Tag Archives: bommy

Bommy Poems and Prose, Bonfire Night, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night Memories by Val J. Chapman

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Val sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray

 

 

Bonfire Night Memories

 

The excitement of the 5th November approaching surrounded us, at our young age, along with the anticipation of being allowed to go to buy fireworks at the local shop (they all sold them in those days).

For weeks now the bonfires would have been growing and growing in height and size, until they were tall enough to throw a Guy Fawkes on the top. He would also have been getting fatter and fatter over the last weeks of October, his old clothes being stuffed with hay or straw, and always with an old hat on his head. And prior to being thrown on the bonfire, kids would have been dragging him through the streets in a wheelbarrow shouting ‘Penny for the Guy!’ for a bit of pocket money.

Mum would make treacle toffee and Parkin which would be shared with our neighbours at the communal bonfire.

Dressed in warm, waterproof clothes, with wellies or substantial shoes, we’d take our torches and walk down to the already lighted bonfire on the corner where everyone from the surrounding streets would congregate. There was an atmosphere of smoky excitement, of lights and warmth and community spirit.

We all had sparklers and would wave them around to create writing against the dark skies.

All the young boys seemed to love the bangers best though, and the noisy Rip Raps which I hated; they scared me when they leapt along the ground in different directions, as if they were chasing me.

But the best was the baked potatoes which were cooked at the base of the bonfire in the hottest of the glowing embers. They burnt your hands when you held them, even through the knitted gloves that we wore.

But what remains sharpest in my memory is the smell of the gunpowder from the fireworks and the haze of the smoke which often hung around for days afterwards in the misty November skies.

© Val J. Chapman  5th November 2020

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, The Catherine Wheel by Val J. Chapman

 

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Val sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray

The Catherine Wheel

 

It flies and crackles with sparks and light

Its colours whirring and blending in flight

It’s a circular wheel with a central pin

And when it’s lit it will start to spin

Gaining momentum, it sparkles and flies

Sending sparks into space and light to the skies

 

© Val J. Chapman 5th November 2020

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night by Maureen Harrison

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Maureen sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray

BONFIRE NIGHT

 

For weeks before the 5th November, which is Bonfire Night, gangs of us kids would scour the hills and dales for firewood.  This consisted of old trees, bushes, planks – in fact anything that would burn.   Our house had a cellar as did some of the other houses so we used to persuade mum to let us keep our stash down there.   Method in our madness as other rival gangs were on the lookout to raid our stock of wood.   We were lucky as dad’s cousin Rose was the caretaker of our local church which doubled as school during the week.   She used to let us keep our wood which was too big to go down our cellar in the church boiler room.

 

We used to make a guy – an effigy of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament hundreds of years ago.   We made ours out of paper stuffed with straw.  He (it was always a “he”) was dressed in some old clothes and he proudly wore an old hat.

 

My brother and I used to dress our cousin in old clothes, cram him into a pushchair and parade him around as well as the gang’s guy until mum rescued him.

 

The mums made all sorts of goodies – potato pie, parkin, black peas, baked potatoes and anything else which they fancied but the favourite was always treacle toffee.   In fact I still make treacle toffee and black peas on Bonfire Night but I buy the parkin after my daughter broke one of her teeth on some  I once made.

 

Come the day – kids and dads, though usually my dad and his brother – set about building the bonfire with us kids dragging wood from all our hiding places.  We still had to keep watch though over the wood as gangs of kids would still try to steal our wood, as we would try to steal theirs.

 

Fireworks such as jumping jacks, catherine wheels, chinese crackers, roman candles, rockets, sparklers and bangers were set aside from the bonfire.   Dads usually set off these with mums supervising the tots who were allowed to hold sparklers.

 

Later on food would be dished up.  Potatoes were put directly into the fire to bake.  They emerged from the flames by way of poking them with sticks.   Black as charcoal on the outside and raw in the middle but we valiantly ate them until the proper food arrived.

 

Later on cousin Rose would open up the school and pews would be brought out and placed at a safe distance from the dying fire.   Mums and dads would sit on them usually with a drink and us kids ran wild round the common.

 

Bedtime came at last.   We stank to high heaven of wood smoke and were filthy.

 

The last job for my mum, which was an embarrassment to me and my brother, was to dowse the fire with buckets of water to make sure it was out!!!!!

 

© Maureen Harrison    TCWG    5/11/20

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night by Eileen Earnshaw

 

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Eileen sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray

 

Bonfire Night

 

Time, a misted image.

Sixty, seventy years ago,

My brother, in his too big wellies

Fireworks high in each hand.

Sky and flame reflected in

his national health lenses.

His face glows, hot, sweating.

That night, he was the god of fire

dancing forwards, skittering back.

Reds and golds streaked his body.

Acolytes brought parkin, treacle,

peas black in curdled sauce.

The fire crashed, sparks fly

Guy Ffaulks face curls and shrivels

Recoiling  into ashes,

bonfire night is over.

 

I remember my big brother,

luminous in firelight.

 

©Eileen Earnshaw 2020.