Today, we were up in Worcestershire; and as we drove home down the dark motorway, we watched rockets flying up into the sky, from all the towns and villages along the way. Strensham, Tewkesbury; Gloucester and Stonehouse.
Back at Symbolic Towers, we have a tiny little pocket garden, almost all of it rather flammable. Now, if you read the instructions on a box of fireworks, you’re supposed to leave more space between firework and buildings, firework and burnables, firework and yourself, than we ever have any chance of having behind our house.*
Despite that, when we got home, we went through to the back of the house and stood out in the garden, the air damp and smoky, and listened to the sound of Bonfire Night. Living in a city, the dark evening was a constant bubble of crackles and bangs, deep bass thumps and high-pitched, tense rattles. Every now and then the sky would flash; every now and then there would be a rocket close enough to see. We stood out, until it got too cold, stood still, sniffed the burning in the air and listened to the noises of the fireworks. The noises of winter starting.
* Of course, the same applies to the vast majority of gardens, because you’re supposed to leave a huge amount of space for safety. But that doesn’t really alter the fact that, if we were to try setting off a rocket from our little patch of land, we – and the garden – would end up rather singed.
I felt quite ill last night, and wrote a blog post in a delirious haze which absolutely no sense at all, which is why it’s since been deleted. As to why I felt quite so ill, I’m not entirely sure. But I’m blaming the stench.
I came home last night, and the first thing to do was feed the cat. So, of course, I go to the cupboard, and find a rather inflated packet of cat food. Not a good sign.
The only thing to do, though, was to move it. And as soon as I took it out of the cupboard, the stench hit me.
Now, some people have smelled horrible smells. Some people work in stenching plants,* or fish factories. I’ve smelled our reception after people from the local fish plants have popped by, and they don’t leave a very good smell behind them. Some people have smelled sewage works, week-old battlefields, rotting seaweed, and many other horrible things. But all these people, when they smell the smell of a rotting pouch of cat food, so rotted it has inflated, would say: “bloody hell, that smells bad.”
It smells awful. It smells disgusting. It turned my stomach. I still felt nauseous several hours later, and there’s still a tinge of it about the kitchen.
The cat, sensibly, fled, and didn’t come back until morning.
* the places where they add the “gas smell” to gas, so that you can smell it when there’s a gas leak. Gas fresh out of the ground doesn’t smell of anything at all, and the concentrated liquid that gets added to produce the smell smells, I imagine, vile.