Friday, 5 November 2010

Remember, remember... oh, you forgot.

Remember, remember...

Remember drifting smoke, tasting of excitement. Remember toffee apples sticking your teeth together.  Remember ketchup oozing out of a hot dog onto your gloves.  Remember having one cheek blazing from the fire, and the other tingling with the cold.  Remember writing your name in a sparkler, and wishing you had a shorter one (name not sparkler).  Remember the crash as the guy falls into the heart of the flames, sending up a shower of sparks, more exciting than the coloured ones.  Remember ooh!  And aah!

Remember gunpowder, treason and plot.

Unless you live in the Scottish Borders apparently.

It's very odd.  We spent last week with my parents, and down there every second village is bedecked with posters for its bonfire party, each boasting different attractions; and vying with each other for the best, or wackiest, or most noisy (my personal favourite: the Battle-of-Britain-themed bonfire, which seems strangely inappropriate somehow).

Anyway, we have friends staying this week, and it being a Friday night, I thought it would be a nice thing to do with all our girls this evening: an hour or two of wrapping up warm, and eating too much sugar, squealing a lot, and generally exhausting them out:  followed hopefully by an extra hour in bed tomorrow.

But we can't.  Because there's nothing.  Not in our town, or the next, or the next.  In fact the only fireworks event I've heard of is a good twenty miles away and  even if we'd wanted to go that far it was last night.


I thought it was a Scottish thing.  It's notable that the one bonfire I have discovered was in England.  But then I realised Guy Fawkes tried to blow up a Scottish King (James was VI before he was I after all), so surely the Scots would be just as keen as the English to burn him in effigy.  Nonetheless, I wondered whether those north of the Border had a bit of sneaking sympathy for the incompetent chap's efforts to destroy the English parliament, but B assures me (as does everyone else I've asked) that the Scots normally go just as much of a bundle on the flames and bangs as the English do.  The image* above is from Edinburgh's 2009 celebrations, so they've clearly remembered....

So why not here? Or maybe it's: why not this year?  And, more importantly, how am I going to get my extra hour in bed now?

*Image from  Looks fab doesn't it?  Maybe that's one for next year....


  1. Nah there IS a difference - I'm not sure why but it's there. We have always celebrated Halloween, long before Trick or Treat wafted it's way over the Atlantic on the MTV airwaves, we in Scotland have gone "guisin'". Dressed up as witches and cats and bats and knocked on neighbours doors with a song or a poem or a dance to perform in exchange for (usually) pennies. When I moved down to England in 1976 aged 9 there was no recognition of Halloween at all, nuthin', in fact, when Scottish kids were out performing for money English kids seemed to be out begging for it - rolling around a bundle of clothes in a wheelbarrow chanting "Penny for the guy". This was totally alien to me!

    We went to our first fireworks display and bonfire night in England, eating black peas from a cup and hot dogs and toffee apples. It was magical. When we moved back up here in 1978 we never saw its like again until the 80s when our towns Round Circle started organising a huge display and collecting for charity. NOW we have a bonfire and fireworks and burger vans and all that, but it's nothing even close to the magic of an English bonfire night from my childhood.

    Weird innit?

  2. That's just weird, and completely inexplicable! The comment above about Halloween is interesting too - my Scottish husband says much the same thing, that the Trick and Treat thing was long established where he grew up. I can't explain why bonfire night doesn't seem to be as popular. As you say, there appears to be no logic to it.

  3. WEll, if you were down in Essex, you wouldn't get out either as it is pissing down here! Have fun anyway.

  4. That's strange, I sort of thought that the scots would be into it... hmmmmm

    Next year time to do it yourself? Or perhaps next weekend and pretend it isn't a week late?

  5. Hmm...perhaps we're all washing our hair?

    I much prefer the Scottish Halloween to English/American style eh.. begging. One should entertain for sweeties!

    I can remember Bonfire Nights from my childhood. I may be looking through glorious rose-tinted glasses, but I recall them being a rather soggy affair mostly in friends back gardens. I don't think I saw really major fireworks until I was a teenager, and even then, I'm sure it was in Glasgow.

  6. As Only Son would say, "That is a serious bummer". Kids and grown ups all love a fireworks party, such a shame you can't partake this year. What about a dad created display? We're having a, ahem, display in the garden tonight. Alpha Male feels it's his duty as a parent to provide the kids with a memory of dodgy rockets trying to burn down the neighbour's fence, rockets going squiffy across the lawn and sparklers accompanied by parental demands when finished along the lines of, "Drop it now! Don't touch it! DON'T TOUCH IT!".

    I'm concerned about the garden fireworks Alpha Grandpa put on when AM was a child. He thinks this is all quite reasonable....

    MD xxx

  7. How odd, you need to do it yourself. We dont have bonfires anymore, but the BIL put on the BEST display at the club the boys were so excited they nearly cried!

  8. Well.... it turns out I was wrong. It's not a Scottish thing. It's a health and safety secret society thing....

    Apparently all the local town councils have got scared off by the insurance required to give a small child a sparkly explody thing, or let it stand by a huge great bonfire, or eat an apple, or something, and so have stopped doing them.

    But they happen. But only if you're in the know. So we did go to one, because my lovely neighbour knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, who knew the right handshake and password and we found ourselves in the middle of a field off the back of a golf club eating free toffee apples and watching a genuinely fantastic fifteen minutes of free fireworks. Huge bonfire, lots of people, wrapped up warm. No party, no hot dogs, no funfair. Just the bonfire, the apples and the rockets. All done in twenty minutes and home for bed. Perfect.

    And next year we'll know who to tip the wink too.

    But anyway, thank you all for lovely comments...

    Fiona, Jude and Nikkii - the Hallowe'en thing is interesting isn't it? I much prefer the Scottish thing though (although interestingly B had it conflated with "Penny for the Guy" as a child (hence "guising" he thought) and used to take a dressed up scarecrow type thing round in return for his sweets on Hallowe'en, not sure if that was just him though....)

    MD and Mad Mummy - I'm too scared! If the
    truth be told I'm still quite frightened of fireworks, so doing it in my garden (oo er) is definitely out!)

    Mother Hen - sorry to hear it! My mum took L along to the SW ones last year and she loved it! In the end it was beautiful up here, and not even that cold...

    Muddling Along - good idea! Although quite glad we didn't need to in the end!

  9. Glad you found one! I was going to comment that my parents in law are in the Borders, & they had a village bonfire... so tey must have slipped under the red tape too...


I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...