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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

One of the good things about living in Brighton at this time of year is that we're only a stone's throw from Lewes, which, according to the world's most reliable encyclopaedia, is "the Bonfire capital of the world". And not just because they have a lot of arsonists in the prison there. Every year, 80,000 people descend on the place to witness some of the country's finest Guy Fawkes Night festivities. Not only are they free of charge, but they're only a 20 minute drive from our flat.

But obviously they can't compete with the chance to spend an evening on a council estate balcony with a couple of cheap sparklers, so we chose to stay in last night instead.

To be honest though, fighting our way through a crowd of eighty thousand fired-up people armed with high explosives would have been a cake-walk compared to getting hold of some sparklers from Asda. I picked up Lisa, Amelie and Toby from a friend's house after work last night, and we drove down to the marina to pick up some sparklers. I thought they might just be sitting on a shelf somewhere, but unfortunately they only sell them from the firework counter.

So while Lisa browsed the clothes with Toby in a trolley, Amelie and I queued up for a 50p pack of sparklers, behind a string a pyromaniacs trying to outdo the IRA. When I eventually got to the front of the queue, I tried to hand over my loose change, only to be told that I couldn't pay for them there, and that I had to take them to the customer service desk instead. I asked if I could pay my 50p at a checkout, and they said no. I asked why, and they said I can't carry fireworks around the store. I pointed out that they were 50p sparklers for children. She just shrugged.

So we headed for the customer service desk, where Lisa joined us with the trolley, and we stood in line behind a middle-aged woman making a lengthy complaint about the flavour of her pizza. No, seriously. It took forever, but I was eventually served, and paid for my sparklers, after which I was asked if I was about to do some shopping. I made the mistake of saying yes, we were going to pick up a few things, at which point I was informed that I'd have to return to my car first. As the lady said to me, "They might only be sparklers, but we can't let you walk around the store with them".

It was probably just as well. The way the staff were winding me up, I could have been tempted to skewer someone through the heart. So I walked all the way back to the car and dropped off my sparklers, before returning to the store to pick up a pint of milk in complete safety, without the risk of self-combustion.

It was all worth it though. We eventually got home half an hour before Amelie's bedtime, and headed straight out onto the balcony for some explosive firework fun. Here's Amelie reaching a crescendo of excitement as she rides the wave of her first ever sparkler...

She walked straight back in after that and took her coat off. I told her we could light another one, but she said no. That was 50p well spent.


Phil's Mum said...

She takes after her father.

Phil said...

I'm not sure how to take that, but I'm sensing it's not a compliment.

Phil's Mum said...

Not a  compliment or an insult - just a statement of fact!  You did not enjoy holding sparklers at the age of 4.  (Growing old has the advantage that one can remember things clearly from years ago!)

Rozi and Zita said...

You should have just gone to the baking section and bought the sparklers they sell for cakes!

Phil said...

Dammit! Why didn't I think of that?!!!