I woke up terribly thirsty this morning.
Yesterday was Cowal Games, the last competition outing for the band this season. The forecast was for hard work followed by silliness with outbreaks of cheeky vimto later on. One of the pleasures of going to Cowal is the free breakfast on the bus. Bobbins of Kilbarchan provide rolls with bacon or sausage, magic. We picked up Davie and Brian on route to the ferry and as we sat in the car park I couldn’t help noticing the lack of activity, the ferry before had left half empty. This is unheard of at Cowal weekend, the ferries are normally crammed with bandsmen and their buses. This was the first indication that everything was not as we expected in Dunoon. The second was when our bus was directed to park where the Grade 1 bands normally park. Curiouser and curiouser. Continue reading Farewell to Melissa
The stupid o’clock bus left without me and my darling this morning as we had decided to drive to Glasgow for the World Pipe Band Championship. We have played at The Worlds a number of times and never yet made it past the qualifying rounds. There were 3 qualifying rounds this year in Grade 4B with 58 bands competing for the coveted top 6 places in each. We were on at 10:10, the 11th band to play in Qualifier 1, hence the stupid o’clock start. The Band Baker had sent a minion round the previous evening to drop off the basket of Goodies and this was loaded into the car along with all the other less important stuff; chairs, tables, pipes, drums. Our drive to Glasgow would have had Miss Daisy snoring but the skies over Glasgow were epic, silvery veils of misty rain backed by towering black storm clouds and white rags flying by on the stiff wind. The sky to the south looked brighter but the Ancient Weather Gods of Auld Scotia had decreed dreich with short patches of dry to tease you. The Worlds of the last few years have been a damp affair, our first foray to Glasgow Green in 2010 was a sun drenched, optimistic affair. Continue reading The World Pipe Band Championship Diving
When the PM phoned me I was in fine trim, I had 3 days sightseeing on Lewis after a project was cancelled and therefore was full of the milk of human kindness. “Can I make Bridge of Allan? Of course.” There was a shortage of pipers for this competition so I was the 6th piper. When competing there are rules, many and varied. A pipe band must have a minimum of 6 pipers and 2 drummers so my attendance was crucial. Sunday, however, dawned wet and windy in my house. I seemed to have fallen foul of a gastrointestinal horror that knocked me for six. But, sixth piper. This didn’t seem to matter on the Sunday morning as we headed out without Lorna or The Birler. They arrived just in time and after a shuddering halt they joined us on our 33 seat palace of transport. Continue reading To Bridge of Allan by PogoStick
It’s a late start for us, your normal RSPBA major tournament has all the Grade 4b guys split into 2 or 3 qualifying groups but with only 23 bands registered to compete there is no qualifier just a huge final. Levengrove Park is a beautiful place for a pipe band competition, with Dumbarton Castle towering over us and the Clyde sweeping by. We were on last and met in the car park at 2pm. This should indicate that there was no time for any band based japes and this will be a very short report. Continue reading Scottish Championship, Dumbarton.
It’s pleasant to play local contests, you get a long lie and a short drive. Paisley is only 6 miles to the east of us and as such is our locallest competition. This has grown in the last 5 years into a nice wee gathering, well organised and pleasantly situated in the plaza in front of the station and old Post Office building. We first played at Paisley last year in a tight run dash from Glasgow Day to Paisley, some players joined as the band marched down the street. This year we assembled on School Wynd to tune up and had our first complaint from a resident within 5 minutes, new record. So we moved and actually made it worse for the resident killjoy. At this point the rain was a smirr on the wind but capes were looked out and fastened to belts, “just in case.” Continue reading Paisley Pipe Band Championship 2014
There is nothing worse than a Friday night deadline – Scout Hut 7 o’clock. I’m fairly punctual but I’m married to a drummer, “Time is an illusion etc etc!” The car was loaded, everything was in order but my poor drummer was ill, ill, ill. There was talk of, “you go on without me.” However after a wee call from Pipey she rallied and we made the bus with minutes to spare. To a chorus of, “Did you remember your pipes?” I boarded the bus for the 3 and a half hour drive to Inverness. The word from on high was that there would be no drinking on the bus, fair enough! This was to be our first overnighter as a band, so best behaviour and no hangovers for the morning. I don’t think I heard the first can being cracked ’til we crossed the Clyde. However as a show of solidarity for my poor sick drummer lady I held out ’til Perth. When in Rome! Continue reading European Championship, Forres.
