Guy Fawkes Day / Bonfire Night

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Remember, remember the 5th of November: Gunpowder, treason, and plot!

[Today] is November 5th, a very special day where the great people of Britain mark the execution of a chap who, along with 12 other conspirators, tried to blow up the houses of Parliament to reinstate Catholic rule in England. His name was Guy Fawkes – also known as Guido Fawkes. Even though he wasn’t the leader, he’s still considered the most famous of all those involved in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Bonfire/Guy Fawkes night is celebrated today by burning an effigy of the “Guy”, or more controversially, the Pope, on top of towering piles of wood, whilst scoffing sticky toffee apples and baked potatoes. And of course setting fireworks off in the streets with wild abandon. Basically, it’s quite mad.

Source: 8 Things you need to know about Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in Great Britain. Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure.

Source: Guy Fawkes Night 2017 (Bonfire Night)

The Fifth of November

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Source: Poem of the Week: English Folk Verse (c.1870)

Please note that my inclusion of the above poem in celebration of this traditional British holiday in no way is intended to imply disrespect of the Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of the West! While I am not of the Roman observance, and I may not always agree with the current holder of the See of Peter, I have great respect for the office itself.

 

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On a lighter note: Time change – we think we’ve got it rough…!

Time change and henge stones
Another busy night at all the British henge sites as staff work all night to move the stones forward by an hour.

For many people, the time changed back from Daylight Saving to Standard Time overnight last night. And we think we’ve got it rough, trying to remember to set our clocks back…! 

Nota Bene: It has been pointed out that this meme must originally have been created in the Spring, as last night was time to “Fall back” an hour…

“How RUSSIA Saved The Union’s Ass In The Civil War” | The Burning Platform

The arrival of the Russian fleet to New York and San Francisco “unleashed an immense wave of euphoria in the North.” “The Russian visit… ended the last chance of European intervention.”

Source: How RUSSIA Saved The Union’s Ass In The Civil War – The Burning Platform

Very interesting indeed! And timely, in light of all the attention Russia is getting these days.

It is only fairly recently (within the last year) that I had become aware that Russia supported the Union at all, and I had no idea how decisively. The unspoken subtext to this article, though, is that even the American Civil War (War Between the States) was part of the “Great Game” between Great Britain and Russia for world dominance.

Wonder if it was a memory of this history that led the US to basically seek to impoverish Britain and end her Empire in exchange for American assistance during the World Wars!

Homing in – review of “The Story of England” by Michael Wood | Derek Turner

Source: Homing in – review of The Story of England by Michael Wood | Derek Turner

An interesting review – generally sympathetic toward, but not blind to the faults of, what sounds like an interesting book:

The Story of England – A Village and Its People Through the Whole of English History. Michael Wood, London: Penguin, 2011, 440 pp.

From Turner’s review:

“The place is Kibworth, an outwardly unremarkable assemblage of three settlements – Kibworth Beauchamp, Kibworth Harcourt, and Smeeton Westbury – nine miles southeast of Leicester. It was chosen because it is close to the geographic centre of England and because, since 1270, parts of the township have been owned by Merton College, Oxford. Centuries of busy bursars have therefore kept voluminous records on their every transaction with their outlying asset. Such completeness is rare and, when combined with other evidence, BBC money, the author’s imaginativeness, and the interested involvement of residents, allows an unusually intimate glimpse into the private life of a place inhabited continuously for at least 2,000 years. Kibworth is ’emphatically England in miniature’ – a representative locus whose triumphs and travails mirror those of the rest of the country, and which will share England’s fate, for better or worse.”

The review itself is worth a read, and I strongly suspect the book – reviewer’s caveats duly noted and accepted – is, too.

If You Live in Freedom, Thank the British Empire | YouTube

More on the British Empire, and its gifts to Western civilization and the world – yes, including the United States of America!

One thing is for sure, we would not be America without it.

In Defence of the British Empire (2015), by Sean Gabb

Source: In Defence of the British Empire (2015), by Sean Gabb

The British Empire was not perfect, by any means. But what human institution ever is? As this points out,

“empires are a regrettable [sic] fact of history. The British Empire was not the first or last, and not at all the worst. Rather than condemned for its faults, which were common to all empires, it should be praised for its virtues, which were unique to our own country.”

These virtues included

“the suppression of the slave trade and slavery, the suppression of banditry and piracy, the spread of English law and science and the English language to formerly benighted regions of the world.”

If you are a part of the Anglophone (English-speaking) world, and enjoy the rule of law, the fruits of science and industry, and a modicum of peace, you may thank the British Empire!