Chip Henges: They’re the Latest Thing!

Stonehenge with chips and mushy peas, by Prudence Stait

Stonehenge with chips and mushy peas, by Prudence Staite

This won’t be a long post. We just want to keep you informed, Gentle Readers!Lately friends have drawn our attention to a couple of chip henges, or as the crasser parts of the globe might say, French fry henges. And we want to share them with you here, to enjoy with a fine ale and perhaps some fried fish (or, if you must, a burger).

The one pictured above was created by artist Prudence Staite, not to be confused with Firefly‘s wonderful Jewel Staite. Ms. Staite also created a cheesehenge a couple of years ago. Perhaps we should interview her on the blog! To quote the article that featured the photo, “Ms Staite’s edible art was commissioned to celebrate Chip Week 2014, which is organised by the Potato Council.” It reached our attention via Visit Wiltshire and the revered friend of the blog Rian Edwards, and very nearly by author Mike Williams as well. Thank you to them all!

Perhaps Chip Week was equally the inspiration for the other henge we’re featuring in this post:

Chip henge from the BBC's Room 101

Chip henge from the BBC’s Room 101

Not having seen the piece from which this chip henge was extracted, we don’t have any context for it. But it was sent to us by alert friend of the blog Ms. Emma Evans. Thank you, Emma!

They are similar and of similar quality, but we would be amiss not to draw your attention to the lemon sunrise in the photo at the top. A definitive touch! The mushy peas are, of course, definitively British as well.

We will keep you no longer. You are dismissed to go on to more weighty matters, like trying out the Megabits beta, or, well, eating chips and drinking heavily. Chip henges are not worth spending too much time on. They just show how Stonehenge replicas are an integral part of the Zeitgeist. As Clonehenge should be!

Don’t be afraid to make a chip henge or French fry henge part of your Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Not that Stonehenge has ANYTHING to do with Ireland or Celtic people, but chips are very good when you’re drinking too much. So, whether in your cups or suffering with hangovers, dear friends, happy henging!

Carleton College Welcomes Tiny Stonehenge-Building Alien Ice Druids!

Snowhenge at Carleton College, photo by Erin Wilson, used with permission

Snowhenge at Carleton College. photo by Erin Wilson, used with permission

We used to post snowhenges from time to time earlier in our blog history. See the first five links here to view some. But it has been a while since we’ve seen one, despite copious amounts of snow in North America this winter. What on earth do people do with snow these days if they’re not henging with it? Tweet it? Instagram it? Make snowCamerons and hit them with flamethrowers? Haha, not in North America, of course. Just kidding. That’s why the UK government disallowed snow and only permits rain now, exactly so things like that won’t happen!

But at any rate, we have a snowhenge for you today, as you can see. It was built by students at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and photographed by Erin Wilson, 2014 and Agnes Tse, 2016, the years being the year they will graduate, although no future accomplishment will ever come close to the glory of having a photograph posted on Clonehenge, so they may as well quit and turn to a life of crime now. Good luck!

Carleton College's snowhenge. Photo by Agnes Tse, used with permission

Carleton College’s snowhenge. Photo by Agnes Tse, used with permission

The oddest thing about this snowhenge has to be the fact that no one involved is talking about the most important bit of data about any henge: who actually built it. Very suspicious, if you ask us. Lots of care taken to see that we credit the photos properly, no mention at all of the builder(s). We aren’t ruling out the possibility that tiny alien ice druids have arrived from outer space to attend college in Minnesota. Further reports on this are welcome!

As for the score, we award 6 druids for this effort. Only an outer sarsen circle, without the inner trilithon horseshoe or any bluestones or ditch and bank, or outlier stones; proportions wrong, etc. Regular readers know the drill. 6 is actually a pretty high score for this, but we’re going with it.

The fact is, we love seeing a snowhenge after a long hiatus, and anyway, we’re glad to have something other than toilets at the top of our blog!

We have a Mexican Stonehenge replica from a park that includes miniatures of world landmarks coming up at some point. For up-to-the-moment reports on Stonehenge replicas large and small, join the Clonehenge Facebook group or follow Clonehenge on Twitter. Occasional Stonehenge news shows up there, too.

Our thanks to Pete Glastonbury and someone we know only as Liz! And, yes, until next time, we wish all of our friends some very happy henging!

