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A year ago today I told you about the fifth-of-November bonfires we used to have during our childhood and into our teen years; at the time I was unable to find the one photograph I knew I had taken of probably the last bonfire we had in the private, abandoned and overgrown field almost behind our house, but this last week I came across it whilst searching for something else. It’s a Kodak transparency in square format which tells me it was taken on my Kodak Instamatic camera which used 126 cartridge film, a simple-to-use little camera I had purchased as it was small enough to be carried with me at all times. It was capable of quite good pictures in decent light, but the flash-cubes used for night-time shots were a little inadequate giving a maximum range of only twelve feet. Nevertheless, this is a reasonably useable slide of Tuesday, 5th November 1968 so I must have been nineteen when this was taken. It shows my father, looking very young, just about to light the bonfire with one of our neighbours observing the ritual; as the lad was about the same age as my sister I’m guessing he’d have been thirteen, my father a very youthful forty seven.

Bonfire Night, fifth of November 1968

We had moved into that house in 1962 when I was thirteen and we were able to use the field for our annual bonfire for a number of years, until the site was no longer available. It was sold at the end of the 1960s or early 70s and three exclusive houses were built on the land. By that time we were no longer participating in our own bonfire-night ritual anyway so it was not a great loss to us. Fortunately the land immediately behind our house was woodland so was not developed, and remains woodland to this day.

You might like to refresh your memory and read Remember, Remember . . . the story I wrote a year ago today.

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