So now I am being mocked by an anonymous commenter ON MY OWN BLOG. How did it ever come to this? But this person is leaving clues and I will track them down. Ha! I am not resting on my laurels, oh no. I'm re-reading all my Famous Five books to pick up tips on solving such things, and I will find this anonymous person even (or perhaps especially, or only) if they are keeping secrets locked in a high tower which is accessible only by the circus acrobats who I am sure will happen by soon.
But enough of this. Let's talk about something else. So today is the Twelfth. For those not from Northern Ireland, millions of years ago there was a battle and the people called Protestants beat the people called Catholics at a river called the Boyne. This battle happened on 12th July, so every year, people called Orangemen dress up in bowler hats and suits and white gloves and march around Belfast singing songs about sashes so that nobody forgets that they won. It also has something to do with a man called Billy who had a white horse and spectacularly wavy hair, but fortunately it is not a sectarian day so we now call it 'Orangefest' and invite tourists along.
Of course, since today is the Twelfth, even the slowest among you will have figured out that yesterday was the Eleventh (although I admit you may not have thought to work this out consciously, but you'll hardly have come to a different conclusion, now that you've thought about it). The Eleventh is also a special day in the Northern Irish Protestant calendar, when we all light bonfires and put Irish flags on top and get very drunk and use millions of pounds of taxpayers' money by creating a mess. It is fortunate, of course, that the Eleventh and Twelfth happen to be on consecutive days, because the local off licences have special deals and it is best to take as much advantage of these as possible; if you buy a 48-pack of blue WKD and don't quite get it polished off on the Eleventh, well, there's always the Twelfth.
Now normally I avoid such things much as one would avoid falling out of planes or having one's intestines ripped out by tweezers (apart from last year, when we decided that Dozavtra needed the cultural experience of seeing the bands - but as Dozavtra has a degree in music, I'm not sure that The Rising Star of East Belfast Flute Band was really her 'thing'), but my parents (who happened to be staying with me last night, for horticultural reasons) decided that they'd like to see what happens on the Eleventh night in Belfast. I think they wished to compare it with what happens in Ballywalter, which is, surprisingly, quite a lot. I was initially reluctant, but they regaled me with tales of the olden days (that should have been a warning in itself) when they had big street parties and people brought gramaphones into the street and they all danced (yes, yes, I know, but I'd had a glass of wine and somehow it all sounded much more sensible and convincing when they said it). So I agreed that we could go down the Cregagh Road and see if there was a bonfire to watch.
Half way down the road I remembered that I have something of a phobia of fire, which surely wasn't going to add to my enjoyment of the evening, but by this point the parents were enjoying themselves and mum had revealed that she'd brought money for chips and really I didn't feel I could spoil the evening.
Anyway, it was hideous. All tracksuit bottoms and WKD and broken glass and small scary looking children. And palm trees, for reasons which didn't make themselves apparent. So we got chips and went home.
As my great granny used to say, 'Well, that's the Twelfth of July over for another year... I wonder who'll still be alive next Twelfth of July?'.