Oh the joy of being an animal owner on Guy Fawkes Night, or firework fortnight as it seems to be known in this area. I’m not even sure that many people have bonfires, they seem to just spend hundreds of pounds on fireworks and let them off willy nilly between now and Christmas. When I was growing up it was all about the fire work code, everything being kept in a tin with a tight lid, never returning to a lit firework and other sensible statements. I have my own code but I must admit it is not exactly firework friendly!
In Pavers Place Baz is annoyed that he couldn't put on a firework display, Mrs Parks at Pavers Primary got there first. Shirl was not annoyed, she was absolutely fuming.
‘Typical, the one chance we had to make a bit of money and she gets there first, and don’t think that nonsense about being ambassador for the school will wash either, I am not donating anything.’
Baz looked extremely sheepish, he had already agreed to supply the soft drinks and had said that he would help set up the whole event, which meant that Shirl would also have to cover the early shift at the pub, something that he would normally do.
Elsewhere in the street the history behind the reason for the event was completely lost on some of the residents, Mand had a vague link in her mind between the Houses of Parliament and Guy Fawkes, but her interpretation involved him putting on the first fireworks display in history.
Jacinta’s youngest daughter Sharonjeet was also confused, ‘Mum, what’s forks got to do with fireworks?’
Jacinta looked at Prithpal, who was equally bemused by the question, but rather than delve further they replied in the most simple way they could, ‘Nothing.’
‘Well why didn’t they call him Guy Forks Fireworks, especially if he invented both?’
The mystery behind the question solved, Jacinta decided to have a word with Mrs Parks, ‘I mean fancy holding a fireworks display but not telling the children the history behind it. Whatever next?’
When Shirl found out that Baz had donated both drinks and his time to the school she was even angrier than previously, privately vowing to make her husband sorry for what she considered to be his weakness.
‘That woman says jump and you say how high, and just so you can say you’re an ambassador. Goodness only knows what you would do if anybody gave you a role of real importance.’
Later that day Shirl bumped into Catherine who loved Guy Fawkes Night and always got involved in whatever local event was being organised, this year she had been charged with making the Guy.
‘I’ve got an old suit that I will sew together and stuff, and I’ll pad out the legs of some tights for his head. I can’t wait, and I’m donating some Catherine Wheels, when you have something named after you it’s important to celebrate’.
The conversation with Catherine gave Shirl food for thought and later that day she was back at her friend’s door with a contribution of her own.
The evening of the event was a bit chaotic in the pub, Shirl had managed to get one of her regular staff to cover the early shift but Baz was running late so was rushing around. ‘Have you seen my hat love, I’m sure I left it on the stand but I can’t find it.’ Shirl chose not to answer her husband and he assumed she was still in a mood with him.
The display was well attended, Margaret and Reg were in charge of food and Baz was on the drinks stall. Catherine, Mand and Shell were dressed in warm clothing ready to enjoy the spectacle. Before the fire was lit the Guy was paraded around for all to see, two children from the school pushing it in an old pram before it was tied to the post for the burning. Baz had a queue so only glanced up as it passed by, but there was definitely something familiar about it, Shirl was pleased to see him do a double take.
Finally the Guy was tied to the post and the Chair of Governors proudly lit the base of the fire, it had been built for maximum effect and flames quickly leapt into the sky, causing the spectators to let out a whoop of surprise. Baz looked up at the vigorous burning fire and then let out a cry, ‘He’s got my hat on, stop the fire, the Guy, he’s got my bloody hat on.’
Shirl had a huge grin on her face, ‘Language darling, and anyway, I thought you’d be pleased, I know how you love to donate.’