I’ve never much celebrated Guy Fawkes night. As a kid I remember standing (sitting) around waiting no end of time for something that lasted just a few minutes.
That was when there were bonfires, do these things still have bonfires or is that another thing health and safety stole?
Anyway I’d be freezing my driving fingers off waiting for the colourful bangs. Getting near to the bonfire wanting to grab some of its warmth, but hoping I don’t choke on the smoke. When you’re the height of everyone’s bum and it’s dark and you’re in a crowd with lots of noise, you can’t see where you’re going or coming from and people are tripping over you, it’s not much fun. As a kid anyway, I’m more pushy now.
In those days I just wanted to see the pretty sparkles and leave. I didn’t appreciate the gathering, the community, the whole event. I also didn’t consider how dangerous and terrifying those pretty bangs could be to people and animals.
Now I enjoy the coming together, the atmosphere and the run up of these kinds of celebrations. Fireworks are pretty still.
I like the idea of sitting around a fire with a fab group of friends, hot chocolates in hand, woolly hats on chatting about stuff, maybe Christmas prep talk.
Last year I saw that Rooftop Gardens in Norwich were holding an event to coincide with Norwich’s Big Boom Fireworks display. Being high up with a great view of Norwich Castle, I thought this may be a great way to start celebrating Guy Falkes as an adult. A civilised way to enjoy the sparkly bangs. I didn’t manage to secure a ticket last year, this was a popular idea, Fireworks from the comfort of a rooftop bar.
This year I got in quick. Me and the girl crew of 6 would attend.
I contacted Rooftop Gardens before the event to ask if there was any chance they could reserve me a table with a view towards the fireworks display. I wasn’t sure how the event was organised and thought if I’m not in a certain area I might not see a thing.
We were welcomed and wrist-banded up by friendly staff and directed to our reserved table. This was outside, fair enough, with a view of Norwich Castle, where the fireworks were launched from. There was an outdoor heater thing attached high up on the wall. This did take the chill off for a bit, problem was though you had to get up and press a button every 10 minutes otherwise the thing switched off.
We were the only table outside on this part of the building. A little strange. I know I requested a table, but I didn’t mean that as in I’d need a table. It felt quite isolated and a little separate from the rest of the going’s on. Maybe I should have explained myself better or asked more questions, or maybe they should have explained how things would be organised. Anyway we had a little table in the corner, other people came and went, wandering around.
The food was your usual affair for a bonfire night barbecue. Burgers, hotdogs and chilli. Fried onions to top your chosen meat, but no cheese. No cheese! I know, I was speechless too. There was ketchup, mayo and mustard though. The vegetarians had the delight of a tofu burger, I was told it was nice as far as tofu goes, but that’s limited choice if you ask me. No choice.
My friend got all excited when she came across popcorn and candy floss machines. That’s until she discovered both were an extra charge. On top of the £25 plus booking fee we’d paid for the view and unlimited food and drink. £2 per sweet treat or £3 for one of each. Bit of a cheek really.
The food was quite tasty, hot dog was top for me, chilli nice and spicy but a little watery. Unlimited is an enticing word isn’t it? Ooh I can have as much as I like, try a few things, value for money, go back for a little more if I get peckish. You can, if you don’t mind queuing for 40 minutes each time.
The drinks queue was also quite long. We were lucky to start as the place was still fairly quiet and we got some hot chocolates and mulled cider (I’m not a cider drinker until it’s warm with festive spices) within a few minutes. However when we were ready for a top up the queue had grown. The driving friends that didn’t want hot chocolate all evening had to pay extra for a lemonade. Another added cost.
7.30pm came and the bangs started. I was facing the wrong way trying to socialise with friends while eating a hotdog from my lap with a fork, as you do. I span around to see the pretty sparkles and everyone from inside rushed out and stood in front of me. Problem was our reserved table was at the back of the roof, near the warmth yes, but far from the edge where the display took place.
There goes the planning and forward thinking. We should have just sat inside in the warm with the sensible folk and saw what we saw. The only thing we gained was a frozen nose. It’s the joy of it all though isn’t it? The camaraderie, the comfort of moaning about the cold and the queues as a group!
The fireworks were stunning. They went on a fair while, which is always good. As a kid these were what I waited for, why my fingers froze. As an adult, it’s more about the whole thing, the people. Maybe next year I won’t worry so much about having a good view of the pretty bangs, they’re free to watch from the ground after all. And the crew are the crew anywhere.
Did you celebrate Guy Fawkes this year? What do you enjoy about it?