Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Saturday was another toughie leafwise. This is the final stretch of leaf clearing on this place,
Big Place Without Leaves, where it was now completely covered.
Although it was officially fireworks night on Friday 5th November, it rained profusely that evening, and so we had arranged to have ours on Sunday night instead. My daughter Claire and her family came over to spend the evening with us, and Celia, who you may remember lives with us, had taken the evening off work to join in. 

Of course, as everyone knows, fireworks are the domain of men, often mistaken as an activity to entertain children. Preparations needed to be made. The wheelbarrow was filled with soil ready for the explosives, and the rocket launch tube put in place. Catherine wheels were fixed to various posts, garden furniture rearranged, and the fireworks themselves checked and laid out in the shed with military precision.

When at school, my intentions were to work in a laboratory of some kind when older, and as such my main areas of scholastic expertise were in chemistry and physics (how I became a gardener will take another post). As such, big fireworks never had to be purchased but were made by myself and studious colleagues. However, those days have long gone and now these things have to come from the local shop, and it has become a custom to end the show with one last BIG one. 'The Tempest', a nine inch cube of mayhem that apparently needs 25 metres clearence was put to one side, and as we only had 8 metres clearence due to shrub cover, an escape route was cleared in readiness of an emergency and the hosepipe connected.

Our oven hadn't been used for about a year, and so as usual I gave it a test fire-up.

Lanterns and candles were placed throughout the back garden.

And through the house.

I have to apologise at this point because when grandson Josh comes to visit, and little Ella is charming the socks off everyone, I kind of forgot to take photos of the actual display, but let me tell you that rockets soared, catherine wheels whizzed, roman candles flared, and 'The Tempest' woke the whole neighbourhood. Afterwards we all sat around the oven and ate oxtail soup, warm bruscetta with tomatoes and garlic, mulled wine, toffee apples, and toasted marshmallow in the flames of the fire. Above was a lovely scene that met my eyes at one point. Celia, Amanda, Claire and Ella, all caught by the light of the fire.

Claire and her family had to leave as it was school for Joshua the next day, Celia retired to bed, and so I cosied up with Amanda to finish up the marshmallows and mulled wine. Wait a minute, is that a packet of unused sparklers that have gone unnoticed?

As I said in the beginning, fireworks are the domain of men, and I supervised the safe disposal of the last of these ones.

Good night.


  1. Dear Gary, What a wonderful evening you very clearly had. It all looks from your pictures to have been beautifully arranged and well thought through and obviously enjoyed by your family and friend. A pity, indeed, that we were not to be treated to pictures of the actual fireworks but the sparklers looked to be very pretty!

    I was somewhat alarmed to learn that you used to make fireworks! Whatever next?!!

  2. Your night photos turned out very nice. I don't know how far in the air your fireworks flew but I can tell you it can be hard to capture them with a camera at times. I usually get some blur but the blur can be really cool.

  3. What a fun and festive evening! Where I live it's illegal to buy or set off fireworks without a permit, with the exception of sparklers and similar non-explosive things. So all fireworks displays are community events with crowds. When my husband was growing up he had an uncle who set off firecrackers every Christmas morning to wake up the world!

  4. I live in one of the only 50 states that is legal to set off fireworks wherever a looney-tune decides to do so. Over my house, towards my house, towards my roof, in my trees, in my windows, etc. Scares poor Maxine to death. Bunch of southern rednecks set loose with explosives all over the state is scary , let me tell you.
    Nice post, very sweet family gathering. take care, Gina