We shunned the local cricket club fireworks display this weekend and instead home-huddled* with a group of dear friends. Our lovely host bolted Catherine wheels onto his rambling shed and plunged slightly damp rockets into plant pots filled with sand whilst we squealed health and safety messages to our rabble of over-excited children, who were all pie-eyed and incredulous as multi-coloured incendiary devices stuttered and shot dangerously close to the overhanging trees.
It was a hark-back to the bonfire nights of my seventies childhood** and it was GLORIOUS.
Mulled wine and Prosecco were imbibed. Juicy fat sausages with caramelised onion sauce and potato wedges were devoured, poached pears and Florentines were oohed and aahed over and sparklers were waved. The kids played board games long into the night and we all rolled home happy and tired on a night so clear we could see the Milky Way.
November, you've been good so far...
* I hereby declare 'home-huddling' to be a thing and bestow upon you all the licence to use it freely when describing a gathering together in your home of your most favourite people for hearty food, full-bodied booze, free-range children and laughter well into the night. It's an autumn/winter thing, for a gathering with those same friends in the spring or summer is something altogether different with light bites and refreshing fizz. Home-huddling is Hygge and candlelight and nineties playlists, it's coats and shoes in a muddy pile at the bottom of the stairs, it's red wine stains on chopping boards but most of all, it's that rosy-cheeked glow you get from spending time at home in the darkest months with the people who make you feel brightest.
**One of my earliest and fondest childhood memories is of my Dad bolting Catherine wheels to wooden contraptions balanced precariously alongside our neighbour's hedge and being one part amazed, two parts petrified as sparks flew. Back in the days before public service announcements, when men's flares were nylon and a box of fireworks as big as a dining table were a fiver.