7 November 2016

November

Bonfire Night 2016. Not like the magical Bonfire Nights of my childhood. Shirley was watching "Strictly Come Dancing" on the television. Not my cup of tea. Outside the noise of fireworks suggested that war was breaking out. I grabbed my camera and went out for a wander round our neighbourhood. Rockets burst starlight silver in the cold November sky. Whooshing and the rat-a-tat-tat of bullets echoed round the houses. 

Long ago, after my village bonfire in 1960 or 61,  I sat in our kitchen with Dad and Dr Baker - the man who delivered me into this world - eating piping hot baked potatoes from our oven. Was it really fifty five years ago? I am far older than they were then. And in the morning inspecting the still smoking remains of the huge bonfire on the school field, finding empty cardboard tubes that still smelt of gunpowder - airbombs, comets, skyrockets and traffic lights. The morning after the party and another endless twelve months before we could watch dancing tongues of flame leaping up to surround another helpless Guy Fawkes.

This year - on the corner of Dobbin Hill and Ford Road, a small bonfire party was in process under the sycamores where a clamour of rooks constructed their rookery. Two miles away in the valley you can see the lights of Sheffield's city centre and look past the M1 towards Rotherham - Sheffield's little brother.

27 comments:

  1. The description of Bonfire Night in your "Headland" novel was my favourite part of the book.
    The bonfire in the photo here looks a bit close to the tree, doesn't it?

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    1. That's just what I thought but the rooks may have enjoyed the unexpected warmth from below.

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  2. I've been to Rotherham many a time.. A lovely place.
    "Eating piping piping hot baked potatatoes from our oven" why were you in the oven in the first place? We normally eat at the table, using our chairs.

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    1. Mischievous humour Treey! You got me you wag!

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  3. Well, it's a nice picture, even if not quite like the Bonfire Nights of yore. I hope the rooks weren't adversely affected by that fire!

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    1. They sere snuggling up in their rookery - as warm as toast.

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  4. If there wouldn't be fire sparkles it'll almost look like a scene from a model railway. Ok, somehow it fits to the beautiful rural photos you usually show us. Love it!

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    1. Thank you Kaki. Nice to find you are back from your South Pacific island.

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  5. Are baked potatoes traditional Bonfire Night food?

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    1. Yes + toffee apples, roast chestnuts, fudge and Yorkshire parkin.

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  6. Yes, they are Jennifer - traditionally they should be roasted in the ashes of the bonfire, then slavered with butter. Delicious.
    Health and Safety have a lot to answer for - they've taken the fun out of everything - especially bonfire night, but we oldies have our happy memories !

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  7. Oops - I meant the potatoes should be baked in the ashes....

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    1. For a moment, I thought you meant that Health and Safety people should be roasted in the ashes!

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  8. That's a CRACKER of a photo, it really is

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    1. Thank you John you old BANGER!

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  9. Nice night shot of the fire and city. We don't do Guy Fawkes day here!

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    1. Thanks Red. Do you only light fireworks at New Year or also on Justin Trudeau's birthday?

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  10. One of the reasons Gregg and I love to camp is the chance to build a big roaring fire each night. It must be cathartic in some weird primal way to build a bonfire.

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    1. In flames there are secret caves and ancestral echoes...

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  11. Lovely photograph though YP

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  12. When I was a child the weeks leading up to this red-letter day in November our excitement grew . Our fervour knew no bounds. My brother and I could hardly wait until nightfall.

    Bonfire-building and making a Guy were on our agenda when we arrived home from school. Poor Guy! I don’t know why he always had a smile on his dial. Doomed, his hours were numbered!

    For many reasons I’m glad I was a kid growing up in the Fifties. Being able to enjoy Cracker Nights is one of the major reasons.

    These days Guy Fawkes’ Night is just a far distant memory; an old tradition that’s disappeared into obscurity; deleted from our Queensland calendars in 1972 by those who felt it no longer had a place in our “modern culture”. The Anti-Fun Police had marched into town. It is banned throughout Australia nowadays.

    Our front yard transformed on Cracker Night. It became alive with noise and light. Throw-Downs exploded on our concrete garden path.

    Fireworks dazzled, popped, spun and exploded while we feasted on the delicious treats our mother had spent the afternoon preparing.

    Those were the days, my friend; we had a cracker of a time….

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    1. And you grew up to be a right cracker Lee! (But sometimes crackers!)

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    2. The Anti-Fun Police are mean to ban it, and through out the country so harsh. Our Anti-Fun Police ban sparklers in California and our city cancelled 4th of July fireworks cuz roads were too crowded.

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  13. I must say I'm slightly disappointed that your roast potatoes came from the oven and not from the blazing base of the bonfire. All blackened on the outside a hard and cold in the middle. Like a potato lolly.

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    1. There is a big difference between a jacket potato and a roast potato! You might be the clever constructor of the famous "Sunday Round-Up" but when it comes to potatoes you're like George Osborne on a building site.

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  14. Well if you venture up to Lewis on bonfire night you will experience your childhood all over again. I should have ventured out and taken some photos. From my house I could see a massive bonfire across the valley on the headland with a long and noisy firework display. We had one for our and the adjacent township too but I couldn't see that from the house. Such bonfires and displays are replicated throughout much of Lewis.

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