Stonehenge and Paneer

The spring grass was vibrant green peppered with buttercups and daisies. The countryside rolled along with tiled roofs and church spires popping up between mature oak and cedars with their burgeoning leaf buds soaking up the rare, late-spring sunshine. We sat between the green earthen burial mounds and the granite monoliths; these, in turn, intentionally horseshoed into a goliath time-piece. Sitting quietly the prehistoric energy began to invade my spirit. I could almost sense the pagan-frenetic atmosphere that comes twice per year; summer solstice and winter solstice. I could almost embrace the repeating beat of drums, the hum of Sanskrit chanting, the pungent whiff of camp-laden body odor. This is England's mod version of Woodstock. Somewhere around 45,000 people will descend upon this modern-day Mecca for cultural druids, wiccans and nature worshippers to celebrate the longest day of the year.   
Stonehenge is one of the largest Neolithic Man formations in the world. Little is known about the why and wherefore; however, certain things are evident: the earliest stones were placed facing the winter solstice and this site was kept clean of debris from everyday living. Only ceremonial/burial items have been found in and around the immediate site. Despite the fact that today's pagan disciples more often attend the summer festivals, ancient man seemed to place more importance on the winter solstice. Obviously, the returning of the sun was more critical to their survival. Today, this celestial coachella is a celebration of convenience and comfort. Archeologists suggest that early man built the sight towards the winter sun because the stones facing the summer solstice are less impressive, fewer in number, and they face the back entrance; the winter solstice stones appear to have more in number and a more substantial entrance. 
This is a place I have been to on two prior holidays, so I think my pilgrimage has been fulfilled, and now my children have been there/done that. It is impressive to think about the amount of manpower required to quarry, float, move and stand these stones in place, but at the end of the day, it's a bunch of big, gray rocks with a fairly large M-road going past.   
There is a new visitor center located approx one mile from the site, with a nice museum and gift shop. For the lazy, a shuttle is provided to and fro, but there are many walking trails through area cattleland. In May, the spring grass is alive with interspersed white daisies and yellow buttercups. In the distance, the trees sport pink and white petals and the rapeseed fields are in their full yellow-stalked glory. Along the path is also a stand of shady forest, soft with moss and undergrowth. We chose this path, the one less travelled.         
Buttercups and Daisies
 Soon enough, after staring at rocks for a bit, we head home and stop at Marlborough. A quaint, traditional English hamlet, with a prestigious private school, stone buildings and impossibly small lanes. My kids are finally able to have fish'n'chips, bangers'n'mash and green peas. I have a chandi. The experience is complete with a hanging flower basket view out of hand-poured glass and a dog lying next to the unlit fireplace. (God-forbid we actually have a heat source on in May.)        
Marlborough Church
The next day, we planned to sleep in a bit, hop on the tube, tour around downtown London, maybe a double-decker bus, meet John's brother for lunch, a window-shop to Harrod's and hop back onto the tube before rush hour. What a lovely plan...that didn't happen. We slept in 'til half 10 and then our hosts' mother and friend were coming to lunch. Marcus showed up near the same time and we did what all good relatives do chatted about current events while we sipped tea. Next thing we know it's 4pm and the tube is likely busy with rush hour traffic and an evening in downtown London for a single mom and 3 kids did not sound very appealing or safe.        
Marlborough Pub
Marlborough Gov't Chambers
Long about 8pm, we loaded into Michael's van and searched out Kushbu Vegetarian Indian Restaurant in East London, yeah, about as East London as one can get, it's a good thing we're with 6'6" Michael. But, even the West London Indian's come to this restaurant for it's authentic food; in fact, we were the most pale patrons in the place. I have never seen such a huge menu. I let Michael take the lead on ordering since he has business traveled to Indian on the regular occasion and is more familiar with the menu. We had dishes I can't even remember the name of, but it was yummy! Dosa's and naan and chickpea daal to name a few, and they are not like the western interpretation of Indian food. A little spicy for the kids but they enjoyed it nonetheless. Unique to this restaurant, but not to the country of India, they provide sinks to wash your hands, just to one side of the bar. It is rather convenient and since most of the meal was eaten with our fingers, a necessity. Authentic as far as food, not as far as ambiance, it reminded more of a Japanese counter restaurant/western diner.    
With Michael for Indian Food
   Adjusting to the time change has been noticed; sleeping in late and the kids seem to come alive around 10pm. I'm struggling to get them to settle down and get some sleep. This late night rallying should serve us well in Italy and France; but as of yet, tomorrow we call a cab for 10am pick-up and scamper off to Germany. A little twinge of excitement flutters my belly. Deutschland ist meine Europaliebe. (Germany is my Europe-love). 
Indian Dosa (crepes)