Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This Country's gone Crackers

I had noticed the packs of fireworks in the supermarket in the days leading up to New Year's Eve, and thought it funny that in a country where crossing the street against the green man can lead to a slow moving Oma springing into action to affect a citizen's arrest for such a flagrant disregard for the rules and public safety, that fireworks are so readily available to all and sundry.

The sale of fireworks in Australia is illegal, except of course in Canberra, the home of the 3 Ps - politics, pornography and pyrotechnics. They were eventually banned after generations of children had lost fingers, and their sight due to unfortunate accidents with Catherine Wheels and Roman Candles on Cracker Night.

The first salvos of New Year's Eve were fired slightly prematurely at around 3 minutes before midnight by small clusters of people out on the street. It seemed that every household had a cache of motars and they were determined to outdo each other.

I decided to observe this ritual from the safety of our house.

It lasted for around 30 minutes, but by the 10 minute mark, the street was so full of smoke and the smell of gunpowder that you could hardly see anything, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a war zone, rather than a 30km/h zone.

How ever you celebrated, I hope 2008 is a cracker - and that you have all your fingers intact.

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