On my first visit to Amesbury, I wanted to have a quick look around and see what caught my eye. Everyone I met told me I should look at the Stonehenge bluestones, west of the town along the A303. Or they told me to head back east to look at the pink flint being prized out of the warm waters at Blick Mead, the archaeological dig site in the crook of the Avon.
I set out east to the bluestones and while I walked I read about those eighty-odd odd bits of old sod and blue spotted dolerite spotted flying on plain thick air from the Preseli Hills. (Either we did it, a version of we, or it was wizards). That was one story.
Another was that the bluestones are glacial erratics, carried from one place slowly slowly until they are out of place in another.
I carried on my own erratic journey, passing by the pink flints on the way out of town. There’s a collection of finds in a perspex box in the Amesbury History Centre. On a small card in the museum I read that the colour is thought to be caused by an algae – Hildenbrandia rivularis – that grows in the spring at Blick Mead. This, the archaeologists claim, is what brought people to Amesbury. Warm pinks and warm waters and a ‘land of the living’.
I carried on out to the blues, heading east to west, pink to blue, slowly slowly until I was looking at one place out of place in another. A land of the dead.
On my way back to Amesbury and my parked car, I googled ‘blick’.
I was reading that blick’s roots are in ‘glitter’, in ‘shine’, to ‘twinkle’ but also to ‘glance’, to have a quick look and I looked up. Between the blue stones and the pink, in the graffiti on a knapped flint wall on Salisbury Road, a bright blue blick brick caught my eye.