Remember, remember the 5th of November Gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.”
Isn’t tragic that gunpowder plots have been part of our lives for centuries? Sixty years ago, when we stopped to give a “penny for the guy” to demanding children standing on a street corner with their effigy did we ever contemplate the implication of the words? And how many people burning guys on the their bonfires gave any thought to the plot to blow up the English Houses of Parliament? Does anyone today ever reflect on why we mark bonfire night? To quote from Wikipedia:- “The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament on 5 November 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James’s nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state.” The arrested conspirators suffered a grisly fate: to be hanged, drawn and quartered. No such things as “human rights” back in those days! And actually, when we gather around bonfires to set off fireworks on Bonfire Night, we are commemorating the deliverance from the plot – not celebrating the act of treason. And if the 38 barrels of gunpowder had exploded, every single stained glass window in Westminster Abbey would have been blown out.
Today I looked out of the window at the gloomy grey November day and re-visited my post from 25th November last year. “What is it about dark evenings that saps my energy so completely? In summer, when the sun sets after nine pm I may go for a brisk walk or work in the garden after supper but now that it is dark by five pm I can barely muster enough energy to cook supper. It is just too easy after I have eaten to settle into an armchair, tuck a rug around my knees and do nothing. Reading a cheap novel on my kindle with Radio 4 in the background doesn’t really count as doing anything“. Nothing has changed! But when the pale winter sun does manage to poke its way through the clouds I shall go outside to sweep up the leaves. And I must plant my twenty tulip bulbs before it is too late!