So today I was supposed to share a long overdue kite flying session from September; however we took a spur of the minute decision in the week leading up to Guy Fawkes night to treat the kids to the famous Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations. This is right over in East Sussex and we haven’t been since pre kids. Farmer Nick grew up here and has many happy memories of the Lewes bonfire night. In the past we have held our own Coombe Mill celebrations with friends and guests, however our own children and their friends have now outgrown these. We only had a couple of guests leaving and arriving on the Saturday so we decided to take the triplets, leaving the older kids in charge of the animals and the guests. As fireworks night is a bit of an ‘of the moment’ occasion I decided to bump kite flying forward another week and share our adventure.
A 5th of November to Remember
A Coombe Mill Bonfire night certainly did not prepare our triplets for Lewes. We tried to explain to them what it would be like, but the scale of the operation was just beyond their comprehension. The town was diverted of all traffic from midday and on street parking suspended. Shops across the high street were being boarded up in preparation and excitement building. With Nick’s Mum living in the town we were sorted for parking and wandered through the beautiful Tudor lanes and Grange Park in the afternoon on foot to see the town being transformed.
I’m afraid I only thought to take photos of the pretty parts and not the boarded up high street!
It was bitterly cold in the evening as we headed down into town for the procession. This goes on for hours with each bonfire society parading. I remember struggling to see anything through the crowds in the past, but somehow the triplets wriggled through to the front in their eagerness to see what was going on. Bands marched and effigies were raised high supporting giant signs. We were looking out for friends of ours in the Southover society parade, but somehow missed them.
The huge fire torches made quite an impression on the triplets and they kept trying to grab the burned out ones dropped in the street.
Feeling cold and hungry we headed home for dinner, it really is a long night and we were told it would be at least 10.30pm before the fireworks would begin. With our outdoor clobber back on, a hip flask in hand and tummies full we headed back out for the fireworks.
At this point we had to decide which Bonfire society party to join as different groups split off around the town. As Southover was our nearest and our friends were there we naturally veered off following their loud music and tipsy crowd pullers. This really isn’t one for very young children and I was glad I had waited before taking our triplets, not least because if they became separated from us in the crowd they knew their way home.
Even heading back out at the programmed time there was precious little by way of action for the first hour. Finally the processors turned up at the field; the Teresa May and Boris Johnston effigies took their place on top of the Bonfire and the Pope stood up on his platform.
Nick and I knew just what would happen next but the triplets couldn’t believe their eyes. The pope was pelted with hand fireworks while the fire popped and cracked burning our Government with bangers constantly thundering round. I’d like to say it sounds scarier than it really is, but every time I go to a Lewes Bonfire night event I worry for the poor person playing the Pope.
The fireworks themselves lasted for ages making anything else I’ve ever seen look tiny. I’m sharing just a small clip from my phone, but honestly, against the biting cold evening sky they were incredible.
It was a very long way to travel for one night, but it is a 5th of November my children will always remember. Even the New York Times thought it worthy of a video
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.