Yesterday was the start of our competition season. It was an event I'd been looking forward to a little, and dreading in equal measure - last year's season was really quite brutal, but the progress we've made over the winter has been good, so...
Anyway, Kinross is a good warm-up event. For many bands, the 'real' start of the season is Dunbar (next week), so this was almost a pre-season friendly, a chance to go and play when things were a bit less busy. Plus, it's a good location and not too early a start.
The weather has been miserable for much of this past week, but yesterday was definitely an exception. There were a couple of showers, but at all the important times it was hot and sunny. That definitely helps.
We were entered in two competitions: the Grade 4A contest and then "playing up" in the Grade 3 contest. The organisers this year had chosen to make the normal Grade 4 contest a strict Grade 4B one, which meant we weren't eligible. (This was probably a wise decision - if the grades are set correctly, the other approach means that a Grade 4B band shouldn't have much of a chance in their own contest, which doesn't seem right.)
So we went, we played, and it actually went well! This was of course rather disturbing, but there it was. Then we had a short break, then went and played again. And that went well too, although we didn't actually have a chance in that one.
Then there were a couple of hours of not much happening, during which I had a rather nice burger, I finished my book, and I finally got back to reading some (a little) of "Vanity Fair". And then it was time for the March Past.
We came fourth out of seven in Grade 4A - third in piping and fifth in drumming - which meant that we very narrowly missed out on one of the three prizes. And we came eighth out of nine (eighth and eighth) in Grade 3. But since we never had a chance in that one, we didn't really mind.
So, all in all a good day. Hopefully, the rest of the season will progress in much the same vein!
#21: "Firesoul", by Gary Kloster
#22: "D&D: Monster Manual", by Wizards of the Coast