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It’s very much a short blog from me today as the old adage ‘nothing to report’ springs to mind. Unless you count cutting back and tidying up the garden ready for winter and filling a few bags with leaves! Admittedly, I find that very therapeutic. I enjoy gardening as it reconnects me with more elemental forces which are very different to what I do for a living. There’s also the satisfaction of being able to see a positive change, unlike (say) clearing your email inbox. Today was a good day to be outdoors. It may have been wet at times but here in the Pennines it’s also surprisingly mild for the time of year – which is great when you consider the escalating costs of fuel bills at the moment.

Having filled a few bags with garden waste and dead leaves I retreated to the office to research some more travel options for the future. Christ on a bike – flights are getting expensive! Admittedly, I’d have much preferred to travel overland, but the part of the world I want to get to (Thailand) has been cut off to all but the bravest (or mad) overland travellers for a long time. OK, I possibly *could* still do it if I wanted to cross Iran from Turkey, but as I don’t have the luxury of unlimited time and that country’s going through a period of huge civil unrest that might eventually see the overthrow of a theocracy ’tis probably not the best time for a Brit to be there! Oh, then there’s Myanmar. So, flights it is then. Eventually…

Of course, today in the UK it’s ‘Bonfire night’ – or ‘Guy Fawkes night‘. The day we celebrate when a bunch of Catholics tried (and failed) to blow up the House of Parliament. Right now, I suspect quite a few people had wished they’d succeeded! As I kid, I loved bonfire night. I came from a big family, and we’d always have a big party in the back garden that involved loads of fireworks, food and drink. Admittedly, at that tender age all I was interested in was the fireworks and my mum’s home-made treacle-toffee. The adults had other entertainments! But, they’re great memories. Alright, there was one year in the 1960s when a party was invaded by some local youths and the police turned up as there was an allegation of a stabbing, which was a bit traumatic when you’re about 6 but hey ho. It’s funny, I’ve only thought about that after decades as I started typing this. I really must remember to ask my elder brothers about it. It’s one of those family stories (and we have a lot) I’ve never really nailed down.

OK digression over. I went out for an evening wander so that I could look over the valley and watch other people’s fireworks as they lit up the valley. Maybe Yorkshire’s rubbing off on me after all these years and I’ve become too tight to buy my own! It was lovely sitting up on the side of the valley and watching a mix of displays and private garden parties light up the skies whilst the gunpowder fog with its distinctive smells drifted across the valley.

Now I’m back in the office quaffing LA beer and realising there’s only one possible picture for today. I know many animals struggle with bonfire night, just as they do with thunderstorms. My mum and our pet dog ‘Dori’ were the same. Both used to be reduced to shaking wrecks by a thunderstorm, so much so that when one happened my mum would get a Valium tablet and cut it in half. She’s take one half and give the other half to the dog! Sorry – I’m digressing again. Right, my point was, not *every* animal I know is frightened of fireworks. Our aged and late lamented moggie (Jet) was one of them. He was inquisitive rather than frightened of fireworks. But the winner goes to this particular dog that I encountered in Tangalle in Sri Lanka back in December 2003. This dog actually tried to eat fireworks!

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