Friday, 7 November 2014

These Precious Days

“These autumn days will shorten and grow cold.  The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall.  Christmas will come, and the snows of winter. You will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world.  Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond.  The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again.  All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy – this lovely world, these precious days.” ~ E.B. White

I am trying to be positive about November.  Usually my least favourite month.  There will be Bonfire Night celebrations this weekend. 

Remember, remember

the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I see no reason why

gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.

I  remember as a child watching my Dad out in the pouring rain trying to get fireworks to light, make Catherine wheels spin and rockets take off.  Standing in the warm living room, sparkler in hand, I took it for granted that that is what Dad’s are supposed to do.  The little box of Lion  fireworks didn't last long, but were always looked forward to.

Even as an adult with no children of my own I have always enjoyed celebrating  Bonfire Night, Firework Night, Guy Fawkes Night - call it what you will.

We have held some memorable firework parties in our time, the fireworks becoming more sophisticated and very expensive. 

A few  years ago we invited some friends round for a firework supper which consisted of  Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup … Fiery Hot Banger Cassoulet …followed by … Toffee Apple Crumble

but I can still appreciate the simplicity of a baked potato wrapped in foil and put into the bonfire, a hot dog with fried onions or a mug of hot soup standing round the fire - my front burning hot and my back icy cold.

It nearly always rains on bonfire night - it is a tradition – and standing in a muddy field with cold feet doesn’t dampen the thrill of it.

I feel sad when I see the 'GUY' go up in smoke after all the hard work that has been put into it.

Also as a child I remember taking my 'GUY' door to door shouting ‘Penny for the Guy’ - do children still do that any more?

Loud bangs, the whooshing of rockets and my favourite - sparklers - I have never grown out of my love of sparklers, trying to get them alight, and writing my name as they crackle and fizz.

And jumping jacks -  I remember jumping jacks - we used to have an outside toilet when I was little, and I can remember vividly being scared to death, screaming like a banshee and standing on the toilet, when a jumping jack came in under the door. 
Hey ho!  Just a few of the joys of the 5th November.


  1. In my native Surrey village, Bonfire Night was the biggest event of the year. Bonfire Societies from all the surrounding villages would join in the huge parade in whatever dress they'd chosen for the year. I was usually a flaming torch bearer.... very dangerous when I think back, but we didn't care.

  2. I love your enthusiasm for Bonfire Night make it sound magical.
    It is the one thing I have never really enjoyed.....strange isn't it. I do not like all the banging and crashing.........gosh I sound a real misery. I am not, I never show my lack of enthusiasm, I just feel it.
    We have always held parties for the children and Grandchildren.....but I declined this year. I have done my bit.

    I love autumn/winter meals though......the warming foods that get us through winter.

    Tku for sharing your thoughts and memories about Bonfire Night......a delight to almost had me liking the occasion :)

  3. Your childhood bonfire nights sound the same as mine. We had fireworks that were pretty and didn't bang - all fireworks seem to bang nowadays. I didn't like jumping crackers - one actually chased my dad once and burned a hole in his shirt.

    Penny for the guy and mischief night seem to have been nudged aside by the imported idea of Halloween and trick or treat and a penny will certainly no longer satisfy.

  4. As you young child, my bonfire nights were just the same.. what fun it was.
    I too love sparklers.. often used today to put on birthday cakes.
    Its a long time ago.. I am not sure what the children do today.
    Here in Portugal of course its not a celebration. Fireworks are just used at new year really.
    Nice post Elaine.. brought back memories.

  5. I love autumn bonfires!! And now I want a baked potato LOL

  6. Sparklers are my favorites, too. Jumping jacks in an enclosed space? Probably not!

  7. I have enjoyed reading about these bonfire nights! How fun are your memories of these celebrations! You had me cracking up about how you would get scared and go screaming and running! Looks like a magical night even with the rain!!! And you had me with the baked potatoes wrapped in foil!!! Lovely traditions and memories friend! Happy weekend to you Elaine!!! Nicole xo

  8. A lovely post, and wonderful photos, which invoke fond memories of long ago bonfire nights. Baked potatoes wrapped in silver foil and sausages were always my favourite food.
    I feel that nowadays there's too much bang and not enough whoosh.
    I also wish it it was confined to just the one night as I feel sorry for pets and wildlife having to endure several weeks 'celebrations'. Flighty xx

  9. Your memories of Bonfire night are much the same as mine, Elaine - we used to run and scream at the jumping jacks and flourish our sparklers in the air whilst watching the fire:)

  10. I too remember those old Bonfire Nights - knocking on doors asking for a Penny for the Guy, holding fireworks in my hand (!) and Jumping Jacks ...all so dangerous in one way or another .... thank goodness we have a bit more sense these days!! x

  11. I hope that you had a great time. Lots of memories for sure. xx

  12. I remember fireworks in a tin and dad taking them out one at a time and lighting them. We used to have potatoes baked in foil under the bonfire too. I lov fireworks still :-)

  13. That does sound like a wonderful supper, invite me next time you have one!
    This had me remembering my misspent youth....I used to love the bonfires and the charred baked potatoes, we never thought to wrap them! Still the little edible potato left was always delicious, and we did penny for the guy too.
    What a lovely post, wonderful pics too, I did enjoy

  14. I could not help laughing, 'a jumping jack came in under the door of the outside toilet', hilarious but funny. Such a pity we do not have a bonfire night on the 5th of November, I like it, or at least in your post it seems fun. What I know that in England in the days when I was there as 'au pair', we had a bonfire in the backgarden every Friday afternoon to burn all the rubbish, in our country that is unthinkable, the police is in no time at the door.

  15. Dear Elaine - here in America we don't celebrate this particular holiday. Sounds like a great one to incorporate. We often have bonfires in October and roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Can relate to the front part of me being hot and the back freezing. Such wonderful memories you shared - makes me want to come visit on November 5th...especially for a cup of delicious soup and a baked potato. Have a super day.

  16. Goodness yes, I remember Jumping Jacks putting in an appearance once ... I was very small and they absolutely terrified me.

  17. Your Bonfire Night reminiscences sound most familiar and dear to my hear Elaine. I can't remember when I last saw a guy :(