Its Halloween next month – another money-maker imported from the mighty US of A.
Pumpkins, trick or treating, dressing up in ghoulish outfits... it’s not the British way of doing things.
Two of my grandchildren go to a church school and they don’t allow anything that is in any way Halloween. I suppose that is because of its connections to all things spooky. That’s silly if you ask me. The children see it as fun, which it is. No-one that I know of has ever turned into a raving mad satanist as a result of Halloween shenanigans. It’s political correctness religious style.
Following close behind is Bonfire Night. I am surprised the PC brigade have not tried to ban that. You just don’t know if we are all to become would-be terrorists because we lit a firework. A great British tradition is Bonfire Night. When I was a kid fireworks were tame compared to what we have now. Jumping jacks, spinning wheels, bangers two for a penny.
The guy was of course central to all celebrations and what fun we had creating the best guy – only the best got the pennies. Sometimes we would cheat or, in our mind, be creative. One occasion comes to mind when Tom, the smallest of our gang, was suitably attired and made to sit outside the local off licence, head down, motionless when anyone approached so as not to give the game away.
We made quite a bit of money until Tom forgot his role and chimed out ‘thank you mister’.
We were rumbled and made a hasty retreat when the shop owner appeared with a barrage of threats ranging from the bobby to ‘I will have a word with your dads’.
A lot of people had bonfires at the bottom of the garden – that was before health and safety – and it was a family occasion... bonfire toffee, toffee apples and quite often sausages.
Not any more. Now we all go to organised bonfires and displays, stalls selling hotdogs and something they call tea, often in the company of youths drinking from cans.
The organisers do their best to keep annoying youths out, but they can’t watch everyone all the time. I do think it was better when mother was in charge and dad followed her instructions, as we all did. Every season has its memories.
Memory is a wonderful thing, as we get older our memories become more colourful.
The memory bit of our brain box moves the early bits forward and often they are the nice comforting bits. Our childhood, the teenage years, first boy or girlfriends, family gatherings, our first holidays without mum and dad, how amazing was that, how grown up we felt doing whatever we chose to do ourselves.
We have lived through some exciting times. Perhaps next time we meet we will look at all those things that become life-changing events, things that have changed the world and our lives.
* Bill Morrison, Chairman, Doncaster 50 Plus Group