November 5th, the day that celebrates the foiling of the plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament in 1605 in a secret plan to overthrow the King. Read the whole story in the above link.
As a child we looked forward to this celebration with great anticipation. Friends or other children in the street would get together and build an effigy of the guy. This was made with a set of old clothes, stuffed with whatever was to hand, and straw for the hair. It would then be taken round the street or sat in a cart on the street corner with children asking for “a penny for the guy”. These pennies were used to buy fireworks.
We would have a bonfire in the middle of the road and as hardly anybody had a car in those days traffic was not a problem. The only problem that I remember is making sure the fire did not crack the windows of the nearest house. Fireworks were quite small, maybe a Pinwheel, a couple of Rockets and a few small Bangers, but mostly we would have sparklers that children could hold themselves. A lot of the fun was roasting potatoes in the fire, and staying out after dark.
Now of course fireworks are much more spectacular and very loud. Public organised firework displays can be nothing less than stunning but today many people set off fireworks for every conceivable celebration in their back gardens and usually around midnight. At this time of year and through to New Year celebrations they can be heard almost every night. Apart from the nuisance and disturbance more is not always best. The fun and expectations of one single evening of excitement has now been dulled by the regular sounds and sights of peoples back garden antics often into the early hours of the morning. This year’s celebration being on a Monday, the displays lasted all Saturday and Sunday evening. All we had to do was look out of our bedroom windows to see displays in every direction one looked. Tonight is the real Guy Fawkes night so there will be many again, but I wonder how many children these days know just what the celebration is meant to be about. I read an article in my Newspaper today saying that it is possible that in another decade November 5th celebrations will probably have faded out and be overtaken by Halloween.
Thank you so much everyone for all your good wishes and birthday greetings. Wish I could thank you all in person.