Well, this was a treat! We just love firework displays and Rosi had told us about ‘Firework Champions’ a while ago. Tonight was our first opportunity to see one of their events live! In short, ‘Firework Champions' is an outdoor event (really!?), where the best-of-the-best firework companies battle it out live to be err… fireworks champions, and that’s decided by those present voting for their fave via a mobile phone. Fab!
There are events all over the country and tonight’s was at Stanford Hall. We’d been watching the weather forecast for the past few days, and it didn’t look good at all! A re-check today - the day of the event - confirmed that things hadn’t changed much! Rain, rain and then some more rain!
Whilst I took a somewhat optimistic view about the planned pre-event picnic (“Oh, let’s just turn up, set up the picnic outside the Hall and eat with an umbrella nearby”), Ann was far more pragmatic! The result, a perfectly executed ‘Plan B’ – still the same picnic, but in the comfort of our lounge!!! – all helped along with a few drinks.
Our regular get-together-gang have mixed views about whether a fireworks evening is the best way to spend a Saturday night, so we didn’t quite get the full team together for tonight. No matter though, we picked up John and Trish with Jo, Janet and Carol joining us at ours for the picnic. Rosi and her friends were making their own way there whilst executing a slightly different ‘Plan B’!
Suitably stuffed, we convoyed our way over to Stanford Hall arriving with plenty of time to spare before the main displays. Our only worry was that because we were arriving later, and given the popularity of the event, there wouldn’t be any prime spots left for us to position ourselves for the best view of the show. We needn’t have worried, we parked easily (in spite of the crowds) and found ourselves a perfect spot, away from the noise of the music speakers, and with a great view of the promised proceedings!
Our only challenge WAS the weather, where the forecast had came true and it proceeded to p***** down all evening. But because we’re British, and we know every type of rain going – we were well prepared! Umbrellas, sensible footwear, gagools and plastic sheets for those without! Boy, we know how to enjoy a Summer’s evening!!!
‘Drowned Rats’ doesn’t even begin to describe it!!
…and as the evening wore-on, the rain continued… and then continued some more. So-much-so that even before they announced the winners on the night, a lot of people were heading back to their cars. From a fireworks perspective, all the displays were really good. Just when we thought we’d seen all types of ‘firework’, we were amazed to see another type being shown-off. Terrific! …and then some
We hung on for a bit, but then even we lost the will to stay until the very end.
..and that’s where things got really interesting. Exiting the car-park became an Olympic Sport, with those who had practised in previous years, they were soon in sight of the exit. For us noobies, it was a patient wait in line before we too, started ducking and diving between lanes – gold medals all round please!! Eventually we were out, but our troubles were just beginning. We’d recalled on the way there that junction 1 of the A14 was closed and combination of that together with an out-of-date sat-nav, no diversion signs and a deteriorating weather situation, reducing visibility, meant resorting to a good ‘ol-fashioned’ atlas. It’s fair to say, we saw parts of the back roads in Northamptonshire that we’d never seen before… probably twice three times on the same night!!
Eventually, we dropped off John and Trish at theirs just after midnight. Not bad for an event that finished around 10.30!!
However, in spite of the really bad weather, a poor exit strategy and getting seriously lost on local roads, it WAS a great night, and we all had a good time! Friends and Food were, as usual, in top form!