Celebrating Bonfire Night as it was meant to be

Rebecca Lawrence
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An effigy of Guy Fawkes is engulfed in flames. Submitted photo by Ian Lawrence

Eating crispy jacket potatoes, hotdogs and corn-on-the-cob before heading out into the cold can only mean one thing - Bonfire Night.

I've written about this very British festival in my column before, but this year I was actually in England on Nov. 5 so I was able to celebrate Bonfire Night - also known as Fireworks Night or Guy Fawkes Night - with my family.

I had been looking forward to attending a bonfire night for weeks and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

My mum made all the traditional food before we all got dressed up in our warm coats and hats.

To be honest, it wasn't at all cold out and we actually felt a little too toasty.

My sister brought some sparklers and we all stood in the garden, making pretty shapes with the sticks.

As we drove to the display at Horley Recreation Ground, organized by the Horley Round Table club, fireworks were going off in all directions as people across the county celebrated the downfall of the gunpowder plot of Nov. 5, 1605.

We parked quite a way from the Recreation Ground, which is always sensible as you can get boxed in with so many people trying to get to the same location.

The Rec had various stalls set up selling food such as burgers and potato twirls as well as coffee, but we went straight to the bonfire, which was huge. An effigy of Guy Fawkes was perched on top, ready to be burned.

It was certainly the best bonfire I've ever seen - there were actually fireworks inside it so as it was lit they went off, turning the orange flames red, green and pink.

The warmth from the flames was so hot that we had to stand back a little.

We were all mesmerized as the flames leapt up and eventually Fawkes succumbed to the bonfire.

The fireworks soon began and went on for at least 20 minutes. There were plenty of 'oohs' and 'aahhs' from the crowd and they were all very pretty and impressive.

My sister's boyfriend made the comment that one day he would like to see what would happen if all the fireworks went off at once, instead of as part of a display.

Funnily enough that actually did happen. A technical hitch in Oban, Scotland, meant that thousands of pounds (sterling) worth of fireworks were set of within a minute.

I expect the rather short display was highly disappointing for the organizers after arranging for such a spectacular event but watching the 50 second explosion of colour all go up at once is pretty impressive.

You can see it on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-15616697.

But our fireworks display went without a hitch - except for one Catherine Wheel, which failed to spin round properly.

After the fireworks had finished, we made our way home where we then enjoyed parkin - a ginger cake made with porridge oats and treacle. It is traditionally eaten on Bonfire night.

It was wonderful to celebrate Bonfire night in England again, especially since my whole family was able to come and see the fireworks with us.

Now back in Moose Jaw, I'm going to have a small bonfire celebration with friends.

While, due to the fireworks bylaw, we won't have any actual fireworks, I will be making a Guy and cooking all the traditional food again - especially parkin. I'll also make a gunpowder plot punch. At least it means I get to celebrate twice!


Organizations: BBC

Geographic location: England, Guy Fawkes, Oban Scotland Moose Jaw

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