• Simon O'Donovan

Bonfire Night 5th November

With the 5th November fast approaching, we chose 'Bonfire Night' as our theme for this week's 'CST Friendship Group' session. EIGHT SIZZLING FACTS ABOUT FIREWORKS We read this factsheet from BBC Radio 4, by way of introduction to our session proper. "It’s that time of year when the nights draw in and the skies light up, with firework displays occurring across the country. But where and when did the pyrotechnic phenomenon begin, who buys more fireworks than anyone else in the world, and what are "dragon's eggs"? Wrap up warm, buckle up and enjoy these explosive facts to mark fireworks season. (Don’t forget to warn the cat.) 1. Fireworks originated in China around 2000 years ago The birth of fireworks can be traced back to 7th century China. But there is further evidence that primitive Chinese firecrackers date back as far as 200BC. It is thought that a Chinese cook accidentally invented gunpowder by mixing three common kitchen ingredients! Today, it is estimated that China produces around 90% of the world’s fireworks. 2. They were first used in England at a royal wedding Although fireworks were probably used in the UK from the late 13th century onwards, they didn’t become popular until at least 200 years later. The first documented use of fireworks in the UK is at the wedding of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, in 1486. The marriage marked the union of the long-sparring Yorkist and Lancastrian families, bringing peace after years of dynastic war. A suitable occasion for a pyrotechnic party! 3. There used to be a Fire Master of England It wasn’t until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that fireworks really took off (excuse the pun) across the nation. The queen found them so thrilling that she created the position of “Fire Master of England”. As the best and most respected fireworks-maker in England, he took charge of all royal displays. 4. The bard loved a banger Shakespeare refers to fireworks in a number of his plays, suggesting that they were widely used by his lifetime. In 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' one character states, “The king would have me present the princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antique, or firework.” 5. It’s all about flower power A shell that emits stars in a perfect circle, with the brightness growing as the circle gets bigger, is called a “chrysanthemum”. A firework that has stars that fly outward, then start to descend, is called a “peony”. And multiple breaks of small chrysanthemums is called a “bouquet”. Other exotic firework names include the “butterfly”, the “coconut palm” and “dragon's eggs” – characteristically a gold or silver breaking effect that ends in crackles or strobes. 6. A firework is behind the expression “damp squib” These days, we use the expression “damp squib” to describe a disappointing event that is not as exciting or impressive as expected. But a squib is literally a miniature explosive device, or form of firework, usually cylindrical in shape and with a paper fuse at one end, which fails to ignite if it gets wet. (The phrase is commonly misquoted as “damp squid”, but of course we all know cephalopods are big fans of water.) 7. The largest ever firework display consisted of 810,904 fireworks According to 'Guinness World Records' the biggest ever fireworks display was achieved by Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in the Philippines, who welcomed 2016 in with a record-breaking bang. The display lasted for 1 hour, 1 minute and 32.35 seconds and, sadly, it poured with rain the whole way through. 8. Disney is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world The Walt Disney Company is said to be the largest consumer of fireworks in the world. It is estimated that they spend around $50 million a year on their displays. That’s no Mickey Mouse operation!


Complete the following phrases ...

