When we were little we might go to a community bonfire, battling crowds and getting as close to the heat of the fire as possible, oohing and aahing at the fireworks.
But my favourite events were when we had a fire at home with neighbours.
At that time there were far more 'home fires' and TV news used to contain warnings of the dangers of setting off fireworks at home or leaving bonfires unattended.
People don't seem to bother making Guys any more but I like to create something topical (it's been Trump a couple of times already). Thinking about it, that's probably not very nice of me but there is something cathartic about creating something you subsequently burn.
The fire itself holds a primordial attraction.The heat, smell, crackling sounds and colours of the licking fire always seem so familiar and yet so magical. I love the age-old sense of gathering to gaze in awe at the bonfire, and then the fireworks.
A large part of my enjoyment of bonfire night, and part of the reason I like to have them at home, is thanks to the food and associated traditions. Around this time of year my mum starts to make her delicious Parkin again (she's strict about keeping to the seasons, and when she's Prime Minister - can't be that much longer surely? - says she will outlaw sale of daffodils before Christmas). Every time she hands over the latest batch she reminds me that it's best left for a few days before eating. I've never managed to find out...
Then there are the roast chestnuts, the home-made bonfire toffee, the mulled wine... and roast potatoes. I'm quite obsessive about potatoes, particularly roast ones and pretty good at them, including the camp fire variety. Which is why I felt very smug when I heard the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme about bonfire food, and Michelin-starred chef, Tommy Banks from the Black Swan at Oldsted ruined his by overcooking them.
There are community bonfires across the Yorkshire Dales, varying from smaller affairs such as in Reeth and other fancier bonfire 'events' such as at Bolton Abbey. There's another Yorkshire Dales tradition of fire-burning that takes place every year on the Saturday closest to St. Bartholomew's Day on 24th August.
The Burning of Bartle is an odd tradition in West Burton. The road is closed and a man carries a straw Guy called Bartle through the village along the main road, stopping to have a shot of alcohol at pubs and houses as they go. Residents stand and watch, with their own glass and then they set down the Bartle and set it alight. No one quite knows why but it's thought it's something to do with a sheep thief. The song they sing isn't very illuminating either:
“In Penhill Crags he tore his rags
At Hunter’s Thorn he blew his horn
At Capplebank Stee he brake his knee
At Grisgill Beck he brake his neck
At Wadham’s End he couldn’t fend
At Grisgill End he made his end
Shout, lads, shout.”