16) See Stonehenge at sunrise
This was just how I imagined it would be. As we arrived, it wasn’t quite day or night. In the distance, Stonehenge emerged out of the mist.
There was something very special about the dawn light. It seemed velvety soft. With stripes of pink sky on the horizon, it held all the promise of a sunny day ahead.
Frost covered the fields which surrounded the ancient stones. The light may have had a warm glow but it was a freezing morning.
This was so different to the last thing I did on my List for Living.
Just days to go before the end of my horrible toxic treatment, I was racing towards the finish line at the British Grand Prix circuit with David Coulthard.
Last week I had my final chemo, for a while at least. So being at Stonehenge a couple of days afterwards for my List for Living to see the sunrise felt very symbolic. Slowly I will start to feel better as the anti-cancer drugs leave my system. It means that I have a new start.
As it got lighter, pinks and purples started to spread across the sky. I was alone in the prehistoric circle of stones. Waiting and hoping.
There was no guarantee that there’d be a sunrise. It had to break through the mist and the low sung clouds.
But then at exactly 5.14am I got to see no 16 from List for Living. Sunrise at Stonehenge.
It was glorious. As I watched the sun get bigger and brighter and higher in the sky, I felt excited about my future. It may be shorter than it should be but I know that it will shine brightly. Seeing the start of the new day at one of the oldest monuments in the world was such a simple thing but it made me so happy.
I’ve wanted to do this for ages. It felt incredible to be stood in the very heart of Stonehenge all on my own and see the sunrise.
Well, I wasn’t quite alone. Rache was with me. She’s my friend who came to chemo with a bundle of mobiles. Rache always has four or five phones with her. She’s sometimes known as Raquel. What else could I wear for the occasion than my Raquel wig?!
As the sun came up, we were the only visitors. While I was in the centre of the stones, Rache stood on the outside of the circle taking photos. Most of the ones on here were taken by her. We’ve known each other since A Levels, back then we also both took a photography course. We’d often get sent out to take shots of random things. Graveyards, bad perms, clock towers.
This has to be the best place that we’ve ever taken photos together.
We were so lucky with the weather. It’s only on certain days that English Heritage allow small pre-arranged groups of people into Stonehenge in the early morning. I don’t think that the weather could have been any better.
There was something magical about the sunrise. Before and especially afterwards I felt so terribly ill. But for that moment, the chemo side effects seemed to lift.
If it was just up to me, then I doubt that I would have seen it quite so soon. When I first wrote about my list, the BBC’s West of England correspondent, Jon Kay offered to help and it’s thanks to him that I ended up at Stonehenge on such a perfect day.
It was a great way to mark the end of my latest treatment against my stupid cancer. I don’t know what will happens next or even how much time I have left.
I’m sure that when Stonehenge was built no one could have predicted that people would still be enjoying it so many years later. It’s a timely reminder that some things last a whole lot longer than expected.
Big thanks to Jon Kay and English Heritage.