statement tells us that there have been a number of drone incidents this summer which have a'huge impact on the hardworking landowners and farmers whose crops are damaged'. Damaged by drones — how can that be when helicopters legitimately have permission, keeping to the strict aviation laws, to fly just a low as drones and they don’t create any damage (I fly in helicopters so I know). In addition despite the above, it seems that 'many farmers do not report them'. We therefore must ask if indeed ANY farmers have reported them this summer and I suspect the answer is NO, else the farmers who complained would have been interviewed for this article.
Christmas Approaches ~ Latest Posting Dates for 2016
As the festive season draws nigh, I think that maybe we forget the real meaning of Christmas. It is not simply a Christian festival celebrating the birth of the baby who was born to become an inspiration to the world, but it has universal meaning. We do not know the exact date of this event and was not until the 4th century AD that Pope Julius I set 25th December as the date for Christmas. All religions going back to Pagan times believed in a God or a Supreme Being, and religions throughout the world belief in an unknown, unseen Divine Mind, Energy or Presence.
The frosty weather continues, with the trees and grass glistening like jewels in the sunlight.
I have a little solar panelled garden owl that lights up at night and enhances the whiteness all around bringing with it a feeling of magic and beauty.
The picture of a fog bow by Melvin Nicholson appeared this week in the papers. It is quite a rare occurrence and happens in the same way as rainbows in that light is reflected inside tiny water droplets and emerges to form a large circle or arc of approximately 42°C centred on the antisolar point, opposite the sun.
I am sending you images of some of the exciting and unique gifts that you will find on my website that may just be the answer you are looking for that special present.
May this festive season bring you much joy and hope for the future for all mankind worldwide. The world has experienced difficult times before of suffering for many innocent people but I am a great believer in the fundamental goodness of the human spirit in overcoming these ills and allowing the Light to shine through.
In light of the debate and controversy surrounding the amazing Ansty crop circle, I hope you will find the following interview with Karren Price helpful in clearing up certain areas of misunderstanding.
The hamlet of Ansty (situated in the south west of England between Salisbury and Shaftesbury, Wiltshire) is a small and sprawling village lying on the A30 between ancient high banked narrow lanes - clearly once used as drover’s tracks. In the southern part of the parish is White Sheet Hill, on which there are Bronze Age barrows including a long barrow. Ansty is in the Vale of Wardour. The A30 Salisbury to Shaftesbury road follows an ancient course, north-west of (and parallel to) the Ridgeway on the greensand terrace, and includes the steep northern slopes of White Sheet Hill.
The Church of England parish church of Saint James dates from before 1210 and is a Grade II listed building. The south wall of the nave is considered likely to be a survival from the original building, and the font is also Norman.
Boasting some 120 inhabitants, Ansty has no village shop or post office. Ansty Pick Your Own (PYO) is therefore the only amenity and lies directly on the A30. It is clearly marked with roadside signs.
Driving in, you enter a large area where cars can park and farm vehicles such as tractors can manoeuvre. The PYO shop abuts a large shed containing farm vehicles and other farming equipment. To the south, and closest to the shop, are rows of strawberries placed in pots shoulder high to prevent the interest of slugs and avoid soil-borne diseases - and to make picking easy.
They are often covered in white plastic sheeting to prevent rain damage and protect the fruit. Beyond lie the various rows of fruit and vegetables. Further still are the fields. From the image below you can clearly see patches of green in the standing crop showing Convolvulus cneorum (Bindweed) throughout the entire field, not just on the flattened wheat.
The crop circle was in the field beyond and to the left of the raised lines of strawberries. It is visible from the shop.
If a crop circle were being made during night or day during a two week period, as suggested by other reports (including the week that Karren was away), surely people picking and attending to the rows of strawberries or working alongside the field in which the circle appeared, would have seen marks in the field? They would have been clearly and unmistakably visible due to its proximity. If this is so, can we conclude that the event appeared in one night?
Ansty PYO is no ordinary farm shop. Consisting of a farm shop, tea room and kitchen, and despite being small in size, the farm shop, as well as basic items, stocks delicious teas and jams, honeycombs, and mouth-watering home baked pizzas, Eccles cakes and Sally Lunn current buns to name but a few. The tea room is where people come for coffee or tea and to feast on Karren’s freshly baked goodies.
