Bonfire Night and A Drive in the Wilds of Wiltshire

Can I get away with re-blogging my November 5th post from last year? I am cheating, I know – and apologies to those who read it last year – but for those who haven’t and would like to know a little more as to why, in the UK, we burn an effigy of a man called Guy Fawkes on a bonfire every November 5th, hopefully this will explain things a little clearer!

To those of you celebrating later on, I’ll be there with you letting off a few fireworks and I wish you a very Happy Bonfire Night!

A View From My Summerhouse

 Remember, remember!
 The fifth of November,
 The Gunpowder treason and plot;
 I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

(English Folk Verse, c 1870)

When we lived in America, the ushering in of November brought with it a twinge of sadness for me, as I was unable to share with my children one of the most important nights of the year which I celebrated as a child growing up in England, a night steeped in centuries-long tradition: the night of November 5th otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night.

For those of you who might not know what this is all about, the activities which will take place this very night up and down this wonderful isle of ours are held in celebration of a failed (Catholic) gunpowder plot to blow up  (Protestant) King James I and the Houses of Parliament.

It…

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About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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41 Responses to Bonfire Night and A Drive in the Wilds of Wiltshire

  1. jennypellett says:

    Good grief, was that a year ago? I remember your story well. Time flies, especially at our age 😁

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  2. My thoughts exactly, Jenny! It’s your blog, Sherri, you can do whatever you want. It’s great to read if for a second time. xo

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    • Sherri says:

      I know, can’t believe it’s been a year already! Ahh.. thanks Jill, I’m glad you enjoyed it – again! – and yes, you are right, it’s my blog and I’ll do whatever the heck I want to with it , haha 🙂 xo

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  3. I enjoyed your story and am glad it had a happy ending. Guy Fawkes night was always celebrated when we were children. I loved to hold the sparklers in mittened fingers, and also enjoyed the rockets, when they actually went off. More often than not, they were just ‘damp squibs’. Such good memories your post has rekindled. I met hubby at a college Bonfire Night dance, 49 years ago. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed it Sylvia, thanks very much 🙂 Haha, yes, I remember those days so well as well as all those damp squibs, particularly the Catherine Wheels that never seemed to work properly, usually ending up zooming dangerously off the post! Happy Meeting Day for yesterday Sylvia, wow, congratulations, what amazing memories you certainly do have of November 5th. You definitely had stars in your eyes that night and I’m not just talking about the fireworks 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remembered this one as soon as I saw the title, I think this may have been the first of your driving misadventures I read about 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha, yes Andrea, and you are absolutely right, the beginning of my many driving misadventures 🙂 Maybe I should have a separate category just for that! Of course, as you also know, at this time last year my middle boy was going through an awful time and it was after my Guy Fawkes post that I wrote ‘The Power’. Your remembering that particular poem will always mean a great deal to me. Something about this time of year that I just love for writing, far more than in the summer…

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  5. I read for the first time 🙂 This makes me wonder if I could/should re-post some of my earlier posts 🙂 You know, so all the newer readers can catch up on the important bits……

    It is the 6th here already and last night was all a bang and ablaze and full of swishes and swooshes and crackles! For the first time in many, many years it was a fine night and the city display was a glorious and long affair. Luckily both my animals were stoic about it as the sound reverberated as if we were in the middle of the whole thing instead of a couple of miles out. I enjoyed the pretty lights!

    In this country legislation has been made to inhibit the sales of fire works until about three days before the event and all major cities put on a display. This has happened due to the enormous numbers of accidents, maimings and deaths achieved by [mostly young] males over the years. Also to stop the stream of complaints made by parents of very young children, old grumpy folk and animal owners about the noise. 🙂 It’s an odd world!

    However if you ask most of the young fellows who delight in seeing what happens when the stick a firecracker in this hole why the 5th November is ‘Guy Fawkes’ they have no idea! They don’t even know ‘Guy Fawkes’ was a person – they think it is a euphemism for ‘fire-works’ I know this because once I asked.

    Have a wonderful celebration!

