Of course, I did what any self respecting fast approaching middle aged mother would do. I went to my parents, taking a large slab of parkin, red wine and a car load of pre-teens. It was not an entirely selfish act - my father suffers withdrawal symptoms if he doesn't have anything to burn around the 5th November. Bonfire Night was always a big deal in our family, which is strange considering we were card carrying Catholics. Unfortunately I was too young to appreciate the irony of sitting in the front pew of our local church on the morning after we had burnt a newspaper and tights based effigy of poor Guy Fawkes.
For me, of course, the highlight of the celebration was not the fireworks, sparklers or 20 foot bonfire. It was the treacle toffee - a concoction solely responsible for my frequent visits to the dentist and many painful fillings. We kids had to live through annual fluoride treatments - an unpleasant and probably expensive business for all concerned (lots of gagging and gargling involved). My mother could have saved us all a lot of bother by cutting out the toffee on 5th November. I always missed most of the impressive fireworks whilst skulking in the darkened kitchen, shoving as much toffee into my mouth before I choked or someone walked in.
That does seem to be a recurring theme through my life. I was always the last to leave the table at birthday parties, throwing as many sausage rolls and French Fancies down my neck as I could before being forced to play Musical Chairs.
But, I digress, back to this weekend. As I mentioned, BA had escaped and The Little Prince had company. I was the dutiful parent and asked the friends' mothers if they were happy for us to have fireworks. One mother was unsure about kids handling explosives. I replied that I would make sure that her son wore gloves when holding the 10lb rocket which I planned to light using a burning copy of the Firework Code. Meanwhile, back in the world outside my head, I assured her that I would make him watch the proceedings from the safety of the conservatory.
We arrived at my parents to find Dad preparing for a military tattoo on the front lawn, glass of mulled wine in one hand, lit taper in the other and five large rockets under his arm. A more cavalier approach to the Firework Code I have yet to see. What did he do whilst I had to sit down with a large G&T and definite chest pains after being hit in the leg by a rogue Roman Candle? Lit another firework of course, and retreated substantially less than the 30 paces recommended in the instructions on the side of the box.
I'm not joking about being hit in the leg. This was the first of several incidents, which included a Catherine Wheel careering over to where we stood and a large rocket heading straight for us, as if guided by the NSA itself. Of course, I had saved the kids first by herding them into the conservatory - sorry Mrs S, a little late with the promised focus on safety.
However, I had hoped that the evening would serve one purpose. I'm due to start my pre-Christmas diet on Monday, so appreciated the opportunity to bulk up on sausages, toffee, cake and ice cream. I always find it's best to fatten myself up before a diet in the hope that I'll feel so ill that I'll welcome the chance to stop eating so much. One big blow-out before the final push towards the ever elusive size anything-less-than-I-am-now.
It didn't work. I'm brushing the parkin crumbs from the keyboard as I type.