Renfrew (inaugural)

As this was a local competition there was no need for a bus and the attendant hilarity that entails. 2022 is the inaugural Renfrew competition and the first thing to say is where has Renfrew been hiding Robertson Park, even in the Scottish summer dreich it was awesome. 

The Hazel formerly known as Tenor and myself lugged our gear through the big intimidating gates and walked into increasing silence. There was a bit of doubting we were in the right place as there was not a single bagpipe or drum to be heard, then I spotted Isy heading for the Big Blue House of Fun which was artfully concealed behind some big trees and the portaloos. There was a Sunday morning feel to the park as I fought all the other addicts at the urn for the first coffee of the day. Mags forgot the table so we improvised on a drum case, then her ever attentive husband appeared carrying one that looked like it had been liberated from a school. Cakes were uncovered and Craig produced some shortbread that is fast gaining him the reputation as Band Baker although there is stiff competition for this important post.

Eventually Pipey destroyed the bucolic idle by insisting we tune up. This was a competition for all competent players of which on this day I wasn’t one. I stepped out citing erratic blowing and sounding nasty. The inclement weather saw us march straight from the gazebo to the start line, bypassing Final Tuning in an attempt to mitigate the damp on the sound of the pipes. This performance will be known as Adam’s Farewell to KPB for the purity and clarity of his early E.

This was a small gathering of bands and in-between tuning and playing it was great to catch up with old friends and former bandmates. James the Hat and I still hadn’t had a whisky by well into the afternoon, my wife even beat me to the beer tent. There was a laid back feel to the day although I’m sure the RSPBA guys would disagree. Bands played, Judges judged, rain rained and pipers and drummers mingled.

The weather, which had been a misty smirr all day, waited for the bands to form up for the march past before opening up a steady downpour that tested some capes to destruction. Well done to PM Bowes for playing the salute and to Renfrewshire Makar, Shaun Moore for providing possibly the best Chieftains address ever. As the results were read out we dialled down our exuberance expecting to get a shoeing for some performances we really weren’t happy with so imagine our surprise when we placed 1st in G4B, 3rd in G4A and 4th in G3. Happy band.

In the increasing deluge the camp was struck and the park looked like we had never been there but we had been invited to what turned out to be an epic barbeque by New Guy who will now be called Andhrímner (look it up) and this involved walking one of the gazebos through the mean streets of Renfrew and erecting it in his garden. There then followed burgers and prawns and stuffed peppers in bacon and brisket and salmon and mac n cheese and lashings and lashings of ginger beer. Songs were sung and dances danced and all in all it was a very pleasant evening. Lets just leave it there.

A huge thank you to Renfrewshire Cooncil, the RSPBA, Shaun Moore and everyone else who helped make the day happen.

Next up is the Scottish Championship in Dumbarton.

Cannae wait..

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