Yesterday was our first competition of the season. The band came 10th out of a total of 25 bands, representing a massive improvement over last year's 21st out of 22.
However, I'm not very sure how this actually happened. Frankly, I'm wondering if the judges were actually listening to our performance, because we were pretty bad. In fact, we were downright terrible in places, most notably myself.
Unfortunately, we started getting ready in plenty of time, only to be kept waiting an additional half hour after we were ready. The bagpipes, being a temperamental instrument at the best of times, really need to be kept active once tuned to perfection, so we had to keep playing. This left everyone pretty exhausted by the time we actually got to play.
And then, just as we started, I felt something go in my shoulder. Suddenly, there was absolutely no strength in my left arm, and I was stuck trying to play a fairly heavy reed with just my lungs (and my noted inability to breathe in a circular manner). This is about as bad a thing as can possibly happen on the field of competition - had it happened just one tune earlier I would have been forced to drop out; not ideal, but the best thing for the band. Instead, it happened just after the point of no return, and led to my chanter dropping in and out during the performance, my drones dropping in and out during the performance... it was just bad. Basically, a very disappointing way to start the season, and a cruel blow after so much hard work and practice.
And yet, somehow, the band came 10th. The pipers actually came 6th out of 25 (how?), with the drummers being further down the field. It's all really confusing.
Yesterday also saw me not getting home until just after midnight on Friday, then getting up at 5:45 to get the bus, and then not getting home again until after 11. I'm now so tired I'm not thinking straight. Therefore, I'm off to bed.
#19: "Sword Song", by Bernard Cornwell