After putting the word about, I was introduced to explosives expert, Bouncing Betty. Not her real name.
Bouncing Betty turns up to an undisclosed Melbourne location, loaded up with highly flammable paraphernalia and a large plastic receptacle on wheels, of which she has spent the afternoon cutting out a window with power tools, “so that we can see.” Fortunately, she and her mother have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.
“You guys are so antsy,” she tuts as our host, Uncle Rocket, shoots me a mean look and fetches a fire extinguisher from his car.
There are a few false starts as Bouncing Betty can’t get the bugger lit with matches. “It won’t start,” she observes, peering in as the photographer and I yelp.
“We’ll leave natural selection to run its course,” mutters Uncle Rocket.
With the aid of a big stick dipped in petrol, the receptacle starts making ominous noises and I retreat to observe behind the shelter of a jasmine twig.
The thing goes off like a frog in a sock. Following the sparkle show (BB’s secret ingredient), we’re treated to a 100ft pillar of flame. There are five massive explosions, if you don’t count the smaller bangs of metal missiles landing on the roof.
We’ve barely time to ooh and ahh before Uncle Rocket’s neighbours are shouting over the fence to see if we know what just made their whole house shake. That’s pretty cool – it must have been a real Donnie Darko moment for them.
Keeper? Afterwards Bouncing Betty admits her explosive expertise hasn’t extended to a missile of this size before, but no harm done. Apart from that lawn.