Being an ex-pat at Halloween

Halloween approaches, and I’m preparing for my fifth year of haunting the covered bridge over the entrance to our neighbourhood. Once again I started talking about it back in August, and then forgot to do anything until the week before. To add to the excitement I’ve got one of my best friends and his new fiancée flying in from England to join in the fun, which means I have to be both coordinator and host. It’ll be a giggle but as you can imagine I’m rushing like an idiot when I know everything will be fine.

Halloween always amazes me as it is the time of the year when I really see my neighbours. Sure some of us chat throughout the year, but at Halloween everyone comes down this end of the ‘hood, and partakes of Ian’s craziness. It still makes me feel a bit weird when a neighbour thanks me for “doing Halloween again”, it is like when a few of the youngsters stopped Laura back in June and asked “Is Mr Ian doing Halloween again this year?”. When I was there age a year was forever, and even birthdays and Christmas seemed like a millennia away, and here are some of the neighbourhood’s children looking forward to Halloween all the way back in June! Laura is a vital part of the madness, and spent a good few hours today getting the flyers finished, and hand coloured, so that every house had a personal invite to the horrific festivities. (Thanks Laura, your involvement and tolerance of my mayhem is well appreciated.)

So to tonight, I’m enjoying a 16 year old single malt whiskey (over ice, thanks little bro!) and playing with a strobe light, a smoke machine, a glue gun, a bottle cap, and a plastic punch bowl (hopefully pictures to follow on Wednesday) whilst watching “Battle of Britain“. Seeing the airfields in the movie has made me realise how much airfields have played a part in my life. My childhood on Shennington and Rissington Kart circuits were both experiences of World War Two airfields, and my Aunty MAry lives very near Scampton, home of the Dambusters and the Red Arrows. My visiting friend Chris is from Snitterfield, and that again housed another airfield, in fact within five miles of Stratford we had Snitterfield, Long Marston, and Wellesbourne airfields. Life just wouldn’t be the same without the smell of hangers, or the sight of long concrete runways, and dusty dispersal areas. Snitterfield is amazing as a walk on the footpath through the woods reveals dispersal areas taken over by nature, a truely spooky experience.

So I’m missing the airfields of England, but not too much because here in my little corner of northern Virginia I’m at a point between so many military installations that you stop looking up at the sound of helicopters. When you can tell a Chinook from a Blackhawk from a small civil (or police) chopper, then you’ve been here long enough, and suddenly the airfields of Warwickshire seem quiet, without the excitement of regular military traffic.

Other than a slight lack of the airfields of England, tonight the “goblet of fire” for halloween seems to be working well, amazing what you can do with some foam insulation and a glue gun!


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