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Guy Fawkes

image from http://www.channel4.com       The typical bonfire for guy Fawkes night

I’m a little late with this post as you can see, since Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night was November 5. I realise my American readers will still be on November 5, so hooray, but down-under it is already November 6. I had intended to do this but instead my husband and I spent the evening reminiscing on what bonfire night had been like in both our countries as we were growing up.

Here in Australia it was celebrated with the huge (or small) bonfire and fireworks. It was a night of relaxed merrymaking amongst close friends, at least for my husband and his family, as they lived in the country and neighbours were miles away. With an abundance of wood cleared for planting crops they had a head start on their UK counterparts!

Yet for all the nostalgia of its passing I got the feeling that it wasn’t quite the same as we had in England. However, they made the night their own with a few drinks and a party, and of course, the obligatory high jinks. I’m told that amongst the fireworks was an occasional marine flare and an even bigger flash with the odd stick of gelignite (used for clearing tree stumps as a rule)! It seems when mischief arrives fun will be had and imagination abounds amongst young and the young at heart.

Guy Fawkes

image from http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk –         My type of bonfire complete with Guy Fawkes.

In the UK things were a little different. Throughout the months of September and October the households participating in their Guy Fawkes bash (and there were many of them), would scour the neighborhood collecting timber, of any kind, old doors, packing crates, furniture, in fact anything which would burn.  It was a competition to see who could gather, and keep their bonfire material. Scavenging was tolerated, if not accepted and raids on each others stockpile were legendary. (We used to keep ours under lock and key in the old coal cellar). Many is the night when I would join the local lads (yes I was a tom boy), creeping through the dark night to sneak under the fence or wire, climb a tree to get over a fence and raid the competition’s stockpile. Adrenaline flowed and it was all in the nature of fun…. there was little violence as a result of our raiding which showed how much things have changed over the years.

By the end of October the anticipation was growing apace. Guarding your stockpile was a rostered affair to ensure your hoard remained intact. It was serious business by now. Halloween was one of the last nights for fun and frivolity before the big event. Being a book-worm I would love telling the stories of how it was possible to see the spirits of those crossed over on this night and as we ran and hid to jump out and scare one another mercilessly, we looked over our shoulders to see if something was following us. Dropping from overhead branches as we crept past trees and suddenly knocking over dustbins to hear the clatter and clang were all part of the lighthearted fun.

My understanding of Halloween only grew in later years, but then, as a child it was simple light-hearted fun and a night when children could safely roam the streets for a few hours after dark and have some high jinks. Trick or treating didn’t exist and a few hours of running amok certainly tired us out, much to our parents delight.

Guy Fawkes

image from http://www.dailymail.co.uk    The traditional style of Guy Fawkes, all ready for the fire.

I hasten to add that this photo even predates my Guy Fawkes but is the closest approximation to the ones I made each year. Dad graciously donated a pair of overalls and shirt. Granddad a cap and socks and usually a scarf and gloves. The stuffing was a mixture of rags and sticks, straw and anything I could jam in to fill him out nicely.

His face was a piece of hessian with eyes, nose and mouth painted on. Sometimes we had a jacket and sometimes boots….it all depended on what we could scrounge in the area. Stuffing it, sewing him up and painting a face really made him come alive. When it came time to tie him into his chair, we always used a donated kitchen chair to put at the top of the bonfire, he became a rather sad person to me.

He was of course, the person responsible for trying to blow up the houses of parliament. One has to wonder at times if he wasn’t on the right track, but that’s just my musing.

It was an unwritten but accepted rule that once the bonfire building began there were no more raids. The fire built during the day so that as the adults came home we were as wired as a high wire acrobat. One family made baked potatoes, another cooked pies and the obligatory mushy peas (yes mushy peas and I loved them) and I made ‘plot’ toffee and toffee apples. I have no idea why it was called plot toffee as the recipe was no different to usual, except I had to make lots more of it. Chewy or hard there was little left at the end of the night.

Guy Fawkes

image from http://www.mumsintheknow.co.uk                  Fireworks a spectacular display on Guy Fawkes night

A ring of chairs (for the fire later) or from inside the house, logs for the fire or other comfortable perches were arranged in a circle around the fire for the adults. I can’t say I saw any alcohol but then I was a wee innocent back then. Dad was in charge of the fireworks and he managed to let his inner child run free and he slipped the Chinese Tom Thumbs loose behind the adults to see them jump too. I loved the Catherine Wheels, but then I loved it all.

The smell of the fire, the toasty feel of the heat on your face, the excitement as the fire burned brightly and the whiz, bang and whirr of the fire works, plus the parade of ‘goodies’ throughout the evening, on a cold chilly night was almost indescribable.  There was always a “hurrah” from almost everyone as poor old Fawkes succumbed to the flames but I still felt sorry for him.

