Chapter 17: Adamâ€™s Grave
The last week of July started well. We were both able to catch up on our work in the office and to cover some local stories around Lille. Lilly and I spent the evenings researching our next target Reims and also the mysterious world of cropcircles.
The Cropcircle Connector proved a great source of knowledge in this area and I found myself subscribing for the season so that I could look at the past season archives. Lilly spent a lot of her time looking at Karen and Steve Alexanderâ€™s Temporary Temples website and again trawling through the archive photographs of years gone by.
I had decided to drive to Wiltshire in England as that would give us the flexibility to move around once we were on site. Devizes proved to be fully booked for accommodation during the conference but I was able to secure a reservation at the Castle and Ball hotel in Marlborough some 20 kilometres away. The upper class market town looked typically English and centred on the main high street with a famous public school at one end and the majority of town housing at the other. We chose to stay three nights; from Friday into Monday morning.
The journey would be fairly quick as I decided to take the Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkestone in order to minimize the Channel crossing time. Friday dawned early and I drove my black Renault Laguna around to Lillyâ€™s apartment. Even though it was 04:30hrs Lilly was up, dressed and ready; she had decided that she would be able to nap in the car on the way so was content just to fall out of bed with her small suitcase and into the nice warm car.
The sense of adventure and expectation hit us as we left Lille on the autoroute for Dunkirk. Within the hour we were in Calais on the final leg of the journey and gliding into the Eurotunnel terminal at Sangatte. The majestic swans and herons bought the landscape alive in the early morning mist as we drove over the raised viaduct to the ticket control area.
I presented my e-reservation print out at the check in desk and we found that we had enough time to stop off at the terminal for a quick coffee before our 06:45hrs Shuttle. I changed some Euros into Pounds Sterling whilst Lilly looked in the perfumery. Then we purchased our coffee and croissants at the cafÃ© near the entrance of the building on our way back to the car.
Within five minutes we had cleared UK border controls and were sat waiting to be loaded at the embarkation point. The light for our row turned green and I followed the car in front as it snaked its way along and down the ramp onto the platform beside the Shuttle. Dousing my headlights I followed the instructions of the loading operative and pulled left onto the waiting train. Then I drove silently along through the aluminium box coaches to our space.
The lady in a Eurotunnel day glow safety jacket clutched her two way radio and waved us into place. â€œHandbrake on, open your windows and sun roof please; have a pleasant journey.â€ She said in a perfunctory way as she smiled and then moved to the next vehicle in line.
I complied with her request whilst Lilly read the overhead illuminated tickertape sign to me in English. Having finished our coffee as the Shuttle silently left the platform we both flipped our seat backs into a 30Â° position and lay back for a short doze.
Forty short minutes later we pulled out of the tunnel as Folkestone came into view through the small carriage side windows. The Shuttle glided to a halt and we finally drove onto English soil. Lilly noticed the white horse on the hillside over looking the town and pointed it out to me.
â€œI think youâ€™ll be seeing a lot more of those where we are going, they are very much a part of the landscape of southern England and Wiltshire.â€
â€œDidnâ€™t Jehanne ride a white horse?â€
â€œYes she did, thatâ€™s because she heralded the downfall of the English and symbolically heralds in medieval days always rode white horses to gain attention; later on trumpeters would ride white horses for the same reason. These are much older Saxon and Celtic horses that are carved into the sides of hills. The turf is cut away and the white chalk exposed to complete the art form!â€
I explained at length that the white horse was an ancient symbol of the Celtic Iceni tribe in Norfolk and also of the Anglo-Saxon people of Southern England.
â€œAh yes, The Vale of Pewsey has a famous Alton Barnes white horse carved into the side of Milk Hill near Adamâ€™s Grave. I have seen it on the web and Google Earth.â€ Lilly spoke with interest and authority, I was impressed, she had obviously done her homework.
She continued, â€œThe East field at Alton Barnes seems to be a major site for crop circles through the years. It sitâ€™s just below Adamâ€™s grave on Walkerâ€™s Hill.
