Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bonfire Night

For some years now, Guy Fawkes' Night has been marked by organised displays of fireworks.  It seems a long time ago that families and villages celebrated with a few fireworks and as big a bonfire as they could manage – and now the expense of insurance and the effects of the recession are curtailing the municipal displays.  

This account from Bill Cowley's Cleveland Calendar is for those of you with fond memories of the days when November the Fifth meant, above all, bonfires ...
A great pile of hedge-trimmings makes a good start for a bonfire on November 5th.  From the vantage point of Potto Hill our children used to look out to see the bonfires starting up across half the Cleveland Plain – an early starter at Ingleby Cross, Swainby a few fields away, a dozen farm bonfires like our own starring the darkness north west to Crathorne, then three miles to the north the sky would be glowing with the great holocaust that Hutton Rudby produces.  Seamer, Stokesley, Carlton, Faceby – and all the time rockets would be going up into the great arc of the Cleveland sky, to burst in blue and red and silver, whilst the rapid-fire of crackers and bangers sounded like a minor war.  As we stirred the last embers of our own fire, smoke and sparks from a dozen others would still be mounting into the night, punctuating the dark horizon with their repetition of an ancient sacrifice to the dying year.  Fingers smelling of woodsmoke and gunpowder we could leave the night to other revellers, satisfied at having played our part in this pagan ritual.

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