Portelas v Bonfire Night

I have two small grandchildren, one aged 6 and one aged 2. As far as I know, they have never had a Bonfire Night. So I have been conducting experiments.

Keep in mind it has been bone dry in the Algarve. We have had just one 20 minute downpour in the last 8 months or so, otherwise not a drop of rain.

Further north in Portugal, it went from disastrous forest fires in the dry to flooding monsoons in the wet, so Portugal is mixed. But the Algarve itself is parched, as dry as it gets.

So a bonfire is a bit of a tricky challenge, and bearing this in mind I have carried out a couple of tests. Both were on my barbecue, which is very small and located well away from our actual home. Plus I had lots of water on hand, in case things got too lively.

Test #1 was with hay. Our meadow got mowed perhaps 4 months back and there is lots of stubble drying out under the hot sun. This experiment did not go well. The stubble burned well, but it gave off enough smoke to choke all our neighbours. So it will not be a hay bonfire.

Test #2 was with pine tree detritus. We had a line of pine trees down one side of the plot. They were ugly, and getting out of control. So our resident woodchopper went out and woodchopped, and most of them have been cut back. This left a lot of bits, ends and pieces lying on the ground, and these have dried out. That means they are dry trees stuffed with pine resin.

Test #2 was also a failure. The pine tree cuttings went up like rocket fuel. There was little smoke this time but my little barbecue looked like Dante’s Inferno. I cannot try that experiment on a larger scale.

Also I cannot get fireworks here. That’s not a problem as I don’t fancy having to chase around my neighbours’ gardens making sure nothing is burning.

So I am moving on to plan B. I need to check out if anyone in the area is doing an official bonfire/fireworks for 5 Nov, because it looks like we will not be doing anything in-house.


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