Toilet Façade Henge, Alas, Gone Down the Tubes!

the toilet block at Stonehenge's old visitor centre, photo by Tim Daw, used with permission

toilet block at Stonehenge’s old visitor centre, photo by Tim Daw, used with permission

We have seen the toilet henges and the bog roll tube henges, and even one or two that appeared to be made from, well, something a dog left behind. So there is no reason to be squeamish about this one, right? These are the doors of the toilets at the old Stonehenge visitor centre, crafted and painted to give a suggestion of the monument itself.

Toilet at the old Stonehenge visitor centre, photo by Tim Daw

Toilet at the old Stonehenge visitor centre, photo by Tim Daw

There is a new visitor centre now, of course, and these have been torn down and carted away (presumably in bits. We doubt anyone would choose to keep them as memorabilia), disappeared forever. So this post is a last gesture of appreciation to whatever unknown person or people decided that a Stonehenge visitor centre needed Stonehenge toilets.

We’re certain there must be a theory out there proposing that Stonehenge must be an ancient toilet, probably for aliens. Every possible theory about Stonehenge eventually gets thought of; not only thought of, but fervently believed in and maniacally evangelised. The toilet theory of Stonehenge seems unlikely, and we don’t expect it to get much play in the media. Still, who knows what the future will bring!

We could have made a lot of bad toilet-related puns in this post, but we have been dancing around in a desperate effort to hold them in. We knew how you would appreciate it.

Our sincerest thanks to the inimitable Tim Daw, and until next time, of course, dear friends, we wish you happy henging!

Seemed Like a Good Movie Replica, But All Our Hopes Were Shanghaied!

A shot of the Stonehenge in Shanghai Knights

A shot of the Stonehenge in Shanghai Knights

One of the movies listed in our Quick List of Stonehenge Movies post is the 2003 movie Shanghai Knights. The Stonehenge above is seen in the movie for a minute or so. Have a look: not too bad, right? Even the shapes of the stones are good. At last, an American movie replica that actually looks like Stonehenge. It even has the sheeps!

But then we sat down and looked at it for a while. There’s something funny about those sheep. They should be bigger because they’re closer but instead they seem to be about the size of chickens when compared to the people. Unless there’s a whole Wiltshire breed of mini-sheep that we never heard of, that’s wrong.

When we went on to examine the stones, the closer we looked, the more suspicious they seemed. Forget that it’s a series of trilithons instead of a stone circle. That’s such a common rookie error that it’s hardly worth mentioning. Before we say what we saw, take a moment and have a look for yourself at the photo at the top. See anything fishy?

Here’s what we realised upon close study: that there are only two trilithons there, both repeated with small changes so you don’t notice. What does that mean? It means the Shanghai Knights Stonehenge replica never existed except as pixels. It is, disappointingly, merely a virtual henge.

Another, rather lovely, view of the Shanghai Knights replica

Another, rather lovely, view of the Shanghai Knights replica

On the second view, the photo just above, it’s less obvious at first, but upon closer examination, it’s clear that it has been heavily retouched, with the bottoms of the stones particularly hazy.

We’re not shocked. After all, building a whole Stonehenge out in a field for a short scene in which the characters never actually interact with the stones would be a lot more trouble and expense, and, frankly, more environmental damage than it’s worth. Still, it stands as a sad reminder that as computer graphics improve, we aren’t likely to see many real Stonehenges built for movies anymore. *sad Clonehenge face* It heralds the end of an era.

Before we go, here are the lines from the Shanghai Knights Stonehenge scene:

Who would leave a pile of stones in the middle of a field?

I don’t know, John. These people are nuts.

It must be American humour, because if it’s funny, we don’t get it. Maybe the humour is virtual, to match the henge!

We haven’t wished our readers a Happy New Year for 2014, so we do so now. May this be your best year yet. Remember, building a Stonehenge replica is good luck! Maybe that’s why Shanghai Knights didn’t turn out to be a very good movie. By refusing to build a real henge, they invoked an ancient Clonehenge curse!

So build yourself a Stonehenge, and until next time, friends, happy henging!

Happy Winter Solstice to All!

a bronze display model of Stonehenge in the new Visitor Centre

a bronze display model of Stonehenge in the new Visitor Centre

There is much to celebrate for Stonehenge lovers this week! Winter solstice is upon us, arguably the date for which Stonehenge was built, and the date of its great early festivals, AND this week marked the opening, at long last, of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre. No more parking in the car park near Stonehenge and going through a dodgy underpass. Now you pay lots of money , er, we mean, get to go into a world class visitor centre and…

Visitors will be collected by Land Rovers drawing surprisingly elegant little carriages—English Heritage staff have been using them as quiet, comfortable meeting rooms to escape the building site—and taken to the stones.

