Bonfire Night

Photograph of Fireworks at Hopetoun House by Richard Foley. All rights reserved (www.owlingabout.co.uk).Festivities and special days cluster around this time of year like a group of teenagers on a street corner. Then November stretches out in grey dreariness with nothing to break it up until the countdown to Christmas begins. If it were up to me I’d spread things out a bit. Surely we could move Bonfire Night right on up to the 20th? Who’s with me?

Our Bonfire Night celebrations happened on Saturday. I half expected to trip over some Trick-or-Treaters on our way out.  Muffled up in coats, gloves, and scarves we headed off to Hopetoun House for their annual display. Hopetoun is the historic home of the Earls of Hopetoun. William Bruce first designed the house in 1699, with remodelling by William Adam in 1721. It’s a magnificent place, right on the banks of the Forth. The festivities were located on the front lawn against a backdrop of floodlit house and surrounding woodland. The bonfire was probably as big as our house. Standing by the fire I was suddenly back at the farm, stoking our wood burner or feeding the fire bin for our own more humble Bonfire celebrations. It’s funny how a smell can take you back to a memory with such a bump. I keep going on about the farm, don’t I? There’s a reason. We’ve made a leap and it’s never easy to tell if it’s the right thing while you’re still in mid air.

Anyway, back to Hopetoun. There were fire dancers, a hog roast, and a rock choir. Finch beamed at us from inside his baby carrier, oblivious to the bangs and booms, his face sweetly squadged by a set of child’s ear protectors. The fireworks were set off from the back lawn so that they went off over the roof of the house. Ooooh, aaaah, went the crowd. There was even a firework that looked like a smiley face against the night sky. I’m not sure Bonfire Night gets more spectacular then this.

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