Leopard’s bane

JMW Turner’s Stonehenge. Photograph: The Salisbury Museum

For thirty days this year and every year, you can read my latest novel The Fountain in the Forest in synch with the French Republican Calendar. We are now on Chapter 5, part of which takes place at the last Stonehenge Free Festival of June 1984.

Conversion between the Republican and Gregorian Calendars is imprecise, but by common reckoning today’s date 6 March 2020 converts to Septidi 17 Ventôse CCXXVIII in the Revolutionary Calendar. Factoring in Fabre d’Eglantine’s system of everyday rural imagery, 17 Ventôse CCXXVIII and Chapter 5 of the novel are dedicated to Doronicum or Leopard’s bane – a member of the sunflower family and ‘the earliest-blooming of the daisies’.


Readers may not be aware that the future of the Stonehenge UNESCO World Heritage Site currently hangs in the balance, with a final decision of the Government’s road widening and tunnel project due (at time of writing) any day now.

Not only would a tunnel irreparably damage the historical landscape and both existing and undiscovered archeological remains, but taking the road underground would remove a view of the stones from the road that has been free to all for millennia, and which has inspired artists and writers across the centuries, from JMW Turner and John Cowper Powys to me!

Visit the Stonehenge Alliance website, to find out what steps you can take to add your voice to this campaign today.

An urgent request: write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer TODAY

An urgent request: sign the petition TODAY

Photo: Włodzimierz Wysocki – CC BY-SA 3.0


Buy The Fountain in the Forest direct from publisher Faber and Faber 

The Fountain in the Forest was a Guardian ‘Book of the Day’ – read Sukhdev Sandhu’s review

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