Cooper and my own nostalgia for places I've never been to

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Sun Oct 12 12:18:37 EDT 2003


Our recent posts about Susan Cooper finally spurred me to do something I'd
been meaning to do ever since I moved to Bristol 13 years ago - go and visit
the Stanton Drew stone circle, in the village of that name (I blush to write
it) a mere 7 miles from my own front door. I'd been expecting something on a
fairly small scale, but it's a pretty amazing place - not that much smaller
than the Avebury complex in fact (where I happened to go yesterday, so it's
fresh in my mind). And unlike Avebury and Stonehenge, pretty much unspoilt.
We paid our entrance fee into an unattended honesty box, and my children
enjoyed climbing on the stones, nor did anyone tell them to get off or even
look as if they wanted to. Not that there were many people there, save a
couple sitting on another stone, facing in different directions, and
texting.

Anyway... when I first read The Dark is Rising sequence over 20 years ago,
and being a neolithic groupie, I became convinced that Cooper had named Will
Stanton and the Drew children in honour of this small Somerset village. I
even wrote to her and asked, but though she told me she had borrowed from
J.B. Priestley the habit of taking names from the gazeteer she couldn't
recall the origin of those particular ones. But I'm convinced, deep deep
down, that this is a place of primordial importance for all Cooper fans.

Apropros of nothing much but Sunday afternoon meandering...

Charlie

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