FridgeHenge was on our farm, just north of Gordonton on the road to Taupiri. Sadly, it is no more. It was never meant to be a permanent fixture, fridges just don't last too long these days, especially out in the weather, and we needed the paddock for the cows. It was erected for the summer solstice, partly as a comment on the way that this occasion has changed over the past 4000 years, from a time of religious observance to a festival of material acquisition, and partly because it was a really good excuse for a party.
Forty-one fridges were used in the construction, each corresponding to one of the major Sarsen stones of the original. An avenue was mown in the grass pointing towards the midsummer sunrise, and two fridges corresponding to the Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone were positioned along it. The artists responsible were Graeme Cairns, Sean Burke and Andrew McGovern. Affiliations to the McGillicuddy Serious Party and Claudelands Visionary Society mentioned in another message to this newsgroup are incidental.
The original plan was to have a ceremony to mark the solstice at 3.24pm on December 22, at which time the sun stood directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, but since the Waikato Times and TVNZ both reported a dawn event we thought we'd better be there for the sunrise as well. About 14 people turned up at dawn, including a couple who'd come over from Waihi, and a woman from Te Kauwhata. There was also a group of 13 Christians (don't know if the number's significant), who'd missed the point entirely, presumably they thought we were going to perform satanic rituals or something. They stood on the other side of the road for a bit and prayed for our souls, then sang half a verse of a hymn before deciding that 14 people standing around in a paddock sharing a single bottle of Australian bubbly weren't going to bring about the end of civilisation as we know it. Graeme thanked them for coming and they went home.
The afternoon's event was altogether livelier. The idea was for those assembled to make suggestions as to how they wanted the solstice to be celebrated, and we would carry them out as far as possible. The wind had got up and a warm drizzle was driving in horizontally (had we established a cosmic link with the Salisbury Plains?), which added to the atmosphere if not to the comfort levels, then with everyone assembled at the Heel Fridge, the sun broke through for the only time that day, precisely at 3.24 pm. bit like kids' party games at times, but worked quite well overall. We thanked the rain up in loincloths and white body paint were ritually "sacrificed." The concluding free- form percussion piece played on the fridges themselves went particularly well. Then we went home for tea and banana scones, and Sean did a live-to-air interview with the BBC.
In the evening the rain cleared and we had a fire in the middle of the fridges and sang songs to musical accompaniment provided by Graeme, who plays rhythm ukulele with the Big Muffin Serious Band. Lots of people stopped by, and we drank cider and home-brewed beer until the small hours. It was, all in all, such a success we plan to have a permanent, if rather small, stone circle in place for the next summer solstice.
It was amazing how much attention 41 fridges received. We know it was in the papers in Britain, on the radio in Adelaide, on TV in Melbourne, and now reports of it being mentioned in the USA. Anyone else out there who's seen it covered in other countries?
David James Riddell, firstname.lastname@example.org