Though it was drizzling in the morning, by evening, the sky had cleared and we had a very nice day. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It’s unusual, but we’ve been enjoying a long stint of Indian summer. It was perfect for Newick Bonfire Night.
Yes, I mentioned it last year, but I thought I’d do another post about Guy Fawkes’ Night in Newick. Bonfire Night is 5th November, but we found out through a friend that Newick always has theirs the Saturday before the actual Guy Fawkes’ Day. I don’t know what happens if it falls on a Saturday. I do know that all the bonfire societies of the surrounding towns join in with the parade, and the largest parade is held in Lewes (at least in our part of the country). Lewes always has theirs on the actual night. So, if it falls on a Saturday, there will be some competition. But, I suppose, since they all work together to stretch out Bonfire Night to at least Bonfire Week, Newick would probably hold theirs a week early.
This time last year, it was intermittently raining and drizzling, and the weather was cold. It felt miserable to be out, but it did not prevent the crowds. I had expected to see a larger crowd this year because of the fine weather, but it did not seem to make a difference. It was still a good-sized crowd.
Because it was Halloween Night, there were houses decorated for the occasion. Though it may not be celebrated like in the US, we did see some homes that went all out for Halloween. Our neighbourhood, surprisingly, had trick-or-treating; though not all participated. Nevertheless, the kids enjoyed it because they missed out last year. They dressed up and one of them kept it on for Bonfire Night, so she fit in with the paraders.
The main street through Newick was closed off for five hours, so we had to park almost in the next town. It was very dark in some parts of the street because the overhanging trees shut out the light; otherwise, the nearly full moon did shed quite a bit of light. With the mist coming in, the full moon, the Halloween decorations, it lent an eerie atmosphere to the occasion. Then, when you see the torches glowing in that setting, it was rather spooky, reminding me of a superstitious event from childhood that had frightened me. On top of that, there were intermittent Bangs! from some firecrackers that the organisers let off. If you didn’t expect it, you’d jump because it sounds like a big explosion. Our youngest was scared at first, but she became accustomed to them.
For those who’ve never attended a Bonfire Night, you should learn to expect some politically-motivated speech before they let off the fireworks. Also, some places may charge admission fees, but for the most part, the parades down here are free. However, they do go around collecting donations. Part of their donations go to some designated charity. This year, it looks like the Motor Neuron Disease society will be getting a cut.
In comparison to last year, I have to say that I was rather disappointed by this year’s display of fireworks. I do not know if they had more fireworks last year, or if it was because I was not expecting as much that it appears last year’s was longer. I do know that the weather last year prevented smoke from accumulating in the air. Unfortunately, with the clear and calm sky, smoke from the initial fireworks gathered in mid-air and did not move away rapidly. It even obscured our view of the moon. Because the fireworks, once started, are set through a timing device, they could not stop the fireworks until the smoke was gone, so much of the second part of the fireworks could not be enjoyed.
The bonfire itself seemed smaller this year. It was high, but thin, so that shortly after it was lit, the tower toppled over and the effigy fell off. We were at least 30 ft. away, but the fire was so intense that it felt like I was sitting in front of a roaring fireplace. Also, the ash drifted very high and dropped very far. While we were waiting to get into the village shop, at least 100 ft. away, we had ash raining down on us. I was not paying attention to the ash and sparks at the beginning until the foam plate I was holding started dropping holes. Our jackets also suffered some holes.
Despite all that, it was a good night. If we stay in the area, I think this will become an annual routine for us.