— steam rose from the Kennel Field and drifted over flaming puddles. The whole town had turned out but the flames were so high and the heat so great that 3000 souls, un-marshalled, stood back in a perfect circle 30 yards from the fire and the moon looked down from a safe distance.
In Llanidloes, the little town is still laid out in a mediaeval pattern of tightly packed timber-framed houses within an invisible (long gone) pailing rampart. Not surprisingly then — on the fifth of November, or thereabouts, everyone troops over the bridge to the site of the sheep fair, outside the town — beyond the pale (long gone), safe on the far side of the Severn, for the Bonfire Night celebrations.
What are we celebrating? One suspects that it is nothing much to do with the goings-on of 1605 — it would be un-characteristic for the local population to be much concerned about events in London and, looking at the scale of our fire, it is as well that Guy Fawkes was not a Welshman or the course of history might have been very different. It probably goes back much further.
The fifth of November is the traditional day for turning out the tups, putting the rams in with the ewes, and so is really the first day of the sheep farming year.
Happy New Year!