Helensburgh: Debt Free

Last year was a mission to get a lift to Helensburgh so this year I took my car, I was in my guise as Band Photographer and whisky taster. It was the anniversary of me stupidly saying I owed Big Gordy a pint.

There had been a Pipal Decree about getting there early and getting set up, I brought the hot water and milk and Wee Rubber and Big Mick brought just about everything else, Little Boots brought sticky buns. There is no fun in setting up the Event Shelters and I feel it’s about time to invest in newer more complicated tents with a greater hilarity quotient.

A young man approached the tea table; laden with jars of coffee, tea bags, sugar, milk and urns and asked which urn had the coffee in it, I told him the one on the left had the hot water for the coffee the other one was for tea. I then laughed at him and called him an eejit, because, as you know, it builds character. I sent a Laphroaig coffee down to check the sticky bun I’d scoffed wasn’t lonely. Whisky and buns for breakfast; could this be the new fad diet?

While Pipey worked on the ‘sound’ and drummers drummed I toddled about taking pictures and watching James the Hat pretending he knew the Tenor score. There were a few casualties; Eden got hit hard on the butt by a football due to some idiotic He-Man rules game they were playing and Mickey Blue Eyes sprained his ankle trying to hit Eden on the butt really hard with a football but missing and kicking the ground. Sympathy was in short supply.

Rule 12b Subsection G. There will be a short period of time given over to eating bananas before competing.

I was at Final Tuning and so was the RSPBA but Pipey was holed up in the corner of the park we had populated and wasn’t leaving until it was just right, Wee Mel took one for the team and stepped out when her bag sprung a leak. It did look impressive as they marched out, playing up to the line. I then tried to set up Live on Facebook wearing dark glasses and unable to see the screen and produced the technically worst record of the band playing. Ever.

The new Branch format meant we were playing against the schools bands again so there wasn’t any real hope of a placing but it was a good run and the pipes sounded splendid. I had another lethal coffee and settled in to watch the competition. Our two MSR runs (march, strathspey and reel, I keep trotting out these acronyms like everyone knows them, soz)saw Wee Mel back in her place playing Wee Rubbers pipes.

Let it be known that I finally met up with Lower Clyde Pipes and Drums and bought Gordon a pint. Debt paid. In future I will thank anyone who buys me a pint and then button my lip.

Johnstone were everywhere, playing in just about every grade but you could see bandsmen and women heading to the arena when the Grade 1 band were due on. If you like pipe music then listening to Grade 1 bands is never a chore and listening to a good Grade 1 band should probably be mandatory and Johnstone are good, to be placing mid table after only a couple of years at the top flight is exceptional. PM Bowes gave everyone a scare when he reeled back out of the circle and collapsed. I have never witnessed The Medic in Emergency Mode before but by jings he’s good at it. All the best Keith.

I had opted to play at the March Past, we marched in as two battalions; Johnstone was one and everyone else was the other. A fifth place was not too bad against the schools, well done Strathendrick on your third.

With everything over I grabbed Hazel Tenor and headed for a kebab shop as I’d only really eaten two sticky buns and a bagel all day, Laphroaig is not a food group James.

Next up is the European Championships in Inverness where I predict a seventh place, I won’t be there as I’m flying to Canada on the Sunday.

Cannae wait..

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