Cèilidhs and Poppies

The words ‘Fancy Dress’ were added to ‘Annual Cèilidh’ in a fit of mischief by our new Drum Sergeant, Stewart, who likes to spread panic and fear. Our annual shindig is always on the same night each year, we arrange it to clash with the Scouts’ Firework display, we have our reasons. When I arrived to help set up the gig there were already plenty of helping hands and tables and such like were out and getting made ready. Clamjamfrie were wandering about doing musician stuff, eating peanuts, drinking beer.

In the members lounge Widow Twanky was having the final touches to her énsemble titivated. She grinned, I said Hello (no idea to whom I was speaking) and James the Hat’s voice issued from the crimson lips. I do believe he batted his eyelids at me, tart! Up until now I wasn’t really sure the Fancy Dress bit was going to be taken seriously however as I held my aching sides Jack and Victor, Spiderman, The Addams Family, Spongebob Squarepants, a Stormtrooper, Death and a whole host of others began to arrive. Big Joe announced, “Take your partners for the Gay Gordons” and we’re off and running. Uncle Fester and Morticia took the lead closely followed by the Broken Doll and Firemen. James le Chapeaux was a fine sight as he swept majestically by.

Every year we raffle a hamper and every year Big Joe wins it, guess what? Aye! With this concluded it was buffet time. James of the Golden Curls had got the pies in and Isy of St Trinian’s and Hazel were heating them up and sweating over vats of peas and beans. We used to spend a fortune on sandwiches (sangwitches) and wee sausages and vol a vongs when what was needed was pies and beans  with a wee bit of home baking. As I sat eating my second pie and sipping my coffee Big Davey approached me,

“Are you drinking coffee?”


“You’ve changed!”
He stalked away laughing maniacally. During this time the kids had been dispatched and were mercilessly extracting money from one and all for the raffle and whisky trail, Derek drew the winners of the Quiz and the tables were cleared. We decided to draw the raffle and Spiderman suddenly realised he had no tickets and Isy halted the proceedings for him, his spider sense must have been working overtime when he chose them. Someone won a prize, Spiderman won a prize, Spiderman won a prize, Spiderman won a prize, someone won a prize, Spiderman won a prize, The Mime won a prize, Spiderman won a prize but was so embarrassed he gave it back then Big Joe won the good Whisky and closed the raffle by announcing another Gay Gordons and the dancing began again. About one o’clock, after Mikey’s Mum won the Whisky Trail and the dancing was over the last verse of Ian Davison’s song ‘Room for Us A’ in the Dance’ ran through my head.

An’ noo it’s time fur toddlin’ hame
and maist o the people are limpin lame
an quite a few folk lyin ther maimed,
n thers room fur us aw in the dance.

3am saw me, Widow Twanky, Spiderman and a Country Gal sitting blootered in the Member’s Lounge talking about Kierkegaard, Sartre and Existentialism.

Sunday was a solemn affair, we arrived and tuned up before heading down the hill to the War Memorial. Remembrance Sunday is usually a crisp frosty affair, watery blue skies and hand warming gizmos in gloves but it was looking blustery with hints of driech to follow. We got organised this year, Brian had been thinking about it. No rerun of the drum rolls starting in the second bar of the tune this year. So after the minister finally arrived and the two minute silence had been impeccably observed Mikey brought us back with Flowers of the Forest and the wreaths were laid. We led the parade to the church with The Green Hills (Scottish Soldier). The drum corps, who are looking for all the help they can get this year, attended the church service en masse. The solo piper was treated to as fine a display of Christian rudeness and selfishness as you’re ever likely to observe but still did a sterling job. During the service we could hear the tempest roar outside and a small child in Diving Boots thunder about in the creche, good service though. Outside it was capes and moaning, while we waited for the church to empty and the uninformed organisations to organise, we played Battle of the Somme then led the massed ranks of soggy Scouts, BB and Guides back to the War Memorial as the wind howled and the rain fell in sheets.

Later, in the Glenleven we were treated to hot soup and sandwiches because we are not finished. The Services Club in Bridge of Weir have been let down and need a band so we are girding our loins with lentil soup against the monsoon, apart from Coinneach whom we can’t convince that bacon is a vegetable. The weather was horrendous and the Services guys had decided wisely to have their wreath laying indoors. We played three times during a very moving ceremony and finished what had been a dank and windswept day with a wee inner glow, probably caused by the pies.

Next up is the Christmas Coffee morning

Cannae wait..

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