Thursday, 5 November 2009
Whatever Happened to Guy Fawkes?
Here is a seasonal tale from my childhood. I've dragged this old chestnut out three times now in various places, but have some new friends who may like it. Speaking of chestnuts, where have the street chestnut sellers gone? Roasted chestnuts in brown paper bags were so amazing! So, on with the story...
We didn't celebrate Halloween in the UK when I was young. At this time of year all of the kids were excited about the 5th of November, bonfire night. A celebration of British history, when Guido Fawkes failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament. You may have seen the fantastic film, 'V for Vendetta', which takes it's inspiration from this tale.
Walking home from school, it was dark and cold already, you'd see kids huddled up in doorways with their homemade effigies of Mr Fawkes. Young cockney voices calling out 'penny for the guy!' My dad always gave them a few bob when I was little. As I got older they started buying cigarettes instead of fireworks; when my dad realised that he stopped giving.
So on the 5th of November, whether it was dry or pouring with rain, the sky lit up with amazing colours. I loved it! We lived in Stepney Green Dwellings which were ancient red brick, spooky flats. My dad always bought sparklers which we lit on the balcony. I still remember their smell and the bright, flickering lights.
I can't leave out the toffee apple man, who came around the back of the Dwellings with a cart full of delicious red and orange toffee apples. I don't remember him ever speaking; maybe he didn't?
It's all gone now, my dear dad, the kids calling out and the guys. Fireworks are usually only seen at organised displays and I can't chomp those delicious, sticky apples anymore because of MND. Red was my favourite....
Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...