Thing of the week: explosives

This week, we held our annual bonfire-night gathering… in which most of my wife’s side of the family gather for eating, playing games, burning things and setting off fireworks. As usual, I was in charge of the fireworks.

I like being in charge of the fireworks — not just because I’m a big kid at heart, and setting off recreational explosive devices is a huge amount of fun — but also because I take great delight pouring over product listings for weeks in advance, figuring out what pieces to buy, layouts, the best firing order, etc etc. Of course, I justify the effort and expense by saying it’s all down to the delight it brings to the faces of my little nieces and nephews… but now that my little nieces and nephews are (mostly) in their mid 20s, that particular excuse is starting to wear a bit thin. They still attend religiously though (despite living 100+ miles away), so it can’t be too bad a night out 🙂

It’s getting harder and harder to pull off a decent show on our (very small) budget each year. With that in mind, this year’s big innovation was these:

Candle fans! Individual cat-3 roman candles are dirt cheap if you buy from the right places – about 60p a tube – so I knocked up a load of wooden frames in the garage, gaffer taped candles onto them, and (with the aid of a family member roped into co-lighting duty) set them off in various cunningly-designed symmetrical patterns, half a dozen of them at a time. It was a really good effect — better, in fact, than many set-piece cakes that cost ten times the price. I only wish I’d invested in more of them… I’ll definitely be doing that next year 🙂

Sadly, I entrusted my video camera to my 13-year-old nephew and his friend for the duration of the firework show. This means the only record of the event is a 20 minute, out-of-focus video of blurry coloured lights, with beavis and butt-head giggling all the way through. The camera managed to pull focus for a grand total of 55 seconds. These are those 55 seconds:

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