Oh how jolly, we’ve set fire to the cabbages.

Guy Fawkes – obviously the sanest bloke ever to enter Parliament and look what happened to the poor bugger. All he ever wanted to do was explode the king into a thousand non identifiable pieces, and add significant collateral damage to the stuffed and hair shirts pontificating on the future of the country; to whit how they, the landed and ruling classes, could stuff everyone else to make more money. Ooh that chip’s hot on the shoulder today.

So here we are four hundred years since the poor sod received a state hanging for his republican zeal and many thousand bonfires bridge the gap between history and reality. Although political correctness dictates we no longer have a Guy” pyratically reliving the events of 1605 and quite right too; if we’re going have the whole Sealed Knot nonsense, let’s do it properly with ˜hanging from the neck until dead’ followed by a jolly butcher’s quartering before assorted organs are flung at face height through the power of four horses and an insane form of protestant justice.

Probably frighten the kids a bit that, so instead we’ll fire up a bonfire of the vanities possibly miscoded as the village firework do. While the current government continues to reject the use of rockets and other firepower “ except in the pursuit of some lame and tired foreign policy – we risked third degree burns and possible censure through the firing of a few low orbiting projectiles over the allotment.

Neighbours, who I know only from a friendly nod, come together with a good burn of right-on non recyclable rubbish and a legion of unruly vegetables, accompanied by mulled mine, rubbish fireworks and a perennial feeling of community. It’s all sentimental nonsense of course and considering my previous tirades at the middle class pretending to care, it had more than a little potential to be bloody dreadful.

And guess what? It wasn’t. We’ve been doing this for ever, bucking the trend of Englishman’s Castle isolation instead chucking in a tenner, a few beers, and whatever Tesco could offer in terms of premium sausage rolls. Did you make these yourself? They are FANTASTIC”/”Yeah, sort of, made the money to pay for them which is almost the same thing

The allotments opposite our house are rather impressive both in terms of acreage and pointlessly oversized root vegetables. They also provide the annual hotspot for a swift burning fire, small talk based on guesswork and night vision and a fireworks display that “ with twenty plus kids present “ would soften the heart of the most cynical arsehole. Trust me on this, I have almost all of the credentials to validate that statement.

I turned up with a the Bastard Cold That Will Never Leave, a crate of beers and an aloof expression. Maybe it’s working in London that’s hard wired a cringing shudder when kitsch is on the menu, until a shadowy neighbour proffered a plastic cup of mulled wine clearly simmered on Lucifer’s crucible. A single gulp suffused a nuclear reaction of warmth from head to toe evicting the virusy squatting of what I believe is Ebola. You may notice it’s quite strong, we tried boiling off the Brandy but I’m not sure it’s worked

After a brief enquiry into the ingredients of this liquid sun, I felt qualified to explain that a two week period would be required to boil off a pint of Brandy. Apparently they got it cheap which makes me worry that somewhere Austria may be missing a runway de-icer.

Food exhausted, once the locusts of children had devoured the dessert selection, fireworks began begat by two headtorches representing sober parents. Amusingly, someone “ in a fit of inspired urban planning “ had set Aylesbury on fire some four miles distant which somewhat put our£10.99 selection box to shame. So we ooh’ed and ar’ed as the dwarf lit fountains and orbitally constrained missiles briefly took flight before expiring with a final long spark, putting paid to any remaining cultivated vegetation.

But everyone loved it. Including me which considering I’d intended to bring a camera with a long exposure and an aloof expression was a bit of a surprise. So while the excitement hardly raised a heartbeat, my smallest child ran around happily shrieking until she ran out of positive electrons and was dispatched homewards with Grandma. The other one inserted fingers earwards and refused to accept her friend’s entreating arguments that fireworks only hurt the sky.

Go tell that to Mr. Fawkes.

Anyway, I wanted to write how rubbish and stupid and pointless it was. But you know what? I thought it was great, it reminded me of Charles’ and Di’s plates, bunting in the street and the notion that someone other than those in full view of a mirror actually matters.

I loved it 🙂

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