Around this time of year, you can't see through the dodgy bonfires in everyone's gardens and the budget fireworks lighting up the sky - but this year my amazing friend Simon decided to treat me to a night at Betley Bonfire. Rated in the top three bonfire nights in the UK. So of course I was expecting the best. I was not disappointed.
I am however disappointed that I forgot to bring my actual camera so all I have are dodgy iPhone shots, and singed hair from getting too close to the bonfire itself - but never mind. Off we go.
When we arrived we were led into a huge muddy field, and after a few minutes of protesting - I finally sported the wellington boots that Simon had so thoughtfully brought with him. Who knew you couldn't wear leather brogues to a bonfire? Being one of the first people there we had some time to wander around and go on rides faster, and my god were there some intimidating rides.
Now the first one I had to mention was - The worlds tallest portable swing ride. How do I know this? Because the voice over the speaker said it EVERY. FIVE. MINUTES. No matter where you were in the park, you were informed of that fact consistently until it was normal conversation to remind your friend that it was the worlds tallest portable swing ride at the end of every sentence. I will admit however that it was massive. In fact it was the worlds tallest port... never mind.
You are strapped in, in seats of two and slowly rotated all the way up to the top of the tower, that was slowly swinging from side to side in the wind. Due to the fact that I couldn't stand the idea of the ridiculously strong wind casually swinging me into the pole we didn't go on it. That and Simon's fear of heights. However I wouldn't want to bully him too much about it.
Speaking of bullying Simon about heights, the second ride was one I truly wanted to go on. Of course the name has escaped me, but it swung you around in a circle so high that I could see Simon getting dizzy from looking at it and not only that, but the pod that you were sat in, swung around too. Causing you to be upside down or facing the ground through most of the ride.
Casually ignoring my terrible attempts to take a photo of a fast moving ride, the thing was huge. When I had finally used the puppy dog eyes to grind down Simon's feeble attempts at not going on it, we turned to see the pod wobble. Not just a little, but ALOT. Causing them to stop the ride early and allow the riders off. It didn't seem to be too big of a deal as after a little look at the ride, they let other riders on but it was enough to terrify the crap out of me and fill me with visions of this catapulting the riders across the country.
Now down to the rides we did go on. Now as a constant visitor to carnivals and fairgrounds I am a frequent rider on the Waltzers and the Twizzlers. Too many Z's in those names to me. However, these rides were the most viscous and fast that I have ever been on. It was as if the controller decided to go to sleep and knock the speed switch onto "Unhealthy". Leaving me wobbly and with a throbbing heart after getting off both.
Other than all of the rides (there was alot more, and plenty to do for the children) the entire grounds were taken over by stalls of every type of food and drink you could ever want. Seriously. Picture right now your favourite food. Picturing it? Yep, they had it. You didn't think they would? Well, trust me they did.
Not to mention lots of impossibly hard carnival games, that me and Simon spent lots of time watching to gage of difficult they were to complete. Some of those are impossible and make me want to kill whoever created them but my god I would just spend all of my money on there just to win the giant Toblerone they had as a prize.
Since uploading this photo I have noticed there is a little girl peering through the clouds of cuddly toys. So as a mini game - let's play where's Wally. Or even Where's the child I accidentally shot? She did not look happy.
Now to one of the main events. Why the bonfire of course! Now this bonfire took up half of the farm, and was the tallest bonfires I have ever seen. I might just have been the world's tallest port...damn it all. Anyway! It was massive, and I couldn't understand how they were going to light it all up.
The bonfire was lit from all sides by the volunteers with green flares and my heart almost fell out of my cheat in fear that they would be burnt. Still confused as to how the hell they would light it all there was an almighty bang that terrified me. The fires had sparked fireworks that ran all the way up the bonfire to Guy Fawkes himself who then lit on fire in the most spectacular way. After waiting quite a while, and the fire slowly building the fireworks started. So me and Simon grabbed blanket and took our seat on a hilltop to watch them. I loved that they did it this way, so you didn't have to strain your neck looking up at them.
The fireworks were spectacular and they were timed perfectly with some spooky music such as Thriller by Michael Jackson. Now once again, here are my pathetic attempts at taking photos of moving, bursting and sparkling objects.
I told you that they were bad and they truly didn't do them justice. To be honest, I was too busy staring up at them with my mouth wide open like a child to concentrate on photo quality. Bad blogger Jacqui. While the fireworks display was going on, I was getting progressively hotter and hotter and I couldn't understand why until I turned around to the magnificence that was the bonfire.
I had never seen fire like it. It was if it was a volcanic eruption, and it was lava. The heat was unbearable and it was a struggle to get close enough to it to take a photo but of course we battled through just to show you. Oh, and of course to take an awesome photo for Instagram which we found out was impossible.
Neither flattering nor sensible. So after a few singed hairs and sweating like crazy to take them we decided to leave as it took us around an hour to get out of the car park. In the end 9,000 people turned up to the event. Now imagine 9,000 people trying to get out of the muddiest place on earth in single file. It was madness, and thanks to the amazing volunteers in their high vis jackets, we all managed to get pushed out of the mud and back into the world. Although I must mention as he told me a million times - that Simon is an amazing driver and didn't get stuck once.
I have to say that it was an amazing night, full of fun, food and fireworks. I would definitely recommend anyone to go, and my only advice would be to take some boots as it gets super muddy. I want to say a big thank you to Simon for taking me and nod my rather hefty hat to all of the volunteers who made the night amazing and safe for everyone.
What's been the best bonfire night that you have been to? Let me know!