West Kennet solstice mystery

West Kennet solstice mystery

This was summer solstice, 2001. As is my wont, I was lounging around in Avebury. Having eaten a few ‘shrooms, I wandered away from my friends, who were ensconced beneath trees near the henge’s Cove stones, for a reflective visit to Silbury Hill. Along the path that branches away from the River Kennet, just as it approaches the Silbury car park, a sight and some sounds slowly, bewilderingly fell into union to present me with a bizarre, slightly distressing scene. A child’s pink scooter and an empty pushchair lay before me, apparently the aftermath of some terrible collision. A toddler’s anguished cries pierced the hot, hazy summer air, though they were out of sight, obviously just coming round after being pitched by the crash into the hedgerow. Suspended in the unnerving hilarity of this half-concocted situation, I took a photo.

Passing the abandoned little vehicles, I saw a mother with a few kids in the neighbouring field. She was helping one of them take a piss, and another was wailing about something else.

It’s nice having a photo that, even just for oneself, captures a frozen moment of psilocybin-inspired unreality.

What I didn’t bargain for was the classically lens-shaped, classically vague and ambiguous UFO in the background over the crest of the downs. I didn’t see it at the time, but there it is, right where a friend convinced me he’d seen a UFO several years before as we stood on Silbury Hill.