Ardrossan Highland Games promises many things but the most important is a long lie in on a Sunday. The luxury of waking up at 9:30 and realising you haven’t slept in and can in fact roll over for a wee cozy doze if you fancy was savoured by all except Scooby who was up with the sparrows delivering newspapers.
Myself, Hazel Tenor and the Medic actually arrived 15 minutes early and watched the rain distorting the view. The forecast was for rain with showers and heavy periods of rain with high winds and rain; proper piping weather. We were delighted to have been asked to lead a march into the arena, Pipey was grumbling about dampness and drones and stuff but we turned up in full capes and waterproof pipe band mode and it was dry.
It was a day for the Event Shelter, around us bands scoffed at our mucking about with poles and canopies as they popped up their instant gazebos. We’ll see. With the Event Shelter picketed to a fence rail like an unruly bronco and the instruments under cover it was tea time (once Clock arrived with the full fat milk the skinny get). Basso appeared with a 12″ bratwurst on a baguette with mustard, sauce and onions he claimed it was Slimming World approved and only 2 syns. I don’t eat before competitions any more, just in case!
The march at the start of the day was our warm up and it didn’t take too long to tweak the chanters, we had Grant and Senior as Drone Monkeys today and in no time at all we are playing ‘Heather Grant’ (badly in my case) and heading for the arena. The weather gods of Auld Scotia were smiling on us today, the foretold biblical deluge didn’t appeared and all the tuning and playing was done outside in the bracing wind. Today we were joined in the circle by Amber for her first Grade 4 competition, being told 5 minutes before we head to the line doesn’t give her time to get worked into a frenzy and as a result she plays fine. I however can feel my heart against my ribs which is stupid as I’m not new to this. After Gourock I swore I would turn up sober and focused but a wee snifter wouldn’t go amiss, for the nerves ye ken.
“Quick March!” We’re off, with Eden leaning into the wind in case he blows away. I fully expected a farmhouse with a girl in red shoes and a wee dog to land on us. Pipey seemed pleased with the performance.
James the Hat was a bit elusive today, appearing and disappearing so I don’t manage to have a blether with him and instead have to talk to my bandmates, sober. Yee Gods! Thankfully there is some Grade A mince being talked.
After more coffee and a comfort break we’re back to the circle for Grade 3 which we will probably be last in as we don’t play an MSR but still take very seriously and play better than in Grade 4.
Taking down the Event Shelter was not the comedy I’d hoped for, it had ridden out the storm winds with ease but the gazebos were shivered to wrecks, every joint and fitting stretched and strained, loose and wobbly with the canopy sagging and I reckon they will need replacing before the season is half done.
2 runs today and both in the dry, the march past looked a bleaker prospect. Thanks to the Chieftain for keeping the vote of thanks short and thanks to the prize presenters who flew through it with one eye on the big black clouds barreling towards us. Amber was dispatched for our 4th place trophy and Kilmarnock led us from the field where Mickey Blue Eyes adroitly fell over a bin, in his defence it was hard to see because of it’s hugeness. The long expected rain arrived as we drove out of the car park.
I played in both today and fully expect to play at Helensburgh next week barring acts of God or forgetting my pipes.