SCOTTISH 12th

Our annual trip to Glasgow came a week earlier than usual so it meant that we missed our annual engagement with the Somme memorial Lodge for their annual church parade on the final Sunday in June

It was an early start on Friday morning, leaving Kilkeel just before 6am to catch the early morning sailing from Belfast to Stranraer. The band was blessed to have Number 1 driver Alfie on board this year, and a further bonus was the fact that Willie John Heaney was unable to attend. Therefore the tradition of handing packets of ear plugs around the bus was not necessary.

Ten Pin Bowling on Friday evening proved just as eventful as usual. At least 1 bottle of champagne was won and Gareth Stewart showed just how much his technique has improved over the last year. A fantastic display by Gareth concluded with a one off routine, which involved him slipping on the floor, going 6 ft in the air, and almost crashing through the floor. Nice one Gareth

Titch provided some entertainment for the local ladies, dancing the night away and knocking down 34 ashtrays in the process. In fact he introduced an array of complicated dance moves that resulted in 16 partners being rushed to hospital with broken arms.

Saturday morning saw the arrival of Drum Major Darren and Mo who drove up from England. He later entered the MYD Band hall of fame as the worst bass drummer in MYD history, just behind David Montgomery.

Ian Boal returned to the bass drum for the Glasgow visit after a 5-year absence and it was as if he had never been away. Cutter took himself off on holiday to Cyprus. It's reported he brought home 14 bags of New spuds in his suitcase.

The band was on the road at around 9.30, parading once again with Glasgow district number 3. We left Townhead and made our way to the city centre to link up with the main parade, led once again by the excellent Blackskull flute band.

This year we were 4th in the parade, but it gave me a rare chance to watch the parade entering the field for the first time. I didn't realise how big the demonstration actually is, it took almost 90 minutes to pass any given point.

There was a large representation of bands from Northern Ireland in the parade including Pride of the Hill, Pride of Ballinran, Pride of the Maine, Red Hand Defenders, Millar Memorial but we were lucky enough to secure the award once again for best visiting band in the parade, a great achievement considering the standard of opposition which also included the outstanding Imperial Corps of Drums from Liverpool.

Govan Protestant Boys impressed me when they were entering Glasgow Green and they were rewarded with the 3 main awards for the Scottish Bands.

It was then off to the Chinese restaurant where Ronald McAtee cleaned out Mr Dings Kitchen. It was an incredible sight. Gary the Cameraman put up some brave resistance but there was no coping with McAtee in this sort of form.

The return parade is always a highlight of the year, the crowds at the exit from the field always provide an outstanding atmosphere and this year was no different.

It was also a memorable weekend for RJ and Darren, as they became the first Ulster men to make it to the moon and back, quite a bit of history. Although apparently it wasn't up to much and they didn't stay for long.

And while we are on the subject of Darren the Drum major, I have been asked to reassure members of the public who will be watching the band in Belfast on the 1st and 12th of July that after Darren's performance in Glasgow, crowds will be issued with Bob the Builder Hard Hats for their own safety as the band is passing by.

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