The last Bonfire night I attended must now be what – 1991? Tonight, all across the UK, bonfires will be set, effigies burned and fireworks set off. People will have BBQ food perhaps or a special dinner. Families and friends will be together and hopefully, fun will be had by everyone. But not here. Not in Brno. Instead, I will be thinking back as I usually do to the bonfire nights of my past.
The ones that I recall most vividly were those on the damp banks of the River Humber with the local camping club. It would be the last outing of the year and the caravan would be hitched and the tents packed for a short haul down the M62 towards Goole. There, somewhere in the countryside – I do not recall where exactly – about 15 hardy families would convene on a farmers field and pitch up. A huge fire would be built by fathers and excited kids. Mothers prepared good things to eat. Later, the bags of fireworks would come out and an evening of fun would be had by all. No worries that it was bloody cold and damp. I slept buried in sleeping bags, blankets and clothes in my tent next to the Caravan with a full belly and memories of making fires and setting off bangers (and eating a few too!). Those were the days.
I think it is those memories that are behind my love for this time of year. The colors, the smell, the low hanging Sun. Fall or Autumn is beautiful and early November for me sort of marks the end of Fall as we slide into winter.
For me, November 5th was never about the history but about family and fun. A celebration of togetherness on the long winding road of a year heading towards its death. as a child, it was a pre-curser of Christmas which was now just weeks away. As for poor old Guy Fawkes and his conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament? Did he really deserve to be burned in effigy thousands if not millions of times every year for centuries? Who knows, but one year soon, I will be present at a bonfire somewhere near the Humber once again….