Tonight's display was for the switching on of the Yarmouth Christmas lights, bringing a little closed-season light and joy to the town for some six or seven minutes. Not a huge amount of gear to tote then, but enough for someone like me to see the rudiments of setting up a small pro display.

Pyro Pete, PeteB and I arrived late in the morning at Yarmouth's Market Gates shopping mall. I'd been warned this show would involve lugging gear up onto the rooftops and a lot of waiting around in bitter weather, so I took enough food for a small army and enough spare clothing to stock an Oxfam shop. As it turned out however, we were spared a lot of extra effort and the worst of the cold thanks to the wily ingenuity of one of Britain's major political parties. We discovered a secret Tory lift direct from the ground floor carpark to Yarmouth Conservative Club's rooftop headquarters. Furthermore some of our group were to shorten the long hours in the cold still further by clever infiltration of the nearby members' Blue Rinse Bar…

We checked in at the site office deep in the anonymous, MoD-like bowels of the Market Gates shopping mall, then retreated to a nearby greasy spoon to await the Fully Fused team. Over tea and sausage rolls, we swapped manly firework anecdotes and speculated on what the grey skies outside might bring. Past displays here had been called off at the last minute or reduced to a coloured haze by fog.

James, Zoë and Dave were slightly delayed by their route conflicting with Johnny Vaughan and Channel 4, filming Space Camp near their stores at that time. However, once they arrived we all went up top to choose a good firing spot. There was quite a stiff breeze up there, but the only flags flying were fake wooden ones bearing the mall logo. The prevailing wind seemed to dictate that fallout would land conveniently on an adjacent rooftop, so James decided to fire from a spot fairly close to the roof access, but with the option of moving to another rooftop if the wind changed.

It took about three hours to get set up, and there was a real damp nip in the air. Later in the day, the skies clouded over and the temperature rose very slightly, so it wasn't the marrow-chilling affair that the others remembered from previous years. Still, we did need something to keep our energy up, and I found it when I produced a large slab of Fruit & Nut. There was a brief feeding frenzy and much grateful chomping as we hunched like gerbils around a dish of nuts. To anyone else thinking of getting into pro firing, I would suggest this as a way in: bring Fruit & Nut.

Another highlight of the afternoon was James' cold remedy. Suspecting he was coming down with the pre-Christmas lurgy, James decided to try some state-of-the-art antiviral nasal spray which apparently acts by hurting a lot more than the cold does. I wish Pete had filmed this. Two little puffs of wonder drug, then a strange hangfire followed by a fit of wincing, cringing and shaking. James tried this only twice while we were up there and then decided the full-blown cold would probably be more fun.

Twilight, and we retreated by turns for either some food or a McDonald's and a pause before the action. At some point after our return, an amplified stream of pointless drivel gradually began to superimpose itself over people's enjoyment down in the town, and someone remarked as we folded back the tarpaulins that the roadshow must have arrived. New European regulations prohibited us from aiming a shell at his trailer, so the only way to silence Russ Adenoids the DJ was to start the show.

On with safety gear then.

Half-past six came and MC Adenoids was calling out "ten, nine, eight…" and then the crowd was ours. We had three rack clusters with three, four and five inch shells and a couple of six-inchers, one for openers and another with the finale rack. There was also a group of large candles and eight or ten Cat 4 cakes. As the shells began, I found myself thinking how similar they sounded to those cannons going off from their cave in The Guns of Navarone. Funny what you think of under the influence of adrenaline. Well, have a look at Pete's fantastic footage and you'll hear the curiously truncated detonations echoing from nearby walls (followed by enthusiastically boozy yells from the pubs below and some car alarms).

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Cleaning up afterwards was very quick, and all our fallout had gone down on the neighbouring roof as predicted. We got up all the live and other waste in a few minutes and then it was just a matter of using the Harold MacMillan memorial elevator once more to get everything down on the ground.

As we were shoving a trolley through some doors, James asked me if I had felt scared by my first close encounter with Cat 4 fireworks. I said that I had, but not as much as I was expecting. There had been an intense adrenaline rush right beforehand and then a kind of resignation to the ferocious power going off around me. Nevertheless, I think there was a delayed reaction going on, as when I subsequently drove home, I felt as if I might be flying the car.

I'd like to say thanks to James and Fully Fused for having me along to help, and to the two Petes for getting me involved.

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