I am sure that the Salisbury Journal is a very fine newspaper, but I must admit that I almost fell off my chair when Mr Google contacted me this morning through some digital miracle, and informed me that I'd better check out a certain URL. So here it is:
Soldiers to march for Amesbury artefact30th April 2012
By Jill Harding
MEMBERS of the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery have set themselves the task of obtaining the first artefact for the new Amesbury Museum.
Lieutenant Colonel Craig Palmer, commanding officer of the regiment, has set off to march the 250 miles from Amesbury to Presili in Pembrokeshire, where the inner stones of Stonehenge originally came from, to pick up a Bluestone Bardic Chair. Lt Col Palmer made the announcement to a civic service for the mayor and mayoress of Amesbury, Andy and Rebecca Rhind-Tutt at The Abbey Church of St Mary and St Melor at the weekend.
In his mayoral address Cllr Rhind-Tutt said: “I have always believed that Amesbury was one of Britain’s best kept secrets – a treasure trove just waiting to be unlocked.
“My theme for the year was all about bringing our community together during the build-up to the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee in events and activities and encouraging everyone to think about Amesbury.”
Cllr Rhind-Tutt’s mayoral year has seen a number of community events in the town.
Amesbury Museum opened for the first time during the Easter holidays after the town council bought the former Melor Hall for the purpose.
There are hopes the hall will one day be replaced by a purpose-built visitor centre where the Bluestone Bardic Chair will be given pride of place.
This is all very wonderful, but I can't help thinking that there are health and safety issues here, not to mention human rights. This poor soldier has obviously been encouraged to start trudging all the way off to the wilds of West Wales on some wild goose chase. What equipment does he have with him? Has he packed his winter woollies, in view of the unseasonably cold weather we are having? Has he remembered his hot water bottle and his pen knife? Is he prepared for the hazards that lie ahead -- roaring rivers, dense woodlands, hostile natives, wild animals lurking in the undergrowth? As we speak, he is probably swimming across the Severn Estuary, with the port of Cardiff up ahead. At least, he can pop in to one of those nice restaurants on Cardiff Bay, dry himself off and get a warming cup of Costa Coffee.
But what happens, in due course, if he survives the journey, when he staggers up onto those windswept slopes of the Eastern Preseli Hills and hopes to find bardic chairs lying about all over the place? He will be utterly distraught, poor fellow, when he discovers that there is not a single one to be had, let alone a selection. The distress that he will feel hardly bears thinking about.
But hang on -- does he know something that the rest of us do not know? Ah yes, he must have had words with Profs GW and TD, who have given him the grid coordinates to a secret bardic chair factory that is as yet unreported in the literature.
So that's it then. We look forward to reading progress reports in future editions of the Salisbury Journal, and trust that the intrepid Lt Col Palmer will return home safe and sound, after his tour on active service.