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…my true love gave to me:

Twelve drummers drumming

Yet more noise! This time, drumming up the stones at Avebury stone circle.

…my true love gave to me:

Eleven Pipers piping

Eleven pipers would be a bit too much for my sensitive ears! So here’s a lone piper, among the stones at Callanish. Imagine the ten stones shown are also pipers, to make up the number.

…my true love gave to me:

Ten Lords a-leaping

Our ancient sites are often used as venues by the Morris, particularly around the Solstice and Equinox dates. Here, Wake Robin Morris – a mixed side with both Lords and Ladies!- are dancing Nutting Girl at Stonehenge.

…My true love gave to me:

Nine ladies dancing

Situated just off the A75 about 5 miles from Stranraer, Castle Kennedy Gardens are beautiful landscaped gardens created in the early 18th century by the 2nd Earl of Stair. 

​Used as a shooting location for the original 1973 version of The Wicker Man, the standing stone circle and the May Day procession were filmed in the gardens.

Sadly, the standing stones used in the film were props but the mound on which they stood can clearly be seen today – it sits at the bottom of the long green running down from the Castle Kennedy ruin. 

…My true love gave to me:

Eight maids a-milking

This cow (with Long Meg and her Daughters in the background) looks as if the maids have already paid her a visit!

Meg and her Daughters of course were not milkmaids in the legend, but a coven of witches, turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath – a common story!

…My true love gave to me:

Seven swans a-swimming

‘Swans at Carahunge’ by Nadya Johnson

Here, we have an artwork by Nadya Johnson of swans swimming through the stars above the megalithic site of Carahunge in Armenia, entitled ‘Swans at Carahunge’. It’s interesting to note that “car” means “stone” in Armenian, while “hunge (or henge) refers to “speech”. These talking stones, also referred to as the Stones of the Powerful are believed to be the remnants of the world’s oldest known astronomical observatory, built to mark the movement not only of the sun and moon, but also the stars. 

A number of the huge standing stones bear smoothly angled spy holes 4 to 5cm in diameter, each one angled toward a different point on the horizon or an ancient target in the sky.

Most significant to some, is that Carahunge’s principal stellar alignment is towards Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus the swan….not as it exists today, but as it did 7,500 years ago. Cygnus contains six named stars. The proper names of stars that have been officially approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) are Albireo, Aljanah, Azelfafage, Deneb, Fawaris, and Sadr.

…My true love gave to me:

Six geese a-laying

The beach at Porth Nanven in Cornwall looks as if it’s been visited by a few more than six geese! The beach, and the stones, are protected as a site of special scientific interest (SSI). Similar stones can be seen protruding from the nearby cliffs, and are know locally as ‘dinosaur eggs’ (rather than goose eggs).

…My true love gave to me:

Five Gold Rings

The Yellowmead complex on Dartmoor consists of four concentric stone circles, surrounding a no longer visible burial cairn, making a total of five rings. There is also a multiple stone row feature leading away from the circles.

..my true love gave to me:

Four colley birds

Colley, or calling birds are generally thought to be blackbirds. But as members of the Corvid family, rooks, jackdaws, crows and starlings can all be considered ‘black’ birds. Here are four above Stonehenge where corvids can often be seen roosting in the higher nooks and crannies of the stones.

…my true love gave to me:

Three French hens.

Here we have two Roman (or Roman-style) mosaics, and a Gallo-Romano ceramic hen. Gallo is almost French, isn’t it?

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