Saturday, November 07, 2009

Halloween and Bonfire Night

Ugh, I hate doing catch-up blogs. Recapping is so dull.

Halloween was good. Well, the day before Halloween, anyway. Izzi and Tim and their flatmates had a party and it was super fun. Izzi and Tim are lovely and all their friends are lovely, too. I recycled my Tinkerbell costume from this summer. Izzi was Lara Croft and she looked AMAZING! Tim was a black knight made out of cardboard boxes. I was impressed with the ingenuity involved in making it (credit to Izzi). Guys, if you're reading, we need to hang out more often!

On Halloween night, I had to work. Massive frowny face. I got to work to find that the restaurant part of the pub wasn't even open, so they didn't really even need me. As there were at least four places I would rather have been, I was annoyed when I got roped into helping out with a Halloween party going on in our function room. I ended up running up and down stairs all night until midnight. At the end of the shift, the boss offered drinks to me and a couple of the bartenders. I agreed to a half pint of cider (living large). When they all finished their pints and went for another round, I declined. On their third round, I decided to have another half pint. I was good until that point. Then the boss started pouring shots. It started with a Jaegerbomb. Then there was something called a Cypress Lovely. I don't remember what the third one was called cuz I was already long gone by that point. By the time I headed home, it was about 4am. I'm not sure how I made it home (it is only a 10 minute walk), but I know the trip involved a stop-in at the gas station, where I purchased a sandwich and a bag of Kettle chips. I ate these when I got home, then vomited them straight back up. I was then "sick" several more times and sat on the bathroom floor making pathetic noises. Around 5am or so, my flatmates came home and Mel very sweetly helped me into bed. I didn't wake up until 11:20 when I received a call from work that I was 20 minutes late. Ugh. It was a long and painful day in which I stifled the urge to puke several times.

Thursday night was Bonfire Night (aka Guy Fawkes Day). It was AWESOME! I went with Holly to a small, charming town in Sussex called Lewes that is famous for its annual Bonfire Night parade. It's a very confusing tradition that I'm too lazy to look up on Wikipedia, but they basically memorialize some people (11? 17? can't remember) who were burned at the stake back in the 1550s for disagreeing with the Catholic queen, Mary I (she was kind of a bitch). While they're at it mourning over the martyrs, they also denounce the pope and police officers, celebrate the death of Guy Fawkes, pay homage to marginalized populations all over the world including Native American Indians, and dress up as smugglers. Why? Don't ask why. This is England and things don't have to make sense.

Holly and me with my toffee apple

Okay, I've given in and checked Wikipedia, though they have surprisingly little insight to give. Here's a better review. There were 17 Protestant martyrs. It's the biggest Bonfire Night celebration in the whole country. Every year, they burn effigies on their five massive bonfires. In 2001, they sparked controversy by burning Osama Bin Laden. In 2003, even more controversy when they burned a gypsy caravan (apparently, some gypsies had recently moved into the area and the locals weren't pleased). Last year, they burned Prime Minister Gordon Brown and no one batted an eyelash. We missed the effigy burning this year, but some effigies were paraded through town beforehand and they included bankers and MPs (there's been massive controversy here over Parliamentarians who have been using tax dollars to fund their lavish lifestyles. One guy claimed expenses for his moat to be cleaned.)

Basically, the Lewes celebration is a big, anarchic celebration of the right to be Protestant and the right to burn things. Firecrackers were everywhere, with parade participants routinely lighting small but powerful "bangers" whose blasts shook the sidewalks and made my ears hurt. I was surprised I hadn't lost my hearing by the end. It was jolly good fun, indeed! (P.S. Toffee apples are NOWHERE NEAR as good as caramel apples.)

Dude, I just found the Picasa iPhoto uploader! My life just got so much easier. Here you go, photos of Bonfire Night to amaze you. Also, photos of Halloween that I stole from other people (as a result, they are all photos of me).

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