Well, it was a good ride while it lasted. Our season is now effectively over.
Yesterday was the British Pipe Band Championships, which once again were held in Bathgate. This year they had moved to a new venue, but that made little real difference - I got on the bus and didn't worry about it. And it was a great day - bright and sunny throughout... though it did get a bit cold later.
We went, we got tuned up, and then we played. Everything to that point was fine, and when we came off I was reasonably happy - I actually thought it was our best performance of the year. But the pipe major was NOT happy. He pulled the pipers aside and basically went straight through us. He'd obviously heard something I had not, though I'm at a loss as to what it is.
The rest of the day was the usual waiting, which was eased by a halfway-decent book and also by listening to the Scottish Cup Final (Falkirk lost - boo). And then, after far too much waiting, we went for the march past.
We came last. Out of fourteen bands we came 12th and 14th for piping, 13th for drumming, and 14th for ensemble. So, a pretty dire performance on all counts. As I said, the pipe major must have heard something I did not.
But it was on the journey home that things went most wrong. The pipe major and one of the parents had a big shouting match in the bus, and then there were extensive rumblings of discontent. It doesn't look good.
Alas, this result basically means the end of the season. We were already near-certain to be dropped back to Grade 4A, between not doing at all well last year and only attending three of the five Majors. With this result, I don't see how we can avoid the drop. Which, truth be told, may be no bad thing, though coming back up will be exceptionally difficult.
(Though right now I'm not convinced we'll even make it to the end of the season...)
Anyway, that's that.
#26: "Pathfinder: Forge of the Giant God", by Tim Hitchcock