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Remember, remember, the fifth of November

Sat on the side of a hill with friends watching the fire lit processions in the town below. Baked potatoes and sausages appear from backpacks and panniers. The air is still and cold. Beers are opened as people wrap themselves in every spare layer available. Drunk idiots shoot fireworks off the side of the hill…oh, they’re with us. The hills surrounding us are lit by bright moonlight. Smoke drifts across the townscape as torches snake through the streets towards bonfires. Waterloo starts over the hill past the race course, then South Street, then Cliffe. Cassiopeia imperceptibly wheels overhead as the constellation of Lewes in the valley below is lit by explosions in the sky. Flasks filled with warm cocktails of drinks cupboard leftovers are passed around – rum and apple juice; ginger wine and whisky; port, brandy and amaretto. The chalk face of the downs beyond the town flickers red and yellow and white. Flames reach to the stars from down by the river. Gradually the stars are the only lights in the sky again. People drift away. A few of us stay. Another Belgian beer is cracked open.

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