On paper this has to rate as one of the best possible assignments that a firework enthusiast could ever hope to report on. Let's start with the fireworks. This was going to be a professional display, so there would be some good pyro. Then there's the beer. Not just a bar, but a complete brewery. And a shop where you could buy more beer to take away. And food. And nice staff. And a toilet on site. Have I died and gone to heaven?

Ironically, it turned out to be a case of "Beer, beer, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Beer, Beer, everywhere, nor any drop to drink". I was driving and Steve and his crew were firing, so it was down to PeteB to take on the role of chief drinker on our behalf. I have never been so close to so much beer without drinking it.

The stunning setting that is St. Peter's Brewery. In the country, lush green fields,
wildlife a plenty, a romantic pond too. Er, did we mention it's also a brewery?

First task when we arrived therefore was to completely ignore Steve and Gerry and head for the Brewery Shop. With this key business out of the way we joined Skyscenes on site to have a look around. This display was going to be for a private wedding function and the guests were arriving by mid afternoon.

- You can click on any thumbnail to view a bigger picture -

Another view of the Brewery (this is what you see when you drive in). It's probably a good job I was drinking coke all afternoon. After a few bottles of St. Peter's finest brews I would have probably ended up IN the pond.

The brewery shop, funnily enough, had loads of beer! The different coloured labels show the range of different brews on offer, ranging from very mild through to very alcoholic.

Even more beer. Luckily my sports suspension was able to cope with the extra weight on the way home. I defy anyone to go into this shop and not buy any.

The wedding guests arrive. The reception was very civilised, with a marquee and live classical music.

The normal firing area (a pretty grassy enclave) had been invaded by a caravan club! So it was necessary to find an alternative position away from both the brewery and the caravans. We found a good spot down this old track.

This area turned out to be ideal once we had found someone who could move the brewery's vans (easier said than done at a weekend when most of the brewery staff were off!).

Gerry at work on the candle fans.

The shell racks out of the van and ready for a clean up before being secured in a rigid timber frame.

Working on hard surfaces is no problem to a professional team because there are many ways to secure the fireworks. In this shot you can see a large amount of timber being unloaded from the van, this would be used to make frames and supports.

My favourite box, the one that was full of three inch shells. These would make up the bulk of the aerial action, being fired in sufficient numbers to make a really good impact.

Gerry's timber frame can be seen on the left. Apparently he was always top in woodwork when he was at school.

Steve getting the shells fused up. Each line of shells here is connected by PIC which burns at around an inch a second. The bigger yellow fuse is quickmatch which burns very quickly. The idea here is that the firer will light one fuse, this will then start the line of shells firing one every few seconds.

Steve loading some more shells.

Aside from the concrete, bricks and rubble this was a nice site. Just behind us was a wild area completely full of pretty thistles.

On with the wellies (which always causes much amusement, I have no idea why) and time to scout out a filming area for me. A wide open venue like this is great because I can get a good distance from the site.

Don't ask. I just thought this made a nice shot. These metal contraptions looked like electric guitars or triffids coming across the field. Must have been the fumes from the brewery getting to me!

Detail from the side of a brewery van.

The brewery contained some very interesting machinery. This massive metal contraption was labelled "Cryo Service", so we spent a few minutes figuring out if we could wire Gerry up to it. As Gerry's getting on a bit, we thought if we could cryogenically freeze him between displays we'd get much more out of him.

Warning labels on fireworks are child's play compared to this baby. After reading the "Do:" and "Don't:" warnings on this we decided to move to a safer part of the Brewery.

After setting up it was time to enjoy the ambience of the Brewery. This was helped by a background sound of classical music and the occasional smell of hops on the air (and methane from PeteB). The very nice staff at the brewery started a shuttle run between the site and the restaurant, keeping us supplied with refreshments and sandwiches.

It didn't seem like long before the light started to fade, and the constant swarm of flying things coming off the fields was replaced instead by a swarm of even larger flying things - bats! These were living in the nearby derelict barns, but their coordination was amazing and they managed to swerve and avoid hitting us at the last minute every time.

BATS: My first encounter with a bat (this is arguably the least useful clip I have ever uploaded). 395Kb Windows Media clip.

Like our previous report on Langley, we were going to cover the display from a number of angles with camcorders and cameras, so we spent a while planning the best places for these. PeteB took on the "Ground Zero" role again, getting kitted up with PPE and taking position in one of the barns which would provide excellent shelter. I set up the remote camcorder, switched it to record and went off into the next field, setting up the stills camera for the shots shown below.

The surrounding countryside was soon lit up by Skyscenes.

Pretty purple and blue shells open the show. I've been very impressed with some of the wonderful new colours coming out in the last few years, with gorgeous shades of blue, purple and yellow to name a few.

More pretty purple shells with a cake starting further down. You can see the advantage here to being several hundred metres away for still shots - you can get so much more in the frame.

Candle fans create green tracers. The effects were funny sounds created by spinning shells, these show up as fuzzy silver trails here.

A nice column of colour and glitter effects.

More nice effects here, crowned with bright green shells high up in the air.

A good mix of effects including reports and red rings.

Reports lower down while above this spectacular gold willow effects - tipped with blue, which you can just see in this shot.

A look at the gold willow to blue effects on their own.

This curious shot shows a "flowerpot" where a shell explodes in the tube rather than in the air. Despite looking dramatic this does not pose any risk to the firer or spectators.

Candle fans created mixed and saturated effects.

Another great display by Skyscenes who enjoyed much applause and cheers from the guests. After clearing up it was time to head to the bar so they could savour a celebratory wind down pint and more thanks from the clients.

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