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All The Leaves Are Brown
By Bernie Bostik
Being an expat in a warm climate (Spain) the one thing I miss about home, is this time of year. Summers but a distant memory away and now is the time to delve into the wardrobe to fish out those all important winter woolies as those darker Autumn evenings close in. Over here I'm lucky if I can get away with a pair of cords and a crew neck sweater in the middle of winter without ending up with porters arse*.
As a kid I use to love being all wrapped up in my snorkel and knitted Liverpool bar scarf of Doctor Who length. On those murky foggy evenings spent nicking the next gangs stash of wood only to burn it all weeks in advance of Bonfire night. Ours was a tough patch to uphold as wood became as rare a rockin' horse plop. The waste ground was home to three bonfires; ours in the middle, home to the Ashley's (mad Evertonian family from Netherley) and MaCartney's (mad Liverpudlians who moved to Runcorn and last I heard was that eldest son Paul had became a bit of a hand full, causing havoc following Liverpool). At the top end you had Ant Hartless and the rest of the Shoreham drive lot. They were are main rivals and I remember during the inter close 5-aside tourney one summer , being on the receiving end of Ants knee when it collided with my testicles . I lay on the floor gasping for air like a Capstain full strength smoker for what seemed like an eternity. Ant just stood astride me in bulk. That left the Killgalon idiots from Manston Road down the bottom end.
The Killgallons always had the best bonfire as there Dad had access from his work to untold numbers of wooden pallets. Which they stored in there back garden and only produced at the very last second. I've lost count at the number of times Killgalon Snr has given us a legger, after being found scaling his garden fence. Their fire blazed for hours. All the mums made an effort and made some sort of food. And they would have a firework display at 9pm prompt - everyone had to give their fireworks to K Snr who would light them at arms length with a taper.
Our Mums & Dads and everyone else always ended up going down to see the Killgallons offering as our fire was just a pile of ash by about 4 o'clock. And the only food on the menu was a flame grilled raw baked potato with a molten plastic topping. And the firework display consisted of throwing bangers at eachother.
The Spaniards themselves have lots of Ferrieres and Fiestas around this time of year, most of them recent creations as towns and cities make up more and more wacky and zany festivals and try to out do eachother, in the hope of extracting more and more money off the Spanish government- only last week we had the festival of the olive, the festival of the orange and Guardia Day (WTF!!)- half a billion a year is spent on local fiestas. Of course they have Holidays and Festivals that date back to Moorish times and the Catalan Fire festival has been going since year dot. And just the other week we had the San Pedro jamboree which consists of everyone drinking vino tinto, eating Iberian ham, listening and dancing to flamenco out in the street for four days solid.
Give me a real thick pea souper of a night back in the UK any day of the week. Sexy Senoiritas in full on Flamenco mode is no match for diving headfirst into a pile of sloppy dog poo, while yet another exploding gas canister lights up the sky and leaves a mini A-bomb mushroom shaped cloud lingering in the air.
*If you've ever done a 12hr shift in a stupid synthetic polymer fiber uniform you will know exactly what I'm on about.
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