No smoke without - FIRE

Flash in the - PAN

Bang out of - ORDER

Fire in your - BELLY

Candle in the - WIND

Sky at - NIGHT

It's not rocket - SCIENCE

Light the blue touch - PAPER

Burn the candle at both - ENDS

Baptism of - FIRE

My ears are - BURNING

Fire and - BRIMSTONE

Put that in your pipe and - SMOKE IT

Out of the frying pan and into the - FIRE

All smoke and - MIRRORS

Have money burn a hole in - YOUR POCKET


Set the world on - FIRE

Smoke like a - CHIMNEY

Pocket - ROCKET

Blaze a - TRAIL

Play with - FIRE

DISCUSSION We started off the discussion by reading the 'Gunpowder Plot' nursery rhyme, which is introduced early into the young minds of children throughout the United Kingdom. Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot! Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent To blow up king and parliament. Three score barrels were laid below To prove old England's overthrow. By god's mercy he was catch'd With a darkened lantern and burning match. So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring. Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king. And what shall we do with him? Burn him! We asked, 'Who likes fireworks and Bonfire Night'? Who hates the noise and shuts the curtains? What are the things people like and dislike about the occasion? Next, we thought about things that remind us of Bonfire Night, these being: - Fireworks - Sparklers - Bonfire building and burning (and checking for hedgehogs!) - Bobble hats, gloves and scarves - Wellington boots - Hot dogs (frankfurters), with fried onions, tomato sauce and mustard - Roast chestnuts (game of conkers) - Chilli con carne and rice - Chilli chocolate - Toffee apples - Baked potatoes (cooked in the bonfire) - Toasted marshmallows - Garden displays - rockets in milk bottles - Organised displays - Rain (usually) - Frightened dogs (Classic FM now has a 'Pet Sounds' show to soothe nervous cats, dogs and other furry friends.) - Penny for the guy - Torches - Noise - Smell of caudite and fire smoke - Fire engines and ambulances (unfortunately!). We then thought about other occasions where fires and fireworks are part of celebrations: - New Year's Eve fireworks on the Thames, and major cities around the world - Chinese New Year - Diwali - Birthdays - Weddings - Anniversaries - 4th of July - Thanksgiving - French Bastille Day - Sporting events - Pop concerts. The traditional types of fireworks of our childhood we could remember were: - Rocket - Catherine wheel - Banger - Sparkler - Traffic light - Fountain - Roman candle - Jumping Jacks - Chinese lanterns - Chinese fire crackers. We all agreed though that fireworks were far more complex, spectacular and expensive today than back then.

FIREWORK SAFETY CODE We asked what ROSPA stands for? THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS We then filled in the gaps in the ten point Code below (see the CAPITALS for the words left out). "Only adults should deal with setting up firework displays, the lighting of fireworks and the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used (and remember, ALCOHOL and fireworks don't mix!). Children and young people should be supervised, and watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance. Follow these top 10 tips for a safer fireworks party: 1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes BEFORE 11PM. 2. Only buy fireworks which carry the CE (EU health and safety) mark, keep them in a CLOSED BOX and use them one at a time. 3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a TORCH if necessary. 4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand WELL BACK. 5. Keep naked flames, including CIGARETTES, away from fireworks. 6. Never return to a firework once it has been LIT. 7. Don't put fireworks in POCKETS and never throw them. 8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from SPECTATORS. 9. Never use paraffin or PETROL on a bonfire. 10. Make sure that the fire is OUT and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

