When we arrived for the thirteenth time at the Isle of Portland in September 2013 to go carving in The Circle of Stones, it felt as if we were coming home; especially when meeting our old acquaintances, such as Rita, the hospitable hostess of Portland YMCA, Dawn and Kelly of Sugar Loaf Restaurant, Hannah and Paul of Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust, Geoff Smith from Stone Firms, Danny Nash form Portland Stone, Julian Langrish from Perryfields, and many others.

The Isle of Portland is a wonderful and inspiring place to spend a fortnight, a time during which we carved during the day and relaxed during the evenings in pubs like The George in Easton, The Cove Inn in Fortuneswell and the Sailors Return in Weymouth. It was in the latter pub where, at the open Wednesday evening, we met not only, among others, Alan Briggs, Big Al Whittle, and Greg Schofield, but also Vanessa Young who composed and wrote the beautiful lyric ‘The Circle of Stones’.

The first thing on our agenda after arriving from our long travel from The Netherlands, was to visit The Circle of Stones in order to feel the atmosphere. We were curious whether everything was still in place, whether our sculptures had been vandalised, and whether weeds had overgrown everything. We were happy to see there everything was in perfect order. Members from Dorset Wildlife Trust had fought off cotoneaster and other vegetable intruders. Also, the Portland South West Coast Path had been diverted because of a land fall and was now running along the quarry, bringing a lot of passers-by to our site.

This year the group consists of thirteen carvers, among whom the group’s newcomer Bianca Oude Groeniger. These are their names:

Resy Croonenberg Bianca Oude Groeniger
Coby Dam Jan Willem Rutgers
Maurice Dorren Paul Saris
Hetty van der Eng Jac Schmidt
Herman Groen Ria Schoen
Bep Klaassen Leendert Wijtman
Jan Willem Lackamp  

In general a sculpture is not finished within two weeks’ time, so only a few can be completed each year. This year, the following sculptures were finished:

The mushroom Seat  Hetty van der Eng 
Falling Lady Hetty van der Eng 
The Wedging Paul Saris
Spring tide           Paul Saris
Waiting Resy Croonenberg
Sleeping Bird Leendert Wijtman

We included a special excursion to our programme, as we do each year we visit. This year we went to the Culverwell site near Portland Bill, where remains have been found of the oldest mesolithic settlement in England. Our very well informed guide was Mr. Martin Blundell of the Association for Portland Archaeology.

We would like to thank all the people who have given their support to our project and we will be happy to revisit next year. Last but not least, we wish to mention the wonderful friendship with Angie and Alan Briggs, who introduced us to the Isle of Portland in 2001.

Recently we received a very sad message: Alan Briggs, our wonderful friend, has passed way completely unexpectedly. We had got to know him as a very pleasant and helpful man. We will always remember his beautiful voice, his songs and his guitar play. It is an unbelievable loss for us, but especially for his wife and his family.