I grew up with Guy Fawkes Day, November 5th of every year, observed with friends and neighbours gathered round a bonfire with the poor benighted effigy of Guy Fawkes atop the blaze. Guy Fawkes was the hapless conspirator of the 1605 Gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament with both houses assembled to hear King James 1. If the plot had worked, the whole government, elected and monarch, would have been killed. Instead, Guy Fawkes was discovered, his collaborators rounded up and put to death.
My dad, being British, resonated far more to the fall Guy Fawkes round of "penny for the Guy" than for the North American Trick or Treat. The children's rhyme comes quickly to mind "Please to remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. I don't
see no reason why gunpowder and treason should ever be forgot." It may stay with me as the only time I ever heard either of my parents use incorrect grammar!
Most Canadians may never pause to think of this strange holiday, marking the aversion of a major disaster. Today's children likely do not appreciate the cleverness of J.K Rowling in naming Dumbledore's phoenix "Fawkes."
This was truly a fifth of November I will never forget. It started early, touring London with local historian and archivist and dedicated Green, Steve Edwards. Steve is running for City Council, but is already giving his time to my campaign. I thought I knew London well, but a tour with Steve peels away the veneer of various pubs and girls schools to see some of the earliest buildings of London's heritage. With Steve's evocative description, you can almost see Simcoe standing on the banks of the fork in the river and re-naming the river "Thames" in 1731 (if I remember my dates from this morning!). Following our tour, we were still on time for services at Steve's church, Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church. The church serves a very diverse parish. It is truly urban on the edge of rough neighbourhoods and people with real social and economic problems as well as those who represent old London. As a practicing Anglican, it is always a joy to experience a familiar liturgy, as comfortable as a cozy quilt, in a new and unfamiliar place. Bishop Cronyn's service included a very moving send-off for war brides who will be traveling to Halifax for a reunion at Pier 21. My friend Ruth Goldblum really pulled Pier 21 together. So many wonderful Canadians had their first encounter with their new country at Pier 21.
After a brief whirl through our office, a place with an amazing hum and buzz, we headed off to the Haddasah Bazaar. We managed to find nearly everything else we needed to make the new rental (without furniture) a home. And, of course, as we worked our way through buying baked goods, and comforters and linens and towels and some great books (I found a vintage hardcover of James Thurber's "Carnival") we stopped and chatted and asked for people to at least consider voting Green. From 2:30 til 6 pm, I canvassed and canvassed and canvassed through new subdivisions.
We found a very warm welcome on (almost every) doorstep. Londoners are very kind and willing to listen. My favourite doors are, of course, those where I get a big hug and thanks for running here!!
My last stop was to St. Jude's Anglican Church to speak to a group of inter-faith "Seekers". A wonderful evening with a time for
meditation, reflection and more singing....
Only 22 more days to go....