RubbishJet

You would be forgiven for wondering why our suitcases are sitting at our side in the Glasgow Airport Starbucks when they should, by rights, being vandalised and violated by baggage handlers. That's easyjet for you.

When we left Belfast on Friday night we had stopped at the sales desk to enquire about the return flights. Our curiosity had been piqued by the fact that the online checkin was describing those flights as "disrupted" but was assuring us that, should the flight be cancelled, we would be sent a separate email. In between hair twirling and pouting, the staff reassured us that it was probably just a mistake and that the flight was still on their system with all the same particulars.

The journey to the airport had already been fraught. The first of the Glasgow Flyer buses we saw sailed past us, without slowing down, while we were about twenty yards from the stop. The next again didn't slow. Mrs Ulsterscot waggled her arms frantically and considered exposing a little of a well-turned ankle - but all for naught. The driver kept his foot to the floor and as he belted past us, took both hands from the wheel and waved them above his head. Rather than being an act of bravado or triumphalism, scanning the bus revealed that this was the International Bus Drivers' Guild signal for "sorry, this bus is full". Mrs Ulsterscot adjusted her garments and we settled to wait at the stop. All the time, we were conscious of the ticking of the clock. Less than an hour now until checkin would be closed. The comedians at the bus company next decided to send past another liveried Glasgow Flyer - but one emblazoned with "Largs" as its destination. The driver glanced at us disdainfully as he handbraked and donutted down the street. It was hard to know whether we had missed that bus, or whether we had simply (and quite properly) failed to get on a bus going to Largs.

Salvation! A correctly badged Flyer! And one that stopped as well!

Twenty minutes and we were at the Airport. We bustled through the door, knocking pensioners and children to the floor. Glancing at the screens, we stopped dead. This gave the pensioners time to struggle to their feet, so we had to look smart. Where was our flight? The words of the hairdressers in Belfast echoed in our ears. "Probably a mistake". No matter, time was wasting. We galloped to the checkin and presented our passports and printouts. "Two for Belfast, my good man", I thundered. "Oh. Belfast. What time's that? Oh, that flight's been cancelled", came the less than satisfactory response.

Drat.

A trip to the sales counter and we were shunted on to what will doubtless be a flight crowded to Indian train proportions. "I'd definitely get in touch with them, honey", the girl behind the counter opined. Seemingly, there had only been four people booked on the flight and it had been cancelled "for ages". Cleverly, the customer service woman was doing her best to distance herself from having any relationship with easyjet itself. Her parting shot was to repeat - "Get in touch with them..."

So, I have now drunk so much tea that my bladder is likely to explode. We'll be home about four hours later than planned and I'm tapping away furiously on an iPhone in a bid to prevent myself from tapping away furiously on the skull of an easyjet employee. Mrs Ulsterscot is on her fifteenth Valium tablet, washed down with Buckfast, which she swears is the local tipple of choice.

City Breaks. Can't beat them.

The Day After Yesterday

I suppose it's the same for everyone. After a big event, there is the hangover. For my part, that refers not to the slow and painful exodus of alcohol from the system but to the sense of deflation felt when the big day has passed.

Today was wiled away strolling between shops and cafes, trying to avoid the day turning into a post mortem discussion with a wife who hadn't been at the event!

I allowed myself a short review of some of the captured video but am saving the savouring for my return to Ulster.

I see from the web that SFU will be returning to Vancouver tomorrow, so I imagine that they, like most other bands, are en route as I type. An enterprising piper from Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band was busking in Buchanan Street earlier and seemed to be plying his trade successfully. It was interesting that he was forsaking the technical Grade 1 repertoire in favour of Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace. The crowd pleasers.

Cruising round the town, Northern Ireland accents can still be heard but Glasgow has a truly continental feel at the moment with Spaniards, French and Germans everywhere. If the crowds on the train on Friday night are anything to go by, the Festivals and Tattoo in Edinburgh clearly have an impact on the numbers drawn to Glasgow as well.

