Health & Safety
Bonfire Nights always bring back memories of less Health & Safety-conscious days of my youth.
In those days municipal bonfires were rare. Most householders set their own in their back garden.
De rigueur were spuds wrapped in clay (mud substituted but was useless) and roasted on the edge of the fire. Contemporaries will remember this dewy eyed. Don’t be taken in. They were absolute rubbish – cremated on the outside, raw and starchy inside.
Throwing penny bangers at each other did for sport, along with setting off Jumping Jacks under the girls’ seats. Thre’p’ny Canons were too good to throw.
Sometimes we’d drop bangers in milk bottles left outside front doors and then run like hell, leaving the smashed glass for the householder to clean up.
Less well remembered were Winter Warmers. These would go down well now.
You punched a number of holes in a bean can or paint tin, attached a long wire handle to its neck, set a fire in it and whirled it round your head. You didn’t get any warmth from it of course, but it hummed menacingly and was tremendous fun.
More conservatively, although outrageously dangerous by today’s standards, were Hand Warmers. You could buy these at the likes of Wakefield Army Stores. They looked like World War 1 cigarette cases and contained cotton wool soaked in meths. You lit the wool, snapped the case shut and popped then in your trouser pockets.
I don’t think you can get them now.