Presently June 2021

Presently June 2021

It is the month of June,

The month of leaves and roses,

When pleasant sights salute the eyes,

And pleasant scents the noses.

– N.P. Willis (1807-67)

…. and it is the favourite month for weddings

Welcome to June’s e-column…

About the month of June

June means Summer is here! A time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful bouquets, delicious fruits and vegetables. Each day lasting a little bit longer and summer evenings become a treat to look forward to with the undeniable urge to get out there and enjoy the sunshine. This is not the case if you live in the southern hemisphere though. In the southern hemisphere, June is just about the time when winter starts to set in, the days are shorter and nights become cooler and fresher. Wherever you are in the world, June marks the first half of the year is here and the next six months to look forward to.

History of ‘June’

June is the sixth month in our modern day Gregorian Calendar and it was the sixth month in the Julian calendar as well. This was not always the case. June was the fourth month of the year in the earlier Roman calendar and the year was made of 10 months – all these before Julius Caesar came to power. Then, around 46 BC, the Julian Calendar was born when two months were added to the year, making it 12 months in length and June became the sixth month with 30 days.

Origins of ‘June’

There are a couple of theories on how the name ‘June’ came about. One theory rests upon the Latin word, ‘juvenis’ meaning ‘young people’ who were celebrated during this month. Another theory, and I am much inclined to accept this one is that the month was named after the Roman goddess of marriage and well-being of women, Juno.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of June, sera monath, meaning “dry month.”

Why is the month of June popular for weddings?

Traditionally, June was the month to marry.

It was the belief that goddess Juno, for whom the month of June is named was the protector of women in all aspects of life, especially so in marriage and in childbearing. Therefore, a wedding in June was considered most auspicious.

June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the Cross-Quarter Day of Beltane, (May Day, May 1), young couples were paired off for three months. If their courtship lasted the duration, they would wed on the next Cross-Quarter Day (Lammas Day, August 1). However, the waiting period was shortened and the couples would wed in June, thereby bringing about the popularity of June weddings.

Aside from traditions, June makes a perfect month to marry because the weather is better, more predictable (less rain) and makes it easier for guests to travel to get to the wedding venue.

June birthstone

June’s birthstone is generally considered to be the Pearl, along with Alexandrite and Moonstone. Pearl is by far the most popular of the three. With their natural beauty, pearls have been beloved for centuries.

Pearls are associated with purity, honesty and calmness. It is said that if you dream of a pearl ring, then expect romance to come your way. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the tears of joy from the goddess of love, Aphrodite. The ancient Egyptians associated pearls with Isis, the goddess of healing and life.

This natural gem with exquisite white lustre, has a demure glow, and create a look that’s simple, elegant and appropriate for any occasion.

Alexandrite – an extremely rare gem that changes colour. In the daylight, it is blueish green and becomes purplish red in incandescent light.

Moonstone – a gem that shimmers like moonlight. The clearer the gem, and bluer the sheen, the more valuable it is.

June birthflower

Presently June 2021
Presently June 2021

June’s birth-flowers are the rose and honeysuckle – both associated with all things love, desire, generosity and affection.

Rose – has inspired many poets and painters for centuries and has more symbolic meanings than one can imagine! A pink rose is said to mean ‘happiness’, a red rose means ‘I love you’ while a white rose represents ‘innocence, purity and new beginnings’

Honeysuckle strongly means ‘everlasting bonds of love’

June – Folklore, Festivals, Superstitions & Traditions

Summer solstice

Summer solstice – the longest daylight hours of the year is June 21 or it could be June 22 on a leap year. It is the day when the sun is at the most northerly point which creates “the longest day” of the year.

Summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge, Wiltshire to a great extend. Thousands gather to watch the sunrise on this special day of the year with cheering and revelling. Stonehenge is a sacred place for the Druid and pagan community who perform rituals, invoking a great sense of awe and humility.

Read > Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture. Learn more about summer solstice celebrations along with the possible theories surrounding the construction of these huge stones which have stood there for thousands of years and no one knows how it got there!

Midsummer’s Day

Midsummer’s day comes after the summer solstice, the longest day in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day in the southern hemisphere. which is the middle of summer – on June 24. It is a day associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing.

