Starry, Starry Night

Thursday turned out to be a fairly unremarkable day. My existential contributions confined to penning a daily narrative, along with chauffeuring Mrs Strachan senior for her weekly food shop at the White Rose Shopping Centre.

Nightfall saw the day’s quiet ambience, which had brought a serenity and inner calm to my erstwhile troubled soul, sadly acquiesce to sporadic outdoor noises of boom, boom. A seemingly endless cacophony which deeply annoyed my wee missus and me……… It won’t be happening next year, though, as it’s the last bl***y time I’m inviting Basil Brush to my Bonfire Night party!

I know that gag was included in last years 5th November blog, however as it was my whimsical epiphany I make no apologies for shamelessly regurgitating it this year….. To be honest, if I can’t think of a quip that’s actually funny in the interim, it will probably be wheeled out every year at this time.


In reality, since my adult kids fled the nest a few years back, casa Strachan has been bereft of pyrotechnic celebrations to mark the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ foiled plan to blow up Parliament.

Born in the Stonegate area of York, it was in 1591, at the age of 23, Fawkes converted to Catholicism. A major life event which he followed up a year later by converting his garage into a fourth bedroom with an en-suite bathroom.

Following this change of religion, angry at having to knock down his bedroom conversion because of not attaining the correct planning permission, Fawkes fled to fight in the Eighty Years War on the side of Spanish Catholics. Their bitter foes the Dutch army, along with an Andorran goat herder who incurred the Iberians wrath for insisting they circumvent his land while venturing north.

The longevity of this war led Fawkes to return home in the early 1600’s after the haphazard rebel remembered he’d left his immersion on back in York.

Back in the UK, the rebellious catholic became a key protagonist in what became known as the Gunpowder Plot. Acquiring the nickname ‘Knives And’ from the local village idiot, Fawkes’ role in the plot that fateful November evening in 1605 was monitoring gunpowder storage beneath Parliament.

treason and plot

The Yorkshire born rabble-rouser was caught red-handed in possession of the stockpiled explosives after a whistle-blower tipped off authorities, leading to a thorough search of the Palace of Westminster.

He was initially arrested for gunpowder handling breaches. Evidently, he incurred the wrath of the authorities for health and safety misdemeanors, which included omitting to don a high visibility jacket and safety helmet. Additionally, he was admonished for recklessly reading a book by match light while perched on a gunpowder barrel.

However, things became far worse for Fawkes after further investigation by the authorities revealed the full extent of the York man’s criminal agenda. Leading to him being sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. He, though, avoided that method of execution after falling from the scaffolding where he was to be hung; dying instead as a consequence of neck fracture.

As he lay moribund, his final words of “Tell my missus I bequeath her my high-visibility jacket…. Oh, and I recently left the immersion on so expect a large energy bill!” were whispered to his would-be executioner.

Since this historic night in the early 17th century, the anniversary has been marked by the UK public by burning an effigy of Fawkes on a bonfire and the illumination of the dark winter sky by fireworks…… In his home city of York locals also mark Fawkes’ notoriety by leaving their immersions on between 6pm – 11pm.

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