Tag Archives: Bonfire Night

YE OLDE SUSSEX BONFIRE SOCIETIES

The UK has it’s fair share of associations and groups but few can trace their origins back quite as far as the Sussex Bonfire Societies (including parts of Kent).  There are currently 35 operational Bonfire Societies; some are for the whole family whereas some are exclusively an ‘adult’ affair which has been running since the early 19th century.

In the early days, following the actions of Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby, King James created an Act detailed as ‘An Acte for a publique Thanksgiving to God Almighty ever year of the fifth day of November’  in remembrance of the close escape from annihilation of him, his Lords and close relations who were gathered for the opening of Parliament.

In the early days, celebrations were very low key and subdued but became increasingly riotous and were eventually banned by Oliver Cromwell on the creation of the Commonwealth but re-established years later during the reign of Charles II but again, the celebrations were more hit and miss.

Bonfire Societies started initially in response to the burning of 17 protestant martyrs during the reign of Catholic Queen Mary Tudor.  They were originally just a bunch of men who went through the village at leaner times of the year (late autumn and winter) begging for food and where available, alcohol.  However, begging was a criminal offence and as such, to avoid detection, they would dress up as pirates or black up their faces leaving them free to do as they wished.  Hence the reason that today’s Bonfire Societies adopt a specific colour and type of costume ranging from monks and Saxons to jailbirds and Zulu warriors – the list is long and varied.

The members are fiercely proud and work tirelessly from one year to the next in preparation.  The events usually feature an effigy- once upon a time this would have been a very simple ‘guy’ but over the years, this has transformed into something a whole lot more thought-provoking.  Some of the effigies burnt have been controversial including several complaints about burning ‘The Pope’ and the numerous ‘No Popery’ signs carried by the revellers on their respective processions.

Last year some of the societies gained national recognition as they were featured on the BBC News.  Edenbridge B/S (Bonfire Society) burned an 11 foot effigy of the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his infamous mop of unruly hair, cycling helmet, Hawaiian shorts and a couple of red buses for shoes holding aloft an EU cake – the message being that you can’t have your cake and eat it – it seems that this message was not taken to heart as he steams forward with the UK’s plans to leave Europe.

Bonfire Societies across Sussex and Kent have had the proverbial ‘tilt’ at numerous high-profile individuals over the years including premiership footballer Wayne Rooney, outspoken former apprentice participant (and completely hateful woman) Katie Hopkins and even US President Donald Trump.

This year, there will be events from each of the remaining societies starting on 7th September to 16th November.  Here is a list of the dates of each:

  • 7/9/2019 UCKFIELD
  • 14/9/2019 CROWBOROUGH
  • 21/9/2019 MAYFIELD
  • 28/9/2019 BURGESS HILL
  • 5/10/2019 EASTBOURNE
  • 12/10/2019 NINFIELD
  • 19/10/2019 HASTINGS, HAILSHAM AND SEAFORD
  • 25/10/2019 ISFIELD AND LITTLE HORSTED
  • 26/10/2019 EWHURST & STAPLE CROSS, LITTLEHAMPTON, FIRLE, HEATHFIELD
  • 2/11/2019 NEWICK, BATTLE, EDENBRIDGE
  • 3/11/2019 ROBIN HOOD
  • 5/11/2019 LEWES, LINDFIELD
  • 9/11/2019 EAST HOATHLY & HALLAND, CHAILEY, SOUTH HEIGHTON AND RYE
  • 16/11/2019 ROBERTSBRIDGE, BARCOMBE AND NEVILLE

If you do get the opportunity to get to one of the dates, please remember that there are hot tar barrels being corralled up and down the street, fireworks and a torchlit procession and as such may not be suitable for young children.  Furthermore, as a result of their notoriety, particularly since the arrival of social media, these events are getting bigger every year and as they are held in small towns, the crowds can bring about traffic issues so be aware of this before you go along.

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BONFIRE NIGHT – EPIC FOOD IDEAS

Okey-dokey, twenty people are coming to spend Bonfire Night at yours and you have already sorted your fireworks (from Epic of course) and are simply sick and tired of hot dogs and burgers? Well, here are some scrumptious recipes which are easy to prepare and will feed your screaming hordes who will eat like kings.

STICKY MAPLE AND MUSTARD PULLED PORK WRAPS
3 ½lb PIECE OF BONED SHOULDER PORK
200 ML SWEET CIDER (CAN USE A BEER IF PREFERRED)
FLOUR TORTILLA WRAPS

FOR THE MARINADE:
2 RED CHILLIES
3 GARLIC CLOVES
2 TABLESPOONS OF BROWN SUGAR
4 TABLESPOONS OF MAPLE SYRUP
1-2 INCH OF FRESH GINGER
1 HEAPED TABLESPOON OF DIJON MUSTARD
1 TSP DRIED THYME
2 TABLESPOONS OF VEGETABLE/OLIVE OIL

First of all, put all of the marinade ingredients into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Pat the pork dry and thoroughly score the skin to enable the marinade to penetrate the meat. Put the meat into a tray and coat the whole of the piece in the marinade, cling film and put in the fridge overnight.

