Early evening, yesterday. Ding-a-ling! (That’s my doorbell, not a bike bell if you were confused – it’s the original bell on a curly-wurly thing attached to a bit of string – one of my fave things about this house.)
Anyway – I’ll start again. Ding-a-ling!
H-t-b goes to answer the door. Neighbour is standing there looking rather shifty. (NB For those of you with excellent memories, the Polish backpackers next door moved out in Sept. We’ve got mature students that side now.)
Just letting you know that we’re having some friends round tonight and setting off a few fireworks. Hope it doesn’t disturb your kids.
Thanks for letting us know. I’m sure a few fireworks won’t disturb them.
Well… Actually, it’s a bit more than ‘a few’. We’ve got about…um…seventy rockets…
Seventy rockets! And these are terraced houses with small gardens, and houses backing onto ours. Loads and loads of kids in this particular bit of the terrace, too. We’re not exactly talking an ideal venue for a huge pyrotechnic display.
Oh well, we think. They are very quiet, considerate neighbours. They are nice. Maybe he was exaggerating about the seventy rockets?
He was not exaggerating. At eight o’clock, Armageddon begins. Bang, bang, flash, crash, Ooooooh!
Eldest daughter comes downstairs grumbling that she can’t sleep. Meanwhile, the bedroom that the other two share is lit up like a disco, and the cat is quaking under the kitchen table, ears pricked, eyes wide in alarm.
At nine o’clock, it is still going on. Bang, crash, sparkle, Oooooh!
Eldest daughter still awake, coming downstairs approx every ten minutes to say that she still can’t sleep. Youngest daughter wakes up frightened and crying.
At ten o’clock, it is still going on. (How long does it take to set off seventy bloody rockets anyway?)
Eldest still awake. Youngest awake again too, sobbing and saying she hates fireworks. I am now agreeing wholeheartedly, and starting to hate the neighbours and all.
Son, bless him, has slept through the whole thing.
Ten-fifteen – it’s all over. Youngest gives a sigh of relief and falls back to sleep. Eldest finally retires to bed muttering darkly. H-t-b and I practise our stern looks ready to scare the neighbours with next time we see them.
Bring back the Polish backpackers, I say! Okay, so they had terrible taste in music but at least they didn’t have enough cash for more than a few sparklers.
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