The season of Lights is upon us and as a band we do our fair share of welcoming the big chap in the red suit. The bone chilling Saint Andrew’s Day call off is behind us and we are fired up for the Erskine Tree of Honour service. The pipers are crammed into a shoebox when I arrive. Stoo spots right away that I’m wearing jeans and a Crocodile Dundee hat and demands an excuse for not playing. A serious dental malfunction has incapacitated me and I think I might be out until the New Year, drummers never buy this sort of thing and he gives me an ‘old fashioned’ look. The pipers have been given a small office to tune up in and I decide to lend a hand, opening the door is a problem and it’s so hot and crowded inside there is no room for a trained Drone Monkey so I go and footer with the settings on my camera instead.
The band have played at this service of remembrance for a good few years now and it is always a perishing cold but satisfying occasion. We are joined as ever by the singing children of Rashielee Primary a minister and a famous singer who shall remain nameless due to my shocking journalism. On less inclement nights we have marched from the garden centre to the home but due to the weather the band play one set while marching out the back door and in the front. Melissa plays Dark Island as a solo and a veteran turns on the lights. Everyone heads inside for mulled wine and mince pies but I can hear Pipey trying to get the Birler’s chanter in tune and stick my head round the door to tell him it’s not sounding any better from down the corridor.
Beith is cancelled, as storm Desmond rolls in they decide to dispense with a pipe band and we are stood down. I only go for the hot chocolate anyway.
The weekend is a monsoon, every manhole cover is a fountain and a river runs down the Barholm. My Saturday morning visit to the Church Christmas Fayre nets a bottle of red wine and some tinned ham, that’s lunch sorted.
Kilbarchan Christmas Light. This is an old joke from way back that just won’t die, the lights on the Steeple used to be pitiful. We tune up in the Scout Hut to the consternation of the Cub leader who feels he’s been invaded. The Birler is resplendent in a black thermal top under his shirt, like a ninja in disguise.There is much laughter when we get told the event has been moved indoors and Pipey announces “Jaickets off” and makes him take off his simmit. Those in long sleeves are told to roll them up and Alan, who just arrived and is crowing about his thermal vest is told to remove it and roll his sleeves up.
The church hall is packed to capacity and they are still jamming them in. George Bowie is on stage trying to get the microphone off the organiser and I wander about trying to be helpful; carrying drums, holding open doors etc. The band push their way into the back of the hall and it’s a miracle the children’s choir at the other end aren’t crushed. Backstage there is a girl in an 18th century dress and a man in a big red suit eying each other. Miss Lilias cannot believe Santa is sitting reading Cinderella. The band played a couple of street sets and then retired to make room for more children to see George and Santa. Outside in the weather the tree looks magical. The Glennie is calling and soup and sandwiches await. The guys played a couple of sets for the clientele and then departed leaving James the Hat and a few stalwarts to soak up the
Next week is our christmas party.