Off they go again, fizzing and popping in the night sky.
Jambo curled himself up in his basket and put his paws over his ears. I went and stood on the verandah, my shirt off, feeling the early autumn breeze against my bare skin.
When the kids were little it was an annual ritual for us to all come out and sit on the seat on our front verandah and watch the fireworks. There would be two or three minutes of flashes and bangs and then it would go quiet for a minute, but we knew not to leave because that pause signified that the big fellers had been lit, the ones that climb way, way into the sky before crashing and cascading sparks across the show grounds and sending the flying foxes squawking and chattering from their roosts.
This year there were no kids at home, not even a reluctant teenager. I took photos on my phone and texted them to my daughter in England. It just wasn’t the same.
Another milestone has passed. When my kids were little (like, tiny), and used to wake up (and us up) at 5 o’clock, it was a weekly ritual for us to traipse out to the front yard and wave at the bin man as he drove past in his big truck with the flashing orange light. It’s not something I particularly miss, but here’s a passing milestone that I do: the annual viewing of the Newcastle Show’s fireworks from our front verandah.
Neither of them even moved as the first Kaboom! rattled the window panes at 9.30 on Friday night.
On Saturday night I ventured out, alone, to get a few fuzzy snapshots. Low cloud reflected the reds and greens back down over Hamilton North. Freaked-out fruit bats chattered and circled around the Richardson Park fig trees and an acrid cloud of gunpowder drifted over the house. It’s a smell I love; it reminds of the spent shotgun cartridges that would rattle around in my dad’s jacket pocket after a windy, moonless night on the English moorland.
But that’s another story.