On this, the last, trip to Forres the bus was leaving in the early evening, travellers were warned that it wasn’t waiting so be there early. The usual bus rules were in place prohibiting the consumption of alcohol and no number twos in the toilet. The plan isn’t rocket science; get to Inverness in one piece and turn up at Grant Park the next day smart and coherent.
James the Hat and I weren’t joining them this year as he had duties to perform in France and I had jobs to do that had been put off for too long. However working from third party reports, dark rumours and wild innuendo I’ve slowly started to piece together a short report on the trip.
The bus rules were thrown under the wheels before they turned as Kilbarchan echoed to the massed opening of cans by the unruly element led I’m sure by the Arch-instigator. Let’s call him Ryan to protect his identity. In this heat with that amount of fluid I’m sure the toilet was making its presence known the length of the bus before Perth. The usual seating plan was in play with the old ladies at the front, Ryan at the back and the parents in the middle with their children staring at them in disbelief and cringing embarrassment. During this time I was spending a quiet evening with my wife before she headed off to be Dinner Lady Doris at Camp and James the Hat would be drinking beer.
Grant Park is glorious in sunny weather, it’s made for this event. Sadly it’s to be the last European Championships held there. The new destination hasn’t been announced but here’s hoping it involves an overnight stay. The pressure was on the band to qualify after the excellent results from Helensburgh and Pipey (who’d arrived as the band headed to the pub the night before and limited them all to one drink) was taking extra pains with the setup of the instruments and extra angry eyes for pipers who transgressed. Rab was doing drummer stuff; banging and twiddling between smokes. Louise was dressing Grant. I’d decided to re-cover the roof of my father’s hut and spent the hottest day of the year applying roofing felt which practically melted off the roof before you could nail it down. The fact the hut was buried in a bramble patch made it all the more enjoyable. James the Hat would be drinking beer.
SLOT marched into the circle to the announcement that Kilbarchan Pipe Band had qualified for the final; by the time they had played in the final and marched into the arena for the march past I was standing in the beautiful scottish evening fishing and James the Hat would be drinking beer. Well done to Lower Clyde Pipes and Drums on becoming European Champions, I’ll buy you a pint at Dumbarton Gordon, just the one mind (festival prices).
I’m reliably informed that one or two celebratory sherries were taken on the bus home and that The Duke (name to be explained in the next blog) had been the all round entertainer, a bit like a drunk tartan Michael Barrymore but without the corpse in the swimming pool. Scooby had too many Scooby Snax and took poorly and all manner of stuff was abandoned thither and yon. I gave them a wave as they cruised back into civilisation and James the Hat would be drinking beer.
Next up is the Scottish Championships in Dumbarton as Wee Paisley has been cancelled.