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Looking Forward to the 2015 Season with Hope and Optimism

No need for ‘permits’, tickets or licences!

The simple fact is that the CGI way of doing ie. getting people happily into CCs, where applied, works…and works well. This has been proven over the last few seasons. The reason it works is that the farmers like respect and see the benefits in terms of service given, which is now well documented. The alternative is to secretly creep in hoping the farmer won’t come along yelling and screaming, a practice that has caused all the problems in the past. Working effectively with farmers by forging trusting relationships is absolute ‘key’ and adhering to a Code of Conduct is primary. Without this, as said many a time before, there will be little chance of a quality CC visit, (eg. all sitting around in a relaxed group manner without the fear of farmer intervention) if at all, indeed ‘cutting’ has now become the ‘order of the day’ in mid-season battle zone Wiltshire, or so it seems.

”With drone technology it is still possible to take the all-important photo even without permission to access field.”

We have absolutely no way of knowing how things will unfold this coming 2015 season in truth…as always, but if the trend of the past two years or so is to continue, Wiltshire may no longer be the focus and if they do get any, which they probably will they may be trashed, cut or have a ‘No Entry’ sign placed on the gate as happened before when things get busy. This will make it much harder for visitors planning a trip to the UK CCs as far less predictable. Of course we know CCs are not placed for our convenience as they may have been to some extent in the introductory ‘getting to know us’ years beforehand, in the preceding 2 or 3 decades but the local social climate has now mitigated the situation. My feeling is we may need to have a more flexible and mature attitude towards visits to avoid disappointment and trouble. The long-term, die-hard, entrenched-in-old-habit visitors stuck on auto-pilot, may not wish to hear all this as fundamentally most are creatures of habit and change often feels uncomfortable and can seem inconvenient. Geography is one thing but respect and boundary quite another. If we view the Wiltshire area as a lesson, part of a learning curve whereon all went terribly wrong, perhaps we should ask ourselves the question…”Could we do better next time in the ‘New Territories’…are we indeed capable of evolution”?

I’m inclined to say…”Yes, yes, yes, no problemo!” CGI members are respectful, mobile and flexible…how it must be…after all, the CCs may keep on the move. Wiltshire over the years has become host to a concentration of those hardcore regulars used to the all-is-familiar ‘easy route’…their comfort zone where those habits have evolved together with a cosy long-time social scene where they even know the pub landlord by his first name.Their challenge will be adjustment to the practicalities and unpredictabilities of visiting these New Territories that could be just about anywhere.

The local psyche in new areas away from Wiltshire is relatively undamaged CC-wise in my experience whereon the populace has not become battle weary and full of negatives through land invasion and disrespect. So in consequence we do need to encourage positive PR in new areas by doing the right thing, fostering goodwill and trust to maintain the status quo if harmony is to be our goal.

CGI will try to facilitate access where possible but I dare say this will not happen in many cases whereupon prudence and discretion will be required by others. Upsetting the local UK farmers with unnecessary antagonism will only bode badly for all of us in the future and would be shortsighted. Organised groups of paying guests or coach loads of people suddenly descending upon private land uninvited would spell utter disaster and not be a smart move by any means.

However, the last two years especially were good examples of how CCs when managed thoughtfully and intelligently and in this case by CGI, which amounted to two CCs each year on these occasions (1) was shown to be the perfect working formulation, helping the farmers and public alike, enabling 100’s of people to happily visit each CC that would otherwise be denied them. Working together with these many visitors was an absolute joy! Good communications and steady practice resulted in virtually no problems ‘at the gate’ which is truly remarkable in this subject. Feedback from the public was almost unanimous in it’s praise. I mention this not for reasons of personal enhancement but rather to wave a flag of hope to people somehow in as much as we may now have actually found a way forward with future CC management for the benefit of all. This would be truly wonderful if allowed to evolve to maturity as would avoid so much sorrow. The past years have been hard with the farmers and visitors alike but this news should logically have the whole CC community singing and dancing, but for some, alas, and strangely, I suspect it won’t.

You just know that you must be doing something right when you spark the interest of the farmer’s family and friends!” Inspecting CC at Badbury Rings, Dorset 2014 on horseback.

The complete and utter irony of this CGI success story throughout it’s development you may be interested to hear, not that this fact is much of a concern to me personally one way or another, is that there has been absolutely no recognition or support from, let’s call them…’The crop circle establishment’ and the ‘official bodies’ they were involved with who for some very curious reason cannot…or won’t, see it. In a way this intransigent view suggests shallow self-interest may be playing a role and/or possibly something more sinister/deep-seated like control issues or power seeking; that’s unfortunate because this position would not resonate with the Spirit of the Cropcircles…or me for that matter. But, hay-ho…these ‘front liners’ may be becoming less relevant in the New Paradigm…a second generation of more positive thought and practice may be slowly emerging….