The name Adamâ€™s grave rang a bell with me. â€œThat is right the Anglo-Saxon chronicle mentions that there was a great battle there in 592AD. The local King Ceawlin had his royal hall there; Tolkien used the imagery for ThÃ©odenâ€™s hall and the Riders of RÃ´han in his books.â€
â€œI love those Lord of the Rings films!â€ Lilly exclaimed as she started to find some modern day relevance in my history lesson.
By 07:30hrs French time we were on the M20 and heading towards Maidstone the administration capital of Kent County. I asked Lilly to turn the car clock back an hour to show UK time and we settled down for the 3 hour drive to Wiltshire.
The roads were busy with commuter traffic especially as we pulled onto the M25 from the M26 link. I decided not to take a coffee break at the services as I could see the traffic building up so we pushed on around the M25 to the M3. I stopped at the Welcome Break Fleet services once we had cleared the rush hour traffic. The English school holidays had just started a few days earlier so the major rush for the West Country had already started.
By 10:00hrs UK time we were driving down the long hill to the Amesbury roundabout on the A303.
â€œCan we go and look at Stonehenge?â€ Lilly said excitedly.
â€œYes, why not it is very much part of the ancient landscape and has been the site of several crop formations in the past; especially the Julia set mathematical fractal in 1996.â€
â€œAh, I saw that it was amazing. I read the story on the cropcircle connector!â€ I realised then that Lilly had obviously succumbed to the magic of the circles and subscribed also. I was impressed again at her thorough research.
â€œThe story goes that the formation appeared in daylight; a commercial pilot flew his small plane over the field at four thirty in the afternoon and saw nothing, then when he flew back at just after five it was there; a large precise mathematical fractal lay in the crop just south of Stonehenge the other side of the 303! I think it was just over there,â€ Lilly pointed just front and to the left of the Stonehenge turn off junction whilst I waited for a gap in the traffic.
As we chatted a break in the traffic occurred so I pulled off of the A303 towards the famous megalithic circle of stones that are some 3500 years old. We both experienced a strange sense of being home as we drove passed the monument and then pulled into the car park.
Leaving the car we walked to the ticket office and purchased two admission tickets then went through the turnstile, turned right at the gift shop and walked through the underground tunnel, then up the long ramp onto the other side of the road.
The sense of history hit us as we walked out into the sunlight and up to the ring. The black crows welcomed us with their throaty chatter as they fluttered and hopped from stone to stone.
â€œIâ€™ve been here before!â€ Lilly said breaking the silence.
â€œWhen; as a little girl?â€ I said as I gazed at the magnificent megaliths.
â€œNo it was thousands of years ago and again in many lives since.â€
I remained silent as I too could identify with that feeling of returning. We walked anticlockwise around the outer ring in silence, passed the Heel stone and returned to the start position. After that we chose to sit and contemplate the stones in our own personal space for some 30 minutes. Allsorts of memories crowded into my head as my mind spewed forth the triggered contents from its subconscious store. Rituals, robes and archaic people flooded my vision; I knew for sure then that I too had been here before; many times. I had come home.
The cloudy sky obscured the sun but I could tell that it was fast approaching midday so I decided to go and find Lilly. She was sat on the grass at the apex of the inner horseshoe silently meditating.
â€œWithout blinking of moving as I approached she said, â€œI was a priestess of the stones!â€
I understood immediately, she had been a priestess many times in many lives and in many parts of the world; Neolithic England, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Anglo-Saxon England, Viking Norway and Iceland; finally Luxembourg in medieval Europe. Her list was my list. I could see myself with her many times and in many rÃ´les; always together, always on a mission, always part of the same team. The words - soul clan â€“ bubbled to the surface of my consciousness and at last I understood intuitively the truth of its deep meaning.
â€œItâ€™s time to visit the Barge Inn for lunch my Fleur dâ€™Lilly!â€ I touched her on the shoulder and an incredible feeling of electricity flowed through me. It seemed to emanate from the living stones themselves, flow through Lilly and enter my body where it connected with my soul; very powerful, very deep, very ancient.
We walked back to the car linked arm in arm and headed back the way we had come to the Amesbury roundabout.
Taking the first left we drove passed the army camp at Bulford and then the tank training grounds with their yellow warning signs marking the road crossing points. Twenty minutes later we were in Upavon and heading for the Vale of Pewsey. The sense of coming home was growing stronger every minute as the magical landscape wove its spell.
