Sunday, 6 November 2011

Crazy British Holidays

Yesterday was November 5. Yesterday I learned that  British people are a little bit crazy, and like to burn stuff.

In 1605, a dude named Guy Fawkes was involved in a plot to burn down the House of Lords. He was the dummy who volunteered to stand guard over the pile of gunpowder in the basement of Westminster, and obviously got caught. Seriously, did he pull the short straw or what? Anyways, now November 5 is celebrated with big, beautiful, public fireworks displays and a big public bonfire. And a whole lot of private, chuddy fireworks displays and kind of scary mini-bonfires in gardens.

We took Elizabeth down to Midsummer Common to watch the displays. There was also a fun-fair (aka a mini Klondike days) with some of the same style rides. You all know the one with the pictures of the wintery cavepeople and the girl in the fur bikini, where the ride spins backwards?  Yeah, they have that here too, but no fur bikini girl. I know, I was so disappointed too. But it did play the classic K-Days ride tunes - including Sandstorm and No Limit by 2 Unlimited. Yesssssssss...

Elizabeth was pretty much enraptured by the lights of the rides. Exhibit A:
Apparently, Matthew was pretty stoked on the pretty flashing lights too. No jokes, she stood there watching the "Daredevil" ride for about 10 minutes. Inexplicably, the Daredevil ride had pictures of Ben Affleck as the Daredevil, but also Morpheus, Lara Croft and Wolverine. Hmmmm....

By the time the fireworks started, Eliz was kind of losing it. I had her in the baby carrier, cuddled in, and she was reaching her cranky point. I 'Mummy-ed' up, and recited Mary Poppins for her, from the very first line until the end of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. An Old Lady (they are everywhere!!) kept looking over, and at one point said something like, "Do you really think she understands what you're saying?" to which Elizabeth made the sign for 'bird' and said, "Buuuhd!! Buuuhd!!" because I had stopped singing and it was the part where Mary Poppins sings while the bird is perched on her hand. Boo yeah, Old Lady!!! In your face!

So then the fireworks started (thank God, I am so tired of Mary Poppins), and Elizabeth was scared for the first . . . 45 seconds. After that, she was enthralled. Completely. They lasted about 20 minutes, and afterwards, she looked at us and just said, "More! More! More!" Cutie pie!

I had to keep saying, "ooooh" and "aaaaahhhhh" - I'm sure the combination of that and the whole of Mary Poppins made our neighbours in the crowd suuuuper stoked that they chose to stand beside us. 

So after the fireworks, they lit a huge bonfire. I mean, huge. When you faced it, you could feel the heat coming off it, and we were at least a few hundred feet away. (Confession: I asked Matthew to guess the distance and he said ' Ooooh, a few hundred yards or so', to which I replied, 'No one knows how far that is. How many feet? A couple hundred?'. He just shook his head and said, 'Well, then say at least a few hundred feet.' Sometimes it must be hard for him to deal with me.) British people are so funny - they cheered and cheered when the bonfire was lit. Yay for fire!!!

After we got home, I was chatting with my brother Chris, and he suddenly said he felt like a curry. So Matthew instantly felt like a curry. And the best wife in the world got on her bike to go buy him a curry. Bonfire night and a curry? We are so British now.

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