November 2nd, 2008

Fishy Circumstances

"It always rains in St. Albans"

On Friday morning, I thought I would be up north come the evening. It was not to be. C.'s mother came down sick, and we suddenly had a free weekend instead of an annual familial bonfire. And so we made it to lazyknight's flatwarming party, along with a viewing of Quantum of Solace and St. Albans' bonfire-night-observed fireworks display.

It always rains in St. Albans, so of course it was raining for the fireworks display. By "always raining", I mean, empirical evidence demonstrates, based on observations made over several trips by C. and I, that every time we are in or near St. Albans, it is raining. We walked down by the cathedral, through rivulets and puddles, through the darkness to the overflowing lake at the bottom of the hill. Skirting the water, we waded cautiously through muddy puddles to the top of a low rise overlooking the lake and, listening while the local DJ tried really hard to keep us entertaining, awaited the fireworks. The YMCA dance isn't quite the same when two-thirds of the potential arm-wavers are holding umbrellas. It was still raining.

The half-an-hour of fireworks were spectacular, dazzling cascades of flame so close that many of the higher ones were practically overhead, creating three dimensional visual splendor. The first volley scared off a handful of ducks. Many more were backlit over the course of the display. One of them landed in confusion, mid-crowd. The fireworks were beautiful and high enough that I regularly gave in and tilted my head back far enough that my hat brim could no longer shield my glasses from the rain so that I could see them in full glory.

The fireworks were mostly choreographed to a musical medley, but the sound system occasionally failed, spoiling the effect. In other cases, the song snippet transitioned to a different song before my favorite part of that song came along. The accompaniament ranges from classical to pop to modern alternative. "The Flight of the Bumblebee" (featuring particularly good spiraly fireworks), "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" from the Moulin Rouge sountrack, the Ting Ting's "That's not my name." So on.

They were lovely. We were very wet.