Guy Fawkes

Bonfire night always reminds me of my childhood, when my mother would make parkin and treacle toffee and my friends and I would make a guy, begging old clothes to dress him in, using them for stuffing too. We'd sit proudly on street corners with our life-sized effigy asking 'A penny for the guy' then later burn him on the bonfire.  I loved collecting wood for the neighbourhood bonfire and remember much competition between the children in different streets as to whose bonfire would be the biggest.  Wood collecting always started in the summer holidays and continued through September and October, so that by the time the 5th of November arrived we would have a huge conflagration. 
We learnt about the Gunpowder Plot at school, but it wasn't until I moved to York as an adult that I took a real interest in Guy Fawkes.  A native of York and educated at St Peters School just up the road from us, Guy Fawkes belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics, whose plan it was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on the 5th November 1605, killing James 1 in the process so that they could restore a Catholic monarch to the throne.  However, the plot was stymied by an anonymous letter, tipping off the authorities to search Westminster Palace during the early hours, where they found poor Guy guarding the gunpowder.  He was duly captured, tortured and executed a couple of months later, although it's said that he jumped down from the gallows and broke his own neck to escape the gory fate of being hung, drawn and quartered!


After that he became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot and in England its failure has been celebrated on November 5th ever since.  A guy is often burned on a bonfire, accompanied by fireworks.  St Peters, however, have the bonfire but never burn a guy, as that would be a very unkind thing to do to an old boy!  


Unfortunately as my cold was still raging I didn't feel up to being out on a cold wet November evening and I'm sorry to say that my total contribution to the celebration of the saving of Westminster Palace was a sky lantern which we lit for Izzi and Ava and all watched excitedly as it sailed off into the night sky - note to eco-warriors, the wire-free version.  Then Philip went off to a nearby party with Hilde, our Norwegian guest, leaving me to celebrate with my little bonfire in the hearth, a glass of wine and my knitting - not a bad alternative for someone with the mega snuffles!


Later that evening sitting there knitting away, hearing all the fireworks going off around and about, my thoughts lighted on another golden oldie from Knits for all Seasons, which had the added significance of being modelled by our son Felix when he was very small and not totally at home in front of the camera.  Hadn't thought about this design, Fireworks, for years, but  made a mental note to knit it for one of the grand-daughters sometime soon.  

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