It's the 27th October. The leaves are turning and many of them now lie on the ground. A hot and dry typically 'unEnglish' summer has now ended and the early morning mists greet us with the cobwebs.. mushrooms, edible or not. Who knows which. I don't. Autumn, as always is suddenly on us. With it, the signs out to book early for Christmas lunch. And buy the presents. Most of us are so immune to this early marketing that we take no notice at all.
Halloween. Not interested. I'm not young enough to want to dress up with a broomstick and yellow teeth ... or quite old enough yet to be afraid of the trick-or-treaters who may throw paint at the door if I don't open it to them with cash in hand. Not a helpful idea that has gained popularity from 'across the pond'. Some of us, as Christians, struggling to keep our identity in this land, would prefer to be reminded of All Saints, on the same evening.
Guy, Fawkes. Bonfire Night. With one week and two days to go, we are reminded that this is imminent as the London Fire Brigade are in talks with 'our members' of the Firemans Union to prevent the threatened strike for the evening which is normally the busiest of their year.
Remember, remember the 5th November, gun powder, treason and plot.
As I drove to the dump early this morning ... and past the site for the Cranleigh Bonfire, I saw something which is worthy of writing about. It is so comical and typically British that all of the bad summers, 'our members' walkouts, poor service, leaves on the line, health and safety regulations, political correctness, telephone menus and calls routed via Delhi are cancelled out by this most English portrayal of English humour at its best....
In the large field set aside for this annual village event was, as usual, the now high and professionally stacked 'bonfire'.
...and carefully set on the top in all its splendour is a wrought iron* table and two chairs!.....
This is the thing of English country gardens. Herbaceous borders and rose gardens. Lace table cloths, Darjeeling and silver tea-strainers and teapots. I wondered to myself which bone china they will drink from, from their (country) seats at the top of the bonfire. Will it be Royal Dalton or Crown Derby. Staffordshire pottery at her best, or maybe my favourite, the Chantilly pattern of Royal Worcester?!
Tea at Fortnums, even ... come to Cranleigh.
Is there anywhere else in the world not colonised and part of 'The British Empire' that burns people at the stake? Is it only mad dogs and Englishmen who not only go out in the noonday sun, but plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament and then celebrate it for evermore?
Lets once more this November the 5th, join the parade of lighted torches down the High Street of Cranleigh Village, green wellies and anoraks, children held aloft their fathers' shoulders, as we follow 'the guy' to .....
... his last cup of tea at the top of the bonfire, as the flames take light ... and the display takes flight in the night sky over Surrey.
And who do we think the second chair is for?