Thursday, 20 September 2012

I take my pleasures where I can

Today is old phallic rocks day.

I don't tell the children this, obviously! I tell them we are meeting Fizz to explore old prehistoric ways to live.

At the very thought of squatting in a roundhouse nestled on a hill surrounded by ancient hawthorn bushes while knitting shoes from deer gut, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger jump about with excitement. There is suddenly a flurry of talk - if not activity - around spear-making, tree medicine, clan vows, wolf brothering, knife-carving and debate about whether or not you can get away with skinning Mr Tiddles, given the ridiculous sensitivities of the modern age.

For this complete and total immersion in the daily drama of Ancient Darkness BCE, we can all thank Michelle Paver.

I am sure it is her. It is unlikely to be my choice of inspirational reading material. A Guide to the Prehistoric and Roman Monuments in England and Wales by Jacquetta Hawkes, the hardback edition that I have armed myself with from the local Help the Aged 50p bucket. There is nothing wrong with it! Okay, apart from the bent cover and the way it reads a bit 1951, but that's alright with me. I enjoy stories about a pink nursemaid mixed in with the Quarley Fort.

But, to my mind, better than all, we have warm human beings Chris and family to point us prehistoric roamers and phallic rock hunters to the houses of Din Lligwy, the Lligwy burial chamber, Bryn Celli Ddu, and Holyhead's Ty Mawr huts. Here then, for your old stone appreciation (I shall save the much stroked phallic rock till last):

The children have a fantastic Paverish time of it, claiming houses for their own, making ferny beds, weaving grass, vowing vows and, bizarrely, carving a entire cutlery set, presumably for use after the hunting of Mr Tiddles. Thanks to Jacquetta, I learn about iron age life on the island too, 'the late stronghold of Celtic Druidism in Europe'.

Now, if you have waited all this while, then be rewarded, as I am, with the prehistoric phallic rock of Bryn Celli Ddu. Highly recommended.

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