QUIZ Next we completed a short 'Bonfire Night Quiz'. 1. Which king was Guido Fawkes trying to overthrow in the Gunpowder Plot? KING JAMES 1ST 2. What year was it? 1605 3. What were the gunpowder plotters trying to achieve? THEY WANTED A CATHOLIC KING ON THE THRONE 4. How many barrels of gunpowder were there? 36 5. Since 1605 what is done ceremonially on each State Opening of The Houses of Parliament? THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD SEARCH THE CELLARS OF THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER FOR EXPLOSIVES 6. Where was Guido Fawkes from? YORK 7. What cake is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night? PARKIN (GINGER, TREACLE AND BONFIRE TOFFEE CAKE) 8. Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub were the firemen in which town? TRUMPTON 9. Who had the 1968 hit that starts with the line "I am the God of Hellfire, and I bring you Fire"? CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN - FIRE 10. What type of mythical creature was Dumbledore's pet named Fawkes in the Harry Potter books? PHOENIX 11. Which snooker player was nicknamed "The Rocket"? RONNIE O'SULLIVAN 12. Who composed the music for the Royal Fireworks? HANDEL 13. "We Didn't Start the Fire" was a 1989 hit for which singer/songwriter? BILLY JOEL 14. In which country are fireworks said to have originated? CHINA 15. Who recorded the 2010 US number 1 single "Firework"? KATY PERRY 16. In terms of accident statistics, which is the most dangerous of all common fireworks? SPARKLERS (They burn at an extremely high heat: 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit!) 17. Which is the only property on a Monopoly board that doesn't contain any of the letters from the word "Bonfire" in its name? PALL MALL (PINK) 18. Which 2006 film, starring Natalie Portman, featured a modern day Guy Fawkes character plotting to destroy the Houses of Parliament? V IS FOR VENDETTA 19. What do children ask for when they take their effigy of Guido Fawkes around the streets? PENNY FOR THE GUY 20. In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which character is famous for his fireworks? GANDALF 21. What is the technical name for the art of making or displaying fireworks called? PYROTECHNICS 22. Which 'Maid Of Orleans' was burned at the stake in 1431? JOAN OF ARC 23. Walt Disney films always open with the castle and fireworks and which song? WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR 24. According to 'The Fireworks Safety Code; what time should all fireworks stop? 11PM 25. What star sign is someone born under if their birthday falls on 5th November? SCORPIO 26. London Fire Brigade has asked that Fireman Sam's name be changed to what and why? FIREFIGHTER SAM (IN RECOGNITION OF THE EQUAL CONTRIBUTION FEMALE COLLEAGUES MAKE) 27. In the strikes of the 1970s, which vehicles were recommissioned to serve as stand in fire engines? GREEN GODDESSES 28. Who was the 'Green Godess' fitness expert on GMTV? DIANA MORAN 29. 'London's Burning' TV show focused on which one of four shifts? BLUE WATCH 30. What is Britain's best selling match? SWAN VESTA 31. The children's nursery rhyme 'London's Burning' is about what? THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON 32. Where and when did the Great Fire of London start? PUDDING LANE (IN A BAKERY) ON 2ND SEPT 1666 (IT LASTED 4 DAYS) 33. How many people died? ONLY 6 We then tried to sing together 'London's Burning'. This song is traditionally sung in a 'Round'. One verse starts, then on the next line another group starts the same verse... And so on! London's burning, London's burning. Fetch the engines, fetch the engines. Fire fire, Fire Fire! Pour on water, pour on water. London's burning, London's burning. Fetch the engines, fetch the engines. Fire fire, Fire Fire! Pour on water, pour on water. London's burning, London's burning. Fetch the engines, fetch the engines. Fire fire, Fire Fire! Pour on water, pour on water. Pour on water, pour on water. Pour on water, pour on water. This children's nursery rhyme is also about a fire... Ladybird, ladybird fly away home, Your house is on fire and your children are gone, All except one, And her name is Ann, And she hid under the baking pan. We asked if anyone still smokes, who had given up in earlier life, did anyone vape? We asked if anyone collected cigarette coupons, or anything else for that matter (e.g. beer mats, football cards, stamps etc). We asked if anyone had collected Green Shield Stamps? And asked people to guess at which store Greenshield Stamps had transformed into? ARGOS We asked if anyone uses candles at home, during a power cut, to scent the room or provide a relaxing ambience? We asked people to state what occasions you might see candles lit? BIRTHDAYS, EASTER, CHRISTMAS (ADVENT CANDLE), HALLOWEEN (INSIDE A HOLLOWED OUT PUMPKIN) We asked, 'Which musician always played his piano with a candelabra on top of it? LIBERACE Finally, as it was 1st November, we said the phrase... Pinch punch first of the month and no returns. A flick in the eye for being so sly. A slap and a kick for being so quick. And of course, White rabbits, for good luck.

