Posts Tagged ‘Guy Fawkes’
I remember back in the 60s, all the kids of a certain age would compete to get the best looking Guy Fawkes. This wasn’t anything to do with the competitive spirit, but something much more important. Back then, from a small pit village in Barnsley, it was all about which street had the biggest bonfire and of course, the best fireworks. Organisation of the event being left to us kids for collecting the wood and funds for our festivities. Back in an age before the health and safety executive kindly looked after our health for us, and us “kids” were able to buy our own fireworks without any questions asked, our driving force was the money we could get for bonfire night.
The better looking guys would bring in the most money, so it was in our interest, to rake in as much as possible, sometimes walking into the local town some five miles away pushing a wheelbarrow with our effigy proudly resplendent. The best spots for ‘guying’ would be taken up early and you really didn’t want to get into a turf war over this so far from home. Betting shops seemed to be an ideal place to “tout for business” hoping for a lucky win on the gee-gees to come our way – or a few pence of it anyway.
In 1960 the average take home wage was around £7 a week and a firework fountain would cost as much as 4d for a good one. This was a lot of money to a young lad of 8, pocket-money for me and my brother back then being a tanner or 6 pence. 4d (there were 240 pennies in a pound back then) nowadays equates to 36p, 6 pence of which is VAT (which was introduced to the UK in 1973), which means that when you consider that our magic fountains are £1.80 for 5 our fireworks are better value now than they were 40 years ago.
And much safer these days thanks to our good friends the H.S.E.
Over the years, love them or hate them, the Health and Safety Executive have definitely aided in bringing down the number of firework related injuries over the past few years.
There is no reason why you and your family or community group cannot have a safe and beautiful display to the delight of everyone.
There are a few simple tips and recommendations to ensure that everyone has a great time this Bonfire night.
Before the event, there are a number of steps to be taken:
• Designate a firer – this may not seem important but in order to ensure that things run smoothly, there needs to be one person in charge. Make sure you have your full personal protection equipment. We would recommend a high visibility vest or jacket, safety goggles, port-fires and suitable footwear.
• Measure your site – it is absolutely no good buying all your fireworks for a 25m safety distance and finding out the site is only 17m wide! Remember to take into consideration the ‘fallout’ area for the display
• Plan for the worst – although with the necessary steps taken, there should not be an issue, make sure you have someone available to call the emergency services.
• Only buy from a reputable firework supplier. The ones that ‘fell of the back of a lorry’ probably did, resulting in damage or indeed, not meeting British Safety standards – this happens for a reason – they are tested to make sure that they are safe to use!! Make sure your fireworks are marked as BS 7114
• If your display is being provided by a professional firework company, make sure you are clear on who does what in the event of an emergency.
• Store the fireworks as instructed – this should be a cool dry place
• Inform local authority and emergency services
On the day of the event:
• Re-check the site, weather conditions and wind direction
• Don’t let anyone other than the display operator or firer into the safety area/fall out zone
• Don’t drink – alcohol and fireworks do not mix – you will need all of your wits about you
• Never attempt to re-light fireworks – leave them over-night if possible and drop them into a bucket of water to de-activate the flash/gun powder
• Mark out and plan the display area – any reputable fireworks supplier will be able to provide this for you
• Think about access to the site for the emergency services in the event of an accident
• Appoint marshals/stewards – make sure they know where the viewing public are and are not allowed to enter and what to do in the event of an emergency
• Sign-post first aid posts
• If you are near an airport – let them know
If you are in any doubt, call your local fireworks supplier – they would rather you were safe than sorry.
I’m on a diet at the moment, so in the spirit of the season, lets talk about sweet stuff! It’s more of a treat when its rationed, as well – so something to think about for the 5th of November – Bonfire Toffee!
In England its usually Bonfire Toffee, sometimes the rather odd sounding Cinder Toffee – although to me, Cinder toffee tends to be less dense, and a touch more crunchy – like the inside of a Crunchy Bar. In Scotland it can be Claggum or Clack, and Wales calls it Loshin Du. I also understand that in the late 19th century it was described as “Tom Trott,” although the name seemed rather outdated even back then.
Essentially, bonfire toffee is a thick, sugary dark sweet, hard enough to chew and bite, and sticky enough to – leave a mess! Tradition probably says that it should be cut from a big sheet, and served in chunks, although I think it now comes in lolly-pop form as well. But I’d go for the homemade style - sugar, molasses, Treacle and butter! Proper Northern Bonfire Food. And Southern, too, probably.
Here is a recipe if anyone fancies trying it!
300g / 12oz Demerarar sugar
100g / 4oz butter
2 level tablespoons of golden syrup
1 level tablespoon of black treacle
4 tablespoons of water
(1) Put all the ingredients into a pan.
(2) Heat slowly, stirring until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
(3) Bring to the boil. Cover the pan, and boil gently for 2 minutes.
(4) Uncover the pan, and continue to boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(5) Test by dropping a little of the mixture into a cup of cold water. It should separate into brittle threads.
(6) Pour into a buttered 15cm / 6in square tin, and leave to set.
(7) Turn out on a board, and break up with a small hammer.
Makes about 500g / 1LB of Toffee.
Below is a video i found on youtube which might be helpful
Article by Moonlight Shadow