The nice bit is:

The shuttles will stop halfway at a little wood – one of the myriad abandoned alternative sites for the centre – offering visitors the option of walking across fields to the monument, or continuing on to be dropped a short stroll from the stones. Although English Heritage cares for the monument, thousands of surrounding acres belong to the National Trust, and new signboards are being installed in the fields explaining the barrows, avenues and mounds which speckle the landscape.

a panorama at the Centre permits the experience of solstice sunrise all year long

a panorama at the Centre permits the experience of solstice sunrise all year long

But the Visitor Centre itself is packed with goodies, and an esteemed Friend of the Blog who went in and did reconnaissance for us, says that there are numerous Stonehenge models to be seen there (like the bronze one at the top of this post, with the solstice line marked on it plainly), as well as the panorama/virtual Stonehenge experience, seen above, that allows it to be solstice sunrise all day every day!

The gift shop offers Stonehenge models of various sizes: infant, toddler, child, and teen, from what we can see—the seeds of Stonehenge to be carried far and wide, where people will see them and—voilà!—want to make more Stonehenges! The contagion spreads, while also becoming more concentrated, ever more Stonehenges in the world What is the Stonehenge saturation point? Only time will tell.

And time is what the solstice is all about (see how we crudely and artlessly brought this post back to its subject? Oh, yes we did, uhuh, uhuh!). May your solstice (and whatever other holidays may be scattered in its general vicinity) be lovely and happy and fun and wonderful! Enjoy life while you can still walk around without stepping on Stonehenges. Mark our words: if things continue as they’ve been going, that may not last much longer!

And until next time, Gentle Friends, we wish you and yours happy henging!

A Quick List of Stonehenge Movies!!!

As winter solstice approaches, one thing and one thing only is on the mind of the modern henger: what movies should you play for our solstice movie marathon this year? One year you played every movie that had Sun in the title, but that was a mixed bag, and last year, well, one can only watch The Wicker Man so many times in a row. Someone suggested a Doctor Who marathon, but let’s face it: you know AND WE KNOW that you have been having Doctor Who marathons at least twice a week for the last month (and, frankly, he’s tired and out of breath. Hahahahaha! ha?). In fact, to be honest, we can actually see that you have Doctor Who playing in the background right now as you read this. Get a grip, srsly.

We offer this post to bring you a brilliant solution to your quandary. Here is a list, which we do not claim to be complete, of movies that have Stonehenge—or some Stonehenge-like substance—in them. We aren’t saying all of them (or, perhaps, any of them) are good movies, or that you’ll enjoy them, although you may enjoy each in its own way (except Stonehenge Apocalypse—no one does. Trust us.). All we’re saying is that at some point in each of these, Stonehenge rears its ugly head, at which point you either throw popcorn at the screen or yell “Score!” and take a strong shot of something.

Plus, you and your friends, should you have any, can do some Stonehenge analysis of your own. Which movie replicas are good? Which are lame? And which actually filmed AT Stonehenge. What’s that you say? Yes. Yes. We know. Doctor Who filmed at Stonehenge. Thank you for that.    Nerd.

STONEHENGE MOVIE LIST (replicas unless otherwise marked) no particular order

1This is Spinal Tap   (getting this one out of the way right away)

2The Black Knight —unintentionally hilarious Stonehenge sequence with dancing nymphs and murderous druids at Stonehenge

3. National Lampoon’s European Vacation —Chevy Chase represents all of America as he carelessly topples Stonehenge

4. The Mists of Avalon  —a scene at a Stonehenge-ish thing

5King Arthur  —he marries Keira Knightley there at the end. Beautiful. And the henge is nice, too. ;-)

6King Lear  —said to be filmed on a Stonehenge-like set

7Merlin: The Return  —it’s Merlin, so of course, Stonehenge has to come into it

8. Merlin of the Crystal Caves  —includes a young Merlin overseeing the erecting of the stones at Stonehenge

9Tess  —for this one, Roman Polanski built a whole Stonehenge in France. Realistic replica

