You took the Star to his first fireworks display yesterday.
It’s not the first time he’s seen fireworks. You took him to the Ancestral New Town last year for rockets and Catherine wheels in the back garden. He loved it, so for 2011 you decided that it was time to take him to the real thing in the Big Park Near You. Oh, and the Comet. The Comet really benefits from being a second child. There is no way the Star would have been out so far past his bedtime at her age.
You set off with a good half hour to go, thinking that you would just pop on the bus and get to the place you and B had decided would be a good one to observe from.
This happened to be on the other side of the river to where the display was actually taking place. You are cheap, you see, and didn’t feel like paying the £20 entrance fee (‘kids go free!’ Yeah. Right).
First snag. You had insufficiently considered that everybody else in your corner of London would be doing the same thing. You were eventually forced to walk an extra 15 minutes to the other bus-stop, miss another two buses due to overcrowding, muscle your way into the last seats on the top floor on a third, roar off round the corner, and then get promptly stuck in a traffic jam.
You got off the bus.
You began trotting towards the river, determinedly dragging the toddler. But at some point, you and B decided that you weren’t going to make the far bank in time and cut left through the houses in order to go and ooh and ahh from the boundaries of the park.
As it happens, when the display started, the fireworks marshals were too busy removing the fencing in anticipation of the exodus to come, and so you and quite a lot of other people ended up standing just inside the park, with a pretty good view of the bangs and wizzes.
The Star really enjoyed himself. He ended up on his Papa’s shoulders shouting WEEEEEEEEEEEEE! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! and DAAAVAAAAAI, DAAAVAAAAAI!* at the top of his voice throughout.
The Comet started stoically at the pretty lights. Very occasionally, she blinked. You had your hand over her ears, but still, you’d expected a bit more reaction.
Then it was time to go home.
You meandered back along your side of the river, watching the party boats sail by and allowing the Star plenty of time to throw leaves into the water.
Then you got to your bus stop. They’d closed the roads round the park and the traffic was pretty chocka, but your bus was coming so you weren’t too worried.
The bus was terminating there and turning round again rather than trying to force its way through the jam any further. They do that. It’s irritating. It’s especially irritating when you have an over stimulated toddler and a baby to get home. Eventually you decided to bite the bullet and just walk.
You walked and walked and walked. B carried the Star, but the Star is 20kg these days and he could only do so far before you both had to find new incentives to keep the kid on his feet a bit further. Sadly, pigeon chasing is impractical at night. There are no pigeons.
You made it to another, different bus stop after a while. The Star entertained himself, as he is wont to do in such circumstances, by commanding passers-by to STOP! As ever, a few revellers did so, which just thrilled him right down to his little socks.
Your bus came.
And went again. Too overcrowded to even stop.
You ended up getting the Inconvenient Bus and then Yet Another Bus after that, arriving home at 10.30pm.
The fireworks finished at 8.30.
Next year, you will probably be partaking of your parents’ hospitality again.
*’Let’s go! Let’s Go!’