Thursday, September 4, 2014

A British Invasion at the Scottish Games

Saturday was a great day for traveling. I was meeting some British friends at the Scottish Games which were held only a couple of miles from my house. How wonderful not to be driving for a long distance and having to leave early to get there. I had a long sleep in, got some house chores done and didn't even panic when I realized that I hadn't charged my camera battery; I had a spare hour to do that.
When I pulled up at the fields I was lucky to be directed to a parking space close to the entry gate and then lucked out further by immediately spotting Mary and Anhtuan who were just leaving their car. We quickly swapped goodies, she gave me Twiglets and Chicken Oxo's from a previous trip to Blighty and I handed over a huge stick of Black Jack.
We entered the field and I noticed that there were a lot more vendors than previous years. There's always the clans' stalls but it was nice to see stalls that were selling Scottish goods, wearable and edible.
I was happy to see my favorite tartan, MacLeod of Lewis, the yellow and black with red stripes.
We walked straight to the food vendors. Mary had been hoping to get a meat pie but these were sold out. She opted for the haggis which she declared to be appalling, way too greasy. I chose a Cornish pasty which although the pastry was great the contents weren't really accurate. It should be beef with carrots or swede, potatoes, onions with pepper. It was more like pulled pork but was quite tasty. I wasn't impressed with the beer choices either. Bud Lite (what!!!),  Tartan beer (bland) and a Dominion stout which I would hardly call Scottish.
But moving on from the vittles, we decided to watch some of the games. We found a spot near the edge of the arena and I was captivated by this little chap who was casually playing a tiny violin. His bow seemed to move automatically, he obviously didn't need to concentrate too hard and I quickly looked behind him, half expecting to see a key protruding from his back. he was a little star and a joy to listen to.
And then within about 15 minutes other friends started popping out of the crowd. Brian joined us, and then Carolyn and Mala, and then we spotted Ann and her family with the now famous Lady Georgiana.
I asked Ann to take a photo of the High Sheeepess with my lowly self but her Ladtship really didn't want to pose. It was so funny the way she made a point of looking every which way but at the camera until I bowed down to her level and then Ann managed to get one of the two of us. She was obviously following the rules of royalty in which a subject's head should not be higher than that of the queen.
Robert looked splendid in his kilt
We watched the games a while, with the guys proudly showing off their muscles, and we noticed there were a few who had lost legs in active war duty but were coping superbly. One of them told Carolyn that he could actually perform better now than when he had his original human leg.
Group shot but unfortunately without Mary and Ahntuan who were walking around the vendors.
I wandered off for a while as I wanted some photos to capture the mood of the games. I walked past a tent and heard some wonderful pipes playing. Looking in I was delighted to see Peter Walker and friends playing on stage.
I thought it had only been about 3 years since I had taken this photo and e-mailed it to Peter for his web site, so was shocked when I looked back and found it was in 2007!
Playing an original harp style instrument.
I sat down for a while and listened to the guys performing. I was only going to stay for a couple of tracks but the music was totally enthralling, and the guys were all gifted. Peter had a problem with tuning his pipes at the start of one song, the sounds were hilarious, and he proceeded to explain that pipes can't be tuned quietly. He exclaimed that most pipers when tuning their instrument walk to the back of the stage and face away from the audience as if somehow that means the audience can't hear them. We all laughed and he stayed facing the front until he was ready to play. I recoreded a few of their songs and uploaded this one.Here's a link to the video, it's their signature set called The Virgin Wedding Night.
What?!! Camo sporrans?
After Peter's set ended I walked to the other end of the field where I could hear more pipes playing and found that some of the piping bands were making their way to the arena to receive awards. Some of us walked alongside of them as they marched in perfect time, their pipes and drums filling the air with a magical sound which brought a lump to my throat. The crowd went quiet as they entered the arena and after the trophies were handed out, they marched back out to thunderous applause.
I spied the rest of the group down the other end of the field and made my way over to them. The day seemed to be winding down. Vendors were packing up their booths and dark heavy clouds darkened the sky. We decided to leave. I was amazed that even though swollen, my knee wasn't hurting and I'd hardly limped throughout the day, even though kneeling down was extremely difficult. So I walked with powerful steps back to Stuart, enjoying feeling strong again, even though I knew it to be temporary. It was lovely to drive only a few miles back to Meadow House and even more wonderful to sit down with a huge mug of tea and munch on some Twiglets. Yum!

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