Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Homeward Bound

Up early for our cab ride to the airport. Kris ordered a seven passenger van the night before and a regular cab showed up. Arghh! With bags on our lap we made it to the port in plenty of time.

We grabbed the drums that had been in storage and checked everything in. The Air Canada staff were great. The drums had to go to "oversized items" and then a quick trip through security.

A stop at duty free and then on to the plane for our 8.5 hour flight to YVR.  On arrival it was raining!!  Really!!

We headed for our connecting flight to Victoria but the loads where very heavy. Both Kris & Anna had seats but Kelly and I were traveling on a pass... so we are at the mercy of the sky gods.

We gave Kris the keys to the car and they got on the flight without any issue. We waited for the next one but decided to check of later loads and get a feel for the possibility of a long delay. Turns out there was only one seat available at 6 and that was it.

We cancelled our flight, retrieved the bags & drum at Baggage Services and then grabbed a cab to the ferry terminal. Another cruise with dinner onboard!

We made the 4 pm boat and Kris picked us up. Dropped him at home and stopped at Thrifty's for cream & breakfast makings. Home at 6:35!

Another adventure comes to an end. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dublin - Tuesday - Tourist Day

Slept in for the final time on this extended trip... glorious:-)

Kelly made coffee using the french press and it too was glorious

What’s the plan?  We decided on the small coastal town of Howth for a walkabout and lunch. It's the last stop on the DART rail system serving Dublin so we walked through the downtown to the Tara Station. A quick purchase of a round trip ticket and we were through the gates and waiting on the platform.  "Howth.....6 Minutes" it said on the screen so our timing was pretty good. A 25 minute ride ended in at the Howth station and on arrival... we opened the umbrellas ☔️ 😄.
We walked along the jetty which featured numerous seafood and fish shops to the left. We went to Octopussy's Seafood Tapas and it was very good. Even though the space was very limited we made it work!
After lunch we walked out to the end of the jetty and checked out the boats and sea views. next was a stop at the market while Kris and I had a pint next door. Kelly said the market was underwhelming.
Lots of activity.
On the breakwater.
The view of Ireland's Eye
 The rain was coming down hard so we headed back into Dublin and some shops that Kelly wanted to visit like the Aran Sweater shop. Lots of people out and about today even though the weather was dreadful. We walked by numerous old buildings including St. Andrews Church.

St Andrews Church
Bank of Ireland... it's huge!
St. Patricks Cathedral getting some work done.

We wanted to see St Patrick’s Cathedral but the €32 cost for us was a tad steep. We did walk through the park area though and it was beautiful. We checked out an equally old building with free admission called John Fallon’s pub :-) 

We are exhausted so a short rest up is in order before we decide on our final dinner in Dublin. We picked a spot and headed out on a short walk south. The place was packed and they had a long lineup awaiting tables... off we go to find another spot. We settled on a sushi/noodle house place called Zakura. It greatly exceeded our expectations.

Once back home Kris arranged a ride for us in the morning. Chillin until bed!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Travel Day - Monday - Hop to Dublin & Belfast

Up early to grab our ride to the Glasgow airport. We are now packing 3 drums back with us along with bagpipes and suitcases. The first Uber filled up quick so Kris ordered a second one to get all the stuff to the airport. 

On arrival we headed for check in then watched as Kris & Anna dealt with the drums.  Extra baggage and oversized as well.  😱 Off to another counter to pay for said drums then back to drop them off... not quite.. they take them to “Oversized Bags” at the end of the check in area... Ok well they are too big for the Oversized Bag chute so off they went back through the terminal to yet another drop off point for “Oversized Oversized Bags” 😄

Gord Pollock and Gord Cavenaugh visited for a minute then off through security to Starbucks for a coffee. We also met up with Krystal and Cody for a short visit. 

Met up with Cody & Krystal again!!
A quick 40 minute flight and we found ourselves in Dublin. Bag collection and then to storage for the drums and our bigger bags. Quick and easy. 

A short bus ride over to the car rental area and off to Belfast in our Audi A3. We jumped on the M1 and headed north then crossed the border into Northern Ireland. The highway changes to the A1 and with the help of Kris’s navigation skills through CarPlay, we found ourselves at the Titanic Experience in 1:50 minutes. 

Our ride today.
A quick lunch before we started the walk through the various displays. It is much like the Guinness experience in that it told the story of early Belfast, it’s shipbuilding heritage, the designing and planned construction of the ship itself, how it was built and then its launch. It followed its short life before that fateful night when ship speed through an area with reports of icebergs was its undoing. The rest is history. 

