Remember, remember, the fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason Plot
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot,
A stick or a stake for King James' sake
Won't you please to give us a faggot?
If you won't give us one then we'll take two
The better for us and the worse for you.
Childhood memories; wellies and hats and scarves and gloves, wading through the mud in a neighbour's garden holding red hot sausages and sipping scalding soup. Waving sparklers and watching Catherine Wheels fizzle and spurt, longing to be old enough to be the one to light the fireworks, but settling for throwing another stick on the fire and watching the Guy fry.
Staggering indoors to eat Parkin and Bonfire Cake, having tipped the soup surreptitiously into a flowerbed. Soggy gloves and ears scarlet with cold. Families from all along the road, squeezed in together, warming up and drying off before scampering home, and snuggling down under extra blankets to dream of rockets and fountains, and complicated maths topic work involving half a dozen matches, each of which will light three fireworks, how many of the box of twenty will be saved for next year.
Perhaps a bigger show at the weekend; wrapped up warmly we stand in a crowd, clearing space for sparklers and enjoying the high fireworks, standing on tiptoe and sitting on parents' shoulders to try to see the lower ones but settling for the scent of cordite and frosty noses.
And now? Two children the age my brother and I were, both tucked up in bed. One who loves the bangs and flashes, but who tends to drown when tipped back far enough to watch them. And one who is terrified, and lies under a duvet and blanket, the noise thankfully masked by the hiss and whirr of her ventilator, begging me please no fireworks Mumma, and tonight peacefully asleep before dark and avoiding them all. And me, dividing my time between this computer in the quieter moments, and standing in the garden, watching the show put on by the football club the rest of the time.
Next year, maybe.