Friday, November 05, 2004

Remembere remember

Tonigth is fireworks night, bonfire night, Guy Fawkes. Tonigh we supposedely celebrate the unmasking of a Catholic conspriacy to blow up the Houses of Parliament, back in the days of James I & VI. In reality today is a chance to make big fires and send gunpowder rockets into the air.

Or it used to be, before everyone started fractically worrying about health regulations.

Where I grew up we made our own bonfire. We would start building it sometime in late early October, and it would slowly get added to with the detritus of home and autumn. Old boxes, broken wooden chairs, and branches blown down in the autumn weather would be readily tipped onto the pile. My dad always tended to do a bit of decorating about that time, which also ensured a ready supply of fuel. It was very much a home-made affair. A small group of neighbours would join in to pool resources. Usually, if the weather was not too inclement, a BBQ would be in the offing, otherwise it would be grill and oven. Someone would construct a guy - and since this was the country there was no problems getting ahold of raw materials. Fireworks would be let off by the daddies, while the mummies held back the kids. All in a back garden on an autumn evening.

Of course, I now live in compeltely the wrong area for this sort of thing. In the villlage nearly every house had a garden larger than the one I currently have (which is larger than most in Taunton). Today's manufactured events simply don't have the same authentic ring. And I know that I remmeber the village bonfires with a good deal of nostalgia, and see them through incredibly rose-tinted lenses, but so what? So this year, like the last few years, I've happily ignored Bonfire Night (other than to provide a bit of emergency TLC for one of our cats who is rather scared by all the bangs). I will probably do the same for the next few years, probably until either I myself have kids, or I become an uncle.

The reason I say that is a few years ago I did not to a bonfire night, with some friends and their two young children. For them it was still magical, and I basked in the reflected magic. But until such a time, mark me down a curmugdonely sort who can't be bothered.

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