I’ve temporarily escaped from the fire that threatened to set alight me, the small boy beside me and the shop behind me.
The masked guys towing the huge burning brazier had stopped for a rest, and the street draught sent the flames licking towards us and the building against which we cowered. Luckily they heaved off again down the main street of Leistal, in Switzerland, dangerously cutting the next corner, sending spectators running.
Tonight is the start of Basel’s Fasnacht – so I’ll be out again for 4am. Liestal (capital of half canton Baselland) sneaks in its own festival of fire in earlier in the evening.
It’s basically a succession of fife/piccolo and drum bands, adults and some children shouldering large burning torches and incandescent fire trolleys. It’s dramatic and very hot.
The Swiss – notorious for their observance of rules and regulations – apparently shelve all ideas of health and safety on special occasions. Though their were fire fighters loitering along the route to pat down fire carriers who managed to set themselves of fire.