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Well met by moonlight – A mid-summer nights firing

The Life of a Pyrotechnical – Rod Nipper and a Shakespearean Summer Display


A couple of weeks till the Summer Solstice and the longest day and as the sun sets over the Nottinghamshire hills it’s a great night for a small Prom night display.

The sun’s orange and yellow light silhouetting the trees and buildings on the horizon,  the clear cloudless sky overhead a darker blue with loads of white con trails from planes thousands of feet overhead as business people and holiday makers travel the great circle routes from Europe to North America.

Of course the pyrotechnician’s problem with this time of year is that it’s gone 10:15 pm yet still light enough not to need a torch, so looks like we’ll be pushing the legal limit for displays and firing around 10:45, good job it’s just a 6 min high impact show!



Well we might not have “a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,” but fairy lights are twinkling in the trees, and the shadows cast by the flood lights lengthen as the firers are adding another layer of clothing, meanwhile the students seem to be oblivious to the dropping temperature judging by the distinctly short dresses and shirtsleeves of those crossing the car park for a smoke or a quiet moment in the shadows.

Ok the bands got its second wind and is showing no sign of ending their set, although a few taxis are already taking revellers away, I’m not saying home, because I guess some will be going on to another club in the city to continue their revels.



Dew’s forming on the cold surfaces of the Cobra firing system, here comes the event organiser with an update, right ten minutes to go. Quick check around the adjacent garden area for Athenian lovers or maybe Oberon and Titania, “OK folks sorry to spoil your evening, but you’ll need to come out of those bushes ten yards from the display and go back to the car park.” as Shakespeare said “Lord what fools these mortals be”!

Right fire up the field modules, all key switches to arm, thank goodness the wind dropped from the stiff breeze blowing towards the audience when we arrived three hours ago, transmitter has synced and there’s a steady red glow from the armed indicator, now all we need is the band to stop and the guests to come outside.

Wedding Pyromusical on the shore of Grafham Water


“Yes go and change the battery on your camera, we’re not ready to fire the show yet”.

Right are we ready?  Where’s that guy with the camera got to?

“Yes of course you can press the button to start the show”, well that seems to have made one guy’s night any way.

Right here we go, the cameraman’s back, the event organiser, he says Yes,

OK press that button ….

Well that went well, now just the clearing up, and in case the neighbours complain, there’s always Shakespeare to fall back on –

“If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumbered here.. While these visions did appear.”

Lavinia Wedding

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