There’s definitely a chill in the air. I’ve felt it since the weekend. That sharp edge to the breeze, despite the sun beaming down and illuminating the changing tree canopies.
Autumn is here, accompanied by the annual grumbling of several of my family and friends about the nights drawing in and winter approaching. The familiar whirring of the central heating pump and doors closing to keep the heat in.
For me, however, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement. It is a feeling that I get every year. The sight of the leaves turning golden and falling to the floor, reflecting the autumn sun. The earlier setting of the sun and the cool air chilling my nostrils. It means one thing to me: Bonfire Night is approaching.
This dates back to the days when my father used to take me to see the annual bonfire and firework display at the Miners’ Welfare park in Bedworth. We’d trudge through the leaves amongst the volunteers shaking their charity buckets. Once inside, I’d be the annoying five year old trying to sit on his shoulders to see over the crowds, or insist that we work our way to the front by the safety barrier. He’d remind me that the fireworks would be going up into the air and that I’d be able to see wherever we stood, but this fell on deaf ears.
I didn’t want to know what was going on in the air. I wanted to know how they got in the air and who was letting them off. I wanted to be the first to arrive to give me plenty of time to look at the firing site. What did the rig look like and could I guess what was going to happen? Yes, I know, total child geekorama and I am not ashamed to admit it.
My curiosity was fed further by being allowed to walk onto the firing site shortly after firing to have a look at the smouldering remains of the fireworks. Everyone did it back then. The idea of a child doing that now fills me with horror, having witnessed hang-fires (the delayed firing of a smouldering firework) and ground units exploding.
Little did I know that, years later, I would be one of those people working to make a display happen. What’s more, I would never have dreamed that I would be called in at short notice to work on a competition-winning firework display.
I guess it goes to show that an early interest in a subject as a child, no matter how niche or mainstream, could pave the way for something much bigger later in life. That’s why I believe in stimulating curiosity in children’s minds and allowing them to explore ideas. Discovery and learning then follow, almost self-driven, and who knows where it will take them? I’m still on my journey and am enjoying the ride.
And so my shameless, childlike excitement continues to emerge annually, triggered by those changing colours of autumn. I sincerely hope that I never grow out of this.
A quick word of thanks and congratulations should go to Steve Martin and crew at SMArt Pyrotechnics. It was great working with you all!