Yesterday was the first major of the new season, and also a gloriously sunny day. This combination made for an interesting day...
Starting last year, the RSPBA rearranged the calendar of events. This happens every so often, as the licenses to host the Championships come up for renewal and sometimes go to different venues. So, instead of the Scottish Championships being the first Major, instead the first is now the British Championships, and those are held in Bathgate. This is particularly nice because they're just a short hour in the bus.
As a consequence of this, I got the extreme luxury of a lie in until 8 (8!) on Saturday morning. Then a short walk to the bus, a short ride to the park, a short tune-up, and we played. It was probably our best performance of the year so far, which is nice.
I then spent most of the rest of the day sitting on the bus reading the latest Pathfinder, which is not the best use for a day, but isn't too bad. I found myself growing increasingly tired, and also feeling increasingly unwell due to a really bad headache - this is a consequence of IBS and there was really nothing I could do to shake it.
(At one point, I did make time to see some of the Novice Juvenile bands play - if we set up the Development Band next year then these are going to be our competition. Which is a bit worrying - the standard I saw was very high. Still, since the goal would be just to get our learners some experience, I'm not going to worry about that. Much.)
The march-past was pretty late, but reasonably enjoyable, what with it being a nice day. The chieftain was Susan Boyle, which provided three surprises: firstly, she kept her "response" down to a mere four sentences (which is much appreciated after a long day); secondly, she proved to be a much better chieftain than Sylvester McCoy; and thirdly, she got not one, but two genuine cheers from the assembled bandsmen - normally, it's just some fairly muted polite applause.
We came 10th out of 15 bands - 14th and 10th for piping, 9th for drumming, and 10th for ensemble. Not great, but much better than the previous two outings. We also beat three of the bands who beat us at Dunbar, as that's promising. That said, there's still a long way to go. (It's also worth noting that we're going to miss the UK Championships, so whatever happens there is little chance we'd be up for promotion, so it's largely academic.)
And that was that. I eventually got home at 8:30, which made it a very long day. But probably the best of the three competitions this year.
#23: "The Lovely Bones", by Alice Sebold (A book from The List, and also the new candidate for Book of the Year.)
#24: "Pathfinder: Shifting Sands", by Richard Pett