On Saturday night I was flying back to Inverness from London with d'Artagnan. The pilot drew the passengers' attention to all the fireworks and bonfires over the capital-more riots quipped I?-only joking-but it made me think I must prepare a blog to celebrate not Mr Guy Fawkes, but Douglas Blades.
Whilst those of a particular class enjoy The Season-be that the Home Nations Rugby; The Derby; Wimbledon; and Henley Regatta, those of us who were particularly privileged to grow up in Oxgangs in the 1960s enjoyed our very own Season.
As a boy I enjoyed each of the different staging posts that marked the four seasons and the ongoing, changing and yet paradoxically never changing cycles of each year. As a child one assumes it was ever thus and ever more, not realising that what one is experiencing will only last for not much more than a decade or so if one is lucky, but because it's at such an impressionable age, the memories last a lifetime.
|This card in a funny way reminded me of Douglas on Guy Fawkes night-almost a ringmaster!|
I'm not sure what motivated him? He clearly enjoyed the spectacle of it-the wonderful flashing lit display and the sounds of the bangs and noises that emanated. He would have enjoyed the excitement and sheer spectacle of it too. But as I got older and more reflective I also wondered whether it was something that he felt a responsibility to do, being the eldest in the family with six younger sisters?
|Usually my limit-but good fun when put in a Co-op or Dummy Bottle in The Stair!|
|A bit better after saving with the RS McColl Fireworks' Club!|
One or two local fathers would put on a display too-usually it might be Mr Leslie (4/1) or Mr Bowman (4/6)-these fathers would have a standard box. If they were clever they would get it out of the way before Dougie Blades arrived with the big guns!
There was always a bing of the standard fare of sparklers and rockets; but I think Douglas enjoyed searching out more exciting fare-not just Catherine Wheels and Jumping Jacks or Roman Candles; Jack-in-the-Box; Helicopters; Flying Saucers; and Mount Vesuvius but fireworks which would be launched into orbit giving off the loudest crashes and bangs-we're talking AIR BOMBS!!-we're talking-MINES OF SERPENT!!!.
There was a touch of Schadenfreude! Douglas would save the most spectacular fireworks for the very end and from which he took the biggest pleasure-those fireworks gave off a series of very loud bangs, but had built in delays-when everyone thought the firework had fizzled out suddenly gave off the loudest bang of the evening-it was ear-shattering and always caught many members of the audience out-I can still hear Douglas chuckling-a touch similar to his mum Helen's laugh now that I think about it!
Looking back, it was a wonderful community contribution. It was something which everyone enjoyed-even those children not allowed out would be brought to sitting room windows to watch, be thrilled by and enjoy Douglas' fireworks display. None of us ever thought of thanking Douglas for putting the display on, so on behalf of all the dozens of us who enjoyed your displays throughout the decade of the 1960s I'd like to say a BIG THANK YOU DOUGLAS ! Perhaps if like the ringmaster look-a-like above, Douglas had taken a bow, we would have applauded him more!
|Poignant -1972, my last Douglas Blades Display|