Today is Guy Fawkes’ Day!  In the UK we commemorate the (unsuccessful nature of) Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up Parliament, which he attempted  on 5th November 1605.  We do this with burning effigies and of course, letting off fireworks.  See, we’ve had terrorism for a while here and we know how to celebrate foiled plots to bring down the government.

Three years ago I was on a hilltop in Wellington once again flabbergasted at New Zealand’s National Lack of Concern for Health and Safety.  I was observing, on a rare still evening in one of the world’s consistently windiest cities, a helicopter making its way around the bay in a wide sweep, releasing fireworks from a dangling bucket-type contraption at the end of a rope underneath it.

Yes, really.  I can just imagine the logistical meeting where that particular nugget was mooted.

“Hey, I know!”

“Yes, mate?”

“Know how Welly likes to give a good blow of gale-force wind on 174 days of the year?”


“Let’s fire some explosives from a helicopter.  That’d look sweet.”

“I dunno, Scott.  It could be a news-worthy event in the wrong way.  What if there’s a southerly on?”

“Nah.  She’ll be ‘right.”

It was spectacularly cool, and was followed up by the second-most impressive firework display I have ever seen.  The most impressive firework display I’ve seen was as a young child attending the Fete de Geneve in Switzerland and it went on for hours.

Later today I’ll be at an effigy-burning and firework display at a 400 year old hunting lodge.  It was a last-minute decision and I only have my iPhone with me, but I’ll try to get a decent photo for tomorrow’s post.


2 Responses to “Fireworks!”

  1. 1 Jonathan November 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    We’re off to the local primary school, then back to ours with friends for baked potato and chilli :)

  2. 2 unmitigated me (m.a.w.) November 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Ah, Bonfire Night! Referred to in the first Harry Potter book, confusing most Americans from the get-go. Unless they were readers of enormous amounts of British history…or had an anglophile pal who was born on 5 November! I was lucky enough to fall in both of those categories.

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