As was the case last year, the week after the British Championships, the band returned to Annan for "The Riding of the Marches", their version of the Highland Games.
It was a fantastic day - hot and sunny with just a hint of wind. I was very glad I took the last-minute decision to apply sunblock before leaving the house - the first time I have done so at a competition this year, and the first time it was necessary.
Unlike the British Championships, the bus to Annan didn't leave until just after 10, which meant that I woke at a somewhat civilised hour.
We went, we played, and it was good. Once again, we put in our best performance of the season, surpassing last week's effort. It is, however, worth noting that this week we played only our 4B set, not the somewhat harder MSR.
The rest of the day was spent in waiting. Not the best use of time, it must be admitted. And then there was the parade.
In truth, I quite admire the ingenuity of the organisers at Annan. They've found a way to get loads of bands to their gala day without having to pay them - run a competition with a big(-ish) prize, then have a street parade [i]before[/i] the prize-giving.
The band came second in our grade, having come second in piping, and first for both the drums and the bass section. A really good result, and marginally better than last year.
And then there was the journey home, which was fine but too long. There was some discussion of a stag weekend, which is apparently not to take place in Amsterdam as this is now too expensive. It sounds the sort of event that legends are made of. I wonder if I can persuade them to go without me...
#18: "Pathfinder: Wake of the Watcher", by Greg A. Vaughan