When I was a child I loved Bonfire Night! The ‘elf’n safety lot would be appalled but we always had a small box of fireworks at home. We longed for nightfall and Father’s return from work. He would have a long and leisurely cup of tea – I think he enjoyed prolonging the agony – and then it was out to the garden for the fun.
First there would be the bonfire to be lit. It would have been built during the previous few weeks. I’m sorry to say that I don’t ever remember checking for hedgehogs! There was a slug of magic stuff, which looking back I think was probably paraffin, a strategically applied match and whoosh! We’d stand around for a few minutes watching that and then there would be the first fireworks. Daddy was the only one allowed anywhere near them but we would have told him the order he was allowed to let them off. First would be the Roman Candles which my sister and I thought were very dull. Then Catherine wheels – much more exciting as it wasn’t unknown for them to detach themselves from whatever they had been attached to. My sister, despite being several years older than me, didn’t like Jumping Jacks or Bangers so she’d retire to a safe distance whilst those were let off. Then the grand finale was rockets. Aah, rockets. Just a few seconds of pure pleasure. Compared to the wonderful displays of today they were very dull but we thought them wonderful.
After that Daddy would rake around the ashes of the fire and pull out the old cocoa tins which had jacket potatoes in them. As an adult I realise that they must have been cooked in the house because no way was there time for them to cook in the bonfire but we always said that bonfire night spuds were the best potatoes of the year. There would be chestnuts and cinder toffee and we would retire to bed tired but happy.
We never had a Guy because Mother thought that a waste of “good” old clothes and that was something I envied my friends. I wonder if this old man will meet his end tonight?