A couple of reports today (well, yesterday, in Dorset, already) from the BBC report on the restoration of a unique English landmark. A 55-meter giant, wielding a club and sporting an erection, etched in the hillside at the top of a mountain of chalk on a hill in Dorset. The problem is, as it often is, time. With time, the mosses grow, the chalk turns gray or green, the grass obscures the outlines of the figure… It needs a makeover every decade or so–more frequently when the weather has been damper. The process really is impressive (videos available at the links above), as is the fact that these volunteers are carrying 18 tons of chalk up the hill, and 18 tons of dirty, mossy, decayed chalk down the hill, all by hand, a bag at a time.
Each ten (or, sometimes, fewer) years
A team of helpful volunteers
Ascends a hill in Dorset (which is quite a pretty walk)
They’ll haul their shovels, picks, and barrows,
Tamping tools, and rakes and harrows
Helping to restore a giant figure made of chalk
With weather and erosion losses,
Growth of lichens, or of mosses,
Overgrowing grasses now obscure the Giant’s form
So villagers, in long tradition
Set about upon their mission,
Climbing up the hillside, a benign, prosocial, swarm.
The object that demands protection?
A giant, with a huge erection,
Etched in narrow lines of chalk upon the Dorset hill.
He’s fifty meters tall, and nude,
Aroused, it seems, which some find rude
Made several hundred years ago, but gladly with us still.
Some people took a nose or eye
Some others had a foot or thigh
A body part for every volunteer, to catch them all.
Such grueling work, in wind and sun,
It must have been a lot of fun—
Just ask my Aunt Mathilda; why, she says she had a ball!