HouseOnHoliday: Can’t start a fire without a spark

A year ago today, the Household did something very, very silly. We went to a fireworks parade in Barcelona. It was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measures. To celebrate its anniversary we’re doing something similarly nuts – going swimming at Maroubra. (After going to something that Husband informed me at 5.30am he bought on a whim late last night after a few beers – Dinosaur Petting Zoo Goes Rogue. No idea what it is, but my aspergers/OCD head is struggling to process this sudden addition to our plans. He assured me we can still be at Maroubra by 11.30am, as planned. Then he asked if I was going back to sleep. As if.)

Apparently it’s going to be 31 degrees on Friday. I’ll believe it when I feel it. Right now, however, it’s a brisk 15 degrees. I’m thinking I’ll be building sandcastles rather than splashing in the waves. It has to be sweltering to get me in the water, even then I scream like a girl at about waist deep.

Late September in Barcelona was balmy, but everyone was oddly rugged up for the parade. We thought it was bizarre until the spinning, spitting fireworks started making their way down the street. Then it seemed pretty sensible. Here’s how the day unfolded …

“Remember cracker night when you were a kid? A bonfire on the neighbourhood spare block, awe as dads light Catherine wheels, squeals as teenagers let off double bungers … Then the government spoilt everyone’s fun and banned backyard fireworks because they were “dangerous” and could blow people’s hands off and stuff. Barcelona begs to differ. Over the weekend, we were in town for the La Merce fiesta and its fireworks parades. There’s an early one for the kids (the supposedly “safe” one) then a crazy adult version later. We rocked up to the kids one and were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get a spot on the curb, strange considering the thousands of people who pressed into a nearby square at lunchtime to watch as groups of people built themselves into giant human pyramids (odd local custom, but quite entertaining).

Get a load of that human pyramid

Then we noticed that all the local kids had scarves around their faces and hoodies on, despite the 28 degree heat. When the fireworks parade got closer, we understood why – everyone in the parade had sticks with spinning, crackling, banging fireworks on them and sparks were flying EVERYWHERE. Suddenly the curb didn’t seem such a great place to be with our shorts, T-shirts and bare heads. We edged back towards the shopfronts, grateful we weren’t being sprayed by the fireworks spurting from a giant dragon’s mouth onto the exact spot we’d originally been standing. Husband was so dazzled by the insane spectacle of it all that he started videoing it on his camera, as photos just weren’t capturing the madness properly. We gave thanks for the fire truck stationed across the road and the ambulance following the procession, and when Sprog 2 eventually stopped whimpering in terror, a fun time was had by all. Apparently if we hung around for a few hours we could have taken part in the adult version, where the participants actually chase everyone with the fireworks. Instead, we chose a nice, quiet dinner as far away from the action as possible. Spoilt sports.”

Dessert from a late-night pasteleria

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