bonfire 1nasturtium

There was a tiny wild rabbit eating the nasturtiums. I’d planted them in three long containers to add some colour to the trellis I’d built last year to shield the growing number of beehives at the bottom of the garden. They ’ve just begun to bloom  and are  proving to be a tasty breakfast for this wild youngster.He’s standing up on his hind-legs , the better to get to grips with his meal.The wife, aghast,  thought it was a rat until she saw it hop across the lawn.

Norneverland is the kind of  diverse place where something like this can happen or where  somewhere else, someone will pipe up on the radio and say something, either in  innocent naivity or simple, outright foolishness, like ..”They should n’t be building houses near these bonfire sites, anyway!”

The  astounded , almost speechless  reporter or commentator, listening to this revelation, has obviously missed the back -story here.  These houses take second place to everything else in the speaker’s  world-view. They are only an irrelevant aside to the real story being played out.This is about an all-important Cultural Statement that stretches back many thousands of years  to a ceremony to appease the Sky Gods and secure freedom to believe in same for generations to come. There is  the very  “fact” in the speaker’s mind that the “bonfire ground” is a sacred tract that should never have been sullied by something as mundane  as a housing complex.To this individual   that is akin to building homes on the very bones of his forefathers burying ground. Their heaving and restless  dead souls are un-quiet. How could the reporter not know these ancient facts. Haven’t they been handed down and fed with mother’s milk since time began.

Meanwhile, the helpless government is busily handing out free “Holiday Passes”  for anyone wishing to abandon home or all hope in face  of possible fiery vanquishment, to any destination of choice except Tunisia, as home-owners relinquish their houses and teeter down the road dragging small-wheeled, rickety  suitcases over the broken pavers.When these huge towering pyres of pallets and rubber tyres are ignited, whole streets are in danger of combusting as the very tarmacadam on the roads melts in the conflagration, glass windows return to base sand  and trickle down  to block the storm gullies.

Right on cue a specially- trained squad of officials  and artisans begin to board- up the abandoned homes  with specially designed “Kulture Shields” which they pronounce to be both fire-proof  and sophisticated anti-vandal devices.These shields will remain for the duration of the ceremonials which may take several days or extend for another few weeks.These shields may be all that remains of an entire street after the celebrations are over.

This is a more  obvious  and sensible economic option than declaring the huge, towering ,eighty feet high bonfire structures reckless  health and safety hazards and arresting everyone involved in their construction. The ensuing clash of ideologies  and sensitivities would result in overflowing gaol -cells full of  irate demonstrators, courts full of bloodied and beaten  policemen, testifying  against them ….and possibly even more damage done than the fires would otherwise manage if left to their own devices.

  In any case, no one, as yet has been able to discover the magical source of the sacred wooden pallets and marvelously  -infused  wondrous rubber tyres. There is talk that they are made in a series of  linked ,underground, cavernous factories ,hidden deep in ancient natural caves beneath the Mourne Mountains and then blessed by a coven of appropriately attired monks, but as they appear unheralded every year , no one has ever been able to actually see them arrive . There is talk that the laden  lorries arrive at misty daybreak , like the  little wild rabbit rising to feed, and  appear mushroom-like as the very  dawn breaks .

The Housing Minister has washed his hands of the affair , as have the police , fire department and the security forces.Some things ,such as the black arts of magic, are still an unknown quantity to them .Best be safe than sorry though. No good can come from messing  with these ancient rituals. It’s better to let the town burn than to risk the wrath of the Sky Gods. These new  fire-proof  Kulture Shields and the  Free Holidays Passes will have to suffice  for now.There is powerful magic afoot in the land.

Meanwhile in another part of Norneverland …far …far away …the wee wild rabbit has moved into my neighbour’s garden. He has possibly heard about that particularly fine crunchy  Romaine lettuce that is currently growing there.What better way to continue breakfast….

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