Nov 072015
 
Our temporary vineyard home - south of France 2015

Our temporary vineyard home – south of France 2015

http://kermitlynch.com/our-wines/domaine-du-poujol/

I don’t know much about wine, except that I like to drink it.  Above is the site to the winery that Trish and I are now living for ten days.  It is autumn/fall and looking out the window, the grape leafs have turned a golden colour.

Kim and Robert are the owners of Domaine du Poujol, a winery near Montpelier in Southern France.  Kim is American and Robert is British.

Arriving to a Celebration of Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night

Our celebration

Our celebration

Guy Fox 1

Last night, within a hour or two of our arrival, we were part of a Guy Fawkes bonfire celebration.  In British history, Guy Fawkes (born in York, England) was a Catholic who had the ambition of blowing up the House of Parliament.

What is Bonfire Night?  (The following Information is taken from the British newspaper, The Guardian.

November 5th commemorates the failure of the November 1605 Gunpowder Plot by a gang of Roman Catholic activists led by Warwickshire-born Robert Catesby.

Guy Fawkes is captured

Guy Fawkes is captured

When Protestant King James I acceded to the throne, English Catholics had hoped that the persecution they had felt for over 45 years under Queen Elizabeth would finally end. When this didn’t transpire, a group of conspirators resolved to assassinate the King and his ministers by blowing up the Palace of Westminster during the state opening of Parliament.

Guy (Guido) Fawkes and his fellow conspirators, having rented out a house closed to the Houses of Parliament, managed to smuggle 36 barrels of gunpowder into a cellar of the House of Lords – enough to completely destroy the building.

(Physicists from the Institute of Physics later calculated that the 2,500kg of gunpowder beneath Parliament would have obliterated an area 500 metres from the centre of the explosion).

The scheme began to unravel when an anonymous letter was sent to the William Parker, the 4th Baron Monteagle, warning him to avoid the House of Lords.

The letter (which could well have been sent by Lord Monteagle’s brother-in-law Francis Tresham), was made public and this led to a search of Westminster Palace in the early hours of November 5th.

Explosive expert Fawkes, who had been left in the cellars to set off the fuse, was subsequently caught when a group of guards discovered him at the last moment.

Fawkes was arrested, sent to the Tower of London and tortured until he gave up the names of his fellow plotters.

Lord Monteagle was rewarded with £500 plus £200 worth of lands for his service in protecting the crown.

The traditional death for traitors in 17th-century England was to be hanged, drawn and quartered in public. But, this proved not to be the 35-year-old Fawkes’s fate.

As he awaited his punishment on the gallows, Fawkes leapt off the platform to avoid having his testicles cut off, his stomach opened and his guts spilled out before his eyes.

Mercifully for him, he died from a broken neck but his body was subsequently quartered, and his remains were sent to “the four corners of the kingdom” as a warning to others.

The aftermath

Following the failed plot, Parliament declared November 5th a national day of thanksgiving, and the first celebration of it took place in 1606.

After the Gunpowder Plot, King James sought to control non-conforming English Catholics in England. In May 1606, Parliament passed ‘The Popish Recusants Act’ which required any citizen to take an oath of allegiance denying the Pope’s authority over the king.

Observance of the 5th November Act, passed within months of the plot, made church attendance compulsory on that day and by the late 17th Century, the day had gained a reputation for riotousness and disorder and anti-Catholicism. William of Orange’s birthday (November 4th) was also conveniently close.

The scheme began to unravel when an anonymous letter was sent to the William Parker, the 4th Baron Monteagle, warning him to avoid the House of Lords.

The letter (which could well have been sent by Lord Monteagle’s brother-in-law Francis Tresham), was made public and this led to a search of Westminster Palace in the early hours of November 5th.

Explosive expert Fawkes, who had been left in the cellars to set off the fuse, was subsequently caught when a group of guards discovered him at the last moment.

Fawkes was arrested, sent to the Tower of London and tortured until he gave up the names of his fellow plotters.

Lord Monteagle was rewarded with £500 plus £200 worth of lands for his service in protecting the crown.

Fate of the Conspirators  

The conspirators were all either killed resisting capture or – like Fawkes – tried, convicted, and executed.

The traditional death for traitors in 17th-century England was to be hanged, drawn and quartered in public. But, this proved not to be the 35-year-old Fawkes’s fate.