At the Woodbridge roundabout, I intuitively carried straight on ignoring the sign for Pewsey to the right. I knew that an inner auto pilot was navigating my way directly from my subconscious, so I just gave in to it.
The car snaked effortlessly through the twisty narrow lanes as it passed though several hamlets; it too seemed to have a mind of its own.
At last we drove over a humped back bridge that crossed a main railways line. Five minutes later we wound our way into the small village of Honey Street within sight of the Alton Barnes white horse. I turned left at the timber mill just before the canal bridge and glided silently along the single track road that led to the hidden Barge Inn. Several houses backed onto the narrow lane which gave it the feel of private property but I knew that the inn lay just around the corner.
I parked the car and we clambered out of the vehicle. The camp site was half full and our eyes were immediately caught by a magnificent Native American tepee that sported a multitude of rainbow coloured streamers from the tops of its poles.
As we walked up the gentle slope to the main door of the public house we saw several barges sat lazily on the canal; children, dogs and ducks all mingled effortlessly around them in idyllic harmony.
People sat at wooden trestle tables enjoying the weather, the English flat beer and lunch. The scene was very different from France but it did have a certain Anglo-Saxon charm about it. We sat at one of the tables next to some croppies. Lilly wanted fish and chips as it was Friday and we were in England; the land of clouds as she called it! I decided to have the same plus a pint of real ale. Lilly wasnâ€™t sure about my drink choice but eventually I persuaded her to try a half of the quintessential English drink.
â€œItâ€™s similar to Belgian beer; youâ€™ll like it!â€ I said enthusiastically. Lilly made a face as she could see that I was joking, but she decided to give it a go. I then left her chatting to the croppies who all seemed very friendly whilst I went inside to order.
Whilst waiting for the drinks I chanced to wander around the bar and into the back room where I stood reading the notice board for several minutes. I knew from the internet that the famous East field had been visited with a deceptively simple looking formation on Bastille Day â€“ July the 14th. I hadnâ€™t thought much of it but now I could see the map position and the amazing photographs of the complex woven floor pattern which drew me like a magnet. I decided to tell Lilly that we should pay it a visit. Just then the barman called me as the fish and chips were ready so I paid and carried the tray back outside.
I found Lilly deep in conversation with the croppies so I asked them what they thought of cropcircles? The answers varied from the esoteric to the, itâ€™s all pensioners and plankers! One of the croppies explained the double entende associated with the word plankers which made me laugh and caused Lilly to blush.
They explained enthusiastically that in the late 80s early 90s the government had used two old age pensioners called Doug and Dave to quieten the hysteria associated with the massive crop formation that were appearing. They claimed in the newspapers to have made all the circles and patterns with nothing more than a wooden board and some string. Dave had worked for the Ministry of Defence and had since died and Doug was now very ancient; yet still the formations came and in ever increasing complexity.
I laughed and said, â€œHis ghost must have been making circles in France recently then!â€
The group became interested in our adventures and listened carefully as Lilly unfolded the story of the cropcircles at Orleans and Lille. I was amazed at the high level of emotion and passion displayed by the normally reserved English, plus several Dutch and a German couple when the subject of cropcircles was raised. They said they were regarded as anything but normal and that the majority of the people wandered around close minded, like mental zombies; all you needed was a spark of intelligence and an open mind.
They also mentioned that the formations were increasing in complexity as we approached the Mayan 2012 end of time. I found myself thinking; perhaps that was something to do with our experiences which seemed to be accelerating and increasing in complexity too?
After lunch we said our goodbyes to the several people we had been talking to. I was gratified to learn that at least 2 of the couples were attending the conference in Devizes over the weekend.
Driving back out through the wood yard we turned left over the small brick bridge and carried on along the road past the Post Office. Then straight on, we continued over the junction that goes left to Stanton St. Bernard and right to Pewsey. The incline of the road increased considerably as we climbed and skirted right around the base of Walkers Hill. Then cresting the hill we followed the road until we reached the Knap Hill car park. I turned right onto the rough gravel surface and parked the car facing towards Adamâ€™s Grave.
We disembarked, stretched our legs and gathered our equipment together. A short walk over some rough grass with multiple tyre tracks took us to the base of Golden Ball hill with its spectacular view over the East field.