10. The Colour of Magic  —movie of Pratchett’s book. A woman being sacrificed at Stonehenge is saved. Stonehenge as computer hardware

11Curse of the Demon  —devil cults, death curses, Stonehenge, REAL Stonehenge

12Shanghai Knights  —they crash into Stonehenge

13. Fiddlers Three, or While Nero Fiddled  —comedy: people sheltering under Stonehenge in a storm get transported back to Roman times. Hijinks ensue

14Stonehenge Apocalypse  —bad movie, BUT Stonehenge. Everyone say it’s terrible, but, sadly, not funny terrible

15The Pandorica Opens  —okay, yes, this is Doctor Who. REAL Stonehenge

16. Thor: The Dark World  —Thor, “dark elves”, Loki, Asgard, and of course, Stonehenge. REAL Stonehenge. Not out on DVD yet, though

Are there more movies with Stonehenges? Indubitably. Are we done here for now? Fo shizzle!

Fill the comments with your corrections and suggestions. We’re ready for you! Let us know how your solstice movie marathon goes!

And until next time, friends, happy henging!

P. S. : 17Halloween III. Have to mention it even though it doesn’t actually qualify, because Stonehenge-y-ness in plot.

[Our thanks to Aberfoyle, no, Abercrombie, no, what's ’is name—Aber4th? for telling us about Merlin of the Crystal Caves in the comments. Our thanks to Mr. Barry Teague for the tip about Fiddlers Three.]

Green Haven Circle: a Private Henge Accurate in One Brilliant Detail!

photo by Robin Goodfellow (yes), used with permission

photo by Robin Goodfellow (no, really!), used with permission

Not all of our decisions here at the Clonehenge blog are cut and dried. Some small private henges barely make the large permanent list. We admit, a few of the ones we’ve listed are, to be perfectly frank, iffy.

And now, dear readers, you will be thrilled to know that after much consultation and consideration, we have taken the solemn decision to build on that proud record! Toward that end, we present you with another somewhat dubious entry that we have nevertheless approved!

photo by Robin Goodfellow, used with permission

photo by Robin Goodfellow, used with permission

Sent in by one who identifies himself as Robin Goodfellow (an alias? Or is this actually Puck himself?), whose camera has the extraordinary ability to take oil paintings of its subjects, this newly built henge is not far from the much more angular and scientific replica at Rolla, Missouri.

Mr. Goodfellow (and yes, we have verified that gender by email) tells us:

The circle is in the back yard of a Southern facing house, but can be partially seen from the road or the half-moon driveway. It is made from a combination of Real and Constructed stones. I believe the constructed stones are made from ‘Hypertufa’, although I know that Lava Rock was used in the construction of the Southern Stone and that the Eastern and Western Trilithon Gates have Styrofoam cores under either Hypertufa or Concrete shells. Oh, and while my pictures do not show it well, the circle is around 30 foot in diameter, is surrounded by a 10 inch deep ditch about 12 inches across with a small embankment Inside the ditch and has a single break in the ditch which coincides with the Eastern Trilithon Gate.

A small embankment inside the ditch“. Let us consider this for a moment. What is a henge? The most accurate definition is, “a roughly circular or oval-shaped flat area enclosed and delimited by a boundary earthwork – usually a ditch with an external bank.” Interesting, right? BUT a question sometimes asked, in order to separate the Stonehenge cogniscenti wheat from the chaff, so to speak, “Why is Stonehenge not a henge?”, and the answer is: “Because its bank lies inside its ditch.

So, in short, this new entry has something right that almost everyone else gets wrong! This circle was built by Robin Goodfellow’s friend, Paul Holsombeck, also known as the Green Man (“Here to fill all of your Metaphysical needs“), on the property of his mother, Roseanne Cross-King, and we congratulate him! By this feature alone, his henge qualifies for our list of Large, Permanent Replicas, making it our 78th. (But surely not the last.)

Score: 8 druids! Outrageously high score!, you scream. Yet in its one brilliant detail, this circle transcends its small, private henge genre. Someone did his homework, or, possibly, stumbled accidentally into doing something right, as we all do from time to time. Our thanks to Robin, Paul and, of course, Roseanne!

We’re told this was built for the Friend’s little brother’s handfasting. It is our belief that having the embankment inside the ditch will enhance the effectiveness of the vows there taken. We wish the loving couple the best for decades to come!

Happy Thanksgiving to our USAnian readers! And, until next time, friends, happy henging!