(More from the Matlock Bath Tourist Board …)
So, here we are again, in the middle of the annual rolling Fire Festival – Halloween, Diwali, Bonfire Night – with which we try to ward off the arrival of Winter.
Like the Blackpool of my youth, Matlock Bath gets in early on this one with its Illuminations, which run from the beginning of September to the end of October.
The highest lights – which I was lucky enough to view – are the Venetian Nights. These apparently originated to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (she had visited as a young girl and had written how much she had enjoyed seeing the twinkling lights of Matlock Bath) and consist of a procession of small boats decorated with electric lights (accompanied, when I saw them, by Land of Hope and Glory played over the Tannoy).
Entries this year included a Formula 1 Racing Car, the Space Shuttle, Super Mario, a Mississippi Riverboat and Bob the Builder. My favourites, however, were Mr Toad –
and a horse-drawn Victorian hearse (rather alarmingly the entry by the St John’s Ambulance Brigade) –
I don’t think a fellow can really say that he’s lived until he’s seen a ghostly Mr. Toad being pursued up and down a river by a flaming hearse to the strains of Land of Hope and Glory.