Here we go again, my Inlaws are trying to drag me and my partner to yet again another function. Monday 5th of November: Family Bonfire Night at their house.
Now. Let me tell you why I decided to ‘accidently’ erase my mother-in-laws message the first three times she left it on our answering machine.
For the past five years the Inlaws have decided to hold a Bonfire Night at their home. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. There’s hot dogs, burgers, beer. Bliss. But, there are also fireworks. AND my father-in-law, who insists on being the one to light and set off the fireworks each and every year. “It’s tradition” he says to me. “The eldest man in the family must take on this dangerous and life risking task” he says. He’s got the life risking part right.
Year One: The first year of my marriage, I was invited along with my partner to Family Bonfire Night. The Inlaws, us, Grandma, two small grandchildren 7 and 5 and brother-in-law Tony and sister-in-law June were all in attendance. The fireworks hadn’t started yet and we were all tucking in to some hotdogs that Grandma had made, when suddenly 5-year-old Marty comes running out of the house, waving a sparkler about and tried to EAT it. That’s right, EAT it, before any of us could grab it off him. Who was the clever soul who gave the dangerous sparkler to little Marty? Well that would be my father-in-law. Nice trip to the accident and emergency room.
Year Two: No sparklers were allowed this year. Again Grandma had made her delicious hotdogs, although this year she was doing it sat on a stool beside the barbeque because of her aches and pains. She even added cheese on mine, nice mild cheddar. What a lady! I’m in a world of my own enjoying my cheese-dog, when June suddenly shrieks “What’s he doing?!” And the rest of us look up to see my father-in-law trying to light a firework, while its still in his hand. Luckily he failed.
Year Three: Unfortunately Grandma had passed on during the Spring, and so the barbeque was attended to by my mother-in-law. This was a mistake. After ordering my cheese dog like last year, I spent all night with severe abdominal pains and violent vomiting. What my mother-in-law thought was ‘blue-cheese’ and in-date mayonnaise was actually mouldy cheese and not in-date mayo. And not a little moudly but, eleven weeks mouldy. Food posioning for one: Check.
Year Four: After much pleading that we host Family Bonfire Night this year, I was dragged off yet again to the Inlaws. I stayed clear of cheese dogs and just had a plain beef burger. But now my father-in-law was not so quick on the move, falling prey to the same illness as Grandma, arthiritis. Still, determined to play the ‘tradition’ thing out to the end, he insisted on being the one to set off the fireworks, and would accept no help from any of us. So here we are gathered at one end of the garden by the house, while he lights the fireworks at the other end. He lights one and attempts to run away as fast as he can, when his left hip siezes up and he staggers, and falls. Tony, June and I rush over to him, and drag him out of the way just in time. Near heartattack for the whole family: Check.
Year Five: Well, last year was the worst. We went along again, despite much arguing on the matter that we were not going. My partner parked our new Land Rover, shiny, black and new on the driveway beside the front lawn. Now this year, the Inlaws had kindly invited the neighbourhood to come and join us for Family Bonfire Night. Because of the increased number of people it was decided (much against my opinion) that fireworks would be set off in the front garden. Which to be fair is a very large and long garden. Only over the past year my father-in-law’s arthiritis had got worse and he’d had to have a hip replacement. But he still insisted on being the firework operator. This time Tony was close at hand. So my father-in-law lit the rocket, and tried to run.
And here is where it all went wrong.
The man is in no fit condition to run, and if he couldn’t manage it the year before why he thought it was going to be any different the following year, was beyond me. He tripped and fell, and in doing so kicked the firework, therefore changing its entire course, so that it no longer aimed for the air, but instead aimed straight for our car. That’s right, our brand new black, shiny, new Land Rover that was new. The new one. Not Tony’s old red corsa, not my Inlaws blue BMW but my brand new Land Rover. Fire Brigade and Police: Check. Pure luck that no one was standing anywhere near my shiny new black Land Rover that was new: Check. Lots of crying and swearing from me: Check.
Oh well, here’s to year six. This time we’re getting a taxi.