Do people still have bonfires?

As I was putting my little girl to bed this evening, I smelt a barely recognisable odour – eau de bonfeu! Yes, one of our neighbours seemed to be conflagrating (made-up word?) some things.

As a kid, a bonfire was a weekly event in our garden and most of our neighbours. I have fond memories of dragging twigs, branches and leaves to the bottom of the garden, scrunching up newspaper and shoving it at the bottom and then lighting the aforementioned copies of the Daily Mail (best thing for it, I hear you cry) and watching the bonfire take hold.

Inevitably, it would start to smoke as the leaves smothered the flames and no matter where I stood, the smoke would follow me and make my eyes stream. Add to that the smell that lingered for a long while – infecting clothes and filling the house, even after the washing machine had done its business.

But fast forward 30 years and bonfires seem to have gone out of fashion. Maybe as gardening becomes fashionable once again with families desperate to find cheap weekend activities, the weekly bonfire movement will grow.

I know there was a call for it to be culled because it was bad for the environment, but given that people still seem to leave supermarkets loaded down with plastic bags, I can’t believe this was the only green initiative that actually made sense to the general public.

Bonfires make me wistful for my youth and I’d like to see and smell a few more. Here’s hoping!

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