Cruise Ships and Vikings

Cruise ships are a strange gig, there are never that many of you and you really don’t want to be shit. Friday saw us down at Clydeport Greenock to entertain the passengers of Discovery as she departed our shores. The threatened rain held off and we had a perfect evening to wow our captive audience. After causing a bit of friction with the dockside staff by marching too close to a forklift we got into our stride and paraded up and down the quay in great form, our nemesis counter marched, danced round us and waggled his tartan clad nethers at the cruisers. You know that when a giant inflatable teuchter is getting bigger cheers than you you need to up your game. But we are old dancing partners and it’s all part of the entertainment, we march back and forth, he dances in and out and then harasses individual members of the band much to the delight of the cruisers. As the ship slowly draws away from the quay we play Scotland the Brave and they love it. As a band we love playing these engagements. The drive back home usually involves chips.

This year for the first time we played at Largs Family Day, general consensus seems to have coalesced around the idea that this will be a short stroll along the promenade finished off with ice cream. Doddle!
General Consensus can go hang.
It’s a nice drive to Largs, my chauffeur was James the Hat, my travelling companion StuPo. Pleasant company for a lovely drive through some fine scottish scenery. I was expecting Largs to be jumping but it seemed strangely quiet for a Saturday lunch time. We 3 headed for the rendezvous and met up with our compadres, the usual bagpipe tuning and drum tapping routines kicked in and we were into pipe band mode. No sign of Big Stewart  though. Brian pronounced the pipers as ready as we were going to be and that there was no rush, this was a perfect time for pictures with strangers and general chit-chat. Still no Big Stewart. A lad in a loud jacket and top hat was identified as a street magician, it was wondered aloud if he could make Big Stewart appear. Still no-one knows the route. A pleasant chap in a hi-viz jacket herded us over to the start line at the Lifeboat Station, we formed up, as if by magic Big Stewart appeared. At exactly 12:30 Brian gave the shout and we were off.
We played along the promenade, totally drowned out a woman sing songs and playing guitar, scared away the seagulls and bullied our way through a crowd outside the amusement arcade. Most of us thought we were finished when we reached here. But what’s this? A nice Policeman is clearing a path for us through the ferry traffic, on we marched. What a place for a march, the views were stunning. Cumbrae to our right with Arran behind and the Firth of Clyde opening up before us, sun beating down and a nice sea breeze to keep us cool. We get days like this all the time, it only rains at competitions. On we marched, over the Gogo Water and on. We were now on a beachside walkway with few people so gave the playing a wee break to save our stamina for the grand entrance. Ahead of us giant tiger kites floated in the sky like backdrops from Sonic the Hedgehog, it was all getting a bit surreal. On we marched, playing again as we were getting near Broomfield where the Family Day awaited us. The park was full, there were loads of stalls and entertainments. We played into the park, finished and fell out for a wee spree on the stalls. We hadn’t realised that we were being followed by a cheerleader dance troupe most of the way, all pompoms, tans and loveliness. Somebody must have photos of them dancing to Bonnie Galloway. Heritage Ceilidh band entertained us for a bit and then we were on again, with the addition of sticky ice cream rings round mouths and a windmill on the big bass drum. After, as we watched the dancers, parents and grandparents approached with kids to have their photos taken with the big drum or holding pipes. Small children love pipe bands but are terrified of the noise. We were now free to eat ice cream or tablet or ice cream with tablet in.

We had a great time, thanks for asking us along and we hope to see you next year..

Cannae wait

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