Nearly didn't make it though. We had a bit of an... incident... with the fireworks, shortly after midnight.
Firstly, I should explain that we tend to be quite sensible with fireworks. We have them maybe 3 or 4 times a year, at the home of E and L. There is a patch of dug earth (once a vegetable patch) at the bottom of their garden, furthest from the house, and Steve and E go out some time beforehand to plan the display, dig in the launch tubes and whatnot, taking their time and thinking it through. We even use a remote detonator - five electrical cords, one end clipped to the firework fuse and the other end plugged into a little box of tricks, which in turn has a remote sensor, and the remote control is with the spectators. This is not a "light the blue touch paper and stick it up your nose" kind of event.
So at about 11pm, the boys wandered outside to begin setting up. The remote detonator will take five fuses at once, so we had two big rockets, two smaller but still quite sizeable rockets, and one large box which fired about a hundred shots of various types (big, small, noisy, crackly, you name it) but just off one fuse. The display was meant to last just a couple of minutes, and having it already set up meant that as soon as Big Ben bonged, we could run outside, push the button on the remote, and wheeee!
I have since heard from Steve that there was some debate over what order the fireworks should be set off. He insists it was E's idea that the box should be first, and then the rockets.
Anyway, at five to twelve we started getting our shoes and coats on, and at midnight we did the countdown with the tv, hugs and kisses and yay all round, outside, and pressed the button, and our fireworks started, and it was pretty and wonderful.
Until the fireworks from the big box started doing their "fan" setting, two flares simultaneously fired, one to the left, one to the right. And it knocked one of the rockets that was ready and waiting to be set off. Not hard, but it moved just a little as the right-hand flare went past to explode in the sky. And again. And again.
What to do? No one was about to run back to the immediate vicinity of a still-firing one-and-a-half-minute barrage box just to make sure an as-yet unlit rocket was perfectly upright.
Then it caught.
There was just enough time for E (who had the remote) to say "I didn't set that off!" and it took off.
Or it tried to.
It had been knocked just enough, or maybe it lit in the wrong place, but anyway, it clipped the fence and fell back into the garden.
E, L and I had ducked, turned to face the wall, covered our heads, that sort of thing.
Steve, on the other hand, was happily taking photos of fireworks exploding against the night sky and was utterly oblivious to events at ground level in the garden.
The first he knew about it was when there was a bang that we could feel and a glowing piece of something quite solid landed on his trousers, at which point he took his eye away from the viewfinder of his camera, started patting himself out, looked to one side, saw me brushing ash and debris off myself, looked to the other side, and saw a charred, spent, 3-feet-long wooden stick with empty rocket bindings that looked suspiciously familiar sitting only a few inches away from him. Smoking.
Swearing may have occurred.
We were a little bit shaken as we watched the rest of the fireworks. There was also a bit of concern when we saw that all five of the electrical fuses had fired, but there was still a rocket that hadn't gone off. This happens sometimes, a duff fuse or whatever, but this time round we were a little bit more cautious than we usually are about hunting out a lighter to make it fire the old-fashioned way. Disturbingly, it was Steve who was going "it's fine, it's definitely not lit, you can see that, give me the lighter" and so on. Maybe he just felt invincible or something. Anyway, the final firework went off safely, and we hung about for a bit with sparklers watching other people's displays
Anyway, we're all feeling pretty good, it could have been Very Bad Indeed but as it is, we're all okay. I have asked Steve to please not be dead any time soon. To back up my position, I pointed out that if he was dead, I would have to claim Tax Credits in order to get by, and no one deserves that. He agreed and will do his best to not get killed this year.
So, after that slightly shaky start to the year, things are pretty normal now. I have today to rest up and try and recover, and then tomorrow it's back to work. Thursday is the day I'm really worried about. My Specific Co-Worker won't be in, and although it's not like I'll be alone in the building or anything, I don't want to have to keep asking people (who already have other jobs to do) if they could give me a hand with XYZ. The Christmas rush seems to be more or less over, but it's still really a two-person job and I fear I may finish the day slightly behind on the work that needs doing. Even if I'm having a good day, four hours of Mary-effort is never going to equal four hours of Mary-effort plus eight hours of Co-Worker effort.
I also want to order some sort of birthday cake.