Just as Ansty PYO is no ordinary farm shop, Karren Price (also known as K) is no ordinary person. Small, and as slender as a whippet with her light brown hair tied back in a ponytail, she is a whirlwind of activity. You will find her serving behind the counter or baking in the kitchen - where she says she is happiest - or coming through with platters of hot freshly baked food just out of the oven.
Married with two active young sons, she somehow seems to manage to combine all three activities. She told us her husband does a ‘proper’ job. One of the things we noticed was how Karren seems to be on such friendly relations with everyone who came into the shop. She told us that she has many regulars, some of whom come at different times of the year, some to pick or buy fruit, during the summer months, and later in the year for pumpkins and Christmas trees; whilst many regularly come to buy her produce.
Karren is ably assisted by cheerful helpers. Run as a family business, the fruit farm was taken over in 1998 and since then has developed into what it is today. On the wall behind the counter are pictures of several maize mazes that Karren told us she herself had designed and made in the fields with her team.
The first one she made took six weeks to design, plan and place in the field. As they gained experience and skill they were able to speed up the process with the advancement of technology ‘...but we never achieved it in a day - very far from it!’ When asked if she could make the recent crop circle, she laughed and said that given all the time in the world, she couldn’t possibly have done anything like that.
She will soon be framing and putting up two images I sent her.
This then was the setting when the crop circle appeared in early August, one of the busiest times of the year. As soon as word got around, Karren unthinkingly opened it to the public and was totally unprepared for the hundreds of people who descended on her shop and disrupted her already busy life. Armed with microphones, recorders, cameras etc., and wanting to speak to her and her staff, she was inundated, and swept off her felt feet as though she had been struck by a bolt out of the blue.
A naturally courteous person with a ready twinkle in her eyes, interview after interview was requested by all and sundry. Eventually she declined to enter into any further debate on the issue as she was so exasperated at how things she had said had been chopped, changed and edited.
Gary King and I kept in touch with Karren over this period, respecting her privacy and gaining her confidence. She was therefore prepared to give us one last and final interview on the subject.
On the morning of Saturday the 24th of September we met in the courtyard at Ansty PYO shop. Just at that moment the representative from Wiltshire Air Ambulance arrived to receive money Karren had collected from people visiting the crop circle. The circle had been harvested on 24th August.
Seeing that Karren was busy with shop full of people we decided to drive around, and later returned to Ansty PYO to have coffee. Karren spotted us, and as the shop was having a quiet spell, she suggested we did the interview there and then. Sitting in the tea room with cups of coffee, she told us her story.
She made it quite clear from the start that she did not want to be recorded on tape, nor did she want us to comment on any negativity already written about her or the event. She simply wanted to rectify a few untruths that had been printed. She started off by telling us that she wanted to thank everyone who had visited the circle and told us that she had met some really charming and interesting people as a result. Regarding the question about when she and her parents went on holiday, it was clear that confusion surrounded this and she wanted to clear it up.
Point 1. On the 31st July, Karren together with her husband and children went on holiday to Devon (she even showed us a photograph on her mobile of one of her sons with bucket of crabs he had caught dated the 2nd August and another dated 4th August of the bay where they had been staying). THE CROP CIRCLE WAS NOT THERE WHEN THEY LEFT.
Point 2. Karren and her family returned home late on the evening on 5th August.
Point 3. Early on the morning of the 6th of August Karren saw the circle from her bedroom window. This was the first time she had seen it, and it was complete. Therefore there are just seven days when it might have appeared.
Point 4. Despite reports to the contrary they did NOT go on holiday with her parents. Her parents went on holiday shortly after she returned.
Karren explained that she ‘sat’ on the circle for several days uncertain what to do about it. It was enormous, covering two acres of crop. Her husband has a drone and took several photographs of the circle. He said that people were already in the circle.
Her PYO lies close to two airfields, Compton Abbas just a few miles away, and Old Sarum near Salisbury. Planes fly over the farm constantly. As reported in a previous article, a farmer’s herdsman daily moved the line of the field overlooking the circle and in which the cattle grazed, in order to give them fresh grass. He saw no circle partly made, or being made, in the field below during those seven days. As word got around, Karren decided to open the crop circle to the public.