Traditionally, on the eve of Midsummer’s day, many bonfires were lit all around the country. This was done in praise of the sun, as the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared weaker. So, bonfires were lit to energise the sun.

Superstitions associated with Midsummer’s Day

As we know, roses are special in June. Roses were even more special on the eve of Midsummer’s Day. Superstition has it that any rose picked on the eve of Midsummer’s Day will keep fresh until Christmas. It has also been said at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, girls should scatter rose petals before them and, the next day their true love will visit them.

Well Dressing

Presenly June 2021 | Well Dressing
© Well Dressing Derbyshire

There are ceremonies called ‘Well Dressing’ that takes place at various times during June as well as throughout summer. Wells of fresh water and springs that come from underground streams have always been considered special, so some wells are decorated with greenery and beautiful pictures of flowers and moss.

Some Well Dressing events for 2021 are cancelled but you could look up locations via Derbyshire Well Dressing link for a future visit.

Weather-lore and sayings

‘A calm June puts the farmer in tune’

‘June damp and warm, does the farmer no harm’

Recap of what has been happening since May e-column

The month of May flew by very quickly – with more walks in the local country parks, trips local and away, and birthdays to celebrate, along with more writing on the city of canals. Here are all the articles written and published in the month of May and up to the latest in June:

Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam
3rd June 2021
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Amsterdam
1st June 2021
Amsterdam Bos Netherlands
30th May 2021
Amsterdam Uithoorn
27th May 2021
Amsterdam | See and Do | rent a bike
24th May 2021
Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
22nd May 2021
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13th May 2021
Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397
11th May 2021
Amsterdam City and Regional Public Transport Travel Pass
11th May 2021
best value public transport ticket for Amsterdam
8th May 2021
Amsterdam Inspiration - Travel quotes and sayings
6th May 2021
Lady Arbella Stuart | History
2nd May 2021

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On a final note…

The month of June is an interesting one and certainly made me smile when I stumbled upon the lore on the rose petals in my research. I must admit, I did not know very much about the Well Dressing festival or how widely it is celebrated still in modern day , so I hope to make it to one of the festivals next year. As well, what a beautiful portrayal of the priceless jewel, pearls – a natural gem every girl should be bestowed with along with roses of all colours 🙂

I am hopeful that the month of June henceforth will bring good days of warmer sunshine and will make exploring UK possible. I have a few trips planned this summer, bbq Sundays with family & friends and I look forward to some relaxing ‘me’ time.

Whatever you get up to, have a splendid rest of the month of June.

Till next time,

xoxo

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June is a time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful scents and longer summer evenings - but there is more to the month of June...birthstones, flowers, lores and traditions. Read on and find out what they are. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/June is a time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful scents and longer summer evenings - but there is more to the month of June...birthstones, flowers, lores and traditions. Read on and find out what they are. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Stonehenge A Sophisticated Architecture that should not be missed

Stonehenge-A Sophisticated Architecture that should not be missed

Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture and one of the wonders of the world is right at our doorstep! This pre-historic monument has wowed many and continues to intrigue all visitors here. Not only is Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture, it is definitely, an engineering masterpiece given that it was built with simple tools and technologies during the Neolithic times. It is another of those structures in the world that make visitors and scientists wonder to the theories behind its construction – Why it was constructed and by whom, to the extend that it could have been an alien creation or the much popularised legend of King Arthur by historian, Geoffrey of Monmouth. Anyways, here’s Stonehenge for you in a nutshell – pay us a visit – mystical or magical – you decide.

1 | Stonehenge A sophisticated architecture

The monument known as Stonehenge, was erected with precise interlocking joints, unseen at any other prehistoric monument. According to its history, it was built in several stages, with the first monument being constructed around 5,000 years ago.

Stonehenge - The Stone Circle
Stonehenge – The Stone Circle | Image: georgina_daniel

2 | Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

This unique prehistoric masterpiece sits on a rich archaeological landscape and the area, Avebury and Stonehenge form a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated and an unique place to visit.

3 | Where is Stonehenge exactly?