When you come to cook the pork, simply take from the fridge and leave out for half an hour to take the chill off (which enables the flavours to re-establish themselves) and then put into the oven on Gas 7 or 200°C (fan) for around 20 minutes then cover and turn the oven down to Gas 2 (140° fan) for 5 hours, basting occasionally. At the end of the 5 hour cooking time, remove the foil, turn it back up to Gas 7 or 200°C (fan) for a final 20 minutes before removing from the oven and leave to rest. In the meantime, pour the juices into a pan and simmer to reduce to a sticky sauce (gravy).

Once rested, pull the pork apart with forks, drizzle over the sauce and you are ready to serve with a heap of tortilla wraps. You can serve them either as they are or with a salad of shredded lettuce, peeled and finely sliced cucumber and red onions.

If you think that Yorkshire Parkin is a bit dry (you clearly haven’t tried our recipe: http://epicfireworks.com/blog/2011/10/pie-peas-parkin-and-pyro-the-perfect-combo/ but if you would like to try something a little different with that delicious warming effect, this is a delicious alternative:

STICKY GINGER CAKE WITH SPICED MARSCAPONE CREAM
1/2 LB SELF RAISING FLOUR
3 TABLESPOONS GROUND GINGER
1 TEASPOON BICARBONATE OF SODA
6OZ GOLDEN SYRUP
2 TABLESPOONS OF BLACK TREACLE
4OZ DARK BROWN SUGAR
4OZ BUTTER
2 INCH PIECE OF GRATED FRESH GINGER
2 LARGE EGGS
8 FLUID OZ MILK
FOR THE CREAM:
7OZ MARSCAPONE
5OZ DOUBLE CREAM
½ TEASPOON OF GROUND GINGER
¼ TEASPOON OF CINAMMON
STEM/CRYSTALISED GINGER
½ TSP CASTER SUGAR

METHOD: Sieve all the dried ingredients into a bowl. On a low heat put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle to melt them. Add the grated ginger and stir in the heated ingredients with a metal spoon. Whisk the eggs and milk and add to the mixture. Once combined, pour into a lined baking tin (this recipe will fill an 8 inch square tin or a 10 inch round lined tin). Put into a pre-heated oven Gas 4 (160° fan) for around 35 minutes or until a skewer can be pushed into the cake and come out clean.

For the cream, whip the mascarpone until it can hold a soft peak, whip the cream and fold it in and add the ground ginger, crystallised ginger and cinnamon and a half tsp caster sugar.

You can either cut the cake up into squares (or wedges if you have a round tin) and serve the cream on the side.

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BONFIRE NIGHT – KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE

Every year, as we approach Bonfire Night as a responsible Firework supplier that the impact on small animals should be addressed before the season starts.

There are a series of simple steps we can all take to help smaller animals and pets stay safe and reduce their anxiety. Here are a few suggestions, as suggested by the RSPCA and Blue Cross animal charities:

• Keep cats and dogs inside
• Under no circumstances should you leave your pet tied up outside or take them along to a display – this is cruel and unnecessary
• Don’t leave your pet alone for too long
• Give them more bedding to burrow in – they will feel more secure
• Bring cages/hutches indoors – into a quiet room, shed or garage. If this is not feasible, cover their cages over or turn them into a wall if they face the garden
• Cover any aviaries/hutches with thick blankets or a duvet to block the sound of the fireworks out
• Make sure you walk your dog early doors – bear in mind that from darkness falling, there will be any number of fireworks around so you will reduce your dog’s stress levels
• Close all curtains, doors and close any cat/dog flaps to stop pets escaping to avoid the noise – they may disappear for good
• If your pet is used to having the noise of the TV, radio or music around, put them on to drown out some of the firework sounds
• Prepare a den perhaps under your bed with some old clothes and their favourite toys – it will help to keep them calm
• Let your dog/cat pace, whine, miaow or bark – if you try to comfort them, you may add to their distress

There have also been incidences over the last few years where horses have bolted, and in some cases, received serious injury. Again, you should plan ahead:

• Check if there are any firework events planned nearby
• Let organisers know if you have horses stabled in the immediate area to ensure that they set up as far from the field as possible
• Check what time the fireworks are due to start – this is at least the point you can ensure your equine friends are stabled if that is the direction you plan to go
• Check fencing is secure and there is nothing lying in the paddock which could cause injury
• Decide whether your horse (and only you know how they are likely to react) will need to be in the stable or out in the field
• If you are putting your horse in the stables, put a radio on to drown out some of the noise and leave it as well lit as possible (this helps to disguise the flashes from the pyrotechnics which can also frighten horses/pets)
• Check your insurance is up to date as you may be held liable for damage caused in the event your horse escapes.

Above all, remember that Bonfire Night is meant to be fun and has been part of the culture for over 400 years so let’s try to keep it safe for everyone including all our pets and of course ourselves.

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