Remember, remember the 5th of November

“Remember, remember, the 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
We see no reason why gunpowder treason.
Should ever be forgot.”

That was a rhyme we sang as children on Guy Fawkes night. The British mark Guy Fawkes’ Day or simply Bonfire Night) by building bonfires and letting off fireworks. Traditionally, children made effigies of Fawkes from old clothes stuffed with newspaper, and display their “Guy” in the streets, asking “Penny for the Guy?”, and expecting to receive some money. Guys were then thrown on the bonfire at the height of the celebrations.

In 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the British Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He, and his band of fellow conspirators, were caught after one of the group sent a letter to King James I of England warning him to stay away from Parliament. Guy Fawkes was imprisoned and eventually put to death for his trouble.

Oh! how times have changed.

My blogging friend Marty has been reminiscing about going for job interviews. When I left school in 1963 I had just turned 16. The day I returned home from boarding school my parents had the newspapers spread out on the table looking for a job for me. One possibility stood out, a job with the Electricity Generating Board, in Paternoster Square, London, England.

Paternoster Square was a new development built in 1961 immediately behind or north of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the city of London. The area, which takes its name from Paternoster Row — a street down which the monks of the medieval St Paul’s would walk, chanting the Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster means Our Father) — was devastated by aerial bombardment in the Blitz of World War II.

My mother phoned to arrange the interview, and took me up there, coming into the interview with me to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I got hired, I am not sure if it was my pleasing personality, for I certainly did not have any credentials or if it was her firm belief that to work I would go and no messing around please, that influenced the personnel representative. Can you imagine that happening today?

That summer a group of us had our lunch in the courtyard of the building and watched Julie Christie filming parts of “Billy Liar”. The rest was filmed in Sheffield.

The daily commute was quite long. I had a ten minute walk to pick up the double decker bus and then an hour bus trip to the tube station and about 40 minutes on the underground and then a ten minute walk again. To arrive in time for 8:30 I had to get up pretty early. I also had a 9pm curfew if I did not get home on time I was not allowed out on the weekends. Since I took night school classes in Pitmans College en route home three times a week this did not allow for much of a social life.