The mantra in our house at the moment is “remember, remember the 5th of November”. But I swear if I hear that chant once again I will throttle someone!
It is a bit like “are we nearly there yet?” and “I’m bored”, which you find funny before you have children. But then when they start talking it is only a short matter of time before these words are uttered. They are phrases and chants which are designed to set your teeth on edge.
However, I do still find myself smiling at the attempts of the smallest member of the household as she tries to wrap her two-year-old tongue around the timely words. Despite the others’ protests, she insists it is “membera, membera end of Novembera.” And then adds: “My birthday’s November. I three.”
The eldest tries diligently to remember the rest of the centuries-old rhyme, assuring me she has studied the period of history at school. But despite this, she rarely gets past the first two lines: “Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.”
The last part: “We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot,” seems to escape her.
Maybe it is because someone wanting to blow up the Houses of Parliament because of a different take on the same religion seems like the stuff of fairy tales rather than reality. But it really was the no different from terrorism plots of today.
Thankfully we no longer hang, draw and quarter people who follow this path. However, convincing an eight-year-old what you are actually celebrating as you whoop along to the illuminating brilliance of fireworks is the killing of a human being in a most appalling way is quite a feat.
My daughter is one of the most compassionate people I know. She will go out of her way to make sure she never steps on any creature – no matter what its size.
This means avoiding all puddles in case she accidently squashes a worm or carefully coaxing a spider into her hand so she can save it from being caught by one of her siblings.
The other day she sobbed her heart out after watching a trailer for the return of the hit show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, where a live creature resembling a small stick insect was beheaded with its limbs torn from its body before being devoured just to thrill the watching audience.
“Why are they being so cruel?” she wailed into my arms, her body wracked with grief. “That creature didn’t do anything to harm them. Why are they treating it in such a terrible way?”
My heart went out to her as tears fell violently into my lap. I could understand exactly what she was saying, it was gratuitous, it was violent and it was done all in the name of entertainment.
Not a million miles away from people centuries ago, baying for the blood of Guy Fawkes. This made her stop in her tracks.
But, believe me, I am not against celebrating Bonfire Night. When I was a child it was one of the top nights of my life. I would get so excited for weeks leading up to it, as we always went to a special fireworks display.
My highlight was being able to write my name with a sparkler and the ubiquitous hot tomato soup which everyone clutched as we all “oohed” and “ahhed” at the breathtaking display.
That is why I go out of my way to make sure my children get the chance to go to an equally memorable display. The eight-year-old has been watching fireworks displays since she was barely able to walk.
Her younger brother, on the other hand, hates anything out of the norm. And people letting off loud rockets and “dangerous” whizzing lights erupting across the sky are definitely not for him, he has decided at the grand old age of five.
Despite his reservations I am on a one-woman mission to convince him life is for living and it is fun to watch beautiful displays of colours exploding in the sky above you.
That is why I am going to be taking my family to the much-applauded Sheffield City Council-backed After Dark firework display at Don Valley Bowl on Monday, November 5. For more information visit: http://www.yellowbusevents.co.uk/after_dark.php