Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fireworks Afloat

Yesterday (11th August) and today (that'll be the 12th, then) see the annual British Firework Championship displays which takes place in Plymouth Sound.

Massive crowds gather on The Hoe (where there's also a fun fair); smaller but by no means insignificant gatherings occur around The Folly at Mt Edgcumbe, high upon Jennycliff and around Barn Pool.

This evening, Mrs The Millbrooker and I are looking forward to teaming up with Dong and Shazzerooneypoos for a nibbly-picnic and wine-slurp at The Folly to enjoy three displays.
Last night Mrs The Millbrooker and I were lucky recipients of an all but last minute invitation from The Wizzers of Soz's sou'wester-bothering mate, Matt (blog name pending), to pobble out aboard the good ship Snailspace and watch the spectacle from close up.
After a decent dinner, Mrs The Millbrooker and I caught up with The Wizzers on Fosse Quay where she was enjoying playing on a ladder next to what would become our floating home for the next few hours.
Mrs The Millbrooker joined in the ladder game and was soon safely aboard, all nice and snug in the surprisingly roomy interior of Matt's wave defying fiefdom.
There was a very fine sunset looking back from the stern of the Snailspace over Millbrook as we de-moored from the boat's parking space. What a great time to be out of doors and afloat.
The Wizzers of Soz nonchalantly munched an apple whilst flicking the wheel to get us heading in an approximation of the right way; Matt busied himself playing with ropes and heaven only knows what else at the front end. You know what sailors can be like, so you don't like to ask exactly what they're up to in partially concealed positions aboard.
As we made our way seawards, accompanied by the gentle throb of Matt's outboard motor, we spotted Frankenkeith bimbling about on his floating palace. We "ahoy there'd" him, which elicited a response that was sadly inaudible above Matt's throbbing thing. It was probably the sort of Jolly Jack Tar-ish banter that salty old sea dogs call to each other in comradely fashion; something about Fiddler's Green or Davy Jones' Locket, I expect.Entering the Hamoaze, upstream of The Edgcumbe Arms, Cap'n Matt and Able Seaperson Soz provided a nice shot of seafaring romance, so I'll stick it up here for everyone to go "aaah".As we made it out into The Sound, Cap'n Matt got his map out to make sure he knew which direction to look in order to see Plymouth and its famed Hoe.Clue - it was on the left and slightly behind; brightly lit thing; lots of noise coming from it.Cap'n Matt dropped his anchor on the Jennycliff side of The Sound and we waited for the show to begin. After some protestation and me agreeing to wearing a life jacket (I'm actually always happiest wearing safety kit, so that's no problem) and what became known as a strap-on (it secured me to the boat in case of accidental spillage of me into the water), Mrs The Millbrooker allowed me to make my way to the front end of the boat for an uninterrupted view of proceedings.

The protestations from Mrs The Millbrooker were because she's painfully aware of my complete vision loss in low lighting - and, by now, it was absolute pitch black as far as I was concerned. However, I made this hazardous journey with my usual delicacy, elegance and aplomb; also with the gratefully received help of Able Seaperson Soz.Before long, the show began. Three stunning displays; I can't pretend to know anything about the technicalities of what each firework team was trying to achieve - I'll have to leave that squarely in the hands of the judges. All I can say is that I enjoyed the whole thing hugely; I'm a big fan of les feu d'artifice, as our French cousins call them. Having absolutely no night vision makes the explosions and sparkling lights shine out beautifully against the blackness; I could almost feel sorry for people with normal vision for all the distractions they have to put up with during a firework display.

I did try a few shots, but needless to say they're not up to much. Here are the best of them, for what it's worth...
One last adventure awaited me after the firework displays. The clamber back to the cockpit over the cabin roof was made much more difficult by my very bad wife laughing uproariously at my unfortunate tangle with Cap'n Matt's strap-on.
A very big thank you, of course, to Cap'n Matt (blog name still pending) for letting us loose on his delightful catamaran Snailspace and to Able Seaperson Soz for ordering him to invite us.

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