Bonfire Nights

Bonfire Nights

Bonfire Nights: A Story of Creation, Destruction and Transformation

Part love story, part the hobby of bird watching, and part a tale of the destructive times in Britain 1965-1975. Bonfire Nights takes you back to period when the country lay outside the European Community and the Labour Party ruled. It is a novel of romance, determination, perseverance, and conflict.

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Ornithology is a theme in Bonfire Nights because it was the protagonist’s first hobby. When I began writing, the topic was to be used to introduce the story and then disappear but that didn’t happen. I have the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to thank for stimulating my interest in bird spotting and my early readers who asked me to add “bird bits” in every chapter. If you are not yet converted to birding, you may want to consider the following  action plan.

  1. Get some binoculars
  2. Obtain a Bird Guide
  3. Take a Walk (ideally in a Bird Reserve)
  4. Walk slowly, quietly, and listen
  5. And record what you see.

But there are deeper reasons for taking up bird watching. It develops skills that are extraordinarily useful in your personal life. Some examples are empathy through the understanding of bird calls, attention to detail and thoroughness so you can justify the birds you saw to more experienced bird watchers, organization skills to be in the right place at the right time, and appreciating the importance of teamwork.

There are an estimated forty eight million Americans who watch birds, and in Britain, the Royal Society has over one million members. Create your Life List as a birder and aim for at least two hundred species, and if you are really successful,  in Britain  join the “400 Club” and in the United States the “600 Club”.


The  content of Bonfire Nights is not about Ford the company but rather includes a focus on certain happenings in Ford Britain during 1965-1975. However it was a traumatic decade of change for Ford Britain measured  by volume of vehicle assembly. For those readers who maybe interested, below illustrates the dramatic decline in Ford car production in Britain during this period and the conversion from uniquely British vehicle models to European ones.  

Ford Britain Annual Car Production Figures

MODEL1966 196819711975
TOTALS465,200486,500368,500333, 550
Ford Anglia111,500 000
Ford Escort0161,700128,450156,400
Ford Corsair58,40035,25000
Ford Cortina242, 300261,700182,200140,350
Ford Capri03,10041,10021,250
Ford Granada/Consul00015,550
Ford Zephyr/Zodiac53,00024,75016,7500

Note: For the five years after 1975, annual car production in Britain averaged 378, 200 units; for the three years before 1966, production averaged 511,750.


Ford Britain Car Model Line Up 1966-1975


ANGLIA                          Succeeded  in 1968 by the Ford Escort 1968-2003

CORSAIR                       Succeeded in 1970 by the Ford Capri 1968-1986

CORTINA                       Mark I launched 1962 and last Mark V built July 1982

ZEPHYR/ZODIAC       Mark IV launched 1966; succeeded by Consul/Granada 1972




In Bonfire Nights, John becomes a student member during 1967 and a graduate member September 1970. Membership back then did little to professionally advance careers but provided exceptional subject-matter education and published job opportunities in personnel management elsewhere in the country. The Institute has come a long way since then. It recently honored the author by sending him a Certificate recognizing his fifty years of “exceptional service to human resources and people development”. So some details:


  • Today the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is the principal professional body for human resources and people development in Britain
  • It has more than 140,000 members.
  • It began life over one hundred years ago focused on Employee Welfare; during the 1930’s it broadened to include Labor Management; then added industrial relations and training, and in 1994 merged with the Institute of Training to create the Institute of Personnel Development.
  • During 2000 it obtained its Charter status and in July of that year created the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)


I thank it for the support and inspiration it has given me during my career.