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Winter solstice at Stonehenge ©Richard Bailey

Part Three — The Why

The summer solstice at Stonehenge can be a bit of a carnival. Usually there are about 10’000 people, but If the solstice falls on a weekend there can be up to 20’000!

It is best to get there the evening before to see the sun set on the longest day and then stay up all night (Some like to jump about like loons all night) until the sun rises a few hours later.

If you try to drive through the night there is every likelihood you will be stuck in traffic as the sun rises. It gets busy!

But, if you do manage to get there in good time you will meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people. Korean ladies with crystal singing bowls, Spanish ladies with copper bowls who absolutely…

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Winter Solstice at Stonehenge ©Richard Bailey

In my previous article I mentioned how I love going to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice, winter and summer.

Summer is bit more of a festival, while the Winter is a lot more chilled, less people and colder!

On the morning of the 21st December the kids are woken up at 3.30am for the two and a bit hour drive. If we are lucky we get to park in the (new-ish) visitors centre car park, where the cafe is open and we treat ourselves to coffee and pasties. We are usually there early, and get to see the cafe fill up with a variety of druids, hippies, spiritualists, general eccentrics and the inquisitive.

A fantastic, vibrant hotch-potch of people milling about quietly and queuing for tea and breakfast.

The site where the stones are is a mile from…

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Winter Solstice at Stonehenge ©Richard Bailey

I LOVE going to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice. I have been going every year for quite a while now and I especially love the Winter solstice.

The 21st of December, slap bang in the British winter is often wet and miserable and we don’t always get to see the sun rise over the horizon, but when we do… is glorious.

I’m not religious, but standing with your back to one of the stones, hands behind you touching the Sarsens coarse skin, feeling the light and warmth of the sun as it rises over the horizon is a particularly special and emotional feeling.

I am an individual, not a stereotype!

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‘I Am’ Photo ©Richard Bailey

A few years back I photographed a young man called Paul Noble, for a nationwide campaign to highlight the fact that many people with Down’s syndrome are able and willing to work, but the opportunities for them to work are not being made available.

Many young adults with Down’s syndrome enter into a kind of limbo after leaving college or training programmes, as they are finding it difficult to find any kind of employment and days that were once full become empty.

The campaign got me wondering how young adults with Down’s syndrome…

Is Lake Khovsgol under threat from climate change and tourism?

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Lake Khovsgol ©Richard Bailey

Lake Khovsgol is sometimes called the ‘Blue Pearl of Mongolia’ or the ‘Mother Sea’. Its crystal clear water is safe to drink without any treatment and it holds almost 70% of Mongolia’s fresh water.

Located in the North West of Mongolia, close to the Russian border and only 200km from Lake Baikal, Khovsgol is the largest fresh water lake in Mongolia by volume, only Lake Uvs is larger in area.

At more than 2 million years old, Khovsgol is one of the seventeen ancient lakes in the world and is…

And they won’t think twice about it!

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Welsh Corgi ©Richard Bailey

I know you love your dog and I know your dog loves you too.

But…….let’s just say that you have an illness that might lead to sudden death and let’s just say that you are socially isolated, so that if you did die, the discovery of your body will be delayed. And, lastly let’s just say that you have a pet(s) roaming about trapped in your home.

Well, if you do drop down dead THEN your dog will not think twice about eating you! …

Although it WILL wait until you are dead.

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Sphynx Cat ©Richard Bailey

If you are a cat owner, you know that as your beautiful feline friend jumps into your lap and rubs up against you, thoughts like ‘“does my cat like my boyfriend”, “where does she go all day long” and of course…..“will she eat me when I die” have passed through your mind.

In fact, a google search for ‘will your pet eat you when you die’ has had hundreds of millions of hits.

And I’m afraid the simple answer is yes, and I’m also afraid that they will probably start nibbling on…

An interpretation of the masters paintings.

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Sarah_After_Vermeer ©Richard Bailey

Sarah Gordy is an actress who has played characters in television, radio and stage plays. Sarah transcends type casting in so many ways creating characters who are original and exceptional. Her body of work goes far beyond playing ‘characters who have Downs Syndrome’ and her wit and charm, plus a determination to get it right however complex the language is, make her a performer who can make the audience believe she is whoever she says she is. I would work with Sarah any time.”

Lisa Evans, Playwright

Having heard about Sarah’s versatility as an actress I approached her to collaborate…

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‘365’ ©Richard Bailey

There are one to two children, on average, born with Down’s syndrome everyday in England alone.

The beautiful faces that you see before you represent the above statistic, but are also there to show how different from one another these children actually are.

Whether we like it or not there is a stereotype of Down’s syndrome, which is conjured up in our minds as soon as these words are mentioned.

‘Our lot’, the faces that you see before you, will not conform to this stereotype.

Who defines beauty?

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English Carrier Pigeon ©Richard Bailey

The question of ‘what is beauty’ has had a place in Western philosophy since the time of the Greek philosophers and to paraphrase Plato, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

In ‘day to day’ art and nature then yes, beauty can be said to be in the eye of the beholder, and this can be for a multitude of reasons.

Every individual will have a different predisposition of what is beautiful, their opinions and judgements on what is beautiful will be governed by past experiences, background thoughts, cultural identities and beliefs, so much so that…

Richard Bailey

Photographer, curator, writer, parent. Lover of life.

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