Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 5 November 2003

Guy Fawkes and the 'Gunpowder Plot'

Yesterday was the 398th anniversary of the arrest of Guy Fawkes, whose plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament had been discovered before it could be carried out. Nowadays, this plot is commemorated by fireworks on the evening of 5th November, as well as by the burning of a ‘guy’ (or effigy of Guy Fawkes) atop a bonfire of wood and whatever other inflammable material can be found. Since moving to live in Nairn about three years ago, I've noticed that there is always a pyre of wood on the beach, made out of driftwood (this is less than about 100 yards from my windows so it would be good to get a good view of it burning - I imagine safety rules prevent this). My childhood memories of this evening are very good – apart from the apples obtained by ‘ducking’ for them on Halloween on 31st October, there always seemed to be toffee apples as well, a particular seasonal treat.

However, this evening I’ll make sure that I’m indoors before it gets too dark and with all the curtains and blinds drawn. Personally I love to see fireworks go off, and where I live, overlooking a large open links close to the sea and next to a cricket pitch, I get a superb view of any fireworks being let off in many parts of the town. However, my dog Tara has a completely different viewpoint! She is, like most dogs, terrified of fireworks and the noise and flashes they make, so it is kinder to protect her from them. I’ll take her out for the last walk of the day quite late in the evening, when I hope all the fireworks will have been used.

There’s some more historical background about the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ and Halloween here, if you want to read more about it.

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