We stood at the gate with Woodborough hill in the far distance across the wide Vale of Pewsey. Away to our right Adamâ€™s Grave rose up majestically above us just the other side of the main road. I pointed it out to Lilly and said that it was also known as Wodenâ€™s barrow which betrayed its more recent Saxon origin. The whole place felt somehow magical and alive with ancient energies.
Just then a shock of blonde hair came into view below us, followed by a man wearing a beret. I thought that unusual as the English were not known for wearing that very distinctive piece of head gear. May be they are French or Scottish I thought to myself as they came ever closer? The lady owner of blonde hair was very striking. She wore dark sunglasses and led the way with a determined stride up the narrow track towards us. As she neared our position I could see her fine aristocratic high cheek bones and lithe athletic body more clearly. She looked almost Elven in her ethereal beauty yet she had a strong determined warrior countenance. In her hand she carried a camera and on her back a knap sack very much like Lillyâ€™s.
We hadnâ€™t long to wait as they neared our observation position rapidly. The lady avoided my glance and busied herself with unlatching the gate whilst her companion turned to observe the formation in the East field below. My curiosity peaked when I saw that his beret sported a shiny silver sheriffâ€™s badge with a single 5 pointed star. I took it as mark of coincidence, the pentagram and the number 5 just hit me; so I spoke to him. â€œAfternoon, have you been to visit the cropcircle?â€
The lady looked directly at me and smiled, there was something very familiar about her. Then her companion answered my question. â€œYes, itâ€™s very interesting, deceptively simple in its design just a single circle with a double arc but the floor pattern is absolutely incredible, such a complex weave, like woven fabric.â€
The word arc leapt out at me as yet another coincidence and as such it hit my subconscious with a resonant jolt.
â€œThat sound astonishing, we shall go and have a look!â€ I then asked for directions and if there were any hazards to look out for apart for the cows. The aristocratic lady continued to gaze at me from behind her dark sunglasses; I could feel her high vibrationary frequency resonate with mine, it seemed to trigger my subconscious into action which was trying desperately to attract my conscious attention. I noticed then that her companion had bought his beret in Paris as it had the date 1998 and the French rugby logo at the back.
â€œExcuse me monsieur, are you French?â€ I asked politely, â€œyou seem to be wearing a rugby supporterâ€™s beret!â€
â€œNo, Iâ€™m from Gloucester actually. I bought it on a trip over there at an international match in the Stade de France 11 years ago.â€
I had some difficulty understanding his accent but I was amazed at how friendly he was towards me. Again I had the distinct feeling that I knew him from somewhere.
He turned towards Lilly and exclaimed, â€œSnap! Youâ€™re dressed the same as Roselinde.â€ The aristocratic lady went slightly pink and blushed behind her sunglasses but then managed to force a smile.
Lilly looked surprised at the sudden attention paid to her, â€œYes, I suppose I am!â€ she replied looking at the aristocratic lady.
â€œWell itâ€™s been very nice meeting you; enjoy the circle we must be going now!â€ Roselinde gave her companion an icy glance as she obviously felt that her name was not public property and with that started to walk towards the car park.
After some seconds the man said the same and disappeared into the distance to catch the lady up. I stood watching them for some time and at one point I felt sure that the lady turned her head towards me and smiled.
Lilly and I then went through the gate and descended down the single track to the valley floor. We had to negotiate a few thistles but managed without too much problem to avoid painful injuries. I had counted the number of tramlines over on the way down so I knew how to access the formation cleanly. It was just as well because once level with the crop of wheat I had no reference point to guide me.
Together we walked along the correct tramline which took us directly to the formation. We were both extremely careful not to damage the wheat but I found myself gently brushing the seed heads with my fingers as I walked which reinforced the moment for me with touch. After 10 minutes we stood on the edge of the formation, it was magnificent the whole circle was woven with sheaves of wheat plaited at right angles to one another.
â€œIncredible, it is so beautiful, what could have done this?â€ Lilly was totally awe struck by the size and complexity of the formation.
â€œI have simply no idea my Fleur dâ€™Lilly, it is quite wonderful!â€
Then we both stepped into the circle to join several others who were engaged in meditating, observing or just chatting within its circumference.
