ON the eve of Guy Fawkes night comes the bloody finale of the Guy Fawkes story.

All over the country tomorrow, kids will be burning the guy and I wonder how many of them know what it actually represents? Although you can hardly ask them to learn the story by watching this series; it’s been a bit, er, grisly.

Westminster is due to have its State Opening tomorrow, November 5, 1605 – that notorious date – and the plotters are secretly unloading their barrels of gunpowder down in the basements.

Of course, we all know how the story turns out, with the plotters discovered and then taken to be horribly hanged, drawn and quartered. The power of this drama is such that the plot hardly matters. We’re watching for the agonising tension of seeing them caught, the horror in knowing what befalls them, and so see their brutal disappointment in their plan going to ruin.

These days they would be called terrorists, yet the drama is able to insert a certain nobility to their cause given that it’s safely tucked in history.

WE’VE had to put our central heating on because the weather has turned nasty – by “nasty” I mean the temperature dwindled to about 4°C last week. Thankfully that’s the worst we have to contend with in Scotland, give or take the occasional bit of snow or wind. Fierce weather and dramatic volcanoes simply don’t bother us here, although that doesn’t stop us complaining!

This new series will remind anyone who’s tempted to grumble about the weather that we’re actually very safe, cosy and lucky to live in a landscape untroubled by the terrors the Earth is capable of producing.

In the first of this three-part series we look at “killer volcanoes”, as the scientists try to pinpoint those moments in world history where the most fearsome and deadly natural disasters occurred. Tonight we’re told of a fierce volcanic eruption which happened in 1250.

Look at the mild, grey sky today, and the slightly chilly breeze, and be quietly grateful for peaceful Scotland.