(Imagine you see) FIREWORKS!

Woo-Hoo! Today is the 5th of November!

If you’re like me, that may have no meaning. The only thing I think of when people look at me expectantly and say, “Remember, remember the 5th of November” is a song. And I want to look at their expectant faces and burst the joy bubble, reminding them that they are remembering the lyrics wrong. It’s not, “Remember, remember the 5th of November,” it’s “Try to remember the kind of September…” However, I now know better. I know now they are not talking about a show tune from the 1960 musical The Fantasticks. (Weird coincidence that they sound so similar, though. And turns out I may think about meter more often than words themselves when I’m listening to lyrics.)

If you’re smarter than me, however, or simply more educated about British history, you’ll know that the 5th of November is a very important day, commemorating a 1604-5 debacle where a man named Guy Fawkes tried to kill the King and blow up the Parliament House. Unfortunately (for him, I guess), the infamous plague rather wrangled his plans, and the whole plot was delayed. Eventually, he was discovered, and the plot was foiled (I think I’ve always wanted to type that!) It was 5 Nov 1605. Thus, we have: Guy Fawkes Day.

London turns out in droves to see the fireworks, host and attend bonfires, etc. Really, it seems like if it involves anything related to gunpowder (the weapon of choice for Mr. Fawkes), it’s a popular activity for a cold November night.

Because I’m now a London local, some friends and I researched fireworks displays this past weekend and very enthusiastically bought tickets to attend. I’m picturing the Mall on July 4. Not to be missed. We read the fine print more than once, because you never can be sure how these things work (so different from home!) and determined that since they’d asked for our mailing address, and didn’t tell us anything about Will Call, they would mail us tickets. We did this on 27 Oct. (I have the bank statement to prove it).

When Friday came, and still no tickets had arrived, I got a little worried. Saturday, I did some research. Turns out, these things work like marathons here. Show up at a designated time and place on specific arbitrary days between date of purchase and date of show and pick up your tickets. Last time to pick up said tickets: 12pm on Saturday. Location: Not even GoogleMaps was helpful. Time at moment of research: 11:48am on Saturday. Doh!

Not ones to be easily defeated, we reassessed and made new plans:

  1. Delicious dinner at a place we’ve been meaning to go to, inviting a friend I hadn’t known would be in town, but who was very excited for the evening’s plans.
  2. Perfectly timed post-dinner, pre-event-no.-3-for-the-night fireworks on the bridge. We were close enough we would be able to see them, and honestly, fireworks from a bridge? Without crowds? With beautiful London in the background? It doesn’t get better.
  3. Housewarming party for a girl in my program, allowing us to show visiting friend unseen areas of London.

Um, this plan sounds better than the first one! In reality, it was awesome, even though dinner went late, we missed the fireworks, and my visiting-friend missed the last tube back to her hotel and had to imagine some inventive ways to get back to Central London. At any rate, if things had gone perfectly, what would I have to write this blog about?

So, in lieu of fireworks, I give you pictures from the bridge, and others I took over the course of a beautiful, typical, cool/rainy/sunny/warm fall weekend in London.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day. May all of your revolutionary activities not be foiled by the plague. And if they are, may there be fireworks.


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