Tonight is the 5th of November and every kid who grew up in the UK had the line "remember, remember the 5th of November" drilled into their heads from an early age. Each year on this night, in true British style, we celebrate a failure. We celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot he was involved in which was a fiendish plan to blow up the houses of parliament in 1605. Mwa ha ha ha! [Rubbing hands together in an evil, super-villain way].
What happens each year is a human shaped effigy is created called the 'Guy' (usually by children from a local school). It's sat atop a large pile of wood, often tens of feet high. This whole ensemble is set alight while children stand around with sparklers in hand (responsibly) waving them around. And then of course there's the fireworks display.
I remember going along to many a Guy Fawkes night as a child and I never really enjoyed them. Sure, the fire part was nice – everybody likes fire, it's warm, colourful and everything looks good by firelight. But fireworks on the other hand do nothing for me. My brother and I have a strange affliction that if you sneak up behind either one of us and shout 'Boo!', then nothing will happen. We'll just turn around and look at you. We don't jump out of our skin – for some reason our panic response has just been turned off. It's quite bizarre. And it's probably one reason why fireworks do nothing for me – they don't make me jump.
Fireworks go bang and so I hear a bang. Big deal. A rocket flies up in the air, explodes, some colours fly out in a spherical pattern and fall to the ground. Marvellous. Now the Northern Lights (which I've seen twice in my life – once in Yorkshire bizarrely) are amazing, awe-inspiring and just plain jaw-dropping. Fireworks by comparison are just irritating.
I remember planning our wedding (well okay, that wasn't me, it was my good lady) and I recall being asked if we wanted fireworks after the ceremony. I just shrugged my shoulders and like the spoilsport that I am said "why would we want to do that?". In retrospect perhaps I should have been a bit more positive, but still, it was £500 saved in the end! So please forgive me if I type up a rant on how annoying fireworks night is for me instead of going out, standing in the cold and hearing people say "wow!" and "weeeee!" as some things go bang and flash.
Bah humbug! Roll on December (which I'll be mostly spending in Australia)!