”Francine Blake with a happy group who enjoyed the CC at Sixpenny Hadley down in Dorset 2014”.

All group leaders in my view have a responsibility to adhere to the Code of Conduct and if access is not permitted to a field then it could be said… “Just too bad”… and move on.

The old fashioned culture of …”Let’s sneak ‘um in quickly and quietly before the farmer arrives”, lacks integrity and smacks of low frequency business desperation, usually commercially / money-driven by paying groups and is clearly bad practice… often by those with experience that really should know better by now. (Sigh…!) My view is that this ‘lack of insight driven’ old fashioned and ruthless culture of accessing CCs by any unauthorised means, as well as emphasising the perpetrator’s ethics is no longer appropriate (if ever it was) and does not chime well with the Circles themselves. After all, majority view of the CCs as I understand it is the reaching of higher levels of consciousness? I believe over time social trends will gradually turn against such practice…I do hope so.

At this point I will not ‘mince’ my words. Business and CCs do not appear to be good bedfellows. Money corrupts and business decisions compromise better judgment quite often and attempting to bribe farmers, as one Dutch led scheme did recently was, no surprise, a dismal failure (despite advice from day one the formulation was badly flawed…it was glaringly obvious but no one seemed to listen) and was either met with contempt and anger or the farmer cynically taking the money with no intention of loyalty either way. I personally saw this happen several times…always the same outcome. I know for sound fact that many people believe the ‘organisers’, and I use the term loosely, should now just ‘bow out’ with some humility and grace whilst some dignity is still intact, which I personally feel would be the honourable thing to do… to just move on. Certainly there’s no point persisting with any sort of ‘permit’ scheme. Additionally I’m not sure where all this leaves the avid supporters of said scheme having rejected CGI from day one. Still, “You pays ya money and makes ya choice”, I guess. One farmer, and indeed many other visitors have told me they resent ‘outsider’ involvement…”They just don’t understand the English culture do they”… one visitor said. Some also say we the British are perfectly capable of dealing with our own affairs. I’ll leave the reader to interpret all of that. Said scheme most certainly did not resinate well with the Spirit of the Cropcircles that’s for sure. I think as a community people have had enough of all that nonsense and would wish to leave all negativity behind them…put a line under it and be allowed to focus on just the Circles in the future.

A note here: Please do not be charmed into a Paying Group unless you are confident that its leader-ethics are completely sound. After all there are no guarantees; you may just end up being disappointed as was the case last year. Just a thought….

Badbury Rings, Shapwick, Dorset.2014…a place of utter harmony for weeks!”

I WOULD REPEAT…the general consensus of opinion as far as I can determine, is on no account should people be duped into buying tickets, permits, licences, badges or other bits of useless paper promising access to crop circles…IT JUST ISN’T NECESSARY…and it infuriates 99% of farmers. If money is to be involved the farmer will organise collection (as in pic below) in or next to a CC. Alternatively CGI, if farmer appointed will do so on his behalf as part of a service package. Expect to donate between £3 and £5 per head ( kids free) which goes partly towards compensating the farmer and the remainder helping a local good cause or charity. Now this IS embracing the Spirit of the Circles I think you will agree.

This kind of social commentary is not easy and that is why, or so far as I am aware, no other person on the crop circle scene has bothered (or dared perhaps) to address such in a sensible manner. For those who are unable or indeed unwilling to see the merit in a change of practice such as CGI are attempting to implement, as a consequence of their money issues/self-interest or is ego-led perhaps, again, that is unfortunate.

But in the final analysis most will realise these words are written with the best truthful intentions, with no personal gains expected.

Subtext. (1) … With more resources available this year hopefully CGI will be able to provide a more extended service to farmers and the public. The more resources we have the more we can expand obviously.

Finally, the Badbury Rings CC (above) if you recall raised £2400 for local charity and farmer compensation. You may also remember it was this CC that caused surprise and debate amongst the teachers of the Special Needs school after one of their students responded positively to this CC. A very withdrawn and non communicative boy after his visit became animated, changes noted by teachers and fellow students alike. Alas the positive effects decayed over the coming days, but this seemed like a significant event and so out of character for this lad. I suggested he could return but for whatever reason sadly this did not happen. I will in the future, given the opportunity, follow up the potential here. Perhaps others could encourage CC visits as a way in with other Special Needs groups but obviously in cooperation with CGI and/or farmers so as to avoid issues need less to say.

Thankyou for reading.


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