Parents finally chivvied children in to bathe and bed, still excited and wide-eyed and seeing the fire glow from your window it was hard to fall asleep. Truthfully I was caught on more than one occasion hanging from my bedroom window watching the flames still burning brightly.

Guy Fawkes

image from http://www.theguardian.com     Standing around the bonfire on Guy Fawkes night

This then was the bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night of my childhood. After the long reminiscing last night I really wanted to share with you a highlight from my childhood days when fun and frivolity were just that, simple and light-hearted with no one getting hurt or playing cruel pranks. That came later, but not when we enjoyed it. I hope you can get an idea of what it was like for us.

Blessings and light-hearted reminiscing.

Ciao, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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in flow, the relationship between what a person had to do and what he could do was perfect. The challenge wasn’t too easy.
Nor was it too difficult. It was a notch or two beyond his current abilities, which stretched the body and mind in a way that made the effort itself
the most delicious reward. That balance produced a degree of focus and satisfaction that easily surpassed other, more quotidian,
experiences. In flow, people lived so deeply in the moment, and felt so utterly in control, that their sense of time, place, and even self melted
away. They were autonomous, of course. But more than that, they were engaged.”
― Daniel H. Pink

I had a plan. Just a simple plan. I only had one important outside event to undertake today and I felt I had plenty of time to sit down and write.  I even had a reasonably good story line worked out – not off the cuff for a change. Halloween only comes once a year.

Yet life is about being “In the Moment”, being able to adapt to what occurs and still make it valuable and fulfilling. It is also “Being Mindful”.  It sounds so trite at times and yet it is profound. If we get it right then life flows and everything is easy, there are no hard parts to butt up against. At least if we do we are able to handle them with ease and grace and life simply is.

I had an energy healing yesterday which is far too involved to go into tonight. It’s late and it has been a big day. I know it’s been a big day because of the healing… I simply know this and I’m not going to try to downplay it.

I had a simple EEG scheduled just after lunch.  I was so filled with all the information from my healing that I think I lost focus on getting into a sleep ritual, something I must do. I haven’t slept now for four nights and I’m a little unglued, as one does become without good sleep.

My dearly loved and irreverent hubby decided it would be hilarious to photograph me at the worst possible moment.  The Sputnik like photographs have been confiscated and consigned into the ‘never to be revealed to the light of day’ locked casket and I have the only key. The penalty has yet to be decided upon and the delivery will have to be totally unexpected.

I am pleased to say I did NOT look like this…  this is more a Young Einstein copycat, but not me.

However, I had a head full of blobs of sticky goo which would not come out. Painfully teasing the lumps from my hair was unpleasant, seeing my hair looking like I had already had a Halloween fright was not part of the plan. I had shops to visit… an outing planned to change the tempo of my days.

A quick shower later and my hair looking reasonable after a quick shampoo, I at lest looked part of the human race again. However, something happened on the way to the receptionist. My body didn’t want to follow orders.  I’d had a torrid time during the part of the EEG when the lights were flashing, flickering strobe like  and generally trying to bore through my frontal lobe. Most disagreeable.

Back at the car I focused on my beautiful latte to come, sure to pick me up again. However, the walk to the coffee shop was painfully slow and painful! All the ‘comfy’ seats were taken – one booth by what I can only assume were a pair of madams discussing their girls. You didn’t need to eavesdrop, their conversation was loud enough to broadcast over the centre. Educational – no, irritating – oh yes!

“We let ourselves loose on that simple blank piece of paper, and our bodies spill. The terror, the love…embodying our stories page after page. In a sense, the pen was our tongue, it is how we delineate the world.”
Coco J. Ginger

The Pen Shoppe, a delight, a torment, a veritable smorgasbord of beautiful objects for me to drool over. Yes, I’m a stationery collector and beautiful pens tops the list – although the list is quite large. Fortunately my husband also loves all things stationery… cool isn’t it!

Yet I wasn’t getting my subtle charge from my favourite surroundings. After a short visit we popped next door to my yummy delicious and resistance destroying, Crystal Shop.

The Crystal Cafe... too good to pass up

The Crystal Cafe… too good to pass up

The energies in here have always perked me up but today I was dragging myself around. If I could have found a geode large enough I think I would have crawled inside.  After a really short visit for me we left and decided to come home. Once back I faded into semi oblivion for two hours. I still feel slightly disconnected so I’m closing with well wishes for Halloween and I’ll catch up tomorrow, after all, memories last forever.

“Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, Voices whisper in the trees, Tonight is Halloween!”

– Dexter Kozen

Blessings, Susan xx

© Susan Jamieson 2-13

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