Bonfire night is a very sentimental event to my family as every November, on the nearest Saturday to the 5th, we all gather together to watch the fireworks. I remember this every year since I was a child, and I think the celebrations have been going on long before I was born. My Nan has five brothers and sisters, they each had two or three children (my Mum’s generation are the ‘Cousins’), who have two or three children (my generation are ‘second cousins’), and if I went to have a child… well… it would be a shock. All 30-35 of us meet three or four times a year, which is impressive but also a little epic.
Bonfire night is one of my favourites but part of that is because it’s my Nan, my Nan’s recipes and my Nan’s house which is so homely. Her home-made English Madelines, cheese straws, melting moments and chocolate kisses are things we only get once a year, what’s not to LOVE! The rush of family as they come in from the cold, wearing their hats and scarfs, bringing in cheer and an inevitable pile of sparklers and a bought firework. Eventually there’s so many family arriving they spill outside as younger second cousin with older second cousin spends time waving sparklers, with a slow exposures on camera there’s lots of fun to have. Despite being 30 I still refuse to give up my sparkler addiction, is there an age limit?
Proudly waving my sparkler I’ll see some men folk setting up fireworks at the bottom of the garden, I know which man is my father by the lit cigarette hanging out his mouth as he sets up the fuses. Boys and their explosive toys. Then they signal they’re ready and the family poor out of the house. “BANG” “WHEEE”, my partner’s arms are around me and we’re ‘oooo’ and ‘ahhh’ ing with the best of them, the smell of sulphur lingering in the air. I wont lie at points it’s been poorly executed and I’ve been scared for the roof, but it’s a rare thing (fingers crossed for this year!).
As we pile in the house there’s crock-pot chilli, jacket potatoes and sausages from the oven, saucepans of hot toddy from the hob – it’s a kitchen full of smells and family perched by any surface that is free.
So if you’ve ever wondered why you’ll never see me write anything about Halloween it’s because I don’t celebrate it. I really appreciate how innovative and creative Halloween has become, but I suppose I choose to celebrate Guy Fawkes night instead. Maybe there’s something wholesome about celebrating democracy and parliament, or maybe it’s just because we love an eccentric family British tradition.
You can read more about Guy Fawkes and the history of Bonfire Night here:http://www.bonfirenight.net/
Roll on tomorrow!