Saturday, November 5, 2011

Aloha to Bonfire Night and other highlights of British Culture

Last weekend, SOS Aloha was heavy with Jane Austen.  Today we are going to the opposite end of British Culture with Six Degrees of Separation.

1.  November 5 is Bonfire Night - a tradition from 1605 when the Gunpowder Plot failed to blow up Parliament.  The bonfires lit across the country celebrated the monarch's safety.

2.  Parliament is the UK's legislative body with two chambers - House of Lords and House of Commons.  

3.  The House of Lords was reformed in 1999 to reduce the hereditary seats.  One lord who lost his seat was Christopher Haden Guest, 5th Baron Haden Guest.  

(Guest is a screenwriter, musician, and comedian.  He appeared in The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, and This is Spinal Tap).


4.  Christopher Haden Guest is married to Jaime Lee Curtis.

(Her father, Tony Curtis, served on a submarine tender in Tokyo Bay.  He witnessed the end of WWII when the Japanese surrendered aboard the USS Missouri.  Mighty Mo is moored in Pearl Harbor).

5.  Jaime Lee Curtis starred in A Fish Called Wanda with John Cleese.


6.  John Cleese gained famed from MONTY PYTHON.

(Hubby loved him in Fawlty Towers, filmed in Torquay, where my English granny lived).

7.  Nothing is sacred to MONTY PYTHON.   During their TV series, Monty Python's Flying Circus, the comedy team spoofed the general election of ridiculous candidates.  

8.  The general election fills the House of Commons, the second chamber of Parliament, which was saved when the Gunpowder Plot was foiled.

Parliament is still intact 405 years later!

OK, that was eight degrees but didn't you learn something?  In honor of the British culture other than Jane Austen, I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.   To enter the giveaway, 

1.  Leave a comment about Britain - what do you love about it?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 12, 10 pm in Hawaii.   I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 13.


Kim in Hawaii

To learn more about Bonfire Night, log onto its website at


  1. I love the fact that my ancestors on my Mother's side are all British. My English Grandmother worked in a castle as a girl. She would stand in the back of the room all day, just in case someone needed something. Heaven forbid the Gentry should exert themselves at all. Then she worked in the children's nursery helping the Nanny. My Mother still has cousins in England.

  2. I love the cultural heritage, to which the U.S. owes so much--the Magna Carta, English common law, the bicameral legislature, etc. Any doubts should dissolve on contemplation of the world order now had Britain not stood firm in WWII.

  3. What British culture stands out in my mind is the history of their country and their tea.

  4. British history was my favorite part, beside the American one in my history studies, that is why specialized in this.

  5. I love all the history and the castles. I could tour castles all the time.

  6. Such an interesting blog today.
    I did not know the significance of British history today.
    A Fish Called Wanda is definitely one of my favourite pictures. I can watch it over and over.

  7. I was born in Hawaii and now I'm living in Britain. I do love how they have Bonfire Night celebrations, else I wouldn't get fireworks like on the 4th of July in America.

  8. I'm a tea drinker so for me it's all the different tea's that I can get. I also love the old buildings.

  9. I went to London a few years ago and I'm planning to return next summer. I really enjoyed watching the pageantry of the changing of the guards.

  10. The history, the castles, the royal weddings, the scenery. Can't wait to visit there someday.

  11. From what I know about Britain, it's their customs and prim and proper ways which is often detected in the accents. When they pair that with a sense of humor it's entertaining in a good way :)

  12. Hmm. Some of the things I love about Britan include tea and scones, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Miss Marple.

  13. I like their great BBC shows, the Regency setting in historical romances and their accents. Thanks for the interesting info.

  14. I've always loved the history of British royalty. I'd love to visit London.

    Great column, Kim! Thanks.

  15. I have never been but it is one of my dreams to visit someday. I just love everything British! Thanks for a lovely post today!


  16. The royals are interesting great stories

  17. I've always been fascinated by England's political intrigue within the royal families and their aristocracy.

  18. Kim -

    My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting England several years ago and the one thing we loved the most were the wonderful residents of Winchester. We had gone there to visit the Cathedral and the amazing thing was that just as opened the door to enter the organ started to play! We couldn't believe it but we were the only ones there at the time and got to wander at our own pace. When we had finished exploring and were leaving we met a wonderful local couple who not only directed us to a great local pub to eat but gave us the name of the owner. After we had finished our wonderful local fare several other local residents approached us and not only told us all there favorite local places but actually also gave us a tour of the local neighborhood introducing us to their friends along the way! They really accepted us Yanks with open arms and much advice on where else to stop along the way back to London where we were staying. That little pub in Winchester had the best food we ate while we were visiting their wonderful country but the people of Winchester left a lasting impression on us both.

  19. I love the castles and the royals :)

  20. I just love relationship games like this! Thanks for sharing. I use to love bonfires!

  21. The best thing I love about Britin is that Jamie Bell was born there! There are other things about Briting that I do love but right now I'm all about Jamie Bell. He's so yummy. ;)

  22. I love the history of the British Culture. I could spend many weeks traveling around England seeing all the places that intrigue my hisorical fancy.