I know what you're thinking; how weird to have got so far into October without Gert calling for a firework ban.
It has been suspiciously quiet up until now. Up until Saturday, anyway, when there were very loud bangs in close proximity to my house. I simply turned up the rugby and steeled myself.
Yesterday evening I was walking up my road when I encountered Jimmy's brother sitting outside the pub nearest to my house - about eight doors down. He invited me to join him, so I did. I had not been sitting there for long when a mighty kerfuffle broke out. A gang of about a dozen teenagers and children throwing fireworks at traffic, practically outside my house, and then running away. There were a dozen people outside the pub, half a dozen more walking by, and there was unanimity - it's not acceptable, something must be done about it. I am extremely sceptical that anything other than an outright ban will have any effect. It's against the law for people under 18 to possess - let alone buy - fireworks. It's against the law to throw fireworks in a public place. Last year I phoned the police to report 'youths' - probably the same Gang, throwing fireworks onto the South Circular, in the rush hour (at a spot where the speed limit is 40 mph). The thicko on Switch said 'if any police are passing, I'll get them to have a word'. So endangering life is worth 'a word'.
I asked whether Arsehole down the road is still selling them to children; interestingly he's not selling them this year. Obviously confining his criminal and anti-social behaviour to handling stolen credit cards and sexually propositioning under-age girls. Allegedly. The only place that is selling them, reportedly, is Lidl on Acre Lane.
This evening, about an hour ago, I was coming home on the bus. The bus turned onto the South Circular and suddenly, the bangs of fireworks. Teenagers running randomly onto the busy three lane dual carriageway. I get off the bus and immediately I am a nervous wreck. The smell of gunpowder is bad enough, but the bangs and flashes are very scary.
By the time I have crossed the road I am a nervous wreck. And I am not by nature a nervous person. I get some comfort by a police car arriving on a blue light and pausing outside the Youth Club (and whatever good that might have done once upon a time is entirely negated by it being a gathering place for every undesirable between 10 and 20 in the neighbourhood). It drives off and turns into my road, before driving onto the Estate opposite. I sneak past the aggressive looking group of teenagers 'hanging around' outside the shops and get home. At which point the bangs get louder and more frequent. Then I hear screams of pain from the end of Gert Boulevard. Real pain. Coming immediately after a bang at close proximity, I know that yet another person has been hit by a firework.
I hope it's not one of my neighbours or an innocent passer-by maybe walking home from Tesco. I hope it's one of the firework-throwing scrotes. I hope it's nasty. I hope that maybe they've lost an eye, or their eardrum has burst. Or their ugly little face is scarred for the rest of their short and brutal life. Unforgiving I am. There's been more sirens, even a helicopter circling (for what reason who knows - being near the junction of two main roads there's often a circling helicopter, some people saying being relatively close to the prison doesn't help).
And it's the noise the noise the noise the NOISE. That in itself would be bad enough. It's almost enough to make one a recluse but why on earth let those little pieces of shit ruin my life - the offspring of big pieces of shit who don't give a toss that their precious progeny are out causing mayhem on a school night. If you happen to see me out after dark between now and about the middle of November, and I'm behaving like a big wet nancy, you know why. I can't even go to the big fridge in the shed without jumping. In my own back garden.
I know there are still people who think that fireworks are wholesome fun, but I have yet to find one persuasive argument as to why they should be sold to any private unlicensed individual. I'm all for organised displays and I think licences should be cheap and non-onerous for anyone who can provide recent proof of a clean-ish Criminal Record. But even organised displays run by responsible adults cause accidents. So why anyone thinks selling them to children, idiots and criminals is acceptable defeats me.
And I will repeat my one good reason why public sale of fireworks, to children, or those buying them on behalf of children are extremely bad news
That was me, four years ago, 60 hours after being hit with a firework. The burns were superficial, the scars are barely visible in most lights. The psychological effects remain. I also believe that this was the onset of my CFS.
Two years ago I selected a variety of news stories from around the country (and further afield, too). It still shocks me to read it even without clicking the links.