Friday 9 June 2023


Whereas I am a deeply religious chap of the Methodist persuasion because Founder John Wesley did, on Tuesday, 13th June 1749, preach in the entrance hall of the olde family pile in King's County and notwithstanding that Methodists world-over celebrate Aldersgate Day upon the 24th May each year to mark the occasion when Wesley was vouchsafed a Witness of the Spirit, nay even an assurance of everlasting life . . . I did on the self-same morning approach The Ringstone as the forenoon sun shone obliquely upon its decorated face.


I was down in the Field Over The River on 24th May working along the Southern margin before the grass was too high to conceal the blackthorn Prunus spinosa suckers which have been marching out steadily from the hedgerow we planted 15 years ago to make a stock-proof fence along the boundary with our neighbour. My task was to extirpate, grub-up, destroy and wreak havoc upon these suckers, lest they get included in the hay when it be cut in July. It was hot, there was no tearing hurry, I R an olde, so I limited my effort to an hour. On the way back to the kitchen for a well deserved cup of tea, I captured a spectacular view of The Ringstone:

Whichever of the two versions of Truth you believe, and notwithstanding the mangling of picture quality to achieve a sub 100kb file size [I have readers in The Third World with cruddy bandwidth] I do declare we have a rather wonderful artifact in our custody. I have occasional twinges of guilt that after 5000 years, most of which, we surmise it was buried, either beneath the peat or in the 19thC wall, we have exposed the Ringstone to the steady fall of acid rain . . . and the reverent strokes of Wiccan-folk at midnight. When looked at, face on, in normal overcast, drizzly weather it looks quite unremarkable. Perhaps it's the familiarity but clearly an acute slanting sun brings out every scratch ad maioram deorum gloriarum [I see you Loki, Pan and Set].

I thought it would be symmetrical and neat to take another picture with the sun in the West and the other side of the marks are in shadow, so I went down at ca. teatime the same day and found that the sun was still very much on face, when I went back an hour later I was still too early. And shortly thereafter a belt of rainless clouds [did I mention we were two weeks into a drought?] put an end of any direct sunlight of whatever angle. I'm a busy fellow, so I wasn't about to tramp through our traditional hay-meadow every 15 minutes to check if the angle was right. So (clever me) I whipped out my smart-phone to take a bearing on the face of the Ringstone to find that it was oriented at 112° or more-or-less ESE - or WNW if you dig with the other foot.

We only have one sun and its rays are parallel regardless of local position. Accordingly, I transferred the geomancy geometric / astronomical problem to the stone coffee table in the yard about 4m from our front door. A metre-stick stolen from the trash at The Institute 5 or 6 years ago [be friendly and polite to the cleaning staff!] was set to the correct angle [see R] and a fancy olive-oil bottle was co-opted as a gnomon. This showed that I'd have to wait until about 19:30hrs to get the right sort of sun . . . and pray for clear skies. Conjunction! - everything came together after supper in Friday 26th May.

And I therefore bring to the eternal record of religious artifacts and practices a picture taken of the Ringstone Left Ascension:

Which is different, yet the same, as the representation at the top of the post, no?

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