I stayed up until 12:15 on Thursday to watch the election. This maybe wasn't the best move, as I had to be up early for work on Friday. And then I had to get up a 4:30 yesterday to get ready for the competition. It's not much fun getting up at that time, and tends to knock your entire day for six.
Anyway, the bus had three pick-ups to do: firstly, two streets over from my flat, then at a primary school across town, and then across in Linlithgow to pick up the drummers. Naturally, I got on at the first stop (and so got my pick of the seats). By the third pick-up, I was suffering from a very unpleasant bout of travel sickness. (This was something of a shock, as I haven't suffered from travel sickness for years, exclusing when playing first-person shooters on the PC.)
We got to the competition site, and started to get ready. It was absolutely freezing. And then we went on and played, being the second band to perform in the entire day.
We were rubbish.
All last year, there have been four areas where the band have been lacking: bad starts and stops, poor phrasing of the tune, and bad blowing. So, when we went on, we had a bad start, phrased the tune badly, made loads of mistakes, suffered bad blowing, and then had a particularly poor stop. When we came off, the Pipe Major was absolutely livid, and with good reason.
We then had to wait for hours while the competition went on. The whole day was very cold, even in the sunshine. And it wasn't helped by knowing that the performance hadn't been good. I read some 300 pages of my latest book, which was good, but less than I had hoped. And then it was time to find out the results.
Surprisingly, we came 5th (7th in piping, 6th in drumming). In fact, we came joint 4th, but missed out on a prize on a "piping preference". Further, we were the best 4B band there. All in all, a bit of a shock. And, frankly, undeserved. Still, we'll take it.
The journey home was quiet, and mercifully quick. I got in, watched Doctor Who (alas, the weakest episode of the season thus far), and went to bed.
Next up is the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton. Should be interesting.
#31: "Pathfinder: Rivers Run Red", by Rob McCreary