Sunday, 8 November 2009

Where my talents as an artist are confirmed

It's been a long time since I impressed you with my drawings.

As you can see, my talents are greatly improved by the stencil set received by the Eldest Latte for her recent 9th birthday.

I knew I wouldn't be able to get you a decent picture of the actual fireworks. Not least because, in our attempts to avoid the crowds at the city's firework display, we ended up choosing a vantage point so far away from the action that the Littlest Latte kept complaining that she needed glasses to see.

And then, as we walked away, Littlest saw someone with a sparkler. "They're drawing in the sky!" she shouted, and it struck me that dressing up in full waterproofs and sploshing out in a downpour to see some tiny sparks in the distance was so, so very far away from my childhood experience.

I'm not saying that I'm against some sanitising of celebrations. I welcome the increasing adoption of the American-style trick-or-treating at Hallowe'en, because I'd far rather open my door to a smiling family in fancy dress than have my windscreen smeared with lard.

But what do my children know of the real Bonfire Night, where you nailed Catherine Wheels to the shed door and burnt a big hole in the middle of your lawn? What do they know of fireworks in a biscuit tin, and of the peculiar bonfire feeling of having a burning hot face and frozen feet?

Will they never, like me, have the memory of burning Guy Fawkes' legs on a bonfire, because their mother's friend's children forgot their end of the deal, and turned up without the vital torso and head?

We haven't even eaten a toffee apple this year.

I read this, and it made me sad. The twenty-something pyromaniac in me, who used to happily set things alight in pub ashtrays, reared up from inside and howled.

I think it might be time for Mr Coffee to hide the matches.


  1. I miss real bonfire nights too. The really rubbish roman candles, the treacle toffee, my dad with his special blue wick lighty string, and the smell, mostly the smell.

  2. part of what I enjoy about Bonfire night at my brothers is the toffee apples, toffee bads, hot chocolate and the fireworks.

    If we want a bonfire, my FIL has one on the farm and I am sure the boys will make guys as the years go on. Penny for the guy is still quite big round here!!

  3. I just had a cup of tea with a couple of sixty-somethings who should know better as they regaled me with tales of firework derring-do from their respective youths.

    Thankfully my boys were our of eashot, as the escapades made my maternal toes curl.

    It's nor the same as the olden days...

  4. At our local primary school - where the annual village 'bonfire' is held, they don't do a bonfire anymore - its too dangerous... and no sparklers allowed either! Ridiculous! What memories will our poor children have? x

  5. But as a child, I did both - we went guising on Halloween (we had never heard of trick or treating) and then made and burned a guy on Bonfire Night. We scavenged around the area where we lived for weeks beforehand, collecting suitable material for the bonfire - it was a brave person who took delivery of timber to build a new shed at any time in the run up to November 5th! Can't we have both?
    And as for setting things alight in pub ashtray, those were the days! Crisp bags were great fun. We once got caught ceremonially burning the business card of a particularly prattish friend of ours who tended to hand his cards out to girls. (It never worked, oddly). He left the pub early and we set to work. He came back in for his forgotten brolly and found us incinerating his chat-up tactics. Slightly awkward.

  6. I just found out about Bonfire Night only a week or so ago through some friends who bought a house here.
    Shame on me, I always thought Halloween was another imported celebration, from Britain nonetheless.
    Live and learn.

  7. No, we've always had Hallowe'en - we just do some bad things with it. Trick or treat is a proper threat.

  8. Oh dear, I'm going to go against the tide and say I really don't miss the old bonfire night parties. It used to frighten the life out of me; I was at one where someone got a spark from a stray firework trapped between their glasses and their eye with permanent and horrible consequences.

    And leaving all that aside, I like the really HUGE amounts of fireworks they set off at the big displays too!

  9. I wish we had a Guy Fawkes or similar historical prankster of our own. It makes much more sense to set off fireworks in November than it does on the beastly hot Fourth of July. And a bonfire sounds most cozy right about now.

    Sincerely, She Who Once Burned a Huge Hole in Her Favorite New Shirt with a Roman Candle

  10. Ooooh, I love stencil sets.
    Yes, that's me pushing the children aside at the drawing table so that I can get some time in while the textas are still fresh and the crayons are all in one piece.

  11. We have a few fireworks in the garden and sparklers to write your name with. I stand ready to throw my children to the ground if anything goes wrong, which it never has but since becoming a mother I imagine all sorts of disasters!

  12. It is too bad -- we lit our own fireworks on the 4th of July and if you watch Meet me in St Louis, you'll see that trick or treat used to be a real threat here, too. I amy still be in Detroit, where they have devil's Night the night before. Here is another sad Halloween commentary -- scroll down to "indoors."

  13. We used to go to a firework party on the beach outside a pub. I just remember the bonfire and the reflection of the fireworks in the water but I suspect that my parents remember the brandy cocktails.


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