Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gunpowder, treats and pop!

I have always loved Bonfire night in the UK. As a child we used to go to the big Bonfire that would take place on the village green where my grandparents lived. It was an exciting, dramatic and almost mystical event which I used to look forward to for weeks in advance.

We all got wrapped up in as many layers of clothing that would still allow us to move freely but would keep us warm. It was often a fine balance. Then you would gather to join the procession which was by far my favourite bit. We would parade around the village holding burning lanterns which would then be used to light the bonfire. This was before the days of over bearing health and safety concerns so no one used to bat an eyelid at a handing someone who is only just over three foot tall a huge stick with a burning oil soaked rag on the end. You had to be really careful who you stood in front of during the procession or you could end up loosing some hair.

I used to love every minute of it. There was a pig roast, hot soup being served and then the finale when the fireworks would be let off. So it is always at this time of year that I tend to get a bit homesick for the bonfire and fireworks festivals that the south east of England seem to be able to do so well.

This year we thought we would give the Kiwi version of Bonfire Night a try. We headed to Trentham Park in Upper Hutt to see the fireworks. It is spring in New Zealand at the moment so there is not exactly an abundance of leaves to make Bonfires with so the evening promised some Fairground rides, a large screen playing music, hot dogs and fireworks at 9.15.

We took a picnic, our camping chairs and torches. I didn't think it would be cold as, after all, we are in Spring not Autumn as in the UK. I began to think I might have miscalculated when I spotted people walking towards the park with sleeping bags and woolly hats on. It was fine for the first hour but then it became rather chilly. We survived by all huddling under our picnic blanket.

Fairground rides and woolly hats.

The glow sticks and lights looked great after dark.

Spectacular fireworks as good as any display in the UK. A fun night was had by all.

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