Posted by: Valerie | November 5, 2009

Remember, remember the fifth of November


Guy goes up in flames

Why? Guy Fawlkes, of course.  This is the day we remember his horrible plot to blow up Parliament and his even more horrible punishment! It is jolly good fun and a much-loved tradition across the pond to burn his effigy on top of a big bonfire on the fifth of November. In the village where we lived in the north-east of England we would start building the bonfire on the village green in September. We lived almost opposite the bonfire and it was interesting to see things dumped on the bonfire in daylight and scavenged and removed during the hours of darkness, never to see a lick of flame. Sometimes there were advance bonfires as local mischief was done but usually there would be a ten or fifteen foot bonfire by the big day. They  used to allow us to bring our own fireworks and sparklers but I think I remember that they stopped that as it was causing too many nasty accidents. Then there was the food. In the north-east the tradition was Parkin which was really good. In Scotland it was gingerbread and treacle toffee. I imagine that different parts of the country have different traditions. I don’t remember much fuss in Scotland when I was a kid – just a few fireworks in the back garden, lit with great ceremony by Dad. It was usually damp and chilly but we didn’t mind.  I wonder if ‘Richard and Anna will read this and add their memories Guy Fawlkes night.

The conspirators

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

On other matters, we woke this morning to a nasty shock. The world had turned white overnight – quite a bit actually, a couple of inches at least. The cat is seriously miffed, shaking his paws before he even stepped onto the snow. It’s not going to last though as they are forecasting temperatures in the mid teens this weekend. We’ll take that, thank you.

Thanks to input from my firends I have discovered who the skull belonged to life. I am now sure it was a fisher, a fierce weaselly creature about the size of our cat.

A live fisher on the hunt

This is a rather skimpy post tonight but it’s bedtime and I have a book waiting. I picked up a copy The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble at a yard sale for dollar. It’s years and years since I read her. It is based on a real memoir of an 18th century Korean Crown Princess.


  1. Memories of baked potatoes in the fire , hot chocolate and Parkin and fireworks. How I loved Pinwheels you attached to a post and rockets in a bottle–of course that was in my own backyard. I do remember a big village bonfire–I wonder if we joined you one year–the mind has gone, maybe it was Eaglescliffe with my Aunt??

  2. I can’t remember either. Pity.
    I looked for a recipe for Parkin and was shocked to see the incredible amount of sugar in it in various forms. Joe is diabetic so I didn’t bother making it – just wouldn’t be the same with Splenda! I don’t need the cals either!

  3. Maybe that is why the Brits have such bad teeth? I also had no idea there was a lot of sugar.

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