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July 2024
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Perfect, shared moments

I live in the UK. I grew up in a small town, that like many in the UK has grown beyond all recognition. But I have to say, it has larger places down pat when it comes to celebrating Guy Fawkes night.

The British are weird. When we have an audacious assault (that fails) against our parliament in the early 17th century, we celebrate it by setting off fireworks and lighting bonfires, often with an effigy or guy who is burned a’top the fire. We drink warm drinks and wave sparklers. All while it is dark and cold.

I love it, and remember fireworks being set off at home (small children watched grown-ups light the pyrotechnics from inside the house until we were old enough to like the bangs and bright lights and wave sparklers.

When we were big enough, home displays were replaced by organised ones, primarily at the Museum of East Anglian Life (now the Food Museum?). It has stalls with hot drinks and food, sparklers but most importantly, no Halloween music or indeed any music. It’s lovely.

The last few years in the local displays have all been spoiled by poor sound systems drowning out the crackle of the fires and fireworks (and crowd) with either bad Halloween themed music (that was last week!) or dire pop music. It’s taken the shine off the experience, to say the least. Going back to my home town was a last ditch attempt to see if we could find something more old fashioned and traditional – more of a shared experience.

The fire was lit at 7pm with a good crowd chattering about the burn rate, use of petrol, parents explaining to children about the steam coming off the fire and the grass is was built on. Good paths allowed those in wheelchairs and mobility scooters to get close to the action.

When the fire had diminished, the fireworks were set off. Without the blaring music most displays have, the crowd got all the bangs – including some in the distance, the fire is built on the top of a hill so the view of the surrounding displays is fully appreciated, including the noise.

The crowd ooh and aahed. Favourites were shared. It was perfect. Everyone loved it and babbled just as excitedly leaving the display as they had been queuing up to get it. Definitely making the effort to go there next year 🙂

Wellies and warm clothing are essential, but looking forward to wrapping up for next year!

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