Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Mulled wine, bonfire, sparklers, lanterns, soup and sausages cooked over the fire, these are the essential ingredients of our winter festivals. Over the years we’ve held winter festivals snatched in the intervals between showers of rain, when we had to hurry inside for pudding with our last mouthful of sausage still being chewed, but this year we had the bonus extra of a still, starry night that wasn’t even all that cold.
Quite a few of our usual suspects weren’t able to be there, but we had the core tribe of children all here, who come together four times a year to construct ever more elaborate volcanoes and waterworks. Our first winter festival was seven years ago now. These kids have grown up with a midwinter fire festival every year and progressed from toddlers being helped to carry lanterns precariously dangling from short sticks, to big kids who can make their own, balance two on a long stick and understand the science behind getting fires to burn.
While the adults chatted around the bonfire, doled out soup and wine and cooked sausages, the children lit sparklers, fired up their volcano and then hurtled around the sandpit in the dark, occasionally showing up for refills of hot chocolate or more sausage.
The only way to lure them inside was also the most infallible. ‘Pudding, pudding, pudding,’ went up in a chant to the stars above and they all disappeared housewards before we’d taken a step in that direction. Reluctantly leaving the bonfire to burn itself out, we followed them in and doled out guava fool, sun jelly and chocolate pudding.
This morning the sleepover gang of kids woke to a misty damp morning, but were able to rekindle the bonfire and fire up the volcano once more, fuelling it with pine cones and dried restios. Licensed pyromania with one adult deputed to keep an eye on proceedings, lest they get too ambitious…