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Tuesday 8 November 2016

Thought For The Day

    Tonight {as I write these words} its bonfire night November 5th, or if you prefer Guy Fawkes Night, he being one of the conspirators in The Gunpowder Plot who intended to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. It is a date, the failure of that event which is commemorated in Britain by the burning of a guy on a bonfire, accompanied by a firework display.
   I recall how in ‘Village Day’ Number 2 telling Number 6 not to take life in The Village too seriously, to enter into the spirit of Village Day. Number 2 goes on to describe the special events lined up, such as Bongo Bolero and his jumping jugglers. He asks Number 6 if there’s anything he’d like to see, I {as Number 6} reply “A firework display, the Village lit up in flames.” This is a nod to 1605 and the Gunpowder Plot, but I’m never sure what it means to commemorate The Gun Powder Plot on November 5th. Is it the fact that the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament failed, because in bygone days a guy, or effigy representing Guy Fawkes used to be placed on top of a bonfire and burned {I don’t think people bother these days}. The actual, Guy Fawkes was never burned at the stake. “
Each of the condemned conspirators would be drawn backwards to his death, by a horse, his head near the ground. They were to be "put to death halfway between Heaven and Earth as unworthy of both". Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and their bowels and hearts removed. They would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of their bodies displayed so that they might become "prey for the fowls of the air". However as he climbed the steps of the scaffold to be hung, weakened by the torture carried out on Fawkes, he was aided by the hangman to the noose. But either he jumped to his death, or he had climbed too high, Fawkes managed to avoid the latter part of the execution by the breaking of his neck. But nonetheless his body was quartered, and as was the custom, his body parts were then distributed to the four comers of the Kingdom, so to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors.
   As for holding fire work displays on November 5th, to my mind that seems to celebrate a possible success of the blowing up of the Houses of Parliament, the fireworks symbolic of the 20 barrels of gunpowder which had been hidden in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament by Fawkes and his fellow conspirators, being exploded thus blowing up the Houses of parliament! And as I said those words to Number 2 in the café during ‘Village Day,’ I had Guy Fawkes night, or Bonfire night in mind, the whole Village lit up in flames as though there was a gunpowder plot against The Village!

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