North West Junior Pipe Band plays on Freeway, gets Glasgow Rain

NWJPB arrived at Seatac airport at 4:30 AM Tuesday morning, to
learn that Houston was having flight delays as well as Chicago the
night before.  The Continental staff really had their hands full, but
ended up getting us checked in on time after a few hours of hurrying up
to wait for them to “just get through it”.

The band arrived in Newark, New Jersey expecting a 3.5 hour layover and ended up with approximately 5 hours and one gate change.

The flight crew into Glasgow commented to several of the parents and
other travelers that our kids were one of the best groups of kids
they’ve ever had on the airplane.  They were respectful and friendly
and generally great on the flight to Scotland.  One of the flight crew
told several different adults in our party how great the kids were. 

But we arrived in Scotland at approximately 9:00 am Wednesday
morning, got checked into our rooms and met for our first practice to
make sure the instruments still work correctly after all that time on
an airplane.  We practiced under the “M-8″ expressway to stay out of
the rain, about 4 blocks down hill from our lodging.   While we were
practicing under the M-8 Wednesday, a reporter drove by, who then
contacted the National Piping Centre
thinking it might be an interesting story for a Glasgow News magazine
he works for.  The Piping Centre emailed us and we’re hoping their
reporter shows up to our practice Friday morning.  Here’s a
camera-phone picture of us at practice under the bridge, right next to
the offramp from the M-8 to the Great Western Road (A82):

NWJPB practicing out of the rain, under the M-8 freeway in Glasgow

The rain is coming down here occasionally, a lot like spring in
Seattle was this year; gray overcast, mist, light showers and
occasional heavy rains all day long Wednesday.   We’re all exhausted
after the travels, but got up for 10:00 AM practice Thursday morning
(9:00 for Snare Drummers).  The rain held off for the most part
Thursday.  We’ve found a place only three blocks away that will let us
do morning practices indoors while we’re here, it acts as a bar only on
Fridays and Saturdays and hosts performances with the Glasgow School of
Art students.  It’s a nice change from the Freeway overpass when we get
to use it for our morning practices.  Picture below.  Thanks to the
very kind people at the Glasgow School of Art, Margaret MacDonald House for
helping us get in at this unique space and to Colin and his co-workers
at “The Vic” for scheduling it for us and letting us in when we arrive
and ring the bell. 

NWJPB in our morning practice space at “The Vic”

Our first competition is Saturday August 9th, beginning at 10:00 AM in North Berwick (2:00
AM Pacific), which means a 6:00 am wake-up call for the band and
scrambling out to the coaches to load up and head out.  The bagpipes
are still adjusting to the change in humidity and temperature, and have
caused practices to be interrupted repeatedly to re-set reeds and tape
and try to get the good tone we had this summer in the Northwest back. 
Heavy rains are in the forecast.  We learned recently that we may not
have the coaches actually at the games to keep us dry, they’re parked
about a mile away.  We’ll hope for good weather, but may call the
coaches to come and get us for a couple hours in the afternoon before
closing ceremonies and the parade through North Berwick if possible,
and if we can’t escape the rain in other ways.

Perth on Sunday August 10th has a 20% chance of rain, mostly
cloudy.  They’ve moved the Perth games to a race track rather than the
traditional location because it was rained out last year and they
didn’t want to repeat the problem of last year.  Hopefully the friends
of NWJPB who said they’d be coming to some of our competitions will be
aware of the change.  The venue change posted in the news on the RSPBA website as well as Pipes|Drums, although the Perth Games website seems to be down while writing this Blog entry.

On Monday, August 12th, NWJPB will be one of the first acts to
perform “Piping Live!” and ”opening” the week of bagpiping and drumming
related festivities, performing at George Square at 11:00 AM. 
Information about Piping Live! is available on their website
and their schedule is so full, we almost don’t know where to start. 
It’ll be a very full week for many of us, but every day is a new
experience and a memory we won’t forget.

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