10 November 2008

Unforgettable November

"Remember, remember the Fifth of November,/ Gunpowder, treason and plot./I see no reason why gunpowder, treason,/Should ever be forgot." - Guy Fawkes/Fifth of November Nursery Rhyme 

What a week! What didn’t happen this past week? Let’s see, the Barford W.I. had its Annual General Meeting & Ploughman’s Supper, the D.E.B. & I attended a late night performance of Twelfth Night at the RSC, I experienced my first Barford “Coffee Morning,” and…oh, yes…the world changed!

These are indeed amazing times, and I count myself lucky to be living through and in them. (And even luckier still to have been a part of the seismic shift that has happened in the United States.) 

I came across a book a few months ago (I have a very, very bad book habit that no amount of rehab can curb) called The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life, I have yet to carve out enough time to actually read it, but I remember quite vividly, that Barack Obama was the first person who came to mind when I saw this book on display. Like him, or loathe him, there is no denying that he exudes “the power of kindness.” To be sure, Barack Obama is but one man, but his election as the 44th President of the United States can do nothing but inspire us all to be our best and better selves. Something long overdue, I feel.

The D.E.B. and I stayed up until 5 AM last Tuesday night watching the results and euphoria pouring in. When the BBC announced the results from California, I gasped and began to cry. I watched people dancing in the streets of New York City, my former little Village. I longed to be there. This was my America, and suddenly she, my homeland, seemed so far away. That complex and magnificent nation that I had oh so  easily and gladly left behind, I now wanted to embrace and hold close to me. In the wee hours of our morning, and late U.S. night, our phone began to ring and did not stop. “We will tell our children about this night,” The D.E.B. said, smiling that smile, with very, very heavy eyes. Poor thing had to be up in less than two hours for work.

Wednesday, the next day, was a blur for me. But it was in fact another day of triumph. Guy Fawkes/Fifth of November. Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, is an annual celebration that commemorates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of the 5th of November, 1605 when Guy Fawkes and a number of other Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliment and kill the King. When the 5th of November falls on a weekday, celebrations are usually postponed until the weekend. That was the case this year in Barford.

“Have nothing in your home or life that you don’t find beautiful or useful.” – William Morris

Thursday – Barford W.I. Annual General Meeting & Ploughman’s Supper. I failed to even place in the “15 minute Handi-craft Competition.” We were given two sheets of paper, a pair of scissors, glue and tape. With the words of William Morris as our only directive, we were given of 15 minutes to create something from nothing. The winner, “Mrs. Crafty Boots,” made (and decorated) a fully functioning money-box. In 15 mins! I made a brooch. Okay, a flower. But it could be worn as a brooch.  I have got to work on my crafting skills if I’m going to keep up with these gals.

Friday – Late Night Shakespeare at the Courtyard. An abridged version of Twelfth Night with a live rock band on stage. (Well, someone has to.)

Saturday – BONFIRE NIGHT!!!  The Barford Bonfire was stellar! The D.E.B.’s nephew, Harry, came over for the Bonfire and stayed with us for the weekend. He is such a dear. As I said to the D.E.B., after he took Harry home last night, I would be pleased as punch if we were lucky enough to someday have a son like Harry. 

Harry is a gem, a D.E.B.-in-training! Honestly, I can now see how it works. Harry is 15 yrs old; he says “please,” and “thank you”; can hold his own in conversation with adults; opens doors; helps little old ladies across the street; and respectfully prefaces any dialogue he has with the D.E.B or myself with “Uncle” and “Aunt” (e.g., “Thank you, Aunt Alycia, that was a lovely meal.”) He has been taught not to turn up empty-handed when one is a guest. He arrived at our house on Saturday night bearing gifts: a game pie and two recently killed pheasants, feathers and all. (This is rural Warwickshire after all.)

I am slowly getting to grips with English country life, and am proud to say that I didn’t flinch when I opened the door as discovered Harry standing there, holding out to two beautiful, dead birds. Actually, I was rather thrilled. I have never cooked, nor have ever tasted a pheasant. Hurrah! A new experience!

The D.E.B’s older brother, “The Guru,” is a keen sportsman, and Harry goes out shooting with him on weekends. We were lucky enough to have a share in the spoils this time.

Post Script – Pheasant is simply GORGEOUS and very easy to cook. Effortlessly impressive. Has a “gamey-er” (is that a word? It should be.) taste than chicken or turkey.  The D.E.B. and I are now contemplating pheasant for Christmas Dinner this year.

Barford Bonfire

My boys: The D.E.B. and Nephew Harry at Barford Bonfire Night

(It is difficult to photograph fireworks...)

Harry about to 'dress' one of the pheasants for us

Nephew Harry is now Lucy's hero

Remembrance Sunday
Two minutes of silence observed to remember those who have fallen

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