Where to start?
This was a busy weekend for the band and thankfully we have the dedicated players to cover our varied engagements. Friday evening saw a contingent down at the seaside entertaining the cruise ship passengers. Word on the street is that they were very well received.
Saturday was Bishopton Gala Day, one of our regular street parades. The weather was threatening but as Brian shouted “Band, by the right etc etc” the clouds evaporated, the sun beat down and off we marched slowly cooking in our kilts. The good thing about Bish gala day is there are no horses or cows, cows hate us. There is always a good crowd on the route, which is long and convoluted and runs through the heart of the village. The bustle increases as we approach the park and we play the Scotland the Brave set for what seems ages, this always gets them cheering. It’s a long march in the sun so wee Lucy was told to wait at the park for us and join us as we played for the lieges in the arena. We made it into the park without tripping over a rope or impaling Basso on a fence stake thankfully. All in all a very satisfactory performance all topped off with lashings of ginger beer courtesy of Bobby. Cheers Bobby. (My ginger beer had no ginger). Continue reading Helensburgh n aw that
The first “major” of the season and we have been working hard, the disappointment of Gourock has been forgotten and the band as in mellow mood as we embarked for Bathgate. Then the bus driver took us on the school run because that’s the route she knows and we knew it was going to be an eventful day. We visited a housing estate and had to rely on the satnav skills of Mr S McKay to get us to the show on time. An executive decision was made and the legendary Event Shelter was abandoned in favour of using the bus as a base of operations, so without further ado we set up camp and began sunbathing. Continue reading British Championship 2014
I should have kept quiet about restarting the blog. The grand visions of tales of trophies won has grown a bit jaded. I’ll leave it to Brian, Neil and Stewart to dissect the sheets and pick over the bones of a shocking own goal.
The day started in fine form. The ancient Scottish weather gods were holding any foretold downpours at bay. It was still only 10:30 and as this is a local event pipers and drummers were arriving in dribs and drabs. There was a lot of hanging about and jawing until it became time to erect the Event Shelter and then the first great act of comedy unfolded. The great eight-some reel began that sees pipers and drummers dance slowly around Basso, all carrying bits of poles and looking bemused.
“The mirth and fun grew fast and furious; Continue reading Gourock 2014
I have decided to try and keep a record of the bands progress through the 2014 season. All the competitions, gala days and social activities we get involved in during the course of the season. We have been playing on the competition circuit for a few years now and it’s been a sair fecht. There is nothing more disturbing than putting yourselves up for comparison with bands that have been competing for years and discovering that the judges don’t think your as great as you do. However naivety will only see you so far and after a period of serious soul searching and personnel changes we are ready to step into the circle once again. A 5th at Sanquair Indoor gave us hope that the hard work was bearing fruit. Brian has grown over the last few years as Pipe Major, better able to exert his will on his pipers and get the best from them. With Neil adding years of expertise in bandcraft and musicianship we have a top pairing that can hear the faults and work to rectify them. Stewart has revitalised the drum corp and bass section and the number of drummers has soared. New drum scores and methods have given the drummers added flair. With Derek’s hard work beginning to pay off we have a swarm of juvenile pipers coming through and another crop of adult learners pushing at the door. Everything seems to be heading in the right direction but tomorrow we find out if all the hard work has been in vain. Tomorrow is Gourock. First games of the season and traditionally a rain-lashed affair. They have a saying in Gourock, “If you can see Dunoon it will soon rain, if you can’t it’s raining!” The first year we played there the weather was glorious so the Pipey had us set up the gazebo in a bog, just to get us acclimatised.
Tomorrow we play our well honed set of 2/4 marches and for the first time we play up into Grade 3. We await the Crit sheets with baited breath.
So lets check the reeds are secure and the joints are tight it’s going to be a long, fun summer. Cannae wait!