Garden Fireworks : The compromise is implicit in the title, but I still had high hopes; after all, the fireworks had names like Massive Astro Eruption and Sensory Annihilation! (exclamation marks author’s own). It was dark by 5pm, the sun had sloped off early: as eager as we were to light the blue touch paper on “fun”. As any man can tell you, there is an innate thrill in our apparent mastery over fire and flame, fireworks represent the pinnacle of this achievement – we can make fire dance for us. Human endeavour has tamed thunder and lightning. What was I hoping for? Big bangs up in the universe: starbursts scarring the twilight, that ribcage rumble, that lingering boom, the surprise “extra” bit of sky glitter – y’know the one. In short I wanted all the incendiary thrills of an Olympic opening ceremony condensed down into a thirty quid box. I lined up the materiel a safe distance from anything flammable, a Manhattan skyline waiting for 5/11; but when the bang came it was more Al Bundy than Al Quaeda, in fact pouring milk onto rice crispies would have given us a more visceral thrill. Instead of the explosive roar, the whoosh and scream of rockets, we had to endure what looked suspiciously like burning cardboard and a noise that sounded a bit like a man with a stutter trying to say the word “fish”.
But any disappointment I might have felt vanished when I looked at my 2 year old son, whose smile did everything the fireworks couldn’t. Without irony or sarcasm but with something approaching awe he said “Wow Dad!”.
So now I know how a rocket feels…………..