MUSIC QUIZ Our next activity was the 'Fireworks Music Quiz', a Spotify Playlist link can be found here... 1. Firework - Katy Perry If you set off a Distress Flare, what organisation would you be seeking assistance from? THE RNLI (ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION) (OR COASTGUARD) Which country starts off the firework displays to celebrate New Year? SAMOA 2. Rocket Man - Elton John Which world leader did US President Donald Trump recently refer to as 'Little Rocket Man'? NORTH KOREA PRESIDENT, KIM JONG UN Elton John's real name is? REGINALD DWIGHT 3. Disco Inferno - The Trammps What disco dancing related film did this song feature in the soundtrack of? SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER Who starred in this film? JOHN TRAVOLTA 4. Boom Bang A Bang - Lulu In which year did this song win the Eurovision Song Contest? 1969 What was Lulu's real name and how old is she now? MARIE MCDONALD MCLAUGHLIN LAWRIE & SHE TURNS 71 ON 3RD NOVEMBER 2019 5. Fire And Rain - James Taylor What James Taylor album was this 1970 folk song from? SWEET BABY JAMES Where is James Taylor from? BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 6. Relight My Fire - Dan Hartman Which boy band had a hit in the 1990s with a remake of this song? TAKE THAT (WITH LULU) Take That celebrated which anniversary last year? 30TH 7. Light My Fire - The Doors Who was the lead singer of The Doors? JIM MORRISON Who had a hit single with 'Behind The Green Door'? SHAKIN' STEVENS 8. Ashes To Ashes - David Bowie What Bowie album did this song appear on? SCARY MONSTERS In this song, who is a junkie? MAJOR TOM 9. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters What was this song used to advertise in the 1970s? ESSO BLUE In the theatre, what substance traditionally provides artificial smoke? DRY ICE 10. This Wheel's On Fire - Julie Driscoll, Brian Augur & The Trinity What TV Comedy did this song feature in the opening titles of? ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS Who did this show star? JENNIFER SAUNDERS & JOANNA LUMLEY 11. Flash - Queen Which Flash does this song concern? FLASH GORDON Which feature film about Queen is out on DVD this month? BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY 12. Great Balls Of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis What does too much love do to a man, according to this 1957 hit record? ... DRIVES A MAN INSANE FACTOID... Apparently 'Great Balls Of Fire' is a Southern American expression of surprise. Scarlett O'Hara says, "Great Balls of Fire! It's Rhett!" in the 1939 film 'Gone With The Wind'. However, it is thought it was included in this song for lewd reasons. Ahem! 13. Eternal Flame - The Bangles What is the 'eternal flame' on a gas boiler (and previously cooker) called? PILOT LIGHT What other hit did The Bangles have, to do with walking? WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN 14. Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash Thinking of last week's Halloween Quiz, what horror film monster is a ring of fire said to protect against? VAMPIRE Which 1965 film, starring Ursula Andress, features a beautiful queen who bathes in blue flames to achieve immortality? SHE 15. Fire - Arthur Brown Which TV mystery series based on stories by Roald Dahl, featured a woman dancing in flames in the opening titles? TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED Which implements would you have needed at home to look after a traditional coal fire? SHOVEL, POKER, TONGS, COAL SCUTTLE, FIREGUARD & BRUSH (IT WAS A MESSY BUSINESS!) 16. We Didn't Start The Fire - Billy Joel What is a person who starts fires compulsively called? PYROMANIAC How would you start a fire in the wild without a match or any naked flame? RUBBING STICKS TOGETHER VERY VIGOROUSLY TO CREATE A SPARK, USING TWO PIECES OF FLINT AGAINST ONE ANOTHER TO CREATE AN EMBER, OR USING A MAGNIFYING GLASS TO LIGHT PAPER 17. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen Why is this song included in the Fireworks Music Quiz? ... THUNDER BOLT OF LIGHTNING (WE PLAYED THE WHOLE OF THIS SONG AND SANG ALONG WITH IT. THERE WAS ALSO SOME HEADBANGING GOING ON!) What year was this a massive hit for Queen? 1975 18. Set Fire To The Rain - Adele How old was Adele when she released this song and album? 21 (ALBUM TITLE) Which James Bond theme song did she write and sing? SKYFALL 19. 1812 Overture - Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky Which unusual 'musical instruments' are included in the last few minutes (from about 13.35) of this classical piece? CHURCH BELLS & CANNONS In which annual celebration of music is it always played? LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS 20. When You Wish Upon A Star - Cliff Edwards, Disney Studio Chorus. Which Disney film featured this song? PINOCCHIO Which 'Pinocchio' film character sang the song? JIMINY CRICKET

ACTIVITY This was followed by a game of 'Sound Bingo'. We prepared ten or so different cards each with 4x5 lines of words/sounds which were played from the SOUND EFFECTS app by TMSoft. Details here: Members ticked off sounds as they played, and there was a prize in store for the first person to call 'HOUSE'.

We ended our session with hot dogs, fried onions and sauces and other refreshments.

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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