Friday, 6 November 2009

About Frost Free Flowers and a Bomb Plot...

I know the mind plays tricks as you get older but when I was a small child Bonfire Night was always bitterly cold and frosty. Afterwards, it would turn milder and wet - my father told us it was because the bangs from the fireworks frightened the clouds and made them cry.

a frosty morning in the secret valley


Whether it really is due to global warming or just chance, (probably a bit of both), but this year has been milder than ever. We have had a couple of slight frosts but not enough to do much damage other than to the really tender plants such as dahlias. This post is really more of a photo shoot of plants that ought to have been long finished. In between, for the benefit of overseas visitors, I will explain about the tradition behind Bonfire Night.

fuchsia megallanica

"Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot" starts the old rhyme that children learn, recalling the day in 1605 when a group of men tried to assasinate King James I by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. The main conspirators were Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes and it is the latter that is remembered because he was the one that got caught.

allium triquetrum - don't they realise it isn't Spring?

The burning of the guy, as the effigy of Guy Fawkes is traditionally known, represents the death of Fawkes and right up to the recent past (trick or treat seems to have taken over) children would take their guys, which they made, from house to house asking for 'a penny for the guy'.


a stunted but proud Foxglove

The bonfire is always accomanied with a firework display, these days usually organised affairs by charities or village committees. What happened to the real Guy (which is where the modern day name for any man originates)? He was tortured and taken to the gallows to be hung, drawn and quatered - the baying crowd were cheated of this spectacle as he jumped to his death before the noose was placed around his neck.

a tender Salvia - not sure which one - any thoughts, please?

As for Catesby, he and the other conspirators escaped, but were found three days later and shot.

this surely has to be the last butterfly of summer?


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13 comments:

  1. We lived in London for two short years, before moving back to Canada. We were invited by a friend to Bonfire Night at a square in Holland Park. Imagine my surprise, when we arrived at an actual bonfire in front of houses worth millions of pounds. I lived in fear of sparks, but no one else seemed concerned. And it was great fun!

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  2. I couldn't even imagine anything in bloom-even my mums gave up the ghost long ago. What a nice treat to see these blooms.
    Interesting history too!

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  3. Thanks to both of you. Bonfires - or at least the attitude towards them - seem to be a peculiarly English thing as some of my overseas friends have mentioned this before. We seem to have bonfires at every possible occasion and even where the houses are thatched no-one seems to worry too much about the sparks!

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  4. Great photos. Love the first one. Your corner of the world is so beautiful.

    Thanks for the history lesson...very interesting.

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  5. That frosty morning in the secret valley, it almost could be a painting.
    Beautiful picture!
    We also had so many butterflys this Summer Jonhson and I also have seen one last week.Tomorrow they expect frost here!
    We have a kind of Bonfire Night in January, then we burn the Christmas trees that once decorated many livingrooms.

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  6. Around these parts we have the annual 'burning of the tourist' event. :) That's because I live in a ski resort, with far too many tourists all winter long.

    PS: We don't really burn them. We'd like to. But, we burn a mannequin instead.

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  7. Thanks Deb, Fran & Kate. I especially like the idea of tourist burning Kate - so wonderfully politically incorrect! Johnson

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  8. Some of my favorite classes that I took in college were two semesters of British History. Thank you for the history lesson!

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  9. I can't wait to have a Bonfire party! Just need to find a good excuse!

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  10. I am spending my first autumn in California and I am more than pleasantly surprised to find autumn here is like that of my childhood memories...beautiful.

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  11. The top picture reminds me of hoar frost that we get here from time to time. Beautiful! Thanks for the tidbit of history. I like bonfires for no reason at all :)

    Have a great day!

    Jeannie

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  12. My favourite part of bonfire night were jacket potatoes cooked in the coals. Lovely picture of your secret valley.

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  13. Thanks to all of you for your comments and thank you, as always, for visiting my blog. Johnson

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