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….