Monday, November 7, 2011

Remember remember the fifth of November....

For weeks now, we have been living in a fireworks zone. I am not always quite sure which events have been going on. Sometimes the fireworks seem motivated (ie. during Diwali, or Halloween), but at other times, who knows? We hear them going off everynight somewhere. These brits seem to have a bit of an obsession with gunpowder!

Perhaps Guy Fawkes night is linked to this seemingly national obsession with things that explode?  As the old Nursery Rhyme goes:

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

And so we had our first shot at remembering (or rather, 'membering', since it was a first time for us) for Guy Fawkes Day. My mom having arrived in town the night before, she explained to the kids that, back in the 17th century, Guy Fawkes had been found in the Houses of Parliament with big casts of gunpowder (presumably to blow the building up), had been tried and executed (hung, drawn and quartered) for treason. 
Steve and the boys

400 years later, and the British are still celebrating with fireworks (gunpowder?) and by burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on big bonfires.  Strange event.  Nonetheless.... we headed off to Mill Hill where the Barnet Scout Troup was organizing fireworks and bonfire.  We arrived early enough to lineup for hotchocolate and fries, and to wander around trying to avoid getting singed by the many kids burning sparklers in the crowd.  :-)    I did catch one snapshot of the boys.  Steve wonders how it is that I always manage to catch him with his eyes half closed!

There was indeed a big pile of wood set up in the centre of the field with a stuffed effigy atop. Alex thinks that, after 400 years, they should just 'let it go'... time to stop promoting the burning of folks (even if only in effigy!)
I also tried to catch pictures of the would have been better if I had not positioned myself under a tree, but... i only figure these things out after the fact!

The longer the fireworks went on, the smokier the sky got.  The wind was blowing directly at us.  This meant that the fireworks seemed to be not only exploding, but then also to be escaping to the left.  It also meant that it began to be difficult to find people in the crowd because of the smoke!   :-)

And finally, it was time to light the bonfire.  Up it went!   given the direction of the wind, it wasn't long before the flames were high, and the ashes of the effigy were swirling against the crowds... people were pretty quick to get back from the cinders whipping towards them!   Both steve and i had thought the bonfire seemed pretty close the fence but... what do we know?!  :-)
I don't know if this will work, but.... i tried to take a couple of video clips....


  1. Great fireworks Rebecca. I heard them but I did not see many of them. I can't even remember where I was at that time.

  2. oooo I was waiting for this report.

  3. And we were just saying steve appears to be constantly drunk in the UK... but eyes closed, ok we'll take that version.

  4. I've celebrated "Bonfire Night" in the UK too but more often in Newfoundland - where it's a big deal in communities with Protestant heritage - the whole idea is to celebrate the fact the Catholic plot did not succeed! Special Newfoundland twist: you can burn old tires and send them wheeling over the cliff into the sea. Now that's fireworks!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.