Remember the 5th of November!

“Remember, remember the 5th of November; gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot!”

Saturday was a big day in Bristol and across England as celebrations took place in honor of Guy Fawkes. Last weekend while sitting in Linda’s cosy kitchen in Brighton, she explained a bit about the history of Bonfire Night. “Well, a few hundred years ago [November 5th, 1605], Guy Fawkes tried to blown up parliament, and so every fifth of November we celebrate! We have–”

“You celebrate because he blew up parliament?!”

“No! Because he didn’t! We have fireworks and everyone usually has a big bonfire, and when I was little we’d burn straw man in honor of Guy Fawkes.”

Can’t you just imagine little British children dancing around the fire burning effigies? I think violence is simply in their blood.

To give a bit more backstory, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Lords in attempt to assassinate King James I. Because Guy Fawkes was caught and King James I survived, people around London celebrated by having bonfires (and probably drinking ale!). Today, bonfires are still held around England, but the ‘holiday’ is primarily celebrated with firework displays and, of course, burning effigies.

I spent most of the day touring Windsor Castle, but returned in time to catch the fireworks at the Suspension Bridge in Clifton. A handful of us met there and despite the chill in the air, it was a crisp and beautiful night. The Bridge was also lit up, further adding to the magic of Guy Fawkes. Falling in love with England, hook, line and sinker…

Exploring the fairy-tale like Windsor Castle made me feel like I had slipped into Robin Hood or into a Jane Austen novel.

Note: I did not take this picture–wish I could say I did!

The largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world, Windsor is also the official residence of the Queen Mother. I wonder if Queen Elizabeth needs to pinch herself when she looks out her window in the morning. I suppose after nearly nine decades she’s quite used to it, but I don’t think I could ever be.

No photographs were allowed inside the castle, but I promise it was stunning Leonardo da Vincis and Rembrandts hung on the walls, and every room was more lovely than the last. I also saw Queen Mary’s Doll House, a doll house built in 1924 for, well, Queen Mary. It was certainly the most intricate and darling doll house I’ve ever seen. It was made to a scale of one inch to one foot, and every room in the little house was amazingly detailed–down to the tiny toilet paper and flush-able toilet!

A twenty minute walk from the Castle was Eton College, the most prestigious boys’ school in the worldfounded in the fifteenth century. Nineteen of Britain’s Prime Ministers have attended Eton as well as Prince William and Harry! Many movies have also been filmed in Eton, including Shakespeare in Love, The Secret Garden and Mansfield Park, to name a few.

England is a very lovable place and I’m beginning to think that leaving will be very hard (though, at this point, I only booked a one-way ticket back to Bristol after Christmas!).

Back to reading for me,




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Zender Johnson
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 16:08:10

    Today is another beautiful day in Minnesota. The skies are a gorgeous blue for as far as the eye can see, which reflects onto the mighty Red River making the river waters look like a mirror of the beautiful blue skies. Hopeful this weather will continue. We all miss you! However, your post makes us feel like we are there with you. Makes we want to jump on the next plane to join you. We just might have to do that after the holidays! Take care my dear.


  2. emilygotta
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 12:35:22

    I would LOVE to have you visit!:) Bristol is such a fun city and the shopping is amazing! You best come here with an empty suitcase. There’s also many day trips we could take–going to Wales, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Windsor…and I’m not too far from Ireland!

    Miss you!:) Em


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November 2011
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