REPORT SIX: THE LONG WEEKEND NOVEMBER 2ND -
Here we go this was some weekend five displays
in three days - pyro heaven or what?
First up was Lightcliffe Scouts public display
on Nov 2nd. Typical bonfire night weekend rain and lots of it
too and then some more.
Setting up wasn't much of a problem if you didn't
mind sinking in a muddy field, we had the usual stuff a few racks
of various shells the lovely big cat4 cakes and quite a selection
of cat3 cakes from the shop to try out too. Everything was set
up without a hitch and a rather large crowd was gathering around
the bonfire. Time to slip away and invoke the pro firers privilege
and get me some free hot dogs before the show.
Sorry there are no photos of the set-up or action
as I had my bag stolen after the show and my camera was in there.
This was an ace night (apart from the showers)
there was stuff going off all around before we got on with our
Eight o'clock came and it was time to fire. The
music started up the theme from 2001 very fitting. Portfires were
lit and Pete moved in to light the row of strobes at the front,
or so I thought remember the bit about me laughing when everyone
was woken up by the ground maroon at Dean Clough yeah well this
time the tables turned just as I was expecting the flashing of
the strobe to light everything up BOOOOM ground maroon!!!! I shot
back about 3 feet filled my pants and landed on my arse in the
mud much to the crowds amusement (I swear I'll get you back one
day for that Pete).
Above: Ground Maroons. LOUD!
Above: Flitter gerbs.
After I regained my composure I got on with enjoying
the show. The rain held off throughout the show but some of the
cloud was low and obscured some of the shell breaks but other
than that everything went well. After the show was over we quickly
took all the gear down and got it packed away just as the heavens
REALLY opened up it was during this massive downpour that the
decision was made not to use the 12"ers in Mondays big show
nobody was keen on digging the holes for the mortars in the mud
SUNDAY NOV 3RD
Next show for the public was to be held at the
Hobbit near Sowerby bridge another reasonably sized display for
an eager audience.
We got everything set up in the afternoon and
then I was left to baby-sit the goodies while the rest of the
team disappeared to set up and fire a private display a few miles
away. Oh why did they have to leave me, it's cold it's BLOODY
RAINING AGAIN. Thankfully it stopped after a short while and as
it got dark I had one heck of a night the pub is on the side of
a hill overlooking a valley and I was treated to a non stop show
of fireworks over the next couple of hours there was kit going
off everywhere this was fantastic. I soon forgot about how cold
it was and enjoyed a rare treat.
Well Gren and Mick returned ready for firing time
we put the cat4 wheel back on the stake Gren lit his portfire
and what do ya know it started raining again. Not much to tell
about the actual show just that it was enjoyed by all and after
the show the landlord invited us back down to the pub. Everything
was cleared away it was time for free beer and food top grub on
offer here too.
After this we went back to the workshop to load
the gear for Mondays big show. Err bloody hellfire shit this was
a lot of kit two vans and a trailer load, Grenville asked me to
pass him the willow sequence out of a box nearby, I took out three
plastic shells, two 3"ers and a 4" Kimbolton gold to
blue willows. Can't be much of a sequence with just three shells
I thought, oh well never mind I passed them to him and it was
time to go home and get some sleep for the day ahead yeah right
like I'm going to sleep tonight.
Above: A selection of various shells from the work shop
Above: The 12" wasn't used in the end
MONDAY NOV 4TH 'D' DAY!!!!!!!!
I got up at 5 am to go to work thinking works
been slack recently haven't had a job on our press for a couple
of weeks I'll be able to get away really early and set up the
show. NOOO of all the rotten crap we have to have a job on today
(knew I should have phoned in sick).
It was nearly 12pm when I managed to get to the
site (Ripponden Bank Fleece) but what a sight to behold when I
got there 17 candle racks of 4 or more bars ranging from blockbusters
to the mighty 60mm Blue Moon candles around 250 shells ranging
from 3" up to 10", 13 massive cat4 cakes amongst these
was the monster 100 shot maroon cake this beast was over 2 feet
square and weighed over 40kgs and one of the fan cakes was the
mother of all fan cakes 180 shot 1.5 feet wide and over 3 feet
long!!!! In the front row there were strobes and a dozen flashing
thunder barrages along with the mighty 3lb gerbs and a row of
4" mines, which were the only things I got to set up apart
from a rack of 3"ers and that was that all, the kit was ready
to be blown to bits.
Above: 3" brocade
Above: 3" salute!
Everything was covered we left Mick to baby-sit
this time and left for the work shop to load up for the show for
a company called JLA down in the valley.
JLA's show was a good sized display for company
employees and family. It didn't take much setting up just a lot
of waiting around in the cold as Pete checked everything over
prior to firing I was asked if I wanted to help fire this show
it didn't take me long to make up my mind: "YES!" I
said eagerly. I was shaking like mad my portfire looked like a
sparkler does when it is waved around I was desperate not to get
the timing wrong and spoil the show.
Pete got the proceedings going with a 3"
salute whilst I lit the happy stars and Gren got on with the shells.
