Our Firework night party was my first full-on social excursion. Despite me being annoyingly neurotic about shaking hands, kissing, licking, sucking, or sharing body fluids and thus coming into contact with bugs and triggering a full on medical emergency, it went ahead as normal. With our 2 boys, 1 girlfriend, 2 sisters of girlfriend, 3 friends of boys, 2 friends of ours, our neighbour, her daughter + her tiny daughter, two local farmers and Guy, this was our lowest turn out ever. We normally host an unwieldily large hodge-podge of friends, mixed with heavy rain, bollock freezing cold, too much donated food, effort, conviviality, unthreatening conversation (yuk yuk yuk), ‘garden’ (euphemism for crap, fizzle-out, safe, non-bangy, non-Chinese) fireworks. One year I had to go home for a lie down, green-diced-carrot-faced before the bonfire was even lit. Normally I end up lying in a wheelbarrow, cold, wet, burnt and dripping in sausage fat, while friends wonder why they bothered to come and prepare their excuses for next year. This year had to be at a different scale cos of me and my contact neurosis but we did not want to dump it all together and imply that CANCER = CANCEL – oh NO NO NO! I kept my distance, fended off any attempt at an embrace with a firm left hook, stayed out of the barow and off the mulled emetic but loved it!