The honour and responsibility of the match report has tonight been relinquished by the Honourable Pipe Major to yours truly, and although he sits beside me casting a wary glance at my notes now and again, it is I who holds the pen…..
And on a dark and drizzly night that reminds us that winter is all too close, who could provide a warmer welcome to our Eagles home than the very Hon P/M Euan Anderson, resplendent tonight in a new tweed twin-set in tones of duck egg green. (Hon P/M claimed it was Lovat Blue, but I can assure the reader that it is distinctly duck egg.)
Quick to keep the tunes flowing is Ian McDonald who gives us some lovely flowing airs and marches on an early set of Glens with the mysterious black mounts.
The crowd is growing now, and I always think it one of the greatest pleasures of Eagles to have such a gathering of friends who are the regular attendees, some new faces and some who can no longer resist the magnetic attraction that is Tuesday night at the Eagle Pipers, and return for a long overdue visit. Some of tonight’s new faces are Ron and June Rollo who are the parents of Bev Gandy, Bruce’s wife. Also enjoying the tunes tonight, Doug – a Brass musician who played in the Tattoo in 1963, and long-time Eagle Pipers visiting again are Jack Abbott and George Lumsden.
Allan Harper is ‘next for shaving’, and I must say how much more comfortable and confident Allan appears when playing. Further good tunes came from the next player (not yet shaving), Josh Townsley. Josh’s pipe always sounds well, and he presents his tunes and himself with confidence and poise that belie his years.
Douglas Gardiner takes us up to the pie-break in his inimitable style with graceful movements and an instrument with spectacular harmonics. Douglas tells me that he has recently been flirting with a sheepskin bag, while our President has reportedly just kissed the sheepskin goodbye. Ah, the dilemmas of tone vs. moisture control.
Twenty-two pies disappear with little trouble, and Andrew Gray gives us some lovely wee strathspeys and reels to aid our digestion.
Partaking of pies and her first piobaireachd is Rachel Hazzard (Colin’s sister-in-law), and seasoned supporter, mum-in-law, Evelyn. And who better to deliver tonight’s piobaireachd than the President himself. Colin is also a master story-teller of course and regales us with a tale of days gone by at the College of Piping where he learnt this tune from Duncan Johnstone. MacNeil of Barra’s March dates from the end of the 18th century and we are treated to a masterful and commanding performance of this lovely tune.
And thus ends “this evening’s evening”. Hon P/M came out with that wee gem to bring the proceedings to a conclusion. Next time we are looking forward to Taylor Townsley on the piobaireachd, a young woman who is fast becoming a stellar piper. Do hope to see you there – 7.30pm, 12th October, Scots Guards Club, Haymarket, Edinburgh.