The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November

on November 5, 2013

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. Then something about gunpowder plot and what not and that’s all I really do remember as my mind has already moved onto the fireworks and how pretty they are. I LOVE FIREWORKS! What is there not to love about lots of gem coloured sparkles in the night sky? The feeling of anticipation upon hearing the whizzing of the banger shooting way up high followed by an explosion of sound and colour and accompanied by the crowds going ‘Oooh and aaah’. Well I do anyways.

I was really pleased to hear that the once renowned fireworks display at Alexandra Palace, London resumed again this year after a hiatus of a few years due to lack of local council funding. Rather the fireworks go at a cost of £100,000 than some other much needed public service like the local library. Then this year some clever person brought it back with a side order of Belgian beer festival. I asked Uncle Monkey who was in attendance whether the fireworks were any good but he apparently didn’t see any as the queue for beer was so vast he decided once he got to the front he wasn’t going to give up his spot and promptly pulled out his foldable camping stool to prop up the bar. I suppose that’s what happens when you hit 40. Then I remembered he never really liked the fireworks much and was always impatient for hitting the pub afterwards and that perhaps explains why one year he told me it started HALF AN HOUR later and so we all missed out the Ooohing and aaahing stage and had to go straight to the pub. How devious.

When we first moved out to Singapore in the September, the fireworks display at Ally Pally was one of the first regular events I was going to be missing out on and that made me feel quite homesick. Plus it was hard to imagine whilst sweating it out in a vest top in 32 degrees celsius that people were existing in a world where you needed layers of t shirts, jumpers, coats, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, jeans and boots. Except perhaps for the hardy northerners who were probably just out in a vest top too.

Once you let go of summer and embrace the autumn chill, sweetened by that extra hour in bed you got last weekend when the clocks went back, Bonfire Night is a wonderful night to be out in the fresh, cold air. I LOVE WRAPPING UP! What is there not to love about hiding amidst all those layers of padding. Joining the hoards of crowds up to Ally Pally, finding your spot and for 20 minutes Ooohing and aaahing and ‘Did you see that?’ Well of course they did, how could they miss the whole sky lighting up? Then working your way very slowly back down the hill, across the park, up the road to find another small spot in the pub and having to unwrap all those many layers to find your vest top underneath because the pub has the central heating turned up to maximum which is quite unnecessary really with all that body heat being generated by a few hundred people packed in like chickens in a battery farm. You see, this is when the hardy northerners really come into their own having only gone out in just their vest tops in the first place. Who feels stupid now then?

Would I still enjoy it as much? I’m sure I’d love the fireworks just the same but would I be happy with the bangers that go off randomly at all times of the night? Would I be too concerned that the noise is going to wake up #1, 2 and 3 and tut in much the same way that pet owners worry the goldfish are going to freak out? Probablys. #3 is rather concerned at loud noises. They may also be rather concerned at the burning of the Guy Fawkes on the bonfire like they used to do on the beach in Sunderland.

How would you answer a small child who asks you why is it a celebration to watch said effigy being burned? Why indeed. Remember, remember, the Fifth of November….gunpowder….treason and plot….should never be forgot….Oh yes, the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes (Catholic), was caught under the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder right where King James 1(Protestant) would be sat the next day for the opening of Parliament with the intention of blowing up him and many others but the plot was foiled by top spy, Robert Cecil. Do you think Robert Catesby who was the ringleader of the Gunpowder Plotters would be annoyed that it’s Guy Fawkes who gets remembered over 400 years later? Probably not if Guy Fawkes was actually ‘hung, drawn and quartered’ as originally intended but instead he jumped off the gallows after being tortured for two days and they still sent various body parts across the country. Did they really tell us this at school? Really? Why didn’t we run out of school screaming?

Surprisingly, I’ve had a humungous dose of fireworks since living in Singapore. There are fireworks for the regular New Year, then for Chinese New Year, then for National Day in August (which celebrates Singapore’s Birthday, it was 48 this year) and then at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix night race in September. That’s a lot of fireworks. They even have rehearsals of the fireworks every week in the six weeks leading up to National Day. Can you imagine what the Daily Mail would say to Boris Johnson if he suggested that?

What could be a bad fireworks display anyways?

Well I suppose if they didn’t go off at all would be pretty humiliating for the nation. Or say if someone like Mr Telephone Box put the rocket into the ground the wrong way round and so what happens is that a huge crater is blown out in the front garden instead at 2am in the morning. Or perhaps you’re sat in your student abode like Big Scary D and the Locals in a gesture of goodwill decide to bring the fireworks display to you straight through your letter box.

I suppose it is rather macabre the reasons why the Fifth of November is celebrated in this way but whilst the Monarchy still stands, I guess it’s a good a lesson as any.

Though if my birthday was today, like Mr Cupping’s very own #1 (Happy Birthday!), then I would pretend the fireworks were a special bonus birthday present just for me. Speaking of Mr Cupping, you remember I told you how he celebrated his 40th with a long weekend in Vegas with the lads in my post Embracing your 40th……..Vegas style, well Husband and I spoke to him a few days after he got back. My goodness, did he look rough! He had a brilliant time and will live off many stories from that weekend to see him to his 50th but recovery was slow. Very slow. He also seemed to be confused as to what 40 should look like. He was sat with his thick rimmed spectacles on paired with what could only be described as an electric blue hoodie. It was a sight as spectacular as any fireworks display.

Enjoy all the whizz, bang, booms and pretty sparkling colours.

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