As he awaited his punishment on the gallows, Fawkes leapt off the platform to avoid having his testicles cut off, his stomach opened and his guts spilled out before his eyes.

Mercifully for him, he died from a broken neck but his body was subsequently quartered, and his remains were sent to “the four corners of the kingdom” as a warning to others.

 

Dominic Selwood is sympathetic towards Fawkes and thinks the Reformation was all a colossal mistake.

“The truth is that the Reformation was not a gentle evolution achieved by a few Parliamentary acts and redrafted ecclesiastical canons. It was a violent rupture with our country’s recent history, achieved at the point of a sword.

“Change was effected by a brutal battle of attrition fought with hangings, burnings, and bloodshed, in England and on the continent.”

Guy Fawkes Day today

 Opening of Parliament.Pic Shows Beefeaters carrying out the Ceremonial Search


Opening of Parliament.Pic Shows Beefeaters carrying out the Ceremonial Search

The Houses of Parliament are still searched by the Yeomen of the Guard before the state opening, which has been held in November since 1928. The idea is to ensure no modern-day Guy Fawkes is hiding in the cellars with a bomb, although it is more ceremonial than serious. And they do it with lanterns.

Beefeaters carrying out the Ceremonial Search on the State Opening of Paliament. The cellar that Fawkes tried to blow up no longer exists. In 1834 it was destroyed in a fire which devastated the medieval Houses of Parliament.

Bonfire Night events around the UK

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom, and in a number of countries that were formerly part of the British Empire, with fireworks, bonfires and parades. Straw dummies representing Fawkes are tossed on the bonfire, as well as those of contemporary political figures.

Dummies have been burned on bonfires since as long ago as the 13th century, initially to drive away evil spirits. Following the Gunpowder Plot, the focus of the sacrifices switched to Guy Fawkes’ treason.

Traditionally, these effigies called ‘guys’, are carried through the streets in the days leading up to Guy Fawkes Day and children ask passers-by for “a penny for the guy.”

Today the word ‘guy’ is a synonym for ‘a man’ but originally it was a term for an “repulsive, ugly person” in reference to Fawkes.

The fireworks represent the explosives that were never used by the plotters.

In Ottery St Mary, south Devon, in a tradition dating from the 17th century, barrels soaked in tar are set alight and carried aloft through parts of the town by residents.

Only Ottregians – those born in the town, or who have lived there for most of their lives – may carry a barrel.

Lewes, in southeastern England, is also the site of annual celebration. Guy Fawkes Day there has a distinctly local flavour, involving six bonfire societies whose memberships are grounded in family history stretching back for generations.

The only place in the UK that does not celebrate Guy Fawkes Night is his former school St. Peter’s in York.

They refuse to burn a guy out of respect for one of their own.

How does that Guy Fawkes rhyme go?

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot

We see no reason

Why Gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot ….

Who invented fireworks?

During the 10th century a Chinese cook discovered how to make explosive black powder when he accidentally mixed three kitchen ingredients – potassium nitrate or saltpetre (a salt substitute used in the curing of meat), sulphur and charcoal.

The cook noticed that if the concoction was burned when enclosed in the hollow of a bamboo shoot, there was a tremendous explosion.

Fireworks arrived in Europe in the 14th century and were first produced by the Italians. The first recorded display was in Florence and the first recorded fireworks in England were at the wedding of King Henry VII in 1486.

The word ‘bonfire’ is said to derive from ‘bone-fire’, from a time when the corpses of witches, heretics and other nonconformists were burned on a pyre instead of being buried in consecrated ground.

paula again:  This bonfire was celebrated by members of a British or English Society located here near Montpelier.  Many of the celebrants were a combination of Brits/French relationships/marriages.  Little children were present who spoke in both languages and held sparklers happily.  They lit the sparklers and proud parents told them to write their name in the air.

Members of the society brought food.  Hot potatoes were roasted around the fire and devoured with butter and cheese.  Kim and Robert boiled mulled wine which was welcomed.  When Kim and Robert first started the bonfire celebration (some years ago) they were overenthusiastic and built a big fire that was noticed by residents.   Soon fire trucks were arriving and the tradition was explained.  I am sure the French fire trucks drove away shaking their heads.

It was a great time.  Now, we are alone as Kim and Robert are on their way to Rome.  Somewhere between the wine cellars are three cats who will come back to this kitchen when they are hungry.

Life is good.    paula.

 

 

 

 

 

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