It begins early; uniform on, shoes polished, urns filled, car loaded and everything double checked lest we get a visit from the Idiot Box. It’s World Pipe Band Championship Saturday, the weather is just the good side of rubbish and we are on when God fearing people should be in bed.
Pipey phones, the bus has turned up late again and there is a moment when a code brown is about to be called then it hoves into sight. In the park all the players head for final tuning and the slickly oiled mayhem that is the Drappt and Hingers-on put up the Event Shelters. The Burgh had put up two gazebos with a huge area in between for them to practice, this is where we build our camp. We pulled up the walls, got the coffee brewing and settled in. Soz!
While the guys marched in, me, James the Hat and Ross sat in the wee grandstand like a crowd at a women’s football match. Being that this is the Big Championship and given that we have a load of kids in the band I was proud of the performance they gave. And that’s it, 9:06 and you’re finished until lunch time. I watched some of those just as sleep deprived and on after us. Some of the bands are really young, Lochryan Development had pipers and drummers that weighed less than their instruments but they still marched in and gave it the beans. Well done to all the bands who played, especially those who’d travelled half way around the world and especially specially St John’s School – Zimbabwe who had guys out playing in Glasgow all week and won Novice B.
A stroll around the park located the cheaper of the bacon roll stalls and the guys stood and sniggered while I registered a complaint at a stall but I was out with two reprobates and before I knew it I was in the Braemar Bar drinking beer and eating what looked like sparrow skewers but tasted like heaven. After a wander around the various arenas listening to bands we headed back to the Event Shelter for tea and buns. The tension was starting to build as the Time of Lamentation drew near, with over fifty bands competing and only eighteen qualifying there are always more tears than cheers. It wasn’t to be.
On the way back to KPBHQ Hazel Tenor said she was heading home and would I like her bank card, Ross stared slack jawed, when she gave me all the money in her sporran he nearly got down on one knee and proposed. There then ensued a very pleasant afternoon.
A buzz began about the Event Shelter as I sat sipping my GnT and munching some shortbread, SLOT were giving the drummers salute so we all breenged over for a listen. Wow! Mickey Blue Eyes and Senior were dispatched on a secret mission as Fife Police drummers gave us a performance, you’ll see if you come to the End of Season BBQ.
By five o’clock the tents were down and we were heading to the Boolin Club to catch the results on Live Stream. After a few beers and a huge Indian takeaway it was home time. I abandoned James the Hat as he looked far too comfortable sitting nursing his quart of Bunnahabhain.
We are overseas again next week at the season finale on the Cowal peninsula.