The famous crop circle web site, Crop Circle Connector (CCC) published the first photographs of the event on the evening of 12th of August. (They had been notified of the circle about noon that day and in case it might be cut-out, Mr Gyro - Mat Stainton - flew over it that evening and took some photographs. He regretted not being able to include the hill behind it due to the light at that time of day.)
Regarding the suggested involvement of the a small American, Bellingham-based company called ‘Mothership Glass’ (run by the artists Scott Deppe and Jake Collins who make glass pipes) and the similarity of their logo to the crop circle, Karren said she had never heard of Mothership Glass until Saturday 13th August. She has never communicated with them, nor has the secretive Mothership Glass responded to any communications from any crop circle researchers.
In addition, Karren wanted us to report that she has very good relations with her neighbours. This seemed clear to us anyway by the happy, friendly relationship she had with all the customers visiting her shop; many of whom were local.
Karren was delighted to donate the profits raised from people visiting the circle to the Stars Appeal - £1107.16 and £1275 split between the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance and the Wiltshire Air Ambulances. Together with other donations, this makes the total donated from the Farm Shop to charities this year - to date - to almost £8000! Karren also managed to squeeze in training for the London Marathon this year!. Coming from a small family run business that is an amazing achievement!
In conclusion, one thing in particular struck us both when interviewing Karren. This was her transparent honesty and her determination to tell the truth down to the very smallest detail. Unless you have witnessed this personally face to face, it is a quality that may not be apparent over the telephone - especially if she is busy. (We both consider ourselves good judges of character).
Several people may have been disappointed when trying to get in touch with Karren, and a previously arranged interview during a time when she is not busy is a very different scenario to speaking to her over the telephone unexpectedly and hoping for a verbal interview there and then, when she may be extremely busy at that particular moment serving customers or baking in the kitchen.
I will write more about the symbolism of this crop circle and the many other aspects in my annual article but until such time as there is photographic evidence of the crop circle being made (despite all the claims) or any concrete proof of exactly how or when it appeared during the seven day period, this event must remain a tantalising mystery.
Spring has officially arrived, the days are getting longer with lighter mornings and evenings. The coming of Spring was celebrated and observed by different cultures with different festivals all over the ancient world. How our ancient forefathers must have relished these events.
The Druids celebrated Spring on the 1st May with the Beltane ceremony, bringing many people together to acknowledge and revel in the birth of the Summer and the fertility of the land. The festival commemorates the spirit of our ancient forebears and the connection to the cycles of nature.
The Chinese with their Spring Festival that falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month, which is often one month later than the Gregorian calendar. It originated in the Shang Dynasty (c.1600 BC - c.1100 BC) from the people's sacrifices to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.
The Greeks held a festival in which they performed the tragedies of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in Athens which was known as the Great Dionysia. This festival was also connected with the spring.
In ancient Egypt they held a festival to Isis who represented rebirth having being instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after gathering the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set.
In Ireland, St Patrick's Day on the 17th March, was their special day. St Patrick being most famous for banishing all snakes from Ireland for evermore. He also brought Christianity to Ireland.
In ancient Italy the feast of Cyble was the time when they commemorated spring. The festival of Hilaria from 15th - 28th March celebrates rebirth after the legend in which her lover Attis was reborn after killing himself and it was in his blood that the first violets grew.
The Judaic festival is Passover in the Hebrew month of Nisan and celebrates the exodus of slaves from Egypt after suffering slavery for many years. This ritual is represented in a ceremonial cleaning of the house from top to bottom.
In Lanark, Scotland welcomes in the Spring season on the 1st March with Whuppity Scoorie in which children have a wonderful time running to a local church at sunrise, tossing paper balls and wearing hats. They are rewarded with money given by the local assemblymen.
Finally in Russia, close to Easter, again they celebrate rebirth in the coming of light and warmth in the celebration of Maslenitsa in which they enjoy their last meals of meat, fish and dairy prior to the Lent period. A straw likeness of the Lady of Maslenitsa is burned and to insure fertility, the ashes are spread in the fields.
More Good News
As usual I will be taking two crop circle tours this summer. The first is on Thursday 28th July with an optional extra of a private entry visit to Stonehenge in the evening. This will enable us to enter into the inner sanctum of the stones. It is a mystically wonderful experience to see the sun set over the stones and feel the magic of this ancient place. The tickets are like gold dust to obtain. Please book early.
