As a band we have played in some ferocious weather; the annual Gourock monsoon, Erskine’s arctic blast and the blistering heat of Glasgow that cooked your feet in your shoes but this year Lilias Day provided a new twist.
But before that. We were out in one of our favourite places to play last weekend and the weather was glorious. Cardwell Bay Garden Centre had once again invited us to play at their summer BBQ, this yearly occurrence caught all 3 Bassos Absent Without Leave and caused Pipey a small headache, we had played on the street without the Bass Drum before and had vowed never to let it happen again as it sounded awful. It was looking like Big Davey would have to be dug up, reanimated and shoehorned into his uniform when Pipey casually mentioned his dilemma. Never let it be said I don’t step up to the mark. So there I stood, resplendent in factor 50 sun cream and a big bass drum banging and dancing and grinning like an idiot. I’ve no idea how my fellow drummers felt about my efforts but I had a blast. I did notice a new phenomena among the pipers, a tendency to want to play ‘Heather Grant’ in inappropriate places, Old Blue started it but it’s since spread.
Thanks to the staff at Cardwell for looking after us but in future don’t serve Wee Mel ice cream.
Lilias Day is the village gala day, the biggest unsupported fete in the country I’m reliably informed. Pipey wanted EVERYONE out on the street to make a big impression and to let the village see us. We tend to vanish during the summer. The weather was bright and sunny with a cooling breeze, perfect marching weather. Tweedy had forecast a shower about 11am but as we met at 11:30 nobody was worried. After most of the adults had had some of Dr Tennant’s Piping Embrocation and Lung Liniment we tuned the drones, checked the chanters and gathered the drummers from watching a bowling match. The debate was how to arrange the troops, various arrangements of 5’s and 4’s but I fancied 7 across and Pipey agreed, we’d look awesome.
As we stepped out onto Ladysmith Avenue there was a light pattering of raindrops, by the time we reached the start line the heavens had opened and the street was awash, Pipey assured us it was, “Just a shower.” Chris and I were looking very dapper in our disposable ponchos.
The 2017 Lilias Day historical pageant got underway to a cry of, “By the right, quick march, a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder. The deluge which had been slacking slightly as we marched up Easwald Bank redoubled its fury and began pelting us with hailstones the size of ice cubes and big fat rain and the band played on; with the occasional “Ouch!” The Band of the Damned marched up Low Barholm with ice cubes ricocheting off drum skins and into the crowd and vanished into the stygian gloom towing a huge parade of historical characters with incorrect period brollies.
By the time we were joined by Habbie Simpson at the Steeple the sky had a clearing visage but we were still drookit and by the time we had marched into the park (I never even missed a beat when I fell down a hole), the School Queen had been crowned and Miss Lilias had proclaimed the day open the sky was clear and the rain was a memory. My factor 50 had been washed down to a factor 30 so I got a wee bit sunburnt. The guys who manned the stall did a brilliant job and trade seemed to be brisk, someone asked why my car was full of balloons; dammit, I’d forgotten them so I covered our Mags in balloons and sent her out to sell them.
Lilias Day is our big village event but Lilias Night is a whole other story and most of it can’t be discussed in a family blog.
Next up we have a couple of cruise ships at Clydeport and then the Ardrossan Games.