The exhibit was very well done but like many of these types of exhibits, there were a lot of people. So much so that trying to read all the info and absorb it was difficult. Aside from that part it was very good and I would certainly make it a stop if your in the area. 

We grabbed a geocache that was out on the area where the original gantry was built for the ships construction. It was an amazing facility built on the site of the original dockyard that was used to construct the Titanic and many other ships. 
Impressive design!

A sample of the display inside.
Logo of White Star Line

Amazing building!
Site of the original gantry.
The gals outside.

The trip back to the airport was uneventful and, after a quick fuel stop, we returned the car in good order. Funny thing..  they provide you with photography of the entire car before you leave.... except the roof! (Don’t worry... I had done my own video of it!) 

After dropping the car we headed back to the airport and grabbed our suitcases from storage. A cab ride into town and we were soon at our Airbnb. It was a everything and more than we expected.

Our bedroom.

Living Room

It was very nicely appointed and they even provided eggs, bread and other convenience items. 

Off to to grab dinner and we soon found ourselves at the Darky Kelly pub. Food was good, music pleasant but it was hot inside so off we went down to the temple bar area. A walkabout then into the Merchants Arch (our fav) for more music 🎶.

Temple Bar area.
Kelly gets a pic of Kris & Anna.

Zack belts it out at the Merchants Arch
Right by our flat is the St Patrick's Cathedral getting some work done.
We left shortly before midnight and headed home. 

A long busy day has taken its toll. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Glasgow - Sunday - Relax

Slept in after the long day yesterday. A few folks are moving slowly as the social went into the wee hours last night/this morning. Kelly was kind enough to bring me coffee... again!

Today we prep for our departure from Glasgow on Monday morning. Laundry is getting done and there is a big fry up planned to use up some of the food in the fridge. Our suitcases are slowly being filled up.

I got busy cooking up sausages and bacon we enjoy a nice filled roll each... although no sign of Kris this morning. (He did finally show!)
Showered, semi packed and fed, it was time to head off and explore. We decide to go the the Transportation Museum just out to the west of the city center. 

1920's Steam Powered Tractor
They had a huge scale model boat display, automobiles, rail & tram cars and full sized locomotives. The sailing ship Glenlee was moored outside as well. It is a very interactive place with lots of interesting user friendly games and learning tools for kids as well.

Incredible detail!

Lots to see.
We joined up with Lynn and Warren (who also took in the museum) then went over to the famous Park Bar (est 1885) were we met up with numerous other band members. They block off the street as the pub is so jammed they made an area to socialize. Not much for protection from the elements but it was nice while we visited. We enjoyed the piping and drumming chat that went on there. Lots of bandsmen and their supports all end up there at some point during the day. Well we did!

Park Bar action.
We stayed for a drink and then headed for dinner. We planned to meet Sue and Paul at the Ask Italian restaurant just by the bus station. On arrival at our table a gentleman walked up and said hi. It was Ian MacCrimmon from our Big Rock Band in Edmonton!  What a surprise for us!  We were reintroduced to his wife Charlotte and son Calum. We had not seen them since 1994 when the band played at the Worlds back then.  A quick catch up and they were off to the music event at the Glasgow Concert Hall across the street. 

Our last dinner was very good then back to the dorms to finalize packing. 

A small social ensued as we readied for bed. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Glasgow - Saturday - Competition

On the day.... 

All the hard work, practice and preparation will be tested today as the band heads over to Glasgow Green and the World Pipe Band Championships. Over 200 bands will assemble and play in numerous "Grades" or levels from Juvenile on up to Grade 1. 

Each band will have their time in the competition circle (arena) to play their required tunes under the watchful eyes and ears of several judges. They usually consist of two of three  piping judges, a drumming judge and an ensemble judge.

The band was up early and departed for the field via bus at 07:10 local time. They are scheduled to play in Arena 6 at 09:48 so plenty of time to prepare. 

Awaiting the band bus. Several other bands are also departing from the dorms.
The bus was able to park very close to the field of play so we didn't have to do a big hike. As the bus was unlocked this made for a very convenient gathering spot.   

Nice warm up area right beside the bus! Drums cases reserve the spot :-)
There are bands everywhere and the noise can be overpowering if you are unaccustomed to it.  We had a nice grass area just inside the gate for tuning while the drum corp used the paved area.

Tuning underway.
The tuning of the pipes started and this is an important step towards the final set up. Timing is critical as you don't want to overplay your pipers to the point that they leave the best performance right there in the field! 

The drummers also prepped and ran through the set numerous times. It was sounding good!

Photo op!
I was tasked with registering the band at the main tent and after that was completed, I checked in with the marshals at Arena 6. They had started on time with the first band on at 9:00 am sharp. The warm up