Let me tell you a sad tale.
On the Friday night before Bishopton Gala Day I began to experience old age twinges around my right ankle. By bedtime I couldn’t put weight on it so I sent Pipey a text crying off from the Bish march to rest my ankle for Sunday. Saturday saw me limping around the gathering band and getting accused of faking a broken leg to get out of the march (which is a long one), as if I would.
Bishopton Gala Day has become a fixed event on our social calendar, a quick march round the village leading the parade and then into the arena for a bit and finally the bar. But before that it’s time to gather the fines for lost/forgotten kit and tardiness. Jo tried to disguise herself as a high caste Indian princess but was spotted and relieved of £10 for offences many and varied. Ouch!
The band led the parade off and as the drums crashed and the pipes brayed the horses pulling the Gala Queen reared up and panicked backwards, everyone’s a critic. We have our new shiny pipers out today, their first big march as Lilias Day was cancelled. The march is uneventful apart from a tenor drummer fleeing the parade to bean up in a local residents toilet and the awful marching that had Big Davey in tears. The horses decided to join the drum corps on the march, blowing in Stoo’s ear seductively.
The new guys did a brilliant job and by the end of the summer will be seasoned pros.
Sunday saw most of the band turn up about an hour early at Costa to avoid the fines and get something for the headache. Bishopton had ended badly for some in a Greenock nightclub and I had miraculously regained full use of my leg at a party and had celebrated with some burlesque dancing. Some were so afraid of fines they drove right past us and arrived at Helensburgh far to early. We sussed out the parking last year so everyone was more or less in the same area as we headed into the park to begin that well known routine; Event Shelter up, drummers wander off banging drums, register, wander about, put on midgie cream. This week we are introduced to our new band waterproof jackets courtesy of Securitas, very stylish.
Tuning up seemed rather painless as only a few chanters were howling and someone else was Drone Monkey, yes dear reader I was playing. So it’s just a case of keeping your head down and doing what you’re told as Brian and Neil do their magic. The weather was cloudy but cold and just as we marched from final tuning to the arena the sky darkened and the only rain shower of the day began as we approached the line. 1 2 drip squelch!
Even with the atmospheric hindrance I didn’t disgrace myself, job done! Back at base the sausage rolls and cups of tea are shared out and people begin to drift off to listen to other bands. Kintyre Schools played and we look forward to seeing them at Brodick this year. We hung about long enough to hear Inveraray and District play a medley then bolted back to base to tune up for the Grade 3 competition which I have decided to not play in as I want to follow my dream and be a photographer. The guys played in the dry this time and I thought they sounded good. Big Stewart even smiled on exiting the arena. While we wait for the march past we break camp and decant everything back into various cars. I took a sick Tenor drummer home and awaited the results, we were defending Best Corps of Drums from last year and really wanted to retain it. The results were excellent; Overall 2nd in Grade 4 and 4th in Grade 3 but Best Corps of Drums in Grade 4 and 3. Brilliant work guys. Hats were thrown into the air.
Finally, on Monday we put a mini band out to parade the primary school children to their Leavers Dance, this has grown over the years and this year we had to march in threes. A departure from the usual conga line that wends it’s way from the Steeple to the School. The weather held and the kids looked resplendent in their finery and not an overpriced Limo in sight.
Our next outing is the European Championship in Forres, bus leaves at 6pm on Friday.