Kilbarchan PIPe Band in Battery Park lpayng n a circle before final tuning

Gourock again

Sunday the 14th was forecast for proper Gourock Highland games weather and as such Pipey had made contingency plans and we’d be sharing a gaff with the boys n girls of Lower Clyde. However as I shambled toward the bus in kilt and dark glasses it was hard to miss the head splitting brightness and the racket the birds were making.

Last night was Hazel Tenor’s birthday party and I had singularly failed to  have 1 or 2 drinks and an early night. James the Hat was looking horribly smug when he saw me approaching Irn Bru™ in hand. We were tuning at Greenock Wanderers Rugby Club and as the bus rose up the hill past large Victorian mansions Isy pointed and exclaimed, “That’s my son’s house.” It was huge, a mutter of Drug Dealer was heard and the mutterer cuffed.

On arrival it was sunscreen on and pipes out, Mickey Blue Eyes iced me like a Victoria Sponge; suncream an inch thick. When Clock turned up he took one look, pointed  and laughed, “Sakes it’s Uncle Fester!” Out in the dazzling May sunshine I was finding my instrument a pleasure to play and my head had not fallen off, however a wee chirp off the chanter was a worry. Mark announced that any chirping chanters would be dropped. Woe.

The walk to Battery Park convinced me that I was still hungover even after Irn Bru™, a bacon sandwich and a big poo™. I was in no state to blow a new reed so I stood out (not again I hear you cry) and watched the guys get ready. There was a nervousness about the band, a disjointed brittle energy that could produce sparkling playing or, as was the case, a catalogue of schoolboy errors and a well deserved shoeing from the judges.

It’s one thing to moan and bleat about placings when you know you have played  well but the disappointment on Pipey’s face as the last horrible note floated away said it all. To know how well we can play as a band and then go and produce that turd has given me a personal slap; yes this is a hobby but who wants to be rubbish at their hobby? So I’ll be turning up match fit and focused for competitions if I get picked, as they say, “A’m aff it.”

With post match recriminations ringing in our ears Wendy Tenor and I bolted and left the guys to it. I’d decided an afternoon of paracetamol and 1000yrd staring was in order before another foray into Birthday Party Land (I am an idiot).

When I arrived at the hall I was greeted by Scoff lurching and grinning inanely and a tartan flock of children zooming about. This was the 4 Birthday Bash and not even our worst performance could dampen the enthusiasm. With DJ Andrew on the decks and a £200 pizza and pakora take-away meal to be demolished it rocked. James the Hat had brought a nice bottle of whisky to make amends for the engine oil he brought to Hazel Tenor’s party but the Gin Society were here in force so I grabbed some tonic and entered the fray. Isy had produced 2 outstanding cakes for the birthday boys and girls and Andy had 2 part ‘bomb’ glasses and was creating lurid sticky concoctions with ill matched syrupy booze which he forced us to drink. It was a brilliant night of singing, dancing, pogoing and rugby tackling Big Davey followed by a dogpile.

Brian and Alan’s Birthday Cake

We are next out at Clydeport on Friday and then it’s the British Championship at Paisley on Saturday.

Cannae wait

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