Mole in the Hole

Written By: The Lowdown - Nov• 30•12

Remember, Remember

I think it was in 1605 that naughty old Guy Fawkes was found to have parked considerable loads of Gunpowder in the cellars of the old Houses of Parliament so that when King James the First of England (The Scots call him James the Sixth; funny lot the Scots, when government vehicles appeared in Scotland with ER2 on the sides certain people took exception and ripped the doors off; when asked why they should do such a thing Authority was told that she was Elizabeth the FIRST Queen of Scotland) sorry to digress but anyway when King Jim addressed the Lords, Bishops and Commons, Guy could light the blue touch paper and blow the whole lot to Kingdom come. Now Guy Fawkes had nothing personal against Scots, it was all about the Demon Religion! Curious; if he had succeeded then the Stuart line would have been eliminated, we would not have chopped Charles’ head off, Cromwell would not have charged about the place with his Roundheads, Nell Gwyn would have had to have flogged oranges to someone else, a breed of Spaniels would require a different name and James the Second, who became a Catholic anyway, would not have used Hanging Judge Jefferies to avenge the first rebellion against him, nor had the father of Bonnie Prince Charlie delivered to the royal bed chamber in a warming pan and we would never have had Drambuie! The likelihood of it all going off was fairly remote anyway, the gunpowder was old (Army Surplus from the time of the Armada) and the cellars were damp! But there you go; ever since then we Brits have been celebrating Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. Poor old Guido, in those days you didn’t get banged up for treason, you used to get strung up, until you were nearly dead and then drawn, a procedure that required a windlass with a spike on it, a sharp knife and a chap with some basic knowledge of the interior of the human body. A deft slash, a quick cut and the bottom of the small intestine could be pulled out and attached to the spike, a twirl of the windlass and naughty Guy could have watched his entrails depart his body at the same time as his soul. His head would go atop a spike on London Bridge and his body split into four and sent to the four corners of the kingdom, no doubt by first class post! In fact, he managed to avoid the interesting bit, just as he was about to be strung up he jumped off the high scaffold and broke his neck in the fall!

Now Round Table in Kalulushi decided that it would be a good wheez to raise money for sundry charitable causes. We discovered that there were a number of obstacles in the way. First of all any bunch of muzungus having some form of celebration in the early part of November was viewed with grave suspicion by the Authorities as we could have been celebrating the anniversary of UDI wherein another deeply committed and sincere person also committed an act of treason. The Authorities had good cause for suspicion; it was only the previous year that one Ozzie Winfield, Chief Geologist extraordinaire, had lined up all the waiters at the Recreation Club and led them in a rousing “Three Cheers for Smittie” followed by a beautiful rendition of God Save The Queen. No one could explain the motives of a staunch South African Republican to do such a thing but it was eventually put down to the imbibing of an excessive quantity of Ndola brewed Lion. Now the second obstacle was in the procurement of Fireworks. For the first year only we were really lucky to find an old stock of Brocks fireworks in a shop in Ndola. Apparently it had been part of a batch brought in to celebrate Independence eight years previously and we were pleasantly surprised to see that the vast majority of them worked.

Permission obtained, fireworks ready, a Guy prepared and put atop the huge bonfire by the Round Table Hut, in which a bar was opened and food made by the Table Ladies offered for sale, the event was ready to go. Storm clouds lowered around as the good people of Kalulushi gathered to support the event. The bonfire was lit and the first firework, a huge rocket, was ignited. The fuse sizzled, the suspense was awful, it looked as if we had a dud to start with when, all of a sudden, the rocket, having thought that it had achieved a considerable altitude, let forth a huge quantity of brightly coloured balls of various hues, screaming horizontally through the assembled audience. One hit Dave Wightman, assistant pyrotechnic, full in the chest. He staggered back, tripped and fell into the box of fireworks behind him; very prompt action staved off the instant braai that could have ensued! After that all went well; the Golf Course immediately behind the Round Table hut was set on fire, a Tabler who scaled the fence with a fire extinguisher to put out the little blaze got his genitals trapped by the barbed wire atop the fence, had to be helped down and taken straight to the bar for immediate pain relief. Gary Cushing, the bar manager was doling out Champagne cocktails at 25 ngwee apiece and a few of those were guaranteed to erase any memories of pain or anything else for that matter. The fire burnt low, the food consumed and the bar drank dry and right on schedule, down came the rains, in time to stop the fire on the Golf Course in its tracks.

In subsequent years the Authorities acknowledged the great powers of the rain making ceremony that these stupid muzungus performed. Hazards remained however. There was the year that somehow or other the bonfire got lit an hour early, no one would confess but we all had our suspicions about the Tabler who had suddenly lost his eyebrows. Then we had the time that the Chinese rockets went whizz bang on surface. There was enough explosive in the rocket, it was just the weak top on top. The following year we made a plan. A table was put out in the morning and over a hundred cheap little Chinese rockets were spread round the edges of the table, and the ends dipped in paint and left to dry. The 5th of November fell on a Sunday but us traditionalists must hold the event upon the correct day. This gave one Colin Bones an excuse to avoid the work party in the morning, he had religion and needs must go to church and come afterwards, usually when all the work was done. Sure enough he arrived to admire our handiwork. He was accompanied by his wife, stunningly beautiful who exuded sex appeal from every pore but she was totally unaware of the effect on us chaps. We suspected that Colin was fairly immune to her allure to boot being a trifle dozy in many respects. They approached the table upon which the rockets rested. There was also a reel of fast burning Igniter Cord which was being used to construct a lattice to connect to the rockets to achieve an almost instantaneous barrage of rocket fire. Colin examined same, dripping ash from his cigarette all over the place with the inevitable result that a horizontal holocaust occurred. Colin and his beautiful wife were unscathed but bewildered; what had they done? The rest of the work party emerged from the cover that they had taken, some of us with painful wounds, I mean, literally having a rocket up your arse is quite embarrassing. We forgave the couple and, luckily, had enough rockets left to make sure that the night went off with a bang!

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