Dinner was nearly wrecked last night [Nov 5th 2009]. I set off to get an essential missing ingredient from The Bottle Shop in downtown Woodford. Shock horror. Traffic was at a complete standstill. In Woodford. At eight o clock in the evening. Unprecedented
What had happened was a community firework display which had brought families out in numbers that had exceeded expectations. Our one main road could not take the sheer weight of traffic. Eventually I did a Uie and returned home much later with requisite provisions.
Grumpy Old Rant
So why was I cursing Guy Fawkes for wrecking my dinner? In defence of my aging childishness, here’s the explanation. The firework display was, as most readers will have guessed, to celebrate the foiling of the plot to blow up Parliament by that national hero villain Guy Fawkes, many years ago. No Guy Fawkes, no fireworks in Woodford. Simples. It’s all that guy’s fault.
A more rational explanation
But there is a less petulant thought emerging from this grumpy old rant. I set off noting to my surprise that there was far less evidence of individual little celebrations. No fireworks going off, lighting the sky from streets and gardens. Why was that? It seemed the unexpected quiet had been noted from Waikiti to Woodford. Yes, half a globe away New Zealand had reported the quietest Guy Fawkes night in years.
The obvious idea is that there just isn’t as much money around to spend on fireworks. But that alone doesn’t quite stack up. When times are tough there is often a special effort to hold on to a much-loved ritual (let’s see what happens to incidence of drunk-driving accidents over Christmas). The other idea is that Halloween is replacing bonfire night as a marketing opportunity in the UK anyway. That may have been strengthened by public awareness that being tricked or treated is a lot less dangerous and disruptive that having half the nation’s young people tooled up and ready to let off improvised explosive devices where they cause the most inconvenience. Parents, shop-keepers, marketing executives find common cause in the switch.
So there we have it. A neat economic explanation of why there were people other than Guy Fawkes contributing to my delayed dinner.
The Morning After
Some things don’t change. The morning after Guy Fawkes night is usually foggy and damp. It was fog as usual in Woodford, as the photograph shows.