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My Guy Fawkes 2

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Wonderful how a botched attempt at blowing up Parliament could give rise to thousands of jovial bonfires all over Britain. We can only hope that the Lisbon Treaty will also prove a dud, for it strikes many blows at our representative government at Westminster.

Notice how many people are rejoicing that Lisbon has been ratified? Bells are ringing, jubilant crowds are gathering outside Buckingham Palace. . .yes, right.

But never mind, Guy's gunpowder, treason and plot to blow up the King and Houses of Parliament in 1605 was and is a brilliant excuse for fires and fireworks.

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Image: Woodlands Junior School, Kent

When I was a boy, we always had a bonfire in our garden on the 5th of November, or in the garden of friends. Weeks before, I was studying the fireworks in the two shops nearby. How many of the rockets, bangers, roman candles and little fizzing pyramids could I afford?

To raise the money, we would make a Guy, stuffing old clothing with straw or crunched up paper and sitting him by the road. The more splendid looking your Guy, the more pennies you could collect. Meanwhile, I was gathering dry wood and brush, not always so easy to find in damp November, for our bonfire.

It was a family affair. On the day, our mother made special delicious toffee in a flat tray and sometimes toffee apples. That night we put the Guy on our bonfire and our father lit it. We sang raucous songs, set off fireworks and ate toffee.

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Image: East Hampshire

We ran around with handheld sparklers. If you moved fast enough, you could write your name in the dark. . .

That could almost be a motto for today - write your name in the dark, in the book of liberty.

Part of this post appeared on November 5th 2008.

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