Monday’s Friend: Daisy Banks
Today I’m pleased to welcome Daisy Banks to the blog, to talk about a uniquely British tradition. Welcome, Daisy!
By Daisy Banks
I love this time of year. The excitement of Halloween has just passed and now we in the UK have something else to look forward to, Bonfire Night on 5 November. As I child I adored Bonfire Night. The explosions of colour and sound were a delight. My brothers and I would collect as much scrap wood as we could get our grubby little hands on to make a bonfire. We always made a Guy to go on the top, often utilising an old pair of my father’s overalls to form the body. Some of our creations were quite realistic.
The excitement in our house grew with each passing day and when the fireworks were bought we’d look at the enticing little packages eager to see what they might be called. The names conjured all kinds of expectations: Demon Flight, Flowerpots, Helicopters, obviously a variety of rockets, and my favourite Catherine Wheels. Purely to keep us quiet my mother would produce small packs of Bengal Matches and we would be allowed to light a few to watch the coloured smoke drifting in the breeze. We might even get a sparkler or two to make patterns in the air during an evening before the great event.
Bonfire night itself was always wonderful; only once in my entire childhood was the great event rained off. Most Bonfire nights we were lucky, the evening would be clear, crisp and often very cold. The fire would be well stacked, our Guy heaved up onto the top in pride of place and then the blaze would be lit. My brothers and I circling it as the flames climbed higher.
The fireworks were part of the moment and lit our garden with a multitude of colours, and we’d watch other rockets competing with ours as they headed up into a starry night. My memories are vivid of the event.
It’s odd to think all this joy and excitement is part of a national act of remembrance of the grim death of one political activist in the seventeeth century.
Here is a snippet from the work in progress. I’m hopeful this will be available to buy in the New Year.
Thanks for hosting me Sara-Jayne.
Excerpt from work in progress: To Eternity
Magnus glanced at the lively bonfire and accepted Sian’s arm laced through his.
“We can get some mulled wine, sweet toffee popcorn if you want and the fireworks are due to begin in about five minutes.” Her eyes shone bright and her infectious excitement stilled his ponderings and raised his smile.
“I haven’t had mulled wine in an age,” he said and let her lead him on.
“Oh, Magnus, look. Candy floss.” Sian pointed to a stall where the bright pink confection shuddered on sticks and was also bagged up ready for sale.
“Would you like some?”
Her smile rose, spread wider. “Please. Don’t you like it too?”
He shook his head. “I’d prefer to buy it for you. Let’s get that and then find somewhere to stand to get a good view of the fireworks.”
They did and ten minutes later, while Sian finished the last of the candy and he sipped a glass of warm mulled wine, the first rocket soared into a clear, dark winter sky as though it wanted to reach the furthest stars.
The small crowd of on-lookers responded to each element of the display, children yelled while their parents made appreciative sounds. Sian nestled in his embrace. He rested his chin on her shoulder. She stood a little lower than usual, in Wellington boots instead of her normal heels. Another flash of electric blue bloomed into a cascade of violet and orange sparks dancing into the night.
A contentment of sharing this experience with her mellowed his usual concerns at being at such a public event.
The other people here offered no sidelong glances, no questions were asked and he relaxed further. Together he and Sian stood in the same way many couples did, cuddled close, arms entwined, their heads close together as the fireworks crackled and roared into the cold night. He’d no doubt the couples around them loved, old or young, newly-wed, or those who’d been together for years, they loved and had the knowledge they were free to do so.
A freedom denied to him and anyone who might love with him.
To find out more about Magnus and Sian, you can read the beginning of their story in Daisy’s book Timeless. Buy link here: http://amzn.to/HkWhHX
Learn more about Daisy and her writing at the following links;
Free firework images from: www.iceflowstudios.com