Yesterday was bonfire night and the sky was filled with fireworks. For most of the night there were bangs and squeals as the sky was lit brightly. This year we watched though the window as my son was out and the dog was a little unsettled. He kept running downstairs barking loudly as if the sound of his bark would stop the bangs and flashes. Fortunately he was not scared, instead he went into guard dog mode. This is not something you see often from a King Charles Spaniel, he is normally so laid back.
As we watched I asked my husband if he remembered indoor fireworks. He looked at me as if I was mad. He had never heard of them. I was taken aback, I thought everyone had heard of indoor fireworks.
When I was a child I was brought up in Belfast. Belfast in the seventies was a troubled city, it was a time when the sound of bombs and gunshots was all to common on the streets. Violence would often erupt with the youth going out to riot and throw petrol bombs. Where we lived it was quiet but we were not immune from the troubles. Police drove the streets in armoured land rovers and carried guns. When shopping in town your bags were searched entering shops and buses were entered and searched as they passed though the town centre. Often shopping trips were interrupted by bomb scares and you had to leave the shops quickly. Soldiers were a common sight on the streets with their guns at the ready. Driving around Belfast with my parents we were often stopped at checkpoints by soldiers as our details were checked. These appeared randomly, one time a soldier jumped out with a torch on a country road and we had to stop quickly. They had to do this to make themselves less of a target but it was pretty scary having someone just appear on the road.
Fireworks were also banned. You could not buy them in shops at all. There were organised displays but these were few and far between. For us it was a revelation when we went on holiday to France and saw fireworks for the first time. We could buy indoor fireworks though.
Imagine if you will a packet of cardboard squares with exciting names like Slithering Serpent, Flashing lighthouse, Volcano and Dragons Breath. Each one had brightly coloured illustrations that make them look amazing. You got about 12 of these indoor fireworks very cheaply, they must have been pocket money prices because we were able to buy them. We were always very excited to try them. You removed the firework from the cardboard square, lit the paper and waited.
So what did they do? Well they were really not that exciting. The Slithering Serpent fizzed and a black worm like column of ash appeared. The rest of them gave small flashing lights that really were a little bit like lighting a piece of magnesium. I guess when you are a child this is quite exciting but looking back now they were really pretty dull. Do you remember indoor fireworks?