OK, so one of the small towns in these parts has Christmas Eve fireworks, with a procession and some carol singing preceding the gunpowder and metal salt based bangtertainment. Sounds like a jolly little evening diversion between wrapping up the last presents and settling in for ham and mince pies. The fireworks are done by my mother-in-law's* friend's son, who has a proper pyrotechnics firm that go round Proper Actual Places and do Proper Actual big firework displays, so it's worth seeing. Year before last the police made them put the fireworks on 15 minutes early, so we saw them at a distance, from the bypass (well done idiot police). So, this time we turned up early just in case. A ha ha ha ha. Ha ha.
We hung about. It was not like it is in Europe. Bugger Europe, it was not like it is in the next town over. There was no mulled wine stand, there were no mince pies. The parade started from the bottom of the hill. The parade was (I think) supposed to be a "lantern procession" up the hill from the square to the castle, but in fact went down like this: Car with flashing light; old Bentley bearing beardy chap in Santa suit and burning its clutch out; small silver band; a mass of the general public about 10% of whom had glowsticks; small drumming crew. Well done everybody.
A man wearing a hi-vis vest appeared on a stage and began speaking into a microphone while the drumming crew were still finishing up their vaguely samba-themed thing. The man became audible. He had a patter similar to one of those fellows who sells cut price tea towels at a market (NOT ten pounds not EIGHT pounds girls not even FIVE pounds step up here love these are quality towels I'm not doing these for three pounds TWO POUNDS for this bundle of towels and I'll throw in a dishcloth as well love). Mother-in-law whispers to me "that's the vicar". Jesus Christ, that's church these days is it? He can't be shifting many towels.( carols, Hitler, Leonard Cohen )
*not technically "in law" but I like the term "mother-in-law"