It feels like quite a lot has happened since the last match report and some of it I can actually remember.
If you recall in our last MR we had an evening with Iain Speirs and Cameron Drummond who were heading up to the Glenfiddich. As you will all now know Iain rolled out two magnificent performances to defend his title and become the 2013 champion. No mean feat and very well deserved. Cameron played a superb Unjust Incarceration and was unlucky not to feature in the prize list. He also acquitted himself well in the MSR and must be pleased with his inaugural performance. Both pipers had family and friends in support and the celebrations ran well into the following morning. This is where there is a wee memory lapse.
I do recall a fire that everyone seemed to ignore (apart from the staff), proving that a free bar is indeed a powerful magnet.
I do recall being in the company of Callum Beaumont and speaking ‘Fife’ to Greig Canning. Both Callum and I are from a rather refined and cultured background and it was hard to keep pace with the lingo but Greig eventually got his message across. It unfortunately cannot be printed here but suffice to say I have a few new words in my vocabulary.
I do recall falling asleep with my contact lenses in. I managed to prise them out with the Sgian Dubh so all is well.
I do recall have the annual visit to the life saving services at Ballinluig with Colin, Jenny and Tracey on Sunday morning. A full fry up and a pint of blood saw me back on the road.
Yes another great Glenfiddich. I blame this all on Liz Maxwell. If you read this Liz please put my tickets aside for next year.
Of course the celebrations that Sunday morning were a bit muted as we bade farewell to Tracey Williams who was returning home the following day. It was somehow quite appropriate that she was crying while I was trying retain my breakfast. That’s piping!
Wee Spoon, Tracey and Fiona or WTF.
So as I took to the floor to warm up the evening it was with a nod and a wink to absent friends and one who had already arrived in Melbourne on the last leg of her journey home. As I was playing some 6/8s there was apparently some spooning going on in Melbourne. Katherine Belcher aka ‘the wee spoon’ had found herself a new and shiny Big Spoon. ‘The Spoon is dead. Long live the Spoon’ Aye right enough, the morals of an alley Kat-Kat !
Next for shaving was Roddy Weir, the first of our London competitors who were having a warm up at the Eagles. Roddy was in fine form and had a bagpipe to match. Once it had settled he trotted out Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, Donald MacLennan of Rothesay, Arniston Castle, Caberfeidh, Broadford Bay and Dr MacPhail’s Reel. Roddy finished with a couple of hornpipes and volunteered for the piobaireachd slot in two weeks time. Great stuff.
Lachie Dick was up next and he was also straight into the big stuff playing The Pap of Glencoe, Susan McLeod and Bessie McIntyre. Lachie is one of the young stalwarts of the society and its great to see him make such great progress.
Time for pies. No rush this week as you know who had left the country (OK a cheap shot but you can’t do anything about it). We did set aside two and have a minutes silence.
The PPP was none other than the Hon President himself who wanted a run out in preparation for a recital he was preparing for in Troon. As usual Colin deftly stepped through some light music during which he played two little heard Donald McLeod reels Neil Angus MacDonald and Roddy MacDonald’s Fancy. Once he had brought the pipe into line he gave us the lovely Earl of Seaforth’s Salute.
James Logan says in his notes to MacKay’s Ancient Piobaireachd: “The rising for King James under the Earl of Mar, was promoted in the North, chiefly by the MacKenzies, who distinguished themselves at Sherriffmoor. They were the first clan who were called by General Wade to deliver up their arms, which they did at Brahan Castle, 1725.
Colin plays The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute
This was composed by Finlay dubh MacRae, Seaforth’s Piper, when his master was in exile, and expressed the wish of himself and the clan, that he might soon return, and in good health. During his absence, the rents of the estate, although forfeited, were regularly remitted to France, and 800 men escorted the money to Edinburgh.”
A rather more plausible-sounding account in notes to David Glen’s Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd: “‘The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute (1715) Fàilte Uilleim Dhuibh Mhic Coinnich.’ This ‘Uilleam Dubh,’ or Black William, was the fifth Earl of Seaforth.
He lived in a most critical time in the history of the Highlands. He was present with his Clan at Sheriffmuir, and after that battle he followed James III. (The Pretender) into exile. His estates were forfeited, although it was found extremely difficult to carry the forfeiture into effect. For several years after the estates were forfeited the rents were collected by the Earl’s faithful henchman at Sheriffmuir, Donald Murchison, and conveyed to his exiled master in Spain.
There is a story told of a faithful Kintail man, who, when he found the Earl of Seaforth casting peats in Spain, expressed his astonishment in what has since become a proverb, by exclaiming, ‘Bha latha eile aig muinntir na mòna,’ the peat-cutter shave seen better days. The Earl was equal to the occasion, and promptly replied, ‘Cha’n'eilneach gun dà latha ach fear gun lath’ idir,’ there is none without a change of days but he who has no day.
The final player of the night was High Tower. We have all had times when the bagpipe just decides to have a mind of its own. In its devilish make up it sucks you in to try harder and harder to sort it. The harder you try the harder it gets. The bagpipe smiles knowing you should put it down and go for a beer. Tomorrow is always another day. Andrew did just that and by all accounts had it singing by the time he arrived in London. Hopefully it had a cover on the bag. I say no more.
That was the evenings evening.
We are back on Tuesday 12th but more importantly is our night with the Royal Scottish Pipers Society the following Friday 15th November 19.00hrs at their rooms in Rose Street Lane. Please come along and support the night. It would be very helpful if you could let Douglas Gardiner know if you are going for catering etc.