Saturday 5 November 2016

Saturday 5th November - Fireworks and Lemon Barley Water

The best fireworks were always in Falmouth, at the end of carnival week in the Summer. They were the responsibility of the fire brigade, who would arrange for a barge to be moored in the middle of the water. We could watch from the warmth and comfort of the bay window in the upstairs sitting room, with regular supplies of coffee, whisky, hot chocolate, biscuits, cake... The shadowy figures of the firemen would appear and disappear between thick billows of smoke as they set off the fireworks, first from one end of the barge, then from the other.

The local radio station broadcast a special selection of fireworks music - "In the Hall of the Mountain King", that theme from "The Apprentice" ("March of the Knights from the Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet), the Handel "Music for the Royal Fireworks" (of course) and, for the Grand Finale, the Tchaikovsky 1812 overture. I have a feeling we recorded the broadcast on a cassette tape, and the children listened to it endlessly all the way home.

The thunderous bangs echoed around the harbour, sending the seagulls crazy, and the lights were reflected on the water, giving double the pleasure.

Usually, when we hear the fireworks going off all around the neighbourhood, some of the family stand at windows and doors to get a free show. This year, for some reason, we carried on (playing a board game, Ankh Morpork, if you must know).

It's getting late. Son has taken Daughter back to her flat, and Husband has gone up to bed with a glass of water, aspirin, cough sweets, and a glass of home-made lemon barley water.

Take half a pound of barley, and simmer for twenty minutes with three pints of water. Skim off the scum that rises to the surface. I have found that if you let it boil over, accidentally, the scum is what flows over and down the pan and all over the cooker, saving you the trouble of doing that skimming thing. Then add the rind of a lemon, and 2 ounces of sugar and let it cool. Finally, add the juice of the lemon, and strain into a jug. Or strain into a jug and add the lemon juice. I can't remember the correct order - does it matter? If you prefer it sweeter, add more sugar. You get about two pints for your trouble, and it is very soothing for a sore throat.

Good night.

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