The antepenultimate competition of the season was the one that I missed last year due to the leaky roof. So, I went into it not knowing quite what to expect. In the event, it was a pretty good day, albeit a very long and tiring one. The bus pick-up was at 6:45am, which meant waking up at 5:15 to get ready. That tiredness would cause me to make a crucial mistake...
It was a bright and sunny day, in many ways ideal for a pipe band competition. We went, we tuned up, and we played. The first performance was good. Then, about an hour later, we tuned up again (being much more relaxed this week), and played again. Alas, the second performance was not good, but at least we were aware of that fact.
Then there was significant waiting - not only because we'd finished by 11 but also because this was a particularly long competition. With the World Championships being next weekend, many more bands are attending these smaller events and so they take more time.
At 2pm we did take a break from the exciting waiting to go support our drum major in her competition - this being a new development, as this was only her second time competing. She did well, but was hampered somewhat by being an 8-year-old with four months' experience competing against three 15/16-year-olds with 7-8 years of experience.
The march-past eventually arrived, and took a very long time. It really didn't help that the PA system wasn't working right, so we couldn't actually hear the results. In any event, we didn't win anything, though our DM did get a prize for coming fourth.
The final results were somewhat mixed - in the Grade 4 competition we came 8th out of 17 (7th and 11th for piping, 8th for drumming, and 6th for ensemble), while in the Grade 4MSR we came 12th and last (9th and 12th for piping, 10th for drumming, and 11th for ensemble). Which doesn't bode too well for our chances of qualifying at the Worlds next week, but doesn't make it impossible. (We're in a group of 15, out of which 6 go through.)
After the march-past we went back to the bus, then home... and then straight out again to play a charity gig for a group of bikers. That was a good event, and we got a really good reception, but it did make for a very long day. I eventually got home around 10pm.
Oh, yes, my key mistake: I forgot to put sunblock on. So, having made it thus far through the season without either getting sunburnt or rained on (much), I've managed to turn bright red. Not my best move, obviously. (Although, that said, it wouldn't actually have made much difference, as some of the worst of the sunburn is right on the top of my head, where there's just enough hair left to prevent me applying sunblock while simultaneously not being enough to afford any real protection from the sun. I'm going to have to invest in a hat.)
Anyway, two weeks to go and then the season will be over. And, much to my surprise, it has been a good one.