Starting with the bonfire itself. My advice is simple — don’t bother.
You will need all the fuel you can lay your hands on for when the country has the gas and electric cut off in January.
Keep any old bits of wood somewhere dry until it is needed. I suggest the dining room because we’ll all have to stop eating soon so you might as well chop up the dinner table and add that to the pile while you’re at it.
If you are so profligate as to organise a bonfire, do not put you Guy on top until you’re ready to light the fire as you will risk having his clothes stolen by those who can no longer afford Primark.
But how to enjoy Bonfire Night on a budget? Fireworks are really expensive and most of them are made in China where they have more money than they know what to do with. It would be unfair to burden them with even more unwanted currency when you can do it all yourself.
My first tip it to take all the mirrors from you house and position them in a horseshoe layout in the middle of your lawn. Then place a simple, single-shot roman candle in the middle. When it goes off, the reflections will give the effect of an expensive, multi-shot display firework.
Bonfire Night would not be complete without a rocket bursting in the sky, but you can achieve this effect very cheaply.
Take a stick (an old raspberry cane will do) and attach a toilet roll tube with string or some homemade flour paste glue.
The important thing is not to produce your homemade rocket until after dark so that the spectators only see its silhouette as you place it in the milk bottle on the lawn.
After ‘lighting’ your rocket, rush back to the waiting crowd as if running from an IED. Then comes the clever bit.
You will need an accomplice hiding in the bushes to make the necessary ‘Whoosh!’ noise. Or alternatively, learn how to throw your voice.
As the spectators look up to follow the rocket’s expected trajectory, rap them smartly on the back of the head with a hand tool so that they see stars. A wooden or rubber mallet is recommended, rather than a nail hammer, to avoid permanent brain damage.
Finally, the finale (naturally) — a super firework that you can make yourself.
Fill your wife’s favourite saucepan with a pint each of diesel and two-stroke oil. Bring to the boil, then simmer for five minutes. Add the heads from two boxfuls of matches (be careful to use only safety matches).
For an extra kick, I always add glycerin — Rowntrees jelly cubes dissolved in the mix does the job nicely.
Allow the mixture to cool then stir in four tablespoons of cayenne pepper and five chilli peppers. (Dried are fine if you don’t have fresh.)
Find a suitable container, such as a discarded Pringles™ tube, and insert some absorbent material. My wife’s exfoliating sponge from the bathroom was ideal. Pour in the cooled mixture and top with tissue or a paper napkin. (See yesterday’s post)
Place your finished firework on the lawn with great ceremony, using two house bricks to hold it in place.
Light the blue touch paper and retire to the pub before the expectant crowd realises that it was a complete waste of time.
NB: These projects require adult supervision and only one stupid enough to think they are a good idea.
The photo above is a serving suggestion only.