Friday, 5 November 2010


Tonight is Bonfire Night. Ana checks her window for 'fidaworks' every time there is a pop or a crackle outside. The increasingly drunken firecracker enthusiasts setting off explosions in my street are not very coherent, but I think what they are trying to say is:

Remember, remember the 5th of November 
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason 
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd 
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

November 5th is a flammable peek back to the mean and unpleasant land of 1605, full of nasties like drawing, quartering and lighting your enemies on fire. The wildest celebration is in Lewes, Sussex, where bonfire societies march on smoky streets gripping burning crosses, chanting and yelling like something out of a nightmare. Then they go and burn effigies all night. It's frankly terrifying. 

Life on this island has become much less of a fire hazard since 1605. It's easy to remember that on Bonfire Night.  

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