I understood now why Karen and Steve Alexander had called their website Temporary Temples, for we were definitely stood in a sacred space. Lilly photographed the lay and chatted to the other people in the circle. I was content to investigate the stalks for elongated growth and exploded nodes. Finally I decided to chat to the same croppies as Lilly.
After an hour we made our way back up the single track to the car park. We stopped to chat to a delightfully feisty Dutch lady called Janet Ossebard and her friend Andy Fowlds. It turned out coincidentally that she was a famous cropcircle author and had given many talks on the subject. I instinctively found myself using my Flemish and again felt a deep past connection with her.
â€œSo, that was the famous East field, well Iâ€™m not disappointed it was astonishing!â€ Lilly sat back in her car seat and reviewed the photographs she had taken on her digital camera. â€œThe Devil is in the detail; I wonder how many people actually take a really close look at this phenomenon before they dismiss it out of hand?â€
â€œNot many, most just have such closed minds; by any stretch of the imagination we have just witnessed a miracle! I replied earnestly. â€œItâ€™s our job to rattle their paradigm cages!â€
She smiled and then put her camera on the back seat. Starting the car I reversed and pulled onto the main road, heading towards Lockeridge and the A4. The short drive to Marlborough took no more than 20 minutes and we were soon outside the front door of the Castle and Ball Hotel in the middle of the high street.
It was now 17:00hrs as we checked in at the reception desk in the quaint hotel. By 18:00hrs we were ensconced in our rooms and ready to go out on the town. I said that I would meet Lilly in the bar and that we would have an aperitif before finding a restaurant. The barman recommended eating at Godotâ€™s Bar Brasserie in Kingsbury Street which he said was also good for several other restaurants, so I asked him for directions.
Lilly joined us and we chatted to the barman for some time as he was so convivial. We left the hotel at around 19:00hrs and strolled to Kingsbury Street. Reading the menus of the various restaurants we decided that the cuisine was good but that it wasnâ€™t really for us.
Suddenly Lilly had a flash of inspiration, â€œHey, Yann why donâ€™t we go back to the Barge Inn?â€
In exact synchronicity I had had the same idea; it was if we had both received a subconscious text message at the exact same time! I intuitively felt that it was right so agreed with Lilly immediately. We made our way back to the high street and jumped into my black Renault. Soon we were heading back out of Marlborough in the direction of Silbury Hill and Avebury.
After 5 minutes I found the turning off to the left for Lockeridge and we were soon driving through the small village towards Alton. The sky was clear and still light as the hour difference with France had kicked in. Cresting the hill at Alton we passed Knap Hill car park and skirted once again around the base of Adamâ€™s grave. The sight of the hill looming over us bought back dÃ©jÃ vu sensations as we wound down into the Vale of Pewsey.
I interrupted Lillyâ€™s conversation by suddenly blurting out the thoughts that had flashed into my head, â€œThey had a palisade across the road back there and a big gate. The Saxon Royal Hall was built on Adamâ€™s grave which was called Wodenâ€™s barrow back then in 592AD. I remember the whole area was fortified and laid out to guard the fertile wooded valley below. There was a surprise attack and I lost my left eye to a spear thrust as I fought in the shield wall. It was a terrible defeat.â€
We were soon driving through Honey Street and over the small brick bridge that spans the canal. I turned right into the timber yard and carried on past the houses to the Barge Inn.
The atmosphere was alive with people enjoying the summer evening underneath the gaze of the white horse in the distance. I parked the car and we walked to the main entrance of the pub. The bar was busy but they were still serving food so we squeezed in at one of the tables.
Without looking in my direction a distinctively feminine aristocratic voice said, â€œDonâ€™t I know you?â€
I suddenly realised that I was at the same table as the lady Roselinde whom I had met that very afternoon! The gentleman with the beret sat opposite her and was engaged in conversation with several female members of her entourage.
â€œThis is a fine coincidence!â€ I said thinking of the unlikely probability of meeting the same two people twice in one day.
â€œYes, a splendid coincidence but of course there is no such thing it is exactly how the universe works as everything is connected.â€
â€œThatâ€™s right Dad!â€ The man with the beret joined in with the observation.
