As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I was in Plymouth last week – not entirely at random, since I was there over the two nights of the British Fireworks Championships. I’d never heard of such a thing, but it’s easy enough to imagine; four displays a night, for two nights, with strict rules about budget, duration, the poundage of ordnance that can be fired, and requirements for both low- and high-level aerial kaboomitude.

Ten years on since they started doing this, the result is a quarter of a million people (or so…) standing on the Hoe, and hours of percussive fun, followed by said people exclaiming ‘ooooh! ahhhh!’ in unison. It’s rather good fun, and awfully pretty – fireworks being, of course, the one thing that blokes can say are ‘pretty’ without losing their macho street cred.

This year, the second night featured an additional curtain-raiser, with an attempt on the world record for simultaneous rocket launches. Which consisted of blowing the hell out of the headland launching more than 55,000 little rockets in less than five seconds. Which is less spectacular than it sounds, since it was essentially over before we’d all managed to turn and look. On the other hand, while the endeavour sounds barking mad, the true depth of lunacy required to do such a thing only really comes home once the smoke has cleared. Gloriously batty.

Photos here at the BBC (the first picture is of the headland exploding rocket launch), and on Flickr here.