This was ace I'd gone from coming along as a guest months ago
to helping fire in a show. I moved on to the candle racks and
completely missed the show concentrating on the job at hand that's
when I was given a rude awakening from my state of nirvana as
one of the blockbusters exploded and threw flaming balls and hummers
at me. Bastard thing I HATE blockbusters. When the show was over
we collected everything up I scraped my undies clean and we set
off for the Fleece. On my way up to the fleece I felt sick I don't
know if it was nerves for the show we were about to do or from
the one I had just helped fire in anyway my emotions were running
We arrived to a crowd of thousands that had gathered
to watch the imminent show this was great loads of my mates were
here and a lot of my family too at last they could all see for
real what I'd been rambling on about at them for weeks.
We fought, drove, kicked, punched, stabbed and
gunned our way through the masses until we could get through the
gate to the field and go do our final checks. The weather was
perfect not a cloud in the sky and bone dry we could have used
the 12"ers after all - bummer!
The count down began and the music started a ground
maroon signalled the start of the show. The strobes were lit then
the gerbs and on to the flashing thunders, the effect of so many
going off at once was a sight to behold and the music was building
steadily as the small bore low key start to the display got underway.
Ok call me sad but there is a reason behind
this. As things were building up I could feel tears welling up
in my eyes I could have cried my eyes out with sheer emotion as
to what this display meant to me.
Two years ago I took my son to see the show
at this venue I was told it was good and it was free so I came
expecting a decent show. What I got was the best display I'd ever
been to I was stunned at how good it was. The day after at work
I was talking with a guy who knew who did the display I asked
him to give this guy my phone number as this was the thing I wanted
to get into.
Eighteen months later and I'm still pestering
him to give him my phone number but still to no avail. Oh well
I thought I don't need to get in touch with this guy now I thought
I'm off to a pro show at Ripponden parish, but it turns out the
bloke who came to pick me up on that first day was only Grenville
the guy who I'd been desperately trying to get hold of for eighteen
months strange coincidence or what.
So this was it: The culmination of two years
of patience and excitement. I wasn't watching the best show I'd
ever seen I was taking part in it. Words cant describe how this
felt it truly was a dream amongst dreams come true.
BACK TO THE SHOW
I was portfire man for this show so I was in and
around everything. As the show got underway, the guys started
to move back from the low level stuff and Pete lit the double
helicopter wheel this was ace as it started to spin it slowly
rose into the sky leaving a double helix like trail of sparks
behind it, it rose quite high then cut out and started falling
back to the ground and then fired up again, slowed its decent
and went skywards once more cool or what?
Above: The double helicopter wheel
Above: Another shot of the helicopter wheel showing the double
BOOOOM! The first shell exploded out of its tube
and the crowd let out a massive cheer as the main part of the
show got under way, there was another huge bang from a 3"
salute then a brocade. I knew straight away that this was the
rack I filled - I was buzzing big time.
Candles were firing, massive cakes were underway,
shells were filling the sky all around was madness and it was
all directly above my head awesome awesome awesome then everything
went dead??? Willow sequence time, fired all on their own this
is where I was in absolute awe at how good those 3 small shells
really were. Golden glittering trails with vivid blue tips fired
out in every direction the coverage and hang time was stunning
everyone fell silent as the magic hung in the sky almost reaching
the ground this was met with a massive cheer and oohs and ahhs
from the crowd - this is what pyro is all about.
Above: I like the lens flare effect in this one
The show fired up again, Gren reached the end
of the first set of racks, five 8" and a 10" chrysanthemum
burst all launched together and filled the sky with an unbelievable
canopy of beauty (and I thought 8"ers gave off a shock wave
when they launched the 10" was a beast it felt like I had
been punched in the chest).
The show continued rocking on the noise was fantastic.
Shell break after shell break on and on then all of a sudden the
noise was given a kick up the arse by some real noise, the 100
shot maroon cake started blasting holes in the sky. White comet
tails to HUGE white spherical bursts that shook your brain nothing
can prepare you for standing near this evil monster airbombs are
like party poppers compared to this thing.
But like all shows the end was looming. Gren
moved on to the finale rack and let rip about 30 shells, 3",
5", 8" and a 10" kamuro shell all fired together
everything that had gone before that night was completely blown
away by this final sequence every bit of sky above my head was
filled with colour from a distance it must have looked like the
big bang all over again.
Above: This fantastic shot is of the 10" chrysanthemum shell looks
like the death star exploding
And that was it: Huge cheers from the crowd and
time to take everything down.
I didn't speak much for the rest of that night
I was still in awe at what I had just witnessed and the fact that
my patience was a virtue in having had another dream come true
after two years of waiting.
Big thanks to SKYBLAZERS FIREWORKS of Sowerby
bridge for an absolutely fantastic long weekend.
MORE PICTURES FROM GRAHAM:
Above: Various mines
Above: Cylindrical double break shell
Above: Flight rockets
Above: Peanut shells
Above: Green salute
Above: Here's something different this unfolds in to a Chinese
lantern while its fired then finishes off with a flame inside
to light it up
Above: A plastic shell
Above: Various multibreaks
Above: This is from a different show, a ground maroon going off