This weekend saw the start of the band's competition season, with us taking part in the first of thirteen competitions of the year. (I'll only be attending ten of these due to other commitments.) It was also a black day for the band, as will be seen shortly...
The day started well enough - the bus pick-up was at a civilised 8:15, and although the bus was very full it wasn't completely full. Which is nice, since it meant we were carrying some significant support, not to mention should have been able to collect some significant bus fares to help defray the cost of hiring the bus. It was a bright and sunny day, in defiance of the weather forecast, and in the event was actually far less windy than is the norm for Dunbar.
We got to the competition field, tuned up, and went on and competed. And it was a good performance - it seems that all the efforts over the winter have paid off, and things are looking good for the season ahead. Granted, we were unlikely to win anything, but that was largely a factor of being in a combined Grade 4 contest, meaning that we were up against Grade 4A bands, when we've been moved down to Grade 4B.
Later in the day, our young drum major also competed, and did exceptionally well.
The remainder of the day was also pretty good - the nice weather really helped, everyone was cheerful about the performance and the way the season looked to be going. All together, a very good day.
In the end, we came 6th out of 15 bands - 9th and 10th for piping, 3rd for drumming, and 5th for ensemble. Which is a solid performance, and definitely gives us something we can build on. Our drum major came 2nd, beaten only by the reigning world champion, so that was excellent.
And so we got on the bus to come home...
About twenty minutes into the journey, the driver had to pull over to check the bus, as something had gone wrong. After checking, it was established that the bus was fine, though he felt it wise to take the remainder of the journey slowly, just in case. Still, a fairly humerous event, reminiscent of the many break-downs of the past.
And then the fight started. I'm not sure of the exact details, and what I do know I can't in good conscience share here. However, a punch was thrown (and landed on someone who wasn't the intended target - not that that makes it any better or worse). This precipitated a whole lot of shouting. This was gradually calmed down, a bunch of people moved seats, but there were continued rumblings of discontent. And then that same person threw a bottle, and it all fired up again.
And with that, what had been a good day for all concerned turned to shit.
We'll need to see what the fallout from all of this will be. I hope it amounts to one or two people being banned from the bus, and one or two people being asked to leave the band entirely, but I fear it will be more severe than that.
(At this point I would ask why it is that the kids associated with the band never cause us any trouble, while it's invariably the adults who are the problem. But the answer is entirely obvious: the kids don't drink alcohol. And while most of the adults can have a drink and are fine, there are some who just can't, and there are some others who are fine to a point but not beyond that point - and piping competitions seem to become excuses for competitive drinking in some parts. And so we have problems.)
Our next competition is our first Major of the year, the British Championships in Paisley. As things stand, it may be my last.
#24: "Pathfinder: The Inferno Gate", by Patrick Renie