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    • Sherri says:

      I love your comment Pauline, what a great read, thank you so much for not only reading my post but also for sharing all this. The only time we had fireworks when we lived in California was for July 4th and as in NZ they were strictly regulated. We could only buy them from the licenced ‘shacks’ that sprung up in the couple of weeks before and only for private use on the beach. Very heavily regulated there too for fire-risk purposes which makes sense. Communal fireworks displays were very common but we never went to them, I can’t stand crowds and we preferred to go to the beach anyway, spending the whole day and night there, loaded up with cold drinks and picnic for day and bbq and hot cocoa and lots of blankets for night. Quite an adventure it was! Fireworks are on sale here for weeks now and they seem to start earlier and earlier. There were a few let off on Halloween. Our two cats stayed hidden well away somewhere in the dark, safe depths beneath our bed 😉 I’m so glad you enjoyed the display from your safe vantage point and your pets were so stoic! And ‘Guy Fawkes’ a euphemism for fireworks? Wow, well, I do hope that kids here are still taught this part of our British history. But I wonder if any of them even make a ‘guy’ anymore…? Oh well, it’s nice to have our memories and then write about them! Thanks Pauline, we had had a lot of fun last night 🙂

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  6. Thanks Sherri loved the poem and I had actually forgotten the true meaning of Guy Falkes. We would have learnt it long ago when I attended school. Thanks for the reblog I enjoyed it as I have only just started following you.

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  7. prior says:

    really enjoyed learning about the meaning of Guy Fawkes – and well I think this was a perfect example a great time to re-blog a post – ! 🙂
    and for those that already read it well it sounds like they did not mind reading again…. and for others of us – well we get to enjoy it too… Have a great day ❤

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  8. Some memories are so much a part of us, aren’t they? Thank you for this lovely post and explaining the meaning of Guy Fawkes. ❤ ❤

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  9. Love this. Glad you re-posted it. 🙂 You’d mentioned Nov. 5th (Bonfire Night) in another post but I enjoyed reading about it (your memories of celebrating and its origins). Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Your post is wonderful and a second shot at being shared is just fine. Wow. Guy Fawkes Night. Sounds like a fun outing.

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  11. Ah! I finally know what this bonfire is all about! Sounds like a lot of fun and I bet you missed it in the States. It’s great that you reblogged it by the way. See you soon, Sherri.

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    • Sherri says:

      Now you know Evelyne! It’s so great being able to share our different traditions isn’t it? I did miss it very much but you know what that feels like. Thank you as always for your lovely comment and for the read and I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend 🙂

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  12. Thank you, thank you, Sherri! Great lesson. I had googled it, but this is so much more vivid.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sherri, I’m so glad you reblogged this — it was brand new for me. Huge hugs!

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  14. reocochran says:

    So glad you reminded us in the U.S. of Guy Fawkes and the Bonfire Night. I like to know about not just my own country’s customs and celebrations but the world’s, too.

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  15. Well, the story was new to me, so there. It was well worth posting. I learned something about the history of Guy Fawkes. I’m glad your son was correct in him directions or he would have felt quite badly about you being lost and missing the festivities. I’ve found most people in the world to be extremely hospitable. I can’t imagine the kind of brutality in store for poor Guy. But any reason to have a celebration is always welcome. I think I’m rambling here and need to call it a night. Thank you for sharing this again.

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    • Sherri says:

      Well, I’m so glad about that Marlene, it’s always so interesting learning about traditions from other countries isn’t it? Yes, poor Guy was in for terrible brutality, such was the punishment for treason in those unenlightened times. And to think it was common and indeed encouraged for children to watch 😦 I like to think that we’ve improved in some ways…but not in others :/ Yes, I was so glad for my son too, he was determined to get us there and he did! Thanks Marlene, great to share this part of British history with you, albeit rather bloody o_O

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  16. restlessjo says:

    For the life of me, I can’t remember if I read it last year! Last week is a struggle sometimes so it’s no reflection on your writing skills. Excuse my senility 🙂 I get vaguer with every birthday.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…oh Jo, you always make me smile! I would never expect anyone to remember, I don’t remember what I post half the time myself, lol 😉 Just love it when you pop in …you know the kettle is always on. I hope you are having a calmer week now and things have settled down once again… 🙂

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