Sunday, 1 November 2009


Today is the 1st November, one of the least celebrated months in the eyes of most people. It is generally seen as the start of a long period of winter and for most conjures up pictures of dismal weather, foggy mornings, frosty nights, and shortening days. So what is there to celebrate in the month of November.

November is the 11th month in the Gregorian calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. November retained its name (from the latin novem meaning "nine") when January and February were added to the Roman calendar. November starts on the same day of the week as February in common years, and March every year.

The event most associated with November is of course Bonfire Night, remembered for the attempt by Guy Fawkes (pictured left) to blow up the houses of parliament in 1605, also known as the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes was born on 13 April 1570 at High Potergate in York. The only son, though there were sisters, of Edward Fawkes and Edith Blake. He attended St Peter's School in York. After leaving school at an early age Fawkes became a footman for Anthony Browne. Unfortunately, Browne took a dislike to Fawkes and fired him after a short time. However, Browne's grandson Anthony-Maria Browne re-employed Fawkes as a table waiter. In 1591, Fawkes inherited his father's estates. After renting them out for a while to earn money, he sold his stake in them to Anne Skipsey.
Guy Fawkes belonged to a group of Roman Catholic restorationists from England. Their aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I and the entire protestant, and even most of the catholic aristocracy and nobility were inside. The Gunpowder Plot was led by Robert Catesby, but Fawkes was put in charge of the execution. He was arrested a few hours before the planned explosion, during a search of the cellars beneath Parliament in the early hours of the 5 November prompted by the receipt of an anonymous warning letter.
Bonfire night held on 5 November in the United Kingdom and parts of the Commonwealth, is a commemoration of the plot, during which an effigy of Fawkes is often burned.

Other notable days in November are, Remembrance Day, celebrated on the 11th of the month, to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First and Second World War, whilst in America Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November (see top picture). For Western Christians Advent usually begins on a Sunday during the last week of November. Scotland celebrates St Andrews Day, its official national day, on 30 November. Since 2006 it has been an
official bank holiday.

November's birthstone is the Yellow topaz.

Its birth flower is the chrysanthemum.

The Golden Years

Thought For Today

The greatest achievements were at first and for a time dreams. The oak sleeps in the acorn.
James Allen

Today's Smile

Who Am I?

Today's puzzle is a 'Who Am I', as usual 10 clues to guide you through to the name of our mystery celebrity. Good luck!

01 I was born 31 July 1959.
02 I was educated in Scotland.
03 I was once a member of the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory.
04 I was a 'raving leftie' and acquired the sobriquet 'Red Andy'.
05 I studied English at Trinity Hall Cambridge.
06 I joined the Scotsman as a junior business reporter.
07 In 1988 I became political editor of the Economist.
08 I became political editor at the BBC in May 2000.
09 I received the Richard Dimbleby Award at the 2004 BAFTA's.
10 I currently have my own television show.

Who do you think our mystery celebrity is?