Monday, 12 November 2007

Remember, Remember.... to bring some gloves

...And a hat, and a scarf.

Recently it was the 5th of November, and here in the UK that can only mean one thing: Guy Fawkes Day! People celebrate by shooting off fireworks and going to bonfires. Around the middle of October all of the grocery stores started selling all kinds of fireworks and soon after every night was punctuated by little Pop Pop's and flashes of light. Malcolm and I felt like we were back in Jamaica, except the gunshots had been replaced by harmless lights in the sky. We decided to get in on the action and bought two shopping bags worth of fireworks.

Once Guy Fawkes Day arrived I was excited to shoot off our very own fireworks on the beach near our house. First, though, we decided to go to a bonfire in a community near our house. We arrived around 7:15 and the bonfire was finally lit around 7:45. Now, half an hour may not seem like a long time to wait, but it was FREEZING! I said to Malcolm 'now I appreciate that America's big firework holiday is in the summer!'. We waited and waited, huddled together outside the barrier that was keeping people about 50 feet away from the actual bonfire. It was a huge pile of pallets and wood about 20 feet high with an effigy of Guy on top. There were about a thousand people waiting for the fire to start. Slowly we began hearing bagpipes, and eventually the pipers walked past us and the fire started. Hearing the pipes and watching the bonfire burn was very cool; it was a totally authentic Scottish moment.

As we watched the fire burn everyone around us was commenting on it: 'Oh, Guy is on fire now' 'There goes Guy!' 'He's done for now!'. I realized that years ago people would have stood around a similar fire and watched a real person burn! Maybe even right where we were standing! Bizarre.

Malcolm and I left as the fireworks show began. We both had frozen feet, and we were ready to light our own fireworks. After a quick stop home to warm up we headed down to the beach. As we got there we noticed a bunch of Neds (Non Educated Delinquents) standing around their own 'bonfire' (really a pallet that gasoline had been poured on). We picked our spot well away from them and headed down to the beach. Instantly we were frozen again, and it was so windy we couldn't get anything lit. We moved back by the car and decided to light things in the parking lot. Meanwhile all the Neds had left and the fire department had come to extinguish the pallet. We set up and began shooting off fireworks. It was lots of fun, but I couldn't feel my fingers after a few minutes.

After shooting off most of our fireworks we decided to call it a night and go home. We drove past a few other people shooting off their own stash.

Once home we turned up the heat and huddled under blankets. All night we heard fireworks, and it hasn't stopped since. Every night I hear a few pop's....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is great to see you enjoyed the November 5th celebrations!