I was always a big fan of fireworks night. When I was little my mum would take me to the local leisure centre and I remember sitting in the stands wrapped up warm in hat and scarf and ear muffs (a must when you have serial ear infections) and just being awed by the fireworks. As a teenager my big sister and her cool boyfriend who drove took me along with them to a display & bonfire at the local pub. When I became independent I would plan a week’s worth of Firework displays around Bonfire night, visiting as many as I could.
My husband does not share my zeal for fireworks and would only agree to attend one display annually (a grumpy approach which turns out, spans more than just Bonfire night) and when we had children it became even more of a mission to convince him it was a good idea. Needless to say he was right as always and our attempt at a family night out to watch the fireworks went abysmally.
It began with me getting slightly over excited which never ends well. Thankfully alcohol was out of the question so that was a saving grace really. We had thoughtfully decided to go to one at a local rugby club in a little village nearby in the hope that the crowds would be manageable. Beg was 4 and it was her first proper display. We had done some little ones in the garden for her the year before – the quiet pack ones – but nothing big. I was so excited to show her proper fireworks. I thought ahead and bought us a pack of sparklers and a packet of glo sticks in case sparklers weren’t allowed. I wrapped me and Beg up in layers and hats and gloves and off we went.
All excited in the car, we look out at the night sky busy with fireworks already and point them out to each other. As a surprise for Beg I thought I’d open the glo-sticks early. The instructions say snap to illuminate. Easy. Snap. Neon plastic stuff spits straight into my eyes! I completely freak out, shouting at Rich “It’s in my eyes, it’s in my eyes!” He laughs his head off and chucks a bottle of water at me which I use to rinse out my eyes and it’s all OK. So they get stuffed in the car door. We arrive and park easily. Phew. We have to walk a little but the queue isn’t too bad as we arrived early. It’s really muddy but me and Beg have our boots on. Score mummy. We have a look at the big bonfire but Rich doesn’t come because his trainers are getting stinking so we get bored of that pretty quickly. The bar is packed by now so we don’t even try to brave it for a coke and I’m feeling sick at this point anyway. I soon realise it’s because the tights I’m wearing under my jeans are far too tight and so half an hour later of toilet queuing and I’m feeling much better for getting rid of them. We go outside to pick a spot and wander up the hill away from the crowd to a bench Rich has spied. Unfortunately the wind picks up and now we’re freezing on the hill. Never mind, the fireworks are due to start soon. As always they start late. By now Beg is freezing cold despite the layers and all three of us are tired and hungry. We watch the first few, Beg is non-plussed and when we ask if she’d like to go home half way through it’s the most excited she has gotten all evening. Feeling rubbish, we head home; the only bonus being we miss the traffic queues on the way out.
So we get home, all have a hot chocolate and vow to not venture out next year! Overall a bit of a miserable family night out, in spite of all my pre-planning. I think maybe it’s just not for us and we are better off sticking to a few hotdogs and sparklers in the garden at home. Baby Beb can enjoy them through the window then too!
How about you, do you love or loathe Bonfire night? Do you go to an ‘official’ display every year or prefer a family party at home? What are your plans this year?