Monday, 3 September 2012

Things we did in the school holidays, part 4

Silver Ether is to blame for me writing this post.  She posted a photo of a "den", like kids used to build in the days before parents weren't paranoid about potential child abductors on facebook. 
You know, the good old days?
During the autumn half term break all the kids where I lived would collect firewood, and anything people no longer had a use for, so long as it would burn, for their bonfire.
Where I lived, most of the houses had at least two kids most had three or more.  Sometimes we would gather bonfire "wood" in a groups, usually we would gather with our adjoined neighbours kids, but not the ones on the other side.
As you can appreciate, there was only so much material available, so once we had gathered all we could, we would make "raids" on each others stashes of bonfire "wood".  We never seemed to catch anyone raiding our stash, probably because we were busy raiding their stash.
Any way, sooner or later we would all decide to pool our stash to make one big bonfire, which we would take days building on the empty land at end of the row of houses. When building the bonfire we always made sure there was a den in the middle of it.  For a couple of reasons, so that the older kids had somewhere to "hang out" for a while, and so that before the bonfire was eventually lit on November 5th it could be filled with quick to burn items so that the bonfire took light easily.
An adult usually put the stuff in the space, so there was never any chance of some of the older kids being burnt in the bonfire.
The bonfire was always amazing, and nearly always smoldered for a couple of days afterwards.
All the parents contributed some food to be shared around, potatoes would be put around the edge of the bonfire before it was lit, and although Bonfire Night was rarely at weekends we would always light the bonfire on the 5th of November, with most parents, contributing fireworks, and the Dads supervising the lighting of the fireworks.
I suppose it was an organised bonfire, of sorts, but it never started out as one.

And on the subject of "Dens".  I used to have one at one of my Grandma's house's.  There was a lilac bush in the field that formed part of Grandma's garden, and it was hollowed in the middle.  I suppose it was three or four lilac bushes really.  Anyway, that was my den, I would go hide in the middle of it when I wanted to get away from my brother and sister, usually with a book.

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