I don’t tell everyone this – but I’m not keen on Halloween. To be honest, it’s not something that was ever a part of my childhood, so I find it hard to get into the mood for it now that I’m an adult.
I’m Welsh, you see, which means that this is the time of year when I look forward to Guy Fawkes’ Night on November 5th, which was much more important to me than October 31st when I was a child. When I was a little boy the excitement would begin in mid-October, when I’d start to collect old clothes and rags to make a “guy” to be burned on a bonfire. This life-sized dummy represents Guy Fawkes…the man held accountable for the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605, and each year, on November 5th, there are parties with fireworks where “guys” are burned on bonfires.
Yes, I know that’s a long...long…long time ago, and that trying to blow up Parliament is basically an act of domestic terrorism, but it’s what we British do – celebrate a failed attempt to overthrow the rule of law as represented by a monarchy determined to impose a particular form of religious observance. Weird, but true. And I say that as a retired detective, who’s spent a lifetime upholding the rule of law.
This year November 5th will mean something very different to me, because I’ve discovered that it was on that date, exactly a year ago, that something happened which would change the course of my life. I didn’t know that particular detail until some time later, of course. Indeed, this time last year I was looking forward to my last day on the job – which was November 9th. Then, on November 6th, I was called to the scene of “discovered remains” high on the moors above the picturesque Dragon’s Head in Gower, south Wales. When I arrived with my colleague Sgt. Liz Stanley we had no idea what type of “remains” we’d be taken to view, and I can tell you we were pretty surprised when we got there. I knew it would never be my case, of course, but – somehow – that discovery became part of my life until…well, to be honest, it will never leave me.
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