Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remember, remember...to buy sparklers early!

So often I feel I conjure up elaborate plans in my head for "perfect" events/days out/celebrations/activities (delete accordingly). And, they never really seem to live up to my expectations....

Friday was, as any calendar will tell you, the 5th of November. In the UK, this date is special because it is "Guy Fawkes Night" or "Bonfire Night", the anniversary of the day of the attempted explosion of Parliament back in 1605. The rhyme that goes along with it is "Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, The gunpowder treason and plot/I know of no reason, why the Gunpowder Treason, should ever be forgot."

Last year we tried to see fireworks with Chris and Anna but Blake was not a happy camper, and we weren't sure how he would be with them one year on. At last week's Halloween party at church, there were a few small fireworks, and he seemed to enjoy them.

Back to my issue of my visions for things not matching up with reality...

On Friday at about 4:00 pm I headed off with Noah to the store. It usually takes us about an hour to get there, get through the aisles, and back home again, so I thought this was perfect timing for picking Blake up at pre-school at 5:00. I had plans to buy some sparklers, which I thought was about all we should attempt really, since we'd decided not to go out to any organized firework displays.

The first thing that I discovered when I got to Sainsbury's was that if you want to buy sparklers at the largest supermarket in a very "family-friendly" part of town, you do not wait until 4:00 pm on the day to do so. They were all sold out, so I had a little pout before deciding to move on to the other purchases I had intended for our little celebration. Mulled wine for Matt and me...mmm, that seemed like a good idea. Ooh, a toffee apple - very autumnal, maybe Blake will like that! Ingredients for a "white chili" recipe I'd seen in my Betty Crocker cookbook. Cider with a hint of blackberry liqueur - again, yummy. I got all the other weekly stuff like milk and juice and then headed off to join the - whoa, these are some awfully long queues!!! We finally managed to get into the car at 5:15, at which point the skies opened up. Since we changed clocks last week it was of course, pitch black, so now it was pitch black, and pouring rain, and in the heat of rush hour, and even worse because all of these people were out trying to get to various fireworks displays. Not good. I finally picked Blake up at about 5:45, having already decided that we would have our little celebration on Saturday, since I remembered that I had to go that evening to help set up for a craft fair that I was volunteering at on the Saturday afternoon.

The next day, I happened to see a sign at a toy store for "fireworks", so at about 4:00 pm (we'd had a long day with football, my volunteering at this fair, etc) I went in with the boys to see if they had any sparklers left. And now I know - if you want to get sparklers for the 5th of November you should really have them by Halloween - the lady said they'd been sold out since the middle of the week! They did have other boxes of fireworks, so I inquired as to their intensity, and the lady told me that they were very "gentle" and said that her 4-year-old who doesn't like fireworks was ok with them. A mere £10 later and we left the shop with no sparklers, but a box of about 20 different explosive devices.



Matt reluctantly agreed to set up a small show in the garden, but after one firework - picked because of its gentle-sounding name "Velvet" - Blake decided it was "too scary" and that was the end of that. I had been desperately convinced that I had within some little-used storage container a box of indoor sparklers, and lo and behold after nearly giving up looking for them, I did manage to find them (this search, or more like a wild goosechase, which took at least an hour, led me to resume wondering where most people put their "stuff" - like indoor sparklers - which just doesn't seem to have a good home...it's an issue that seems to plague me!). I lit three of them outside, and Blake seemed happy but then lost interest.



We served up my chili - I chopped up coriander on the table and didn't bother with putting it on a plate or a bowl, I'd forgotten to buy tortilla chips or sour cream, and the avocado I did have was very hard, so that kind of didn't live up to expectations either. Blake started being annoying at the table so I decided he didn't deserve his toffee apple treat, and the mulled wine is still sitting unopened in its bottle. And so that, in a nutshell, was our very unspectacular Bonfire Night - spread out over 2 nights and still not very impressive! It makes me realize that if I want to do something nicely, I need to plan ahead, but that also, maybe I don't need to come up with the plans in the first place! At least not until the boys are of an age to care about any of this stuff!

Setting up in our back garden...



Testing the "fireworks" mode on my camera..."Velvet" is not that gentle!

Ah, a small sparkler being observed from afar...

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