Remembrance n Cakes n Santa n that!

You thought that after the Cèilidh it all went quiet ’til May, a village band never rests. We turned out to lead the Remembrance Day parade on a cold but bright Sunday morning. An 8 o’clock start holds no fears for us and we are soon tuned and being given last minute instructions on deportment and etiquette suitable to a band at the front of what is a fairly important parade these days. I like the ceremonial and martial air of these parades, colours paraded, everyone on their best behavior, shoes shined, kilts pressed and chrome polished. The Reverent Stephen Smith took the ceremony at the War Memorial, where the village organisations’ wreaths were laid, respect paid and Melissa played the lament. Continue reading Remembrance n Cakes n Santa n that!

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Hibernate ’til May, aye right!

The Pipe Band season finishes for us at the Barbeque and that should be it; pipes cleaned and put away, everything else cleaned and polished and stowed until required. An email arrives from Pipey to that effect also warning us to warm up our practice chanters and pads as we have work to do. Pity the bottom hand this winter because we have to sharpen those embellishments.We now embark on a period of working on the street tunes and welcoming and evaluating new playing members. The atmosphere begins to chill and all sense of urgency drains away, Neil lets a sloppy tacum go by without comment and we all sit about waiting for the new tunes. ZZZzzz! Continue reading Hibernate ’til May, aye right!

2014 BBQ. Hey Sheila, throw another burger on the ground!

The day starts at 3pm, not 4 as most of you think. The Event Shelter won’t put itself up, although it would probably make a better job of it if it did, so four of us did a merry Quadrille carrying poles and pegs and bits and bobs. Then we had to sweep it out and fit the furniture, then position the Bouncy Castle and an endless list of gazebo erection and smelly candle installation. The Annual End of Season Barbeque has, after a few years wandering about car parks and peoples back doors, settled into the Glenleven Inn. Continue reading 2014 BBQ. Hey Sheila, throw another burger on the ground!

Farewell to Melissa

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 World Pipe Band Championship Diving

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

Would you like wasps with that Sir?

7:30am on a Saturday was something I had heard about, like the Yeti or the Blue Men of the Minch, I didn’t believe in it before I joined a pipe band. But here we are on a bus heading doon the waater to play at Brodick Highland Games. We picked up various bandsmen as we toddled down to Ardrossan via Port Glasgow, Inverkip and Seamill. The reason for the early start is you want to get on the ferry and it gets really busy really early. After last year, when the driver took us a wild convoluted route that involved going through Beith twice, it’s advisable to plan for contingencies. We had no female playing members with us over the age of 18, although Isy sent her Aunties to keep an eye on us, and I can’t help thinking that this was a test. Thankfully the bar on the boat was open as some of the guys looked a bit dehydrated, none more so than Big Davey who was so dehydrated he failed to notice the girl he was chatting up was a nun. Continue reading Would you like wasps with that Sir?

To Bridge of Allan by PogoStick

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

Scottish Championship, Dumbarton.

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.

Paisley Pipe Band Championship 2014

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