A pipe band stand in a circle while surrounded by appreciative members of the public

The Tartan Brits

The British Pipe Band Championships came to town and transformed St James’s football pitches into something far grander and I’m not playing:

gutted and in the huff.

Considering it’s a local event we are still looking at an eight thirty start, when I say ‘we’ I’m using the Royal prerogative as I’m in bed. (Huff, told you) The morning throws up an interesting dilemma for Clock who has turned up super early but minus Emma Tenors drum harness; £15 fine right there. So, pay the fine or bolt home and get it. He dashes home for the missing item and returns late; £5 fine. This is a £10 saving; kind of sort of.

When I arrive the 3 ring circus that is the building of the Event Shelter is over and the guys are ensconced in style sipping coffees and discussing geopolitics and the latest Trump outrage. Once we have established it’s stopped raining and it’s a good drying day Pipey marshals his troops. The ghost of Gourock is written on their faces and the playing is ‘ropey’. Pipey snarls them into shape. The young pipers (who like me aren’t playing) hang about looking shellshocked but wearing their uniforms just in case it was a bad dream.

Rather than the usual gaggle of players heading to final tuning Pipey forms them up and they march playing the MAP set and they sound fantastic. The route is strewn with discarded drummers. James the Hat approaches from the south and I double take as he was playing a moment ago,

Me: “‘sup?” (what’s up?)

Hat “Drappt” (dropped)

Seems to be contagious.

We need to work on our comic entry to the arena, the whole band were out of step and sort of shuchled there way to the line, no prizes for deportment this week but we’ll let them off with it as they produced a good solid performance. We’re hopeful of a placing.  I had been employing myself as Band Photographer, a role I quite enjoy, and decided that KPB had not been recorded in the circle for years and I’d rectify that, there is something strange and Max Wallesque about the march into the circle but it added swing to the tune so long may it endure.

With the hard work over the guys went hunting for tea and buns. James the Hat and I went in search of coffee and enroute heard many bands; stood and listened appreciatively to some and goggle eyed with horror at others as we hoped they’d get it sorted before circle time. I thought I saw Dolomite Dave dressed in his uniform to get into another free event but it was another shortass.  Meanwhile back at the Ranch, Isy and Wee Rubber appeared carrying something that has been dubbed The Coronary Care burger (Haggis, square sausage, potato scone and bacon fried and stuck on a bread roll), it looked fantastic to these scottish eyes. Now, I’m not one to pass judgement on the couture of band wimmin and while most were visions from the pages of Vogue it looked as though Wee Rubber had been dressed by a toddler, waistcoat buttons all squeehooch.

Until the qualifiers were announced I listening to the Juvenile bands and got soaked. These guys are wonderful to hear but the growing crowd at Arena 3 means it’s crunch time and I wander over. It’s not to be but a heartening improvement from Gourock. I have places to be so head off while Pipey plants himself at the Grade 1 arena and settles in for the day where he is mobbed by Inveraray and Field Marshal.

Next week must be a Bank Holiday because we’re off to the garden centre and I’m bass drummer.

Cannae wait..

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