It’s a nice drive to Dumbarton at 8am on a Saturday, hazy golden light and mist on the river. We were on time. Everything had gone like clockwork, early to bed, good nights sleep and up fresh and early. The evening before had been a nightmare of bread rolls and fillings, seeing how many you could squeeze in a tupperware and seeing how many tupperwares you could squeeze in the fridge. The band picnic was under construction and Subway had nothing on us. Continue reading Scottish Championships
Saturday was Paisley Pipe Band Championships, a recent addition to the competition season and slowly building a reputation as a fun day out. Last year was miserable, the rain never let up for a minute and we had a piping malfunction in Grade 3. The forecast this year wasn’t very good and Friday saw downpours of biblical proportions, so imagine everyone’s surprise when Saturday dawned windy and bright. Continue reading Fer Saturday in Paisley
A weekend off is a rare thing.
Bandsfolk check the diary before booking holidays, committing to visit elderly relatives or electing to have surgery. Pipey has arranged a few free weekends this year, it’s just a shame the weekend he is away isnae one of them, and as the name implies nothing is planned. The last weekend off had unsettled everyone and Dolomite Dave had entered the bandroom skieted through the door and slide tackled Brian. I think he managed to touch his left shoulder blade with his right foot. All the wee semi-quavers and gracenotes fell out of his pipe case and rolled about the floor til he gathered them up in embarrassment. Continue reading The Weekend Off
Let me tell you a sad tale.
On the Friday night before Bishopton Gala Day I began to experience old age twinges around my right ankle. By bedtime I couldn’t put weight on it so I sent Pipey a text crying off from the Bish march to rest my ankle for Sunday. Saturday saw me limping around the gathering band and getting accused of faking a broken leg to get out of the march (which is a long one), as if I would. Continue reading Busy Weekend
Late starts. Love them!
Pipey wanted us at Ardrossan for sometime about oneish but I got caught up converting pictures, tinkering with websites and playing my mandolin, that when I looked at the clock it was after 12 and we were nowhere near started. Years of practice mean that I can get into my uniform faster than Batman and it looked as though we might be on time Continue reading Ardrossan, competition and cake.
People at Clydeport Greenock must be thinking we’re moving in.
The band have played on the quayside four times in the last two weeks and as I’ve mentioned before we all love playing here. Well done to the guys who turn out mid afternoon in all weathers when others can’t escape from work. We played for the cruisers from the ships La Boreal and Saga Pearl 2 on the thirteenth and fourteenth and the Queen Mary 2 and MSC Splendida on the twenty first and twenty second. Continue reading Boats! Big, Bigger, Biggest
Welcome to the 2015 outdoor pipe band competition season. We have big plans for this year, we spoiled the Pipey last year, he wanted to qualify for one major tournament and we gave him two. But it all starts here in Gourock. We have never been in the prizes at Gourock due to having to play in monsoon rain and hurricane winds, they cancelled the contest one year just after we’d finished blowing bubbles, but that’s just excuses. Continue reading Gourock in the Dreich
My sister drove me to Sanquhar on 28th of March, for which I am most grateful and mostly recovered. The ADG indoors had rolled around again and was to be our first competition of 2015. We had 3 soloists playing in the piping, side drumming and tenor drumming competitions this year and all did very well although it will have to wait until next year for placings. These guys went out there and played against pipers and drummers with years more experience and got some very complimentary remarks on their “crit” sheets. Continue reading Mind not on Sanquhar
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!
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!