The second tour is on Wednesday 3rd August and this has an optional extra of flying over the circles, which is an incredible way of seeing them in all their majesty from the air, together with the surrounding countryside that includes the famous stone complex at Avebury, and the sacred Silbury Hill, the largest man-made hill in Europe. Please get in touch for early booking.
Still more Good News
I am also reducing the price of my wonderful 2016 calendar from £12 to £10. I have a few left.
It is hard to believe that another summer has come and gone, seemingly in the twinkling of an eye.
This has been good year for the circles and, but the strange thing is that people say to me again and again ‘There don't seem to have been any circles this year, what has happened to them?’ The answer lies with the press, who apart from the odd article about man-made circles, seem to have lost interest in the subject as indeed have many of our regular visitors from abroad who have lost heart and are no longer coming to the UK as farmers close their fields to ‘croppies’.
However, those stalwart visitors who have persevered were graced with a brilliant crop circle exhibition shown in at St Peter's Church, Marlborough, organised and set up by Monique Klinkenberg and Andreas Mueller. It was an outstandingly good presentation and ran from early summer until the third week in September. It attracted a huge number of visitors from both abroad and locally, many who visited it several times to see not only the marvellous images but also read the excellent script celebrating 25 years since the appearance of the world shaking Alton Barnes pictogram up to present times.
In addition, visitors have not been disappointed due to the generosity of Farmer James Hussey who allowed people to visit two magnificent circles that appeared on his land. He and his lovely wife Gill had always loved the circles and made their circles available to everyone. Sadly Gill died last November after a brave 14 year fight with breast cancer. James set up a memorial trust in her memory in order to raise money towards a breast screening unit in Swindon. Gill Hussey is fundraising on Just Giving for The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund.
This circle affected me in a way I can't quite explain. Even if I didn't know that the rose is a symbol of love, the strength of love emanating from the frequencies that radiate and pour out of this photograph, are overwhelming and I have used it as the cover picture of my wonderful new calendar which will be ready for sale at the beginning of October. It is the only calendar showing pictures of this year’s formations.
And so we come to the end of this year’s exciting season.
Later this year, I am going to give talks in Chicago and Sofia in Bulgaria, and I will write again on my return.
Since last writing, events have come and gone. My scientific research day was a bonus as the weather forecast was for rain, rain and still more rain but quite amazingly the evening before when checking the weather forecast, I saw to my astonishment I that the system had moved away and what was left was disintegrating. In fact it turned out to be one of the warmest and sunniest days of the summer. Living on an island must make life hell for professional meteorologists.
After conducting the first control tests, we went into the beautiful ‘Rose’ formation at Uffcott. I will be writing up the results in my annual article early next year, but suffice it to say, they will be very interesting. Despite being ten days old, the circle was full of energy, swirling vortices and other effects.
James Hussey is the only farmer this year who has allowed people to visit the circles on their land. They have always done this in the past as they found the visitors polite and interesting. We could not be more grateful to them. We were all so very sorry to learn of Gill's death after fighting breast cancer valiantly for 14 years. I knew her well and she was a truly wonderful lady. James Hussey wishes all donations to go direct to The Radiotherapy Unit at Great Western Hospital via the links given here; Gill Hussey is fundraising on Just Giving for The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund rather than through any other fundraising agencies. So far he has raised a handsome amount and we are all eager to help in this very worthy cause in memory of Gill.
Next came the Glastonbury Symposium, its 25th year, being the oldest continuously running Conference relating to this subject. Initially it was based on crop circles alone but as the years have progressed and people have realised that crop circles and other subjects are closely allied, it has spread it wings to include other areas of interest. I attended the very first one held in a tiny room above the Blue Note Café in Glastonbury which was reached by going up very rickety stairs and along an equally rickety passage to the room at the end. This was organised by Bob and Glynnis who owned the Pendragon shop. Sadly many of the people attending are no longer with us.
As usual the symposium this year was jammed full of fascinated people and it has maintained its leading role in the Conference arena.
Another event celebrating 25 years of crop circle history is the really exceptionally well presented exhibition being held until the end of August at St Peter’s Church in Marlborough. Entrance is free and I strongly recommend a visit. Together with stunning photographs dating from the 1990 memorable Alton Barnes 'pictogram' onwards, the textual history is both instructive and absorbing.
