Today is my birthday. That makes me (with the exception of my husband who lived in the US growing up) the first member of the Pict family to have a birthday in the US.
My kids are off school today because of an election so my treat today was not having to endure making packed lunches. OK, my treat was getting to spend ALL day with all four of my handsome wee men.
Back in the UK, my birthday coincides with a festivity known as Bonfire Night (some people still refer to it as Guy Fawkes Night but that’s not very PC). Basically the country commemorates a conspiracy to blow up Parliament and the King by setting fire to a bonfire and setting off fireworks. Most people, of course, don’t especially remember or care that it commemorates a historic event or consider the politics and ethics of doing so. It’s all about the bonfire and fireworks because those are exciting. There’s a little bit of arsonist in all of us it seems.
My own family’s tradition when I was growing up was to head to my Grandad’s house once darkness had fallen and set off fireworks in the back garden. There were rockets and catherine wheels and sparklers galore and then there was always something cosy to munch indoors afterwards, like stovies – a rib-sticking casserole of potatoes, onion and stewing steak. Happy times.
In more recent times, in the town we just moved from, on the West coast of Scotland, there is an annual Lantern Parade which troops through the streets and down to the loch side where a large bonfire is then set ablaze and an incredible firework display is set off, lighting up the night sky and booming in loud chest-thumping echoes down the loch. It was spectacular. It was also a real community event, with individuals and groups building lanterns on a specified theme and the entire community from hither and yon turning out to spectate. Definitely going to miss it.
My point is that I always got fireworks on or around my birthday and, well, I liked to think they were for my birthday as much as they were to commemorate an attempted act of terrorism. Today, no fireworks. No prospect of a bonfire. Not even a single teeny weeny sparkler. So it’s very different for me to be having my birthday in the US. I think I need to be like the Queen and have an actual and an official birthday and make my official birthday 4 July so I can get fireworks again. Could be a plan.
But for today I am happy and content. I got to wander around some woods with my four wee Picts and we had a blast. They are the best fireworks ever anyway.