A year after my previous festive visit to the rooftops
of Gt Yarmouth and I'd just about thawed out. Same location again
this year for the annual Christmas lights switch-on, same rooftop,
same cold wind, same mist, same damp. But one major difference this
time: I was armed with military grade long johns and a better hat!
No hypothermia for me this year!
I met Fully Fused just in time to help them carry
half a tonne of gear up six floors (Doh! Make note to myself: Arrive
later next time) and through a maze of corridors in Boots, whose
roof we were using. That's a problem with rooftop displays, having
to carry a lot of gear a long way up.
On the roof and we had a gloriously dull view of
the surrounding town. Not because it's Yarmouth, but because it's
that time of year when everything looks drab, particularly through
the permanent layer of gloom that rolls in off the North Sea.
It's grim. But hey, make the
most of the constant wind! Mist arrived shortly after this shot.
Time to start having a think about the pyro and
the placement of it. Rooftops are incredibly challenging venues
particularly in built up areas. In previous years, wind blowing
in the wrong direction has meant postponement of the display so
there is always an element of luck with this particular location.
of the square and Christmas shoppers 2:
Lots of chip stalls under there! Yum! 3:
Jim gets the racks ready. Hands-on-hips man is Gerry (see below).
Doesn't he look pleased to be stuck on a roof? 4:
Getting the racks secure 5: Mmmmm 6:
Assorted shells and mines 7: More
shells and mines
To make good use of the front of the building,
Jim and Cliff explained that this display would feature some mine
sequences which would be electrically fired, to create a moving
wall of colour. I did a double-take when I saw the mines though
- they looked like shells! I'd never seen this type of mine before
(most are cylindrical containers). But these shells don't take
off though, they explode their mine contents out of the top of
the tube. Behind these, an array of beefy Cat 4 cakes and of course
a number of shell racks which always deserve a closer look especially
as I had carried half of them up.
a mine Jim but not as we know it 2:
Stand up the real shell 3: Eight balls
crossette, a cat 4 candle 4: Great
view of a rack with electrical ignitors in place 5:
Cliff gets things ready 6: Wide view
of the rooftop 7: Another view
At this point a welcome face arrived - Gerry
from Skyscenes. Fully Fused had bought Skyscenes and this is one
of the displays on their books. Gerry arrived to have a look around
and see the show for old time's sake.
Several hours of hard work followed, securing racks,
loading tubes and fusing everything. It's hard enough work in the
summer at a nice venue but even worse in the middle of December
in the cold. And always that nagging thought at the back of your
mind - if the show is cancelled because of the wind, it'll all have
to be dismantled and rebuilt the following week from scratch.
in and ready to go 2: Final touches
to one of the main racks 3: Shells
and mines wired in 4: Note all the
wires and cables - tread carefully 5:
Main square again this time in darkness 6:
Er, found another fish and chip shop looking down from the
other side! 7: Crowds gather
As the darkness fell, the Christmas spirit arrived
thanks to a local radio roadshow in the square below and the many
festive lights around. Time to pop down for some chips and a warm
cup of tea. Slightly influenced by the proximity of unlimited hot
food, I decided to stay down in the square to film. I wanted to
see the mine sequence - well that's my excuse anyway!!
More like Xmas, and the mist has retreated in time for the fireworks.
Then, none other than Father Christmas himself
arrived. I thought it might have been some fat bloke in a costume
and I was suspicious of the reindeer that looked like horses. But,
the assembled children seemed convinced so who am I to argue?
With camera rolling, the show commenced. Over now
to the stills and video which is well worth a look to see how effective
mines can be in this type of show.
With the last shell over and the crowd going away
buzzing with appreciation for an excellent show, it was time to
do the honourable thing and pop up to help bring some gear down
(via the chip stall). Another great day behind the scenes, another
top class display. Well done, and thanks to, Fully Fused Fireworks.
Roll on next year - and yes - long johns really do work.