The first of my crop circle tours followed close on its heels and we were blessed with a spectacular formation at Hackpen Hill, again on James Hussey’s land. To many it was the Thunderbird, a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. It is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. To others it represented the Egyptian Falcon God Horus. Indeed it seemed to linked to many of the ancient civilisations.
Lying on the ridge with the Hackpen chalk white horse close by, it was in a memorable setting. At the request of James Hussey, Paul Jacobs took up residence in his splendid yellow caravan at the edge of the field and collected donations for Gill’s charity at the same time as welcoming and chatting to the visitors. In the afternoon, after a splendid lunch at the Barge Inn at Honey Street, to everyone’s delight we visited the Rose circle. We ended the day with a wonderful private entry visit to Stonehenge. Having got up at 5.30 that morning, I got home at 10.30pm!
The second crop circle tour was this week and once again I took everyone into Hackpen 'Bird'. Before entering, we had enormous fun as I was teaching people how to dowse. I always carry several pairs of rods with me so there were plenty to go around. To people who have never dowsed before, it is quite an amazing experience to see the rods whirling around of their own doing, in response to a question!
In the afternoon we visited a circle that had appeared just the evening before at Etchilhampton. The inside lay of the crop was extraordinarily complex. A series of swirling circles with a centre protected by tufts of standing crop. Unfortunately the lane approaching the field was very narrow resulting in very poor parking and indeed when the farmer came along with his tractor he was unable to get past (luckily none of my group were responsible for this). Being aware of the farmers and the access to their land is essential and I fear the farmer may soon cut out this circle. The day ended with several people taking microlight flights over the circles they had visited. They all came back with grins from ear to ear!!
There have been many more circles than the ones I have mentioned in this letter, so do please visit my web site. As flying is such a dreadfully expensive business any donations towards it would be just so very gratefully received.
At last the circles are appearing! I booked an early morning flight for Thursday morning and got up reluctantly when the alarm shrilled loudly in my ears at 5.30 am, only to find that instead of a gloriously sunny morning as promised by the Met. Office, it was dreary and cloudy. However, I am not an optimist for nothing, so I put on my flying kit and after breakfast set forth for the airfield. Little pockets of blue sky raised my spirits as I drove along - virtually no traffic at that time of day - bliss!
I reached the airfield early and was greeted by the pilot who suggested we should wait a bit in the hopes that the now overcast sky would clear. He had another flight booked after me so we waited as long as we could before venturing forth. Indeed the weather was starting to clear, but there were low whispery clouds scudding across the field giving us little chance of a good break of full sun. Low whispery clouds are death to photography, so we flew around at great expense grabbing our moments whenever we could and just hoping we would be in just exactly the right place at that particular moment (not easy when circling around, I can assure you).
As you can see, it is a strange formation consisting of numerous crescents, two kites in the circle (or an egg timer as some like to call them!) and two small circles with eccentric centres of standing crop. The formation lay between two masts and measured about 200 feet long.
As a bonus, we passed Stonehenge on our way back. You would never believe how unexpectedly small it looks from the air. We flew as close as we could (it is inside the military zone) and I took a picture of the megaliths gleaming like shining white marble in the sun.
If you would like to join in helping me with my quest to bring pictures of the circles to the world please make a donation safely and securely through the PayPal button at the side of my June 2015 crop circle page. I would be so grateful for any help in supporting my photography.
At last it is getting warmer as we approach the summer solstice; one of the few times when the Stonehenge inner sanctum is open to the public to celebrate and herald in the sun as it rises up over the Heel Stone and can be clearly seen through one of the giant megaliths. As the sun rises a roar of joy can be heard from the gathered multitude of Druids, musicians, poets and people from disciplines and traditions and all of walks of life.
I still have few tickets left for the private entry evening visit to Stonehenge on the 30th July. Closing date the end of June.
With very best wishes to you, and best wishes for a happy and blessed Solstice.
On the 30th May I was told about a new circle that had appeared somewhere south west of Blandford Forum in Dorset. I immediately booked a flight for the following day, which according to the Met Office was to have a cloudy start but with sunny intervals starting to appear from around six in the evening.
Indeed it was a cold, cloudy morning and afternoon until glimmers of brightness started to appear, and by the time I got to Thruxton Airport there were enough blue patches "to make a pair of sailor's trousers", as the old saying goes.
