This report is concerned mainly with the Scottish Championships but before I get into that I’ll have a quick canter through another driech day; The Europeans in Inverness.
The bus to Inverness is a dry bus it has been decreed and this is usually ignored by everyone but not this time. Pipey put his killjoy foot down as he tried to instil an atmosphere more redolent of striving and aspiration than dissipation and big heids. Wee Mel and Little Boots still managed to be violently ill during the night; maybe it wasn’t water in all those bottles. The day was wet, the park big and flat and not as picturesque as Forres and the free hamper caused rumblings of discontent, we like our free stuff in large measures. As if it wasn’t wet enough The Duke cowped water all over his pipes and had to hang them up to dry, the drums were left out in the rain to mature and then an Auntie locked herself in the bus (which was being used as a changing room) and had to be instructed in how to open the doors, all the while the driver was keeching himself she didn’t knock it into gear and flatten half the park. The first aid kit was used for the first time, ironically it was the Medic who cut himself and needed treatment. During the march past Basso appeared in the middle of the pipe corp and my predicted seventh place was correct, well done me. The bus home; I’m imaging a party in a one room house with the toilet backing up. Mickey Blue Eyes had been presented with a wee bottle of whisky by one of his school kids but it still had the security tag on and caused huge hilarity.
We put the disappointment of not ‘placing’ in Inverness behind us by practicing hard in the Public Park and presenting a ready source of protein to any number of flying things with teeth. There is no point in dwelling on might have beens because next up is the Scottish Championships, a traditionally water saturated event.
The day of the Scottish dawned wet and gloomy as I loaded a Transit worth of stuff into my Fiesta. I had opted not to wear uniform as it was forecast to be really humid and I didn’t fancy being happt in wool on a warm and wet day. After a trudge through the length of the park hauling my new wee silly trolley looking for the band I just took out my phone to send a ‘send help’ message to Pipey when he popped up like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn. We were camped under trees and all that was needed was the urns and biscuits. Half of the Event Shelter was given over to instruments, can you imagine telling an orchestra or big band that they had to spend a day in a damp park and then perform brilliantly in the rain, they would chase you.
After a healthy breakfast of whisky and biscuits I took some photos to justify my presence then splashed over to the arena to listen to some bands. It must have been the only point in the entire day that no bands were playing so I waded around and about enjoying the views, Leverngrove Park is magnificent even on a wet day, the Clyde views, castles and big trees make it one of my favourite places. We were on late and my new rain coat got a thorough testing as I stood criticising all the bands on before us. The standard of the playing in Grade 4b has made it a hard grade to win prizes in and the standard on show produced a frisson of concern for my poor nervous bandmates. It’s easy to joke about it being just another performance but people have been physically sick in the run up to competitions and the fear of the early E preys on every mind.
I needn’t have worried as what they played was about as good a performance as I’ve heard them play.
Hazel Tenor left at this point and I chaperoned James the Hat to the bowling club where we met all sorts of smiling drunk people in every conceivable shade of tartan. Getting the timing right when you leave the pub is crucial as you want to arrive just too late to help put the Event Shelter dripping into its bag but just in time to show you would have helped if you’d just been a wee bit earlier. Then we all tuned into Radio Lawrie and listened to the results as the bus steamed up. Fifth place. The bus went mental, then word began to filter through that the pipers were placed first and second. Mental doesn’t describe it. Tonto, the bus went Tonto.
Back at the Kilbarchan Bowling Club (Band HQ) my bandmates carried on celebrating into the wee small hours until they were poured, tired and emotional into taxis. I had other duties.
Next up is Arran, God have mercy on us.