On Saturday our competition season restarted after a short break. We attended the Paisley Highland Games, which is an event I don't think we've ever attended before. Lady Chocolat came along to this competition - she does one a year, and since we're not going to be around for Bridge of Allan, this was the next best thing.
It was an odd event - rather than being off in a field somewhere, this event took place in Paisley's main street, with the competition ring in one area and the bands tuning up in another. Additionally, the bands were all assigned particular tuning slots, so that as each band went on to compete the others all moved down a space and carried on.
Unfortunately, the competition wasn't terribly well organised, such that there was a gap between the areas of control of two of the stewards - as we moved to the final tuning point we passed from one, safe, pair of hands into another that was... less well organised. This meant that we suddenly shifted from being nice and relaxed, and getting ready in good time, to suddenly being rushed onto the competition field. This in turn had two nasty consequences - one of our pipers had to be dropped at the last second as his pipes weren't quite right and there was no time to sort them, and the guy who sets up our pipes got into an argument with the steward in question.
Anyway, we went on, we played, and it was okay. Coming off, the feeling was that it wasn't bad, but that we could definitely have done better. A shame, but not a disaster. (There was also a weird acoustic effect - all through the tuning there had been some serious amplification from the buildings on either side; just as we moved to the competition ring we moved far enough away that it disappeared four steps in. Which was okay, but odd.)
The rest of the day was largely uneventful - LC and I had a look around the abbey, then went for a fairly long lunch, then sat around for a bit. It was a nice enough day, but boring and unpleasantly hot due to a near-complete lack of wind.
Then we went on for the march-past, which had been moved forward (which was nice). In the event, we came 4th overall, being 6th and 7th for piping, 2nd for drumming, and 4th for ensemble. (We were actually 4th equal, but won on an "ensemble preference" - meaning that judge felt we played together as a band better than the others.)
So, a nice result, and a good platform for the Scottish Championships next week, but a lot of work needing to be done. All in all, a decent day.
#39: "Spelljammer: Beyond the Moons", by David Cook