Hoping for the best, we set off on a very long flight. The wind was against us, slowing us down, but the lush green fields below, of all wonderful shades, captivated me and I thought "how enormously lucky I am to be doing this and living in this wonderful Isle of Albion".
We found the formation quite easily. It was in barley, that beautiful, luxurious crop which sways in the wind, billowing out across the field, ruffling the crop as it goes, like sails on a boat.
Due to the wind, it wasn't easy to take pictures, as the crop from certain angles was distorted by the wind and an arterial road running adjacent to the field prohibited low flying.
In addition, I had accidentally flipped off my autofocus on the wide angle lens camera. I didn't spot what I had done for several minutes and as I wrestled with a camera I thought it had broken, as does happen quite often when flying over circles. It is very expensive to fly so every lost moment is a financial loss, and it wasn't until we were flying away that I spotted what I had done and we returned for a quick circuit of the formation.
It just shows how rusty one can become and how the smallest error can be catastrophic. It is a matter of running through all the possibilities as quickly as one can to correct the malfunction without panicking!!! I wont make the same mistake again! Had I been at school, I feel sure my report would have read "Could do better".
The weather (which has been so cold it seems like winter all over again) is due to pick up by the end of the week, so hopefully we will see more circles. I will keep you posted.
The crop circle tour on the 30th July is fully booked but there still places for the amazing private entry visit to Stonehenge. I can take more people into Stonehenge than on a crop circle tour, hence the difference in numbers for that day.
I will have to close the Stonehenge booking at the end of June so please hurry if you would like to join me on an experience of a lifetime.
There are still a few places left for the August 4th Crop Circle tour with the optional extra of a wonderful flight over the circles.
I have just returned from a fantastic holiday in Sydney courtesy of my elder son Sloane, who flew me out to celebrate one of his special birthdays. Looking back on it, I think without a doubt it rates as being amongst the happiest and most wonderful holidays I have ever had.
It was my first visit to Australia in the 13 years that Sloane has lived there, and my goodness what a lovely city Sydney is, with its myriad beaches and hidden coves; tree-lined streets and evergreen flowering trees; and winding hilly streets with spectacular views of harbours filled with boats of all sizes.
The temperature ranged from 24 to 30 degrees and above, but having lived in Jamaica during a period of my life for 14 years, I am accustomed to that heat and I can quite see why people love living there. Sloane swims twice a day, very early in the morning at a small wonderful beach called Nelson's Port before going to work - and in the evening on his return.
Among a host of wonderful happenings, I flew over, sailed under and drove over Harbour Bridge! How about that!
Another special event was being taken to a spectacularly brilliant performance of Madame Butterfly at the wonderful Sydney Opera House - what a treat! One of the most memorable I have ever seen, with the added brilliance of Anthony Legge the famous Glyndebourne conductor. The renowned acoustics are indeed quite exceptionally good.
My younger son Angus, who works for the World Health Organisation, joined us from Bangkok for three days. This was just wonderful, as this was his first visit to Australia, and he too loved the whole experience.
I happened to read Bill Bryson's book 'Down Under' whilst I was there, and whereas Bryson waxes lyrical about the Australian continent as a whole, he seemed beset by the terrors of the many poisonous creatures that he felt were lurking everywhere to get him and give him a long, lingering and agonising death!! He survived and so did I!
From Sydney I flew to visit a special goddaughter and her lovely family who live perched high above Wellington. Wellington is not as beautiful as Sydney, but it has its own unique charm and once again I was shown all the sights. I also visited friends of very long standing who live along the coast at Howard's Point. They took me to South Island, docking in Picton. One of the most spectacular views of the whole trip as we approached Picton, was sailing through narrow high tree-topped gorges that had small white sand beaches at their feet.
It is surprising the weather in Wellington doesn't reflect the fact that the nearest land to the south is Antarctica - but it certainly lives up to its name of 'Windy Wellington' - so forget any hair styles!!
I have suffered horribly with jet lag since coming back to the UK, but, after two weeks, I am just returning to normal!!!
The crop circle season approaches, though I have a feeling it will have a late start unless the weather picks up, but please get in touch soon if you would like to join one of my crop circle tours as the places are already being booked.
If anyone would like to come with me on a helicopter flight and share the costs, please get in touch. It is the experience of a lifetime and a fantastic way of seeing not just the circles but also the surrounding countryside and often archaeological sites.
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