Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot

Guy Fawkes
One of the many stupid "traditions" which we in this country inherited from our British forefathers is the commemoration on November 5th every year of a failed act of terrorism. Guy Fawkes, says Wikipedia, "became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in England since 5 November 1605. His effigy is often burned on a bonfire, commonly accompanied by a firework display." 
Last night was the usual sort of early spring evening - cold, occasionally showery, and very windy. There were continuous cracks, booms and bangs all over the neighbourhood for 3 or 4 hours, much to the dismay of Sophie the cat and Manu LeGrand, her canine buddy. When we had horses which we grazed near town, we used to ride them out into the coutry to a friend's farm for the week leading up to the 5th.

At 3.00 am we were woken by a phone call from our adult daughter, sobbing with despair and begging us to come over. Terrified (she hadn't been able to tell us what was wrong), we dressed warmly and made the 10 minute drive to her house, speculating that something had happened to one of the children (11 months and 2½) or to her husband, who is working in New Caledonia for 6 weeks.  We got there to find 2 fire engines and a police car in attendance.
Their house is at the side of the playing fields of a primary (elementary) school, and at about 2.20 she had been woken by a loud BANG on the roof of the garage. Looking out of the window, she saw flames and smoke on a corner of the garage roof, a mere 18 metres or so from her bedroom. Calling 111 as she ran, out she went, got the hose, and played water on the roof until it went out. Then she saw flickering through the window of the garage, and realised the flames had got inside. She was trying to put that out when the firemen arrived. The kids had slept through the whole thing.

A rogue firework, you'll be thinking - a rocket which was blown onto the roof by the wind. They happen every year, and start grass and shed fires all round the country. That wouldn't be so bad. No, someone had thrown 2 molotov cocktails from the school playground onto the roof. One had landed, the other had gone right over on to the driveway, and had not exploded. While she was hosing the roof she heard voices which she described 
to the police as "young males". 

These kids will probably never be caught. 

I cannot put into words what I think of them - I am too tired. None of us got any more sleep, of course, and it's been a long day. All I can do is be thankful that none of my precious family was hurt, and that they threw onto the garage and not the house. 
I hope that was a deliberate choice.

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.  ~Confucius


  1. Nothing like a little terrorism to celebrate terrorism.

    What a nasty happening. And I thought Halloween pranks were bad enough.

  2. We used to have firecrackers for the Queen's Birthday (which for some reason was celebrated in June). Weeks of minor arson, damage to letterboxes, terrorised animals. I am so glad that they are now banned.
    I am also really glad that it was your daughter's garage and not her home and that no-one was hurt. Hoodlums like that are oxygen thieves.

  3. How frightening. Kids often just don't have a clue about the potential consequences of their actions. I never did anything like you describe, but I used to drive recklessly as a teen. I've looked back so many times as an adult and thanked God that I did not kill anyone. It makes you believe in guardian angels who directed these young thugs away from the house. Glad everyone is safe.


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