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Halloween the last word!

November 1, 2013

I remember growing up in Torquay by the sea and every November 5th the whole town would turn out to dozens of huge bonfire and firework displays. Being built on seven hills it was possible to see fireworks in all directions and standing by the sea wall the displays were amazing. We never had anything to do with Halloween and I still think it is something imported from the States that we could do without. We did have lanterns though and these were made out of turnips which were mostly used for cattle feed and very cheep to buy. They were very hard to carve but somehow we managed and carried these lanterns with us on the big night.

It was always bonfire night that we children looked forward to and I remember one day shortly before the big night, I think I was about 13 years old and at the time and my younger brother Raymond was about 7 years old. I had hidden my collection of fireworks bought over weeks of saving from my paper round wages, on the top shelf in the front room out of reach or so I thought.

I came home from my afternoon round and the front room was full of smoke and the smell of burning everywhere. Lines of black streaks across the ceiling told the story only too well.

Raymond had managed to climb onto the back of the settee and by putting one foot on the shelf managed to get a look into the bag of fireworks. Not being able to see very well he got down and lit a candle and took that up with him. inevitably the candle lit the paper bag which burst into flame. The bag lit the touch papers and off they went, bangers, rockets and spinning wheels. How it did not set the house on fire was surprising.

I was going to kill Raymond when I found him or something worse. Our mother kept him hidden for about two days until I got over it and I managed to get a few more fireworks for the big night. Some things you never forget though and we had many a laugh about it in the following years.


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