It might be interesting for Belfast to try to borrow a little of that trade by seeing if the RSPBA would shunt the European Championships into the weekend beside the Worlds. Perhaps a few of the international competitors could then be persuaded to "double up" and if a festival could be built around it all, we could lure a few tourists in?

Anyway, dinner is the next stop and then an unusually lazy Monday morning stretches ahead before the flight home.

Results - a rider

SFU (pictured) challenged the results yesterday and the official RSPBA sheet now records them in third with Boghall fourth - on ensemble preference.

One would think that they could get it right for the Worlds. It shouldn't be for the bands to challenge.

The RSPBA should be fit to interpret their own rules and apply them properly. By the by, I would have said it went on MSR preference if pressed for a view, so would have made the same mistake. Though I think I might have consulted the rule book first!


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Reflections

The crowds have made their way from the park and are infesting the clubs, pubs, bars and eateries all round Glasgow. Amongst the mini-skirted and stilettoed ladies can be spied bandsmen celebrating their victories and blaming judges for defeats. There seems to be a suggestion that SFU may in fact have beaten Boghall to third and they have tweeted that it may take a while to sort out. Certainly, Terry Lee looked none too happy when collecting his cup. So, what to make of it all?

Well, firstly it seems that Glasgow has started to cotton on to what the Worlds can be. The better promotion and organisation doubtless played a part in the size of the crowd, although I'm sure that the weather helped. It seems that we have moved away from the era where one or two big bands would dominate Grade One which is to be welcomed. However, I harbour the suspicion that we are still giving the odd Final place to bands on the basis of miles travelled rather than tunes played. You know who you are.

Ravara will be pleased with their victory in Grade 2, although whether they can "stick" in Grade 1 this time round remains to be seen. The jump from 2 to 1 is massive and Grade 1 itself has the look of a Premiership and First Division combined.

Awful luck for Ballycoan not to qualify. I was told that it was a tuning problem. It was made all the worse by the fact that they had been getting great reports from those watching their practices in the last few days. Better luck next year, boys.

Well done to Cullybackey who deservedly made the Final again. They are sniffing round the edges of becoming contenders. I'm quite sure more would occur to me if I wasn't so exhausted but I'll leave it there for now.

If you were with me throughout the day, I should apologise for the way the posts came out of order but it was a network problem which apparently plagued almost everyone in Glasgow Green.

So, put it in your diary. 13 August 2011. The next World Championships.

Game on.

 

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To the Victor the Spoils...

A giant Terry Tully loomed over the throng and suffered the indignity of the compulsory winner's interview.

As stated elsewhere, I didn't really get to hear SLOT or FM, so I'm declaring a moral victory. If it turns out that Auckland were last, I'm going to buy a lottery ticket.

Apologies for the weird posting order but it was due to crummy cell reception which meant I couldn't reliably post. Next year I'm bringing my own cell tower.

Food is the next order of the day. I'll try to post a few post Worlds thoughts later but I have to admit that I am totally wrecked after today. The BPPV hasn't totally departed and I have been increasingly wobbly as the day has worn on. Ah well. Sure I haven't the wit to lie down....


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A brief respite

Boghall let the drums hit the deck but it won't be long now until they are on for their Medley.


I have got over an hour and a half of video from the tuning park, so that will start to hit my YouTube Channel mid week.


From what I have heard SFU would still be my favourites but I didn't get close to either FM or SLOT, so I could be completely wrong.
I was so close to SFU I could have played with them. If I had the talent....

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All over bar the Shouting

The final band has played, Jim Kilpatrick has performed his traditional salute at the Pearl Tent (a change in allegiance over the year) and the crowd is milling about awaiting the results.
I now have so much video that the camera is full!

I'm off to look round the stalls. The purchase of yet another pair of sticks is guaranteed to infuriate the Missus!!

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A Blast from the Past

The 78th Fraser Highlands qualified and I was glad to see it.


Over the past few years it had been sad to see them slip down the ladder and not to even qualify last year. They still sound a bit "thin" compared to today's top outfit but I'm glad they are back in the Final at least.

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