The Plague (aka a cold) is…plaguing…the Riskies. Janet is the latest to succumb, although we are unsure how the germ was transmitted from Elena in upstate New York to Janet in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Janet is sufficiently under the weather that her pale, trembling fingers tapped out an urgent message for somebody, anybody, to take over the blog for today. Personally, I think her secret stash of Gerard Butler DVDs finally arrived from Netflix and she’s holed up in front of the telly.

On Monday I missed the grand opportunity to blog about Guy Fawkes Day. Life sometimes gives us second chances, you know…

Who was Guy Fawkes and why do the English make a holiday of him?

He was one of the zealot Catholic conspirators in 1605 who plotted to blow up Parliament and all the lords attending and King James I, effectively putting an end to the existing government. November 5 was the opening day of Parliament and all the important governmental men would be in attendance. Someone snitched, however, and the cellar beneath Parliament was searched. Guy Fawkes, the fellow who was supposed to light the fuse to blow up 36 kegs of gunpowder, was discovered, arrested (as were all the other conspirators, eventually), tortured, hanged, drawn and quartered. And the English have celebrated that event ever since……

The BBC website has some neat stuff about Guy Fawkes and his Day, including an interactive game where one must find the gunpowder in the cellar and answer questions about GF Day along the way. If you don’t want the powder to explode, I suggest you first read the history of the Gunpowder Plot–voice of experience, here. There’s also a very interesting piece about what would have happened if the conspirators had succeeded.

And that brings me to what the Plague has to do with Guy Fawkes. Well, it seems that Parliament was originally supposed to open October 5, but was postponed a month to make certain the Plague was gone from London. By delaying a month, more conspirators became involved in the plot, increasing the chance that somebody would snitch. What’s more, the gunpowder, sitting around all that time, separated into it various compounds and would have merely fizzled had Guy lit the fuse.

Now if he’d lit that fuse on Oct 5….
Read about how history would have been changed for want of a few plague germs.

Do you ever wonder what would have happened if some pivotal event in history had been altered?