Guy Fawkes & Pumpkin Rugby

Guy Fawkes celebrations historically commemorates the anniversary of the failed attempt to blow up the English House of Lords in 1605, and in the process knock-off King James I, by an unruly mob of provincial English Catholics (Guy Fawkes was the guy in charge of the explosives). In reality, Guy Fawkes Night (or bonfire night) is just an excuse to let off fireworks and burn things. Random fireworks could be seen and heard all around Oxford for the whole of last week (well, at least when it wasn’t raining).


Saturday night was the official Oxford fireworks extravaganza including the all-important “burning of the straw-man effigy and massive giant bonfire” event. Somehow, thanks to a particularly crazy friend of mine (apparently people who live on canal boats are all kooky creative pyromaniacs, but that is another story), I found myself as part of the evenings pre-burning entertainment – dressed in black, and wearing a round paper lantern on my head that was decorated as a pumpkin and lit up with LED lights, while playing a ridiculous slow-motion version of touch rugby in the dark with a giant glowing Perspex ball and goal posts that were set on fire, all to the accompaniment of an eclectic assortment of crazy hill-billy musicians and fire-twirlers.

Needless to say that our rugby game quickly degenerated into something more akin to blind mugby; I could only see out of two tiny holes in the lantern and only when those holes happened to coincide with where my eyes were. I have no idea if the crowd enjoyed our rendition of “Pumpkinhead Rugby” but I had a ball (pun intended). It was totally ludicrous, hilarious fun. Oh and the fireworks, burning of the giant wicker-man and massive bonfire afterwards were all quite fun too.



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