Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot ''
This little phrase is the first line of a poem associated with a
quaint British practice of setting off explosive devices in public areas
on Guy Fawkes night [ 5th. November ]. Guy Fawkes night dates back
centuries to when a guy named Guy Fawkes and his chums decided to blow up
the Houses of Parliament when the house was 'sitting' The idea being they
would [ a ] get rid off the government and [ b ] install their own. The
plot was only discovered at the last minute, and Guy and the boys suffered
torture and finally death. Something to celebrate then.
I pick up the story when I am about seven years old. Guy
Fawkes night, [spelt Fox at that time, but only by me ] consisted of
every boy in Maybole having spent the following week collecting firewood
to build a huge bonfire. Some boys would make an effigy of Guy [ this
would be sat on top of the bonfire on the night of the fifth.] and go
around Maybole with their 'Guy ' on a cart, or bogey, asking adults for
''a penny for the Guy, please mister ''. The proceeds were to be spent on
purchasing fireworks. So as soon as it got dark the bonfire was lit, there
would be many bonfires, all over Maybole. The fireworks lit and hoo-ray !
what a great night.
That was what was meant to happen. In reality no boys that
I knew were going to make a doll far less be seen pushing it around the
streets. Fireworks were bought with pocket money from your parents, or if
that failed, searching likely places for empty Lemonade bottles and
returning these to a shop for the refund,[ a penny ]. The first fireworks
were let off around the town as soon as they went on sale [ mid-October].
The ones in the know, knew that you never built your bonfire too early, as
sure as hell, lads from another part of town infiltrated and set light to
your work !
It was not unknown for boys to wake up on the morning of
the fifth of November to find that the bonfire on their patch was no more.
As dead as a ' Norwegian Blue' Parrot, this bonfire is no more. I don't
think it was the trend then to read the instructions on the explosives
that were on sale. It was more likely one was set off and depending upon
the factors, noise level, height of flight, explosive strength, it was
then decided which was the most inapt use for said device, and thereafter,
put it into such unsafe operation. E.g. Rockets fired sideways not
upwards, Bangers in a tin can outside the dog owners house. I cannot
believe that there were not more accidents then. Now it is even worse.
There are rockets on sale to the public that Von Braun
would have been proud to have owned. They go higher than his first Atlas
efforts, and the end explosions are comparable. The 'Axis of Evil ' don't
bother going to dodgy arms sales, they just visit here and buy boxes from
the 'Armageddon' fireworks range. I don't know how many millions of pounds
of fireworks have gone up in smoke but I guess it would be enough to write
off the national debt of a small country [Britain?] Thank God it only
comes round once a year !
Remember, remember the fifth of November
treason and plot.
I see no
reason why gunpowder treason
To blow up
the King and the Parliament
barrels of powder below
England to overthrow
providence he was catched
With a dark
lantern and burning match.
Goda save the