The day starts at 3pm, not 4 as most of you think. The Event Shelter won’t put itself up, although it would probably make a better job of it if it did, so four of us did a merry Quadrille carrying poles and pegs and bits and bobs. Then we had to sweep it out and fit the furniture, then position the Bouncy Castle and an endless list of gazebo erection and smelly candle installation. The Annual End of Season Barbeque has, after a few years wandering about car parks and peoples back doors, settled into the Glenleven Inn. We have become quite comfortable in the Glenny over the years and were a bit apprehensive about how the new management team would receive us. Hazel and Isy worried out all the details with Frazer Manager while I eyed the barbeque with disquiet, it was tiny. My brain was doing frantic arithmetic; Time = Quantity over Capacity, I could see a long queue in the near future.
At exactly 4pm our first guests arrived and failing to notice our hard work got stuck into the face painting, bouncy castle and roundabout. Nothing gets a party going like face painting, nothing! As this was not a competition the sun was shining and most people congregated in the beer garden, the complimentary drinks helped oil the wheels of sociability and everything was going like clockwork. A man in a white jacket appeared and lit the tiny gas barbequette, he totally failed to fill it with coals and give us a rerun of last years conflagration, gutted. I was still worried about cooking fast enough to feed the gannets when the Men in White appeared with trays of oven cooked burgers ready for a quick incineration to impart flavour. Once again the Glenny did us proud, a huge array of dishes appeared and people began to shovel pasta, salad and all the barbeque favourites onto their plates. Just about now a tray of burgers and a whole pot of hot dogs went crashing to the ground, I’m sure the 5 second rule was in play but Chefy hauled them away for disposal. The poor bloke then got a telling off for undercooking some of the burgers, you’d be amazed at how many people don’t like burger tartare. James the Hat appeared about now, minus the hat and disreputable chair but carrying much trout. This was handed to Chefy and vanished into the kitchen. More friends arrived, then some more, then a few stragglers wandered in as the rolls ran out and burgers ended up in hot dog buns. Shock and scandal. Three hours in and most of the revellers had enjoyed a fine feed but what had happened to the food for the speciality dieters; gluten free, vegetarian etc. The vegetarians, being a resourceful lot, had already scoffed all the pasta and salad when late in the day the veggieburgers appeared. I think people ate them out of a feeling of, “well they went to the bother of cooking them.” The gluten free appeared next and then James’ fish appeared, well 2 of the 3 anyway. Chefy either dropped one or póchled it for later. I shouldn’t give the Men in White a hard time, they were working under ridiculous constraints. The microgrillette was better suited to a small backyard gathering and under the circumstances they performed admirably.
It gets cold early in September and we retired to the interior of the pub for heat and mirth. We’re a loud lot when we get started and that was without Big Gordy there to initiate his own brand of mayhem. About 8 o’clock the children had to leave and the noise levels soared. The karaoke man arrived but was having technical issues with the new telly and Sky News flashed off and on for a while before we dispatch resident techie and all round good egg Coinneach to sort him out and then wish he hadn’t because the Unelected Social Committee stole the mic and begun announcing the long feared awards. Adam was honoured for having been piddled on by a dog, Big Stewart for inebriation, me for forgetting my pipes, Neil for his masterful cockup at Paisley and Melissa for being the bestest Pipey of the year. I think we need to reward achievement next year, especially with so many junior pipers and drummers coming through the teaching program.
The Unelected Coven are to be commended on a fine awards ceremony. We now watched the slideshow of our 2014 highlights (not yet on YouTube) and cheered every picture, I’m afraid it had got to that stage of the evening. The last picture faded away and Brian and Isy launched into a Broadway quality rendition of Summer Nights followed by Grant’s creepy Delilah and that was it until the pakora was served, Brian was taken home by his Mum and the Black Bottle ran out. James the Hat had never sung karaoke so he was dragged up for a massed choir giving 500 miles laldy. The evening finished with massed singing of American Pie and more whisky. When I bailed out there were a few diehards talking about a walk to the Turkey Farm for a wee hauf. No idea if they made it, they never made practice on Sunday anyway.
That’s the season put to bed. A huge thank you to everyone who supports the band throughout the year, your support is invaluable to us and is much appreciated. I think our next parade is Remembrance Sunday
I beg your pardon, I never promised you a beer garden