Stonehenge is located on Salisbury Plain, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. Its coordinates are:

Latitude: 51° 10′ 26.30″ N Longitude: -1° 49′ 20.56″ W

If you haven’t been to Stonehenge, click on the link to Google Earth and get a first hand, up close and personal experience of this mysterious wonderment. Watch the awesomeness of this majestic structure that has puzzled many historians and remains a mystery! It will sure to blow you away too!

Stonehenge on Google Earth

4 | The Stone Circle at Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture

The Stone Circle at Stonehenge is an iconic symbol of Britain with each stone standing at 13 feet high, 7 feet wide and weighing around 25 tons. It is believed to have been constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. This sophisticated architecture is the only surviving lintelled stone circle in the world.

Stonehenge - A closer look at the Stone Circle, an architectural masterpiece.
Stonehenge – A closer look at the Stone Circle, an architectural masterpiece.| Image: georgina_daniel

I was instantly wowed at the gigantic stones and intrigued at how cleverly it was “constructed”. I did feel a little “tiny” in the midst of all these and the vastness of the area. There is certainly a lot to discover here.

As mentioned earlier, this iconic sophisticated architecture throws more questions than answers as to the “Why’s” and “Who” – here’s what I found out but be rest assured that there are a lot more theories and opinions out there.

5 | The theories behind Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture

One of the most comprehensive hypothesis of Stonehenge’s sophisticated architecture and its origin along with its purpose can be found in Stonehenge Decoded by Gerald Hawkins.

5.1 | Stonehenge Decoded

According to Hawkins, the cluster of stones were constructed in phases between 3100 BC through 1600 BC and its purpose was to relate to an ancient astronomical observatory calendar, to predict movements of the sun and stars. His hypothesis identified 165 separate points on the construction, and he links them to the two solstices, equinoxes, lunar and solar eclipses. The stones are aligned in such a way that at dawn on the summer solstice the sun glides from behind the Heel Stone to above the stones and shine onto the centre of the circle – the sun and stones all aligning perfectly. Similarly, at the winter solstice on December 21, one can experience much the same at sunset. It would seem that Stonehenge was created to showcase the summer solstice.

Sunrise at Stonehenge
Revellers watch the sunrise as they celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2018.GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images

In this book, Hawkins decodes the mystery behind Stonehenge and illustrates his findings that gave rise to controversy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Stonehenge Decoded

Gerald S. Hawkins, 1965 (Hardcover)

However, Hawkins’ theory had been criticised by historians for it gave too much credit to ancient builders who did not have the sophistication or the tools necessary to predict astrological events. Despite its criticisms, Hawkins theory does lend more legitimacy than the 12th century legend associated with King Arthur by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of Kings of Britain

5.2 | History of Kings of Britain

According to Geoffrey, the massacre called the Night of the Long Knives in 449 A.D. occurred at a monastery on the Salisbury Plain. To honour the dead soldiers, the then King, Ambrosius Aurelianus consulted the wizard, Merlin to help him select an appropriate monument. The wizard suggested that the King’s Ring from Mount Killarus in Ireland be dismantled and brought to England. An expedition of soldiers were sent to bring the stones to Stonehenge where Merlin reconstructs with his magical powers, a monument on the Salisbury Plain honouring the dead in the monastery cemetery.

5.3 | A modern twist

A modern twist to this tale seems that it was aliens rather than Merlin who constructed the ingenious architecture. Some of these rocks weigh 50 tons and cannot be explained how ordinary humans could have moved such masses., hence aliens. In addition, Alfred Watkin in the 1920s suggested his theory of “ley lines” in his book “The Old Straight Track“, published in 1925. He suggested that Stonehenge connected with other sites which once served as landmarks or ancient sites in a given alignment between, and across the dense island but since vanished. Other theories surrounding this ancient monument relate to it being a healing ground because archaeologists have discovered skeletons with crude wounds, an indication of rudimentary surgery.

5.4 | Recent Discovery at Stonehenge

In recent years, archaeologists have discovered skeletal remains at Stonehenge which dated to a 500-year period beginning in 3000 B.C.. The discovery suggests that the remains belong to a select group of elite ancient people, hence providing the most solid evidence yet that the site was used as a burial ground. However, this does not preclude Stonehenge as an astrological calendar or as a religious site.

