Twenty three years ago today a South African guy called Daren took me on a date. How do I remember?
I remember it not because Daren was a great date: he really bored me and then there was a small cultural misunderstanding involving a very large amount of alcohol. He drank it, and had to spend the night at my friends.
No, Daren was not a great date. But he suggested we went to a bonfire night party in the park; he said it is ‘Guy Fawkes night’.
I didn’t know what this is about: I love history but the curriculum in Bulgaria didn’t stretch to an ancient plot to kill King James I. Neither could Bulgarians be bothered with the whole Catholic – Protestant fight. At the time we in the East had a bigger problem – the Ottoman Empire had started to shrink and the lot of the Christians within it was pretty bad.
Anyhow, then I met John.
I have been going to one specific bonfire party for over twenty years now; John has been going there longer.
Bernard’s Bonfire party is an institution. It started when the now grown up children were young and is continuing today when many of them have children of their own.
I always feel awkward celebrating burning Catholics – being an Eastern Orthodox I can joke about their guilt trips but still consider them close cousins. Then again, we see friends we have not seen for an age and make some noise with fireworks.
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