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Monday 5 November 2012

Spot the frippet: sparkler.

Today in England it's Firework Night, sometimes called Guy Fawkes night or Bonfire Night.

And who was Guy Fawkes?

He was one of the gang who planned to blow up the English Houses of Parliament in 1605. I must add, for those with some sympathy for Mr Fawkes,  that they would have been very full Houses as it was the opening of the new session.

Celebrating the escape of the King James the First was soon made compulsory by Act of Parliament.

Even though it's no longer compulsary to celebrate the king's escape, tonight we'll let off rockets and mortars and Roman Candles and Catherine Wheels. But the best thing, of course (unless the Catherine Wheel sets fire to next-door's fence, like the other year) will be the sparklers.

<a href="">Sparkler</a> by Steve Gibson

We'll dance with our sparklers, writing our names and drawing patterns on the darkness.

Aluminium specks in the sparklers will give us white sparks, iron specks orange ones, and ferrotitanium gold ones.

If, sadly, it's not firework night where you are, then the pumps which serve beer in pubs sometimes have a sparkler on the end. That's a thing a bit like a shower-head which introduces air into the beer as it pours and makes it frothier and sweeter.

Lastly, sparklers are shiny jewels, like there:

There we are. What could be brighter or more splendid on a Monday morning than that?

Word To Use Today: sparkler. This word comes from spark, of course, and spark comes from the Old English spearca, which is related to the Lettish spirgsti, which means cinders, and also to the Latin spargere, to strew.


  1. I think Hallowe'en (qv) has sort of eclipsed Guy Fawkes Night which is a great shame. Though I've always been a bit...well, the idea of burning the Guy! Smacks of something deeply troubling and dark. But bonfires in general are lovely and so are fireworks. Unless you have pets....

  2. But how more deeply troubling and dark to leave a guy in the shed all winter for the grubs to munch away at his poor sad paper face and the rats tear away bits of his entrails for their nests.

    It's surely better to go up in a blaze of glory and join all the other guys in the great eternal bonfire party in the sky.


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