5.5 | The mystery continues…

So, a conclusive answer to the “Who” and “How” are yet to be found and the mystery of Stonehenge continues to puzzle archaeologists, historians and ordinary people alike. One thing for sure, that it will continue to attract thousands especially on another equinox when the sun rises and sets, for one to experience the magical or mystical vibes in this mysterious part of Salisbury, Wiltshire.

View post by National Geographic on 7 Ancient Sites Some People Think Were Built by Aliens

6 | Popularity of Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the popular destinations in UK for tourists with almost 1.5 million visitors a year. It is also a popular destination for the thousands who are drawn here during the summer and winter solstices, for whom it symbolises a sacred place. It invokes a great sense of awe and humility. Stonehenge is especially significant for members of the Druid and Pagan community, who perform rituals and celebrations at the summer and winter solstices.

6.1 | Summer and Winter Solstices

Solstices have been celebrated here for centuries. People gather here to welcome the sunrise on the longest day of the year with cheering and revelling. On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the stone circle, and sunlight is channelled into the centre of the monument. It is also a day when the English Heritage opens-up the stones to the public.

Revellers at Stonehenge watching the sunrise on summer solstice
Revellers watch the sunrise as they celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2018. GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images
Spiritual revellers celebrate the summer Solstice (mid-summer and longest day) at the ancient stones of Stonehenge, on 21st June 2017, in Wiltshire, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Revellers at the summer solstices
Revelers gather for summer solstice celebrations on June 21, 2016, at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.
 Julio Etchart—Getty Images/Robert Harding Worl

Whatever the true story of this monument, anyone and everyone can enjoy the spectacular sunrise behind these stones at the solstices.

Mystical, Magical – You decide…

When I visited Stonehenge in late summer, it was after a rain and before a storm. I witnessed these mystic clouds, which appeared above one of the Stone Circle, giving it a sense of solitude and magic. I thought the clouds were rather unusual.

It was after a rain and before a storm when I witnessed these mystic clouds, which appeared above the Stone Circle wonders of the world, giving it a sense of solitude and magic.
It was after a rain and before a storm when I witnessed these mystic clouds, which appeared above the Stone Circle wonders of the world, giving it a sense of solitude and magic | Image: georgina_daniel

Just so you know, there are a few recorded experiences where one was overcome with feelings of sadness and loss, while some have felt coldness and isolation. Though none of these can be explained and I did not experience any of these feelings, I was totally amazed at the uniqueness of the structure. I would highly recommend that you visit this sophisticated architecture – a bucket list experience for sure.

There is an Asian proverb that says,

“Better to see something once, then to hear about it a thousand times.”

So, if you haven’t been here, get it onto your itinerary and experience this iconic ancient achievement. Return and share your stories 😊

Travel tips and Practical information on Stonehenge

Travelling to Stonehenge during Covid-19: Safety measures

Update from English Heritage: Mar 2020

  1. For safety reasons, visitor numbers are limited;
  2. Visits MUST be booked in advance. You must have a booking confirmation to show for the chosen arrival time;
  3. Bring a face covering along – you can’t enter the cafe or the shop without face coverings;
  4. Safety and social distancing measures are in place for everyone’s safety;

Opening and Closing times + Tickets

Opening and Closing times:

Summer: 0900 – 2000

Winter: 0930 – 1700

Last entry is 2 hours before closing

Tickets:

Entrance to Stonehenge is through timed tickets. Advance booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and time of your choice. So, you Must book these tickets in advance.

By booking in advance you will also benefit from an advanced booking discount.

Entrance ticket to Stonehenge

Become a Member of English Heritage

English Heritage is guardian to some of the nation’s most treasured and iconic buildings and monuments, including Stonehenge, Tintagel Castle, Osborne, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle. They ensure that our heritage is protected for future generations.

From one fee for a whole year, English Heritage members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Unlimited access to over 400 historic properties across the country;
  • A whole year’s worth of fun days out;
  • Free entry for up to six accompanying children per adult member;
  • Free or reduced-price entry to exclusive members’ events giving you access to our experts and a glimpse behind the scenes;
  • Exclusive Members’ Magazine four times a year with in-depth features about our properties and wider work, which also includes a nationwide events guide;
  • free handbook to help plan your next exciting day out;
  • Special offers, discounts and competitions for a great variety of products and experiences; and
  • An English Heritage car sticker.

