5 . 11 . 1605

When we were young we went to the street bonfire. The weeks preceding the night we had scoured the local park and neighbourhood for wood for the bonfire. Some of the more notorious streets made late night raids – stealing from the various collections. Someone was always getting rid of old furniture – a sofa here, three legged table there. The older young men and boys would start to build the bonfire as soon as school was finished. They and parents supervised the whole night. If you were lucky enough to have had a box of fireworks given to you, then you handed it over these people and they would set them off. The effigy of guy fawkes would be hoisted to the top and the bonfire was lit. In this day and age it is probably as well that I can nt remember the odd song that was sung while he "burnt."  This one I do recollect:

Please to remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot…


Where was this bonfire? In the middle of the street of course – where we lived no one had a car. The only vehicles we ever saw, belonged to the milkman,breadman and coalman and the dustmen, (sorry, waste disposal operators’). Potatoes were laid in the hot embers on the edge of the inferno. Mothers’ had been busy most of the day making treacle toffee, toffee apples, (the fruit "disposed of" by the greengrocer on the corner). My favourite was my own Mothers Parkin cake.  I still have the receipe, although it is a while since I set to and made it! Some foodstuffs and sweets were still rationed, a decade after we had won a war! That spirit of community is now regretably dead.
As are the friends, neighbours and parents who made OUR childhood a window on life. Not always happy – but safe.

2 thoughts on “5 . 11 . 1605

  1. Hi Laird, What a blog…..It really bought back memories or yesterday there!!!!! The collecting of anything that would burn….we were lucky we had the site of two bombed houses we could have our bonfire so we collected from early September and our fires were huge….but like you said Fireworks were there to be seen and appreciated uisually provided by families who were better off then the majority…..all the Families in the top end of our street contributed food in one way or another i.e. Jacket Pots, Saugages in Bread not Rolls…..Toffee Apples and some sort of very sweet cake which my memory refuses to let me recall it\’s name……they were the days when people cared about each other….ok we all knew each others business (there was not much business to know anyway) but no-one was left out or left alone….elderly widows/widowers were always visited daily by at least 20 people, kids ran errands and did little jobs for most people with no reward except a pat on the head…….oh for some sort of return to those days…….a real caring society not the expensive independant rubbish thats called Community Care/Social Services…..run by people with no knowledge of poverty or lonilness…..you should not be allowed to be any of these unless you have personel experience cos you cannot know what it is like. Regarding flag…..by the time I realised I\’d put the Southern Irish Flag in I was too tired….I\’ll remove it when I\’ve got time…..hope that surfices…….Jaycee – Cybergran Take care xx

  2. Hey thanks for the visit! I enjoyed your space as well (though I\’m still trying to figure out treacle toffee?…)

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