Visiting Simon & Nikki - Hastings Parade & Bonfire

Trip Start Sep 29, 2010
Trip End Oct 20, 2010

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Simon & Nikki's

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today we are at Simon & Nikki's house in Stonegate, East Sussex, England and fist off we went to look at their new home under construction just a few miles from here. It lies on 10 acres of woods and garden and when completed will measure around 7,000 sq. ft. The site is very beautiful with a pond and ancient woodlands and they hope to move in sometime in March 2011.

In the afternoon we went to the town of Tunbridge Wells for lunch and a bit of shopping. The town came into being as a spa in Georgian times and had its heyday as a tourist resort in the 18th and 19th centuries when its spring attracted visitors who wished to take the waters. Though its popularity waned with the advent of sea bathing, the town remains popular and derives some 30% of its income from the tourist industry.

Late in the afternoon we went to visit Simon’s mom in Hastings for a spot of tea and some wonderful cake we bought in Tunbridge Wells. After tea we drove down into the town of Hastings to find a parking place since we are having dinner in town and attending the annual Guy Fawkes festival.

Each year Hastings and many other towns in the UK celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. In 1605, Guy Fawkes and a group of conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Before they were able to carry out their plan they were caught, tortured and executed. Every year since then the towns and their bonfire societies celebrated his failure by letting off fireworks and burning an effigy of 'Guy'. The event starts with a parade of all the local bonfire society members carrying torches and dressed in a variety of costumes. As the parade winds through the streets of town drummers play and firecrackers are set off in celebration of Guy Fawkes. At the conclusion of the parade the revelers converge on a 30 ft. high stack of wood pallets on the beach and set fire to it with their torches. As the flames reach skyward the fireworks begin and at the conclusion the effigy of Guy explodes into hundreds of pieces. The Hastings’ festival is attended by over 20,000 people but in nearby Lewes the crowds reach over 200,000 for their annual event.
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