English Heritage and National Trust members are also required that they book in advance for their FREE visit.

Become a Member of National Heritage today and enjoy all the membership benefits for a whole year!


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How to travel to Stonehenge

Visiting Stonehenge from London | London to Stonehenge | Easy ways to get to Stonehenge from London

When visiting London, you may find Stonehenge makes a nice little day trip from London. You have a choice of either making your way to Salisbury by train or coach OR join one the value for money guided tours. There are a variety of guided tours to select from, from half-a-day to full day tours. There is a half a day tour to Stonehenge only and the full day tours are often combined with a tour to the Historic City of Bath and Windsor Castle. Personally, I prefer the full day tour that combines Stonehenge with Bath and the West Country.

Should you wish to make your way to Stonehenge directly, the following are ways for you to do so.

How to visit Stonehenge from London

1 | From London to Stonehenge by Train

The nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury and the distance from Salisbury to Stonehenge is less than 15 kilometres (9 miles). To get to Stonehenge from London by train will involve two legs of journeys:

Leg 1: From London to Salisbury

Take the train from London Waterloo Station to Salisbury Station on the South Western Railway. There are trains every 30-40 minutes from 6:30 am to 23:40 pm with a slightly altered timetable at weekends. The journey from London to Stonehenge takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The price of your train ticket only applies to this part of your journey.

Buy your Train tickets to Salisbury. Book and buy in advance for best price.

Note: There are Additional costs involved for transportation between Salisbury and Stonehenge

Leg 2: From Salisbury to Stonehenge

Upon arriving at Salisbury, there are taxis, private car hire, bus services serving the route to and from Stonehenge as well as the Stonehenge Bus Tour offering a hop on hop off service. Stonehenge Bus Tour operates every 30 minutes or so.

2 | From London to Stonehenge by Coach

If you wish to visit Stonehenge by coach, you need to make your way from Salisbury to Stonehenge as described above.

As for a coach/bus from London to Salisbury, here’s how you can make that journey:

Take the National Express from Victoria coach station to Ringwood. This service runs from 6.30 am to 7.30 pm. There are around 4 coaches running throughout the day, every 3-4 hours.

When you reach Ringwood, you will then need to change at Ringwood and take the X3 to Salisbury. From Salisbury, your onward journey to Stonehenge will be via local buses, taxis, private car hire or the hop on hop off Salisbury Tour Bus.

For return journey to London, the first coach leaves Ringwood at 6.45 am and the last coach leaves at 6.40 pm. There are around 4-5 coaches throughout the day.

The X3 from Ringwood towards Salisbury and return is operated by the Salisbury Reds. This journey takes around 40 minutes. The service runs from 5.57 am to 11.32 pm Monday to Saturday and from 8.43 am until 8.43 pm on Sundays and public holidays. The X3 runs from Salisbury to Ringwood from 6.40 am to 9.45 pm Monday to Saturday and from 9.40 am until 9.40 pm on Sundays and public holidays.


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On a final note…

Whether this monument is mystical or magical, being present among this incredible, ingenious architecture will have you in awe and wonder! It is an experience that I strongly recommend.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to Stonehenge? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at Timeless Travel Steps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.

Happy adventures and have a splendid time exploring Stonehenge!

Georgina xx

March 2021, Update

Updated Mar 2021


English Heritage

Visiting Stonehenge during Covid-19: Safety Measures

  1. Visitor numbers are limited;
  2. Visits must be booked online prior to visiting this monument;
  3. Bring a face covering along.

Become a Member of English Heritage and enjoy unlimited visits to Stonehenge and other English Heritage properties:


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Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture
Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture
Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture
Stonehenge a sophisticated architecture

I look forward to connecting with each of you


A visit to this awe inspiring sophiticated prehistoric monument will have you captivated in more ways than one. A synopsis on its historical background and travel guide.  including options for day trips from London. #englishheritage #bucketlistexperience #ancientmonument #UNESCOheritage #wonderoftheworld via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/A visit to this awe inspiring sophiticated prehistoric monument will have you captivated in more ways than one. A synopsis on its historical background and travel guide.  including options for day trips from London. #englishheritage #bucketlistexperience #ancientmonument #UNESCOheritage #wonderoftheworld via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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