I welcomed in the New Year on the Thames riverside about 6 miles to the east. Not quite as impressive but armed with a hip flask of whisky and my loved one it felt much more personal. And didn’t involve the late night scrum getting home on the Tube.
The BBC posted an impressive image of Big Ben ringing in the New Year. It was accompanied by fireworks and a message informing us that we should all feel welcome in London.
Besides, the excitement of fireworks is beginning to wane.
As a child in the 1960s fireworks were very exciting. There was a two weeks build up to 5 November ’fireworks night’. This was where the nation celebrated the failed attempt of a man called Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament on 5 November 1605. Children would make a big ugly rag doll made of stuffing scraps of material into old stockings. They would drag this doll to street corners and then accost passers-by begging them for a ‘Penny for the Guy’. On 5 November firework parties were held in back gardens across the country. And the old ‘Guy’ would be chucked on the bonfire. By today’s standards the fireworks were pathetic. Little ‘rockets on a stick’ stuck in a bottle with a sad little ‘whoosh’.
The streets would be littered with debris the following day.
There were some public bonfire displays but that was usually it for the year.
New Year’s Eve then created another excuse for big fireworks displays. Now we have Diwali and Chinese New Year.
Fireworks are available to all. Winter nights are punctuated by random firework displays. So many take pleasure in setting fire to their income. The sparks, the bangs, the explosions no longer thrill. And if I had a dog I’d be beside myself with rage at the terror engendered. Thankfully, my cats manage to sleep through it all.