Helensburgh n aw that

Where to start?
This was a busy weekend for the band and thankfully we have the dedicated players to cover our varied engagements. Friday evening saw a contingent down at the seaside entertaining the cruise ship passengers. Word on the street is that they were very well received.
Saturday was Bishopton Gala Day, one of our regular street parades. The weather was threatening but as Brian shouted “Band, by the right etc etc” the clouds evaporated, the sun beat down and off we marched slowly cooking in our kilts. The good thing about Bish gala day is there are no horses or cows, cows hate us. There is always a good crowd on the route, which is long and convoluted and runs through the heart of the village. The bustle increases as we approach the park and we play the Scotland the Brave set for what seems ages, this always gets them cheering. It’s a long march in the sun so wee Lucy was told to wait at the park for us and join us as we played for the lieges in the arena. We made it into the park without tripping over a rope or impaling Basso on a fence stake thankfully. All in all a very satisfactory performance all topped off with lashings of ginger beer courtesy of Bobby. Cheers Bobby. (My ginger beer had no ginger).

Saturday part 2 saw a dash down the M8 to Cardwell Garden Centre and another performance for our friends in Gourock at their Family Barbeque. A pipe band marches on its stomach apparently. Once again we were well received, even when both sets of pipers play different tunes. A smashing place in a beautiful location.

Sunday began at Costa Coffee in Dumbarton where we met for a coffee and buns and a check to see who was there and if they knew how to get to Helensburgh. It was a perfect lazy Sunday morning and the drive to Helensburgh was glorious. I kept fretting that I’d forgotten my Glengarry but brushed it aside as pre-competition jitters. With the car parked and the unloading started I made a horrible discovery.
There is one prerequisite for being a player of the bagpipes in a bagpipe playing competition and that would be bagpipes, of which I had none. They were snuggled up safe and warm in their bag lying on my couch. Shit! Oh the hilarity. So I’m now the Official Band Fud. It’s going to take something fairly monumentally stupid to get me off the front page, oh woe!

I spent the day getting sunburn and eating cakes and walking round the pipers as they tuned up, pretending I was being helpful but probably just annoying them. Brian and Neil worked their magic on wonky chanters and troublesome drones and before you knew it they were sounding good and heading to the line. KPB were playing in Grade 4 and Grade 3, there is no qualifying in minor competitions, you play and you’re judged. Nice and simple. Brian gave the shout and on they marched in a cloud of bubbles. The band played and Richard and I stood about like a couple of expectant fathers. Not bad, not to bad at all. After congratulating the guys it was back to the arena to watch the competition and I seem to remember remarking to someone that I thought our drum corps had stolen it, hark at me!

What could be better? The weather was lovely and all around you could hear bagpipes and drums, women nattering and weans zooming about. A perfect way to spend a Sunday. Now Brian and Neil have returned and it’s, “Straighten that tie,” and “oh dear me what have you done to this reed?” Let the tuning commence for the Grade 3 competition which has the addition of First Scottish Milngavie to the 3 Grade 4 bands “playing up.” The guys did us proud, a good solid performance.

The day was reaching its end and as Richard took down the Event Shelter I absent mindedly put it back up until told to stop. My mind was elsewhere by now, planning what to play at Bridge of Weir Music Weekend (I remembered my pipes but word had spread and I got ridiculed mercilessly). As we headed back home the word came through that the band had taken 3rd place in Grade 4, brilliant, but the drum corps stole the show, Best Corp of Drums, first place. WooHoo! I’m so please that all the hard work has paid off for the guys.
4th place in Grade 3 will do for now but watch this space. And as for Forres on the 28th..

Cannae wait!

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