I should have kept quiet about restarting the blog. The grand visions of tales of trophies won has grown a bit jaded. I’ll leave it to Brian, Neil and Stewart to dissect the sheets and pick over the bones of a shocking own goal.
The day started in fine form. The ancient Scottish weather gods were holding any foretold downpours at bay. It was still only 10:30 and as this is a local event pipers and drummers were arriving in dribs and drabs. There was a lot of hanging about and jawing until it became time to erect the Event Shelter and then the first great act of comedy unfolded. The great eight-some reel began that sees pipers and drummers dance slowly around Basso, all carrying bits of poles and looking bemused.
“The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The piper loud and louder blew;
The dancers quick and quicker flew;
They reel’d, they set, they cross’d, they cleekit, ” and the Shelter slowly arose and chairs unfolded like spring flowers and Michael cried, “Where are the pegs?” Probably in the Glenleven Inn. No pegs, disaster! I think James mugged a Gypsy because he magically reappeared with pegs and a hammer. The thing was up, in years gone by this signaled the opening of the beer but not any more, we are a grown up and mature band now, out to compete and not just fill up a space.
Now about this time the furry assassin must have been entering the park. We all stood about contemplating the glorious weather and considering getting instruments ready for combat. Friends, admires and mothers were adding to the fun and then the furry assassin padded up and pee’d on Adam’s jacket. “Oh ho” We cried, “that’s good luck!” Someone said the dog had a judges badge on it’s collar but I refuse to believe this. Poor Adam, away washing his pungent arm and missing all the hilarity, it was mooted that if we won a prize we should have a dog pee on Adam before every competition.
Brian and Neil marshaled the pipers and Stewart corralled his drummers and the serious stuff began; tuning, checking, more tuning, practicing tunes, practicing starts, attacks, finishes. All the stuff Pipe Majors and their staff revel in. And when it was nearly time Neil pronounced us ready, we had a sound. He then spoke soothing words to anxious pipers and gingered us up. Good man!
The weather held fair while we played in the Grade 4 Competition and a few spots of rain as we left sent people scurrying for capes, Stoo was however resplendent in his flat leather cap and Barbour shooting jacket. As Brian readied the pipers for their first foray into MSR territory the rain began to make its presence felt, the decision was taken to ditch the capes before entering the circle, a good one as it happened because the rain stopped and the band played. But as we made our way down from the Arena we saw huge black storm clouds massing on the Argyll shore. Time for soup and burgers at the Boolin Club. God bless the Gourock Park Bowling Club. They provide the nourishment to keep weary bandsmen on their feet, my order however got lost and I had to steal one before bolting for the Event Shelter and another round of tuning and tweeking before the Grade 3 Competition in which we improved our game. The Auld weather gods had seen fit to let KPB play in the dry all day but as we headed away from the Arena the sky darkened and a persistent deluge began. I have no idea how those on after us played in such conditions, our friends in Johnstone Pipeband looked drookit, they still managed 4th. All over the park gazebos stood tall in the downpour packed with people in capes huddling together for warmth. We had 3 birthdays in May so there was plenty of cake, thanks to Isy and Rebecca and thanks to James for the Rusty Nails to help keep out the damp.
The march past we had all be waiting for was cancelled and Brian and Stewart were dispatched to collect the sheets while a damp pipeband dismantled the Shelter and ran for home. That more or less completes my tale, the next run out is on 31st at Bathgate for the British Championships, see you there.
KPB encircle the cake