â€œDad?â€ I repeated the strange phrase which I found both endearing and disturbing!
â€œIâ€™m Billy the Kid and this is her Royal Roselindness, together with Hilda, Patsi, Jane and Kristina. I call them the Witches of East field!â€ They obviously all knew each other very well as they were not at all perturbed by his quirky introduction!
I smiled and introduced our party. â€œThis is Lilly and I am Yann from Lille in France; pleased to meet you.â€
They seemed pleased to see us and we joined in effortlessly with the party as they were about to order their meals. Our food arrived after several minutes and we were able to join in with our new found croppie friends. It all seemed so natural and as though we had known each other before. Billy talked in depth on Indian philosophy and the nature of the holographic illusion that we call everyday reality. The â€œwitchesâ€ joined in with very profound points of view and I was immediately struck by the richness of this new strange world that I found myself in.
Hilda was extremely forthright and regaled the assembled group with tales of her trips to India. I soon found myself answering all sorts of enquiries about myself and my life in Lille. The main question seemed to be why there was a distinct lack of cropcircles in France? Lilly and I shrugged our shoulders as we had no answers to that and so moved the conversation quickly along.
I learnt that Patsi was an art teacher when I complimented her on her colourful Native American inspired outfit. â€œIs the tepee yours?â€ I asked.
â€œNo, mine is less grand, the group that owns the large tepee are all from North Wales. They are having a drumming ceremony tonight as it is a full Moon. You are very welcome to stay and join in, everybody is invited!â€
I noticed that Roselinde was quietly taking in the whole scene, then she spoke, â€œHave we met before? I feel that I know you from somewhere? I thought that this morning.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think so, but you do look very familiar.â€ I could feel my subconscious tugging at my mind as I failed dismally to grasp the connection.
The moment passed and Lilly engaged the group in conversation about cropcircles asking each for their impressions and experiences. The stories were very illuminating and strayed into many areas of study from the nature of consciousness to UFOs.
I offered to stand a round of drinks and asked everybody for their preference. At the bar I suddenly changed my mind and ordered a bottle of chilled champagne and 8 glasses. It felt like a celebration so I thought I would act on my intuition and go with the cosmic flow of the universe.
I carefully carried the tray with the bottle and glasses back to the table in the corner.
â€œLadies and gentleman, in order to celebrate our new friendship, I hope you will indulge with me in one of the finer inventions to come out of France!â€
Everybody applauded and then Roselinde turned to me and said, â€œI adore champagne; how did you know it is my favourite drink?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know? I just knew!â€ The stark simplicity of my answer shocked me. It was direct and honest with no attempt to gild the lily or qualify the statement. Looking at Lilly I realised the pun and continued, â€œMy answer is very short as I have made no attempt to, as you say, gild the lily and as you can see our Fleur dâ€™Lilly needs no gilding, for she like you, is perfect the way she is, no!â€ Roselinde blushed as I continued, â€œYour spirit burns so brightly my lady that you cannot hide it from me behind those dark glasses; santÃ©!â€
The table went suddenly quiet as Billy, Hilda, Patsi, Jane and Kristina felt the electricity that crackled between us. Roselinde looked down, then smiled, raised her head towards me and lifted her dark von Zipper sunglasses. It was the very same action that a medieval knight would have used to raise their visor in order to see clearly during a joust.
At last I saw directly into her soul through those beautiful clear sea blue eyes that finally held my gaze. I knew then in an instant exactly who this mysterious aristocratic lady was for my soul resonated in recognition of her sang royale blood; she was a Dragon princess of the highest echelon. I resisted the strange urge to bow and drop down onto one knee and busied myself with pouring the champagne. I popped the cork which broke the silence and then carefully poured the 8 glasses which drained the bottle perfectly.
Sitting back down I passed the glasses around the table leaving Billy and myself to last. Hilda called for a toast so thinking quickly on the spot I found myself looking at Roselinde and saying, â€œTo this moment and the moment yet to come!â€ Everybody repeated the toast and took a sip of the clear effervescent nectar.
