What a week for fireworks, well actually what a couple of weeks. Just when did Bonfire Night start in October and go on until mid-November? Bonfire night with all its gunpowder, treason and plot is on the 5th of November, otherwise what is the point of having it?
Bonfire nights in my boyhood were such anticipated affairs. Everyone would build a bonfire in their back garden, stuff a motley selection of old clothes tied together with string to make a Guy, and save pocket money for weeks for a few fireworks.
Sometimes I’d plonk my guy in an old pushchair and go penny-for-the-Guying it. It never occurred to me just how wrong it was to burn an effigy of a Catholic, even a Catholic terrorist, despite Blue Peter telling the story with sketchy drawings every year.
Such an exciting event; if I were to rate special days back then Bonfire Night was only just behind Christmas, in front of my birthday, and Easter limped along miles behind like a damp squib. Even Halloween, which was nothing like the trick-or-treatfest children enjoy today, beat Easter by a crooked mile.
Bonfire night was so exciting - the flames, the smell of burning tyres and wood, volcanoes, Catherine wheels, baked potatoes, and of course the sparklers. How I loved sparklers.
This year, and for the first time in many, we set off some fireworks in my mum-in- law’s back garden. They were very good, not overly large, but sparkly and banging and whizzing and splattering. I didn’t feel the same thrill and excitement I did as a boy though – except when it came to the sparklers.
Last night holding my sparkler in hand, a big grin on my face, I was a boy again standing in a council house back garden, watching a burning heretic go up in smoke, and eating a baked potato.
Yes, I still love sparklers it seems.