My 8 o’clock rise was not as much of an inconvenience as the nights the Unelected Social Committee spent sticking raffle tickets on teddy bears. After an omelette to sustain me I headed to Mick and Jo’s to pick up the Event Shelters and children’s furniture for our bottle and teddy stall. People stood slack jawed as I piled everything into the cavernous maw of the Ford Tardis and crawled to the park.
The park was coming to life as village organisations began building the tent city that is Lilias Day. The usual suspects were there gently verbally abusing each other until I arrived with the Event Shelters and we surveyed the damage from the British Championship unpowered flight attempt. One of the poles was not the graceful curve we have come to expect but I brought my years of metalworking experience to bear and pronounced it, ‘Fine n dandy’, eschewed the offer of tape and splints and built it squint. Derek brought the tables and the job of populating the stall began in earnest. I filled big balloons with rice and inflated them, Compo, Foggy and Clegg strapped a big KPB badge to the front of the stall, Tweedy arrived like the Sweeney and departed just as quickly and Hazel smuggled the cargo in.
Then we fled and left the stall to Dot and the weans.
The rendezvous at the Boolin Club had a distinct smell of gin about it. Young Amber Piper asked if she should walk with us or join us in the park; Pipey ‘You’re marching and playing’; Amber ‘Gulp!’
But the hour approaches and the cat herding begins, Pipey shouts us outside for tuning, everyone wanders off in different directions to talk to strangers, put things in the car or admire James the Hat in his bling. The Lilias Day wummin was getting a wee bit frazzled with us as the parade was ready to go, minus the pipe band who were gabbling along like tartan geese.
Did I mention the weather? Taps aff! Factor Dufflecoat applied.
We get in line eventually and a silence of sorts descends, you can see the apprehension in the faces of our novice pipers but we’re a big band today, 20 odd pipers, and any silly mistakes will be hidden. It’s a fun day, it’s our chance to put on a show for the whole village and with that the Town Cryer rings his bell and Pipey gives the command. We’re off.
I’ve reported the march many times before, this was a warm one. Usually there are big gaps between the crowds so you can get a rest but they seemed to be gathering in shoals and thickets and we played and played and played. Thankfully I am blessed with foresight and had brought a bottle of water for such an emergency so the weans in my rank were well hydrated before we schlepped up to Bobbins where cups of water were distributed and more importantly Habbie made it down the stairs without tripping. And we’re off! We formed into threes for the march into the park and lead by the Preses of the General Society and men on stilts we cut a dash through the crowd scattering old biddies and small children before us and drawing the pageant in our wake. We somehow reformed into sixes at the arena. A bit of side stepping and shuffling saw a massed band forming while the Queen was crowned and Lilias read the proclamation. The Drum Major from St Columba School then took everyone by surprise with a Grand Prix start that left most of the pipers floundering. After, we made a dash for it and headed to Teddy Bear HQ, where my balloons were exploding in the heat, for another couple of tunes with the learners and a well deserved beer. There are 2 young ladies who will long remember a sweaty glengarry being plopped on their heads, e-eyu! In the arena football was played and battles fought.
As ever we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the guys who diligently manned the stall, those who helped with the Event Shelter and tables and those who support us in all our endeavours. I noticed Nan the Fan was there without Vimto. Thanks to Mikey Sr who fixed the bent poles and brought me whisky later in the evening but less said about that the better.
Next up we’re at Clydeport for the arrival of the Disney cruise ship very late on Friday night. 6am on Saturday.