Bouncy, But Nice

View beside Mustdyke

Bouncy Stonehenge and the medieval Mustdyke, which runs through the centre of Flag Fen. Note to students of archaeology: this is a fine example of inverted stratigraphy with Stonehenge (2500 BC) positioned above the post alignment at Flag Fen (1300 BC).

Oh dear, once again I find I am out of step with colleagues in archaeology. In theory I should hugely disapprove of Bouncy Stonehenge, largely because it took the money that should, I am assured, have been spent on the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre. The trouble is, I’ve bounced on Bouncy Stonehenge – and for over an hour. It was very exhausting, but immense fun – and if it comes anywhere near you, I strongly advise you have a good bounce, too. Running headlong at fifty tons of sarsen trilithon is great fun and you get a wonderful chance to appreciate the sheer scale and majesty of the monument as you lie exhausted on the vast green cushion which is such huge improvement on the litter-scattered grass of Salisbury Plain.

Bouncy Stonehenge at Flag Fen

Bouncy Stonehenge without any people, while the air pressure is still building up. Purists and other pedants please note: the Bluestones have been omitted. They obstructed the bounce-path. Cut-down versions serve as boundary markers.

So Bouncy Stonehenge came yesterday to Flag Fen as part of the lead-up to the Dig Ventures Flag Fen excavation. Two key members of the old Flag Fen digging team, Mike Bamforth and Dave Britchfield, were there too. They’ll be playing an important part in the Dig Ventures project: Dave was one of our best Site Supervisors and Mike was Maisie’s able assistant on the wood side of things. Today, they’ve both moved on a long way in the profession and it’s great that they’ve been able to come back and help-out the new project. Raksha Dave, the cuddliest member of Time Tea by miles, is also a very experienced archaeologist in her own right and she’s going to be part of the Dig Ventures team too. Meanwhile, Maisie and I will be available at any time for advice.

When it comes to bouncing, I have to say, I was in a class of my own. Seemingly without any effort, I could bounce-run round and round the stones at immense speed, my hands clasped firmly behind my back. One or two passing toddlers were reduced to twitching jelly, but as I told their grieving parents, it was a small price to have paid for the privilege of witnessing such poetry in motion.

My first bounce

My first bounce. A short time later I was able to perform aerial somersaults and back-flip body-twists.

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A well-earned rest.

Mike shows how it's done

Mike Bamforth shows how it’s done. Raksha lies before him, struck dumb with admiration.

Dave Britchfield is a very large man and he began bouncing quite well: the great sarsens solemnly bowed as he majestically bounced by. Then he bounced too high and hurt his knee. The last time I saw him he was eating a medicinal hamburger near the Visitor Centre. Mike Bamforth, clearly thought he was elegant and he could bounce quite high, I suppose. Some say, higher even than me. And as for Raksha? What is there to say? She bounced skyward and then subsided elegantly: rather like the expiring bird in Swan Lake. I was visibly moved. Tears welled-up in my eyes. My shoulders shook…

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