Henry Hates Firework Nights

Now that Slack-jawed Selfish Morons’ Firework Season (run-up to Hallowe’en, Hallowe’en, run-up to Bonfire Night, Bonfire Night, numerous extra Bonfire Nights for people unable to celebrate on November 5th, run-up to Christmas, Christmas, post-Christmas, run-up to New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Eve, post-New Year’s Eve, plus random explosions in between times) is in full swing, Henry Wowler has to spend most evenings cowering in his safety box under our bed – and given the propensity of said selfish morons to continue letting off bangers till midnight, we don’t have the heart to evict the poor little chap.

On such occasions, when he eventually feels it’s safe to emerge and wants Mummy-cat to take him downstairs and administer bedtime biscuits, he usually sits at the foot of the bed whispering, ‘Mrrp? Mrrp?’ in a very small voice until I awake. But last night, he mrrped to no avail – both worn-out cat-parents were too fast asleep to hear him; so the first I knew of his wakefulness and desire for attention was when he jumped on the bed, landed on my feet and snuggled down in the space between our legs. I stroked him. He purred. I thought, ‘Aw. This is OK – I can cope if he settles there,’ and went back to sleep (after throwing back the bedspread and sticking one leg out from under the duvet to compensate for the extra heat generated by his large furry presence).

But he didn’t settle there, of course. Night is his time to do cat stuff; so shortly he got up, went out in the pouring rain for a while, then came back upstairs shouting, ‘Wet!’ I ignored him, and- aha! Instead of pestering on to be mopped dry, he dealt with the situation himself, allowing me to doze off again to the slight, soothing sound of a washing cat. But of course the peace didn’t last – soon Henry was wowling again, obliging me to arise before he woke Daddy-cat too, escort him downstairs, give him some fuss, then lure him into the kitchen with the usual biscuit bribe and shut the door firmly behind me.

All this took place between 10.30 pm and 1.40 am; and this, dear reader, is the reason why on normal nights, if Mr Wowler tries to evade the normal nightly routine of being confined to the kitchen by hiding under our bed, he gets prodded out with a longbow…

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Firework Fury!

Whizz-bang-crack-crack-crack! Our poor petrified Henry Wowler, (a scaredy-cat at the best of times), dives for cover as yet another salvo of bloody bangers splits the evening calm – just like they have round our neck of the woods every night since the last week of October. Gah. I’m sick of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fireworks… what I loathe and despise is the modern trend of diluting Guy Fawkes Night into Guy Fawkes Fortnight, (or three weeks, as it soon will be), robbing the real anniversary of all meaning and impact. I can live with bonfire parties and big organised displays on the weekend closest to November 5th, so that people can more easily attend. What I find hard to cope with is the level of firework abuse we’re now subjected to: the wee small hours detonations by mindless morons newly returned from pub or club (‘Hur hur, we don’t have to get up in the morning, let’s wake the boring old farts who do’); the terror for family pets and local wildlife; the harassment and disturbance for shift-workers and parents struggling to get (and keep) infants asleep.

Worse is the criminality they encourage: the fireworks pushed through letterboxes, the exploded wheelie-bins, (we had one on the neighbouring street last week), and the dangerous, potentially fatal assaults on people and animals alike. Hubcap nearly fell victim to one such on November 5th: a carload of chavs threw a lighted banger at him while he was innocently litter-picking on a roadside verge. Luckily he spotted it, and legged it before it blew a fist-sized hole in the grass where his foot could so easily have been. Unluckily, he was too shocked and furious to get their registration number – but between that little gem (no doubt gleefully captured on camera and now doing the social media rounds for the edification of other brain-dead) and our traumatised cat, we’ve both fed up to the back teeth with wretched fireworks.

So ban ’em, I say. Bangers, that is. They’re simply evil – not clever or pretty, they exist purely to cause mischief and harm. Keep fireworks out of the shops until November 1st. Restrict the sale of big display fireworks to licensed operators and bona fide public events – they’re far too dangerous for the average back garden. Plug the Firework Code in schools and on TV to encourage responsible use – preferably before the 9 pm watershed. And for God’s sake: KEEP FIREWORK NIGHT TO ONE NIGHT OF THE YEAR!