â€œVery good Dad, a declarative statement based on the eternal now!â€ Billy adjusted his beret and joined in with his own interpretation of my toast. â€œEnjoy the now, for there is only the now!â€
Roselinde contemplated Billyâ€™s words looked at me and added, â€œThis is just such a moment; you have captured its essence perfectly my chevalier noir!â€
The words came so naturally from her lips that I failed to notice immediately what my lady Roselinde had said; then it hit me like a thunder clap! â€œSay that again...â€
She repeated it with a quizzical expression and with some hesitation as she suddenly became suddenly extremely self conscious. I smiled to reassure her. Then I asked, â€œWhy did you say chevalier noir?
â€œI donâ€™t know? I just knew; it seemed to be the right thing to say!â€ Roselinde smiled, replaced her sunglasses and took a sip from her champagne glass.
Our moment over I was suddenly disturbed by the sound of Native American drumming coming from outside in the camping field; the drumming ceremony had started perfectly on cue. Hilda and Patsi finished off their drinks and excused themselves as they were eager to leave the table to join in the ceremony. â€œBearcloud is coming!â€ Hilda said enthusiastically above the noise and the chatter in the bar. â€œWe must go and greet him!â€
I stood up with Billy and allowed the ladies to pass. Then Lilly decided to go with Jane and Kristina just after the others as their curiosity was now getting the better of them.
â€œTime for another pint, Dad!â€ Billy raised his empty glass as a gesture and went to the bar. I was a little nonplussed but assumed that it was a compliment to be called, Dad; by Billy the Kid no less!
â€œMerci, mon ami but I have had sufficient English beer for one day!â€ I responded honestly as I patted my abdomen.
I was suddenly alone with Roselinde at the table. I decided to speak my mind, â€œI have never known you, yet I know you; does that make sense?â€ I spoke reflectively as I played with my empty glass somewhat nervously.
Roselinde touched my hand which sent an instant electric shock surging through my central nervous system. â€œI feel the same. I know there is a deep connection. I can feel it. I felt that bond between us when we met on Knap Hill briefly this afternoon but I wasnâ€™t sure. Could it be Anglo-Saxon?â€
I listened to her soft words that were spoken with precise diction and sensitivity.
â€œWhat makes you say that?â€ I said in response to her candid disclosure.
â€œMy name is Roselinde Saxonby which I have always felt is a little more than a passing coincidence.â€
â€œWell, Roselinde Saxonby, I am delighted to make your acquaintance. We shall have to delve a little further into this affair. My name is Yann Baillieu and I write for La Voix du Nord the local paper in Lille, France but for now I think we should go and enjoy the drumming.â€
Her radiant smile told me that I had said exactly the right thing so with that we left by the back door that led out onto the canal tow path.
The full Moon was rising over the beautiful Barge Inn to our left as I helped Roselinde down the bank and onto the level surface of the camping field. We joined the others sat cross legged on blankets around the fire in front of the tepee. The drums were beating and Bearcloud chanted a haunting Lakota refrain entitled return of the eagles.
I realised then that this was the perfect moment to come that I had toasted in the pub not an hour ago.
The drumming ceremony ended at 01:00hrs and I walked Roselinde back to her camper van in the corner of the field. We swapped mobile phone numbers and agreed to meet up at the conference in the morning.
I then returned to the fire and sat next to Lilly who was busy talking to Billy as they fire gazed under the full Moon.
â€œI think its time to go home my, Fleur dâ€™Lilly?â€ I whispered gently. Billy said his goodbyes and gave me a hug which came from the heart. Lilly and I made our way to the car which started first time. I drove along the single track road and back through the timber yard. At the road I turned left over the bridge and continued through the village and up to Adamâ€™s grave. As we crested the hill I felt an urge to stop at Knap Hill car park for one last look.
We sat for a few minutes and watched the valley below as it slumbered quietly under the magical full Moon. The whole scene was amazingly beautiful bathed in soft moonlight and I thought of the Saxon connection with Ceawlin and the royal hall. Perhaps Roselinde was right; perhaps there was a deep connection with this mystic landscape and the Anglo-Saxon past of 592AD.
I certainly felt strangely very at home here, in the land of clouds and so did Lilly. It was now nearly 02:00hrs so reluctantly I sung the car around in the car park and we headed down the road to Lockeridge and our hotel bed beyond.