Oh, and we heard John the creative director doing the bardic thing with a telling of the full Beltane story (he had collected stories and descriptions from the different groups and points and put them together into a seamless whole).
A digression on torch balls
This year our standard torch balls were roughly grapefruit sized balls of shredded cotton sheeting wound around a core consisting of a tea light with all the metal removed. On initial testing, these worked so well that the balls burnt away to nothing in a period of jusat over half an hour - this is pretty darn' good, as our older firebrands would barely last this long.
For the coloured balls, we had copper and calcium chlorides and copper oxide. I don't think the temperature was high enough to get anything out of the calcium, and our first copper oxide ball was very disappointing (but as we'd made a batch before testing, we went ahead with them). The trick was to make a torch ball about three quarters of the usual size, and then take a wider strip of cloth laid out along the floor and put a line of the salt down it. Then, placing the ball at one end, roll it up carefully. A short length of ordinary fabric to tie it together, and then drop the ball into a freezer bag with a sprinkling of copper salt (the idea was to take the balls out of the bags, soak them in paraffin, and then rebag them when they were drained).
I was worried the balls wouldn't work awfully well, and made sure to let the folk at Earth Point (copper oxide - bluey green) and Water Point (copper chloride - greeny blue) know not to get their hopes up too high, but as we waited for the Red Men attack, I glanced back over the procession and saw flames of blue and green flickering around the torchballs.
The rest of Thursday night was spent at K Jackson's - the antepenultimate night of the Ancien Regime (Ronnie and Kay took the developers' offer, and Leslie will be running the bar for the next year or so).
Friday was strangely empty - almost all Beltane stuff out of the way. I wandered up to the Office anyway after work, to make sure that everything was where it needed to be (rescuing the copper oxide so we could re-dust the point balls before giving them out, and counting the torch rods and heads - mainly to ensure we had a clean head for the May Queen's gift). Then across to Favorit for nachos, and over to K Jackson's for a brief drink to say goodbye to Ronnie and Kay and welcome Leslie. it wasn't a brief drink at all, though, 'cos they had Andy Chung playing and he was bloody good.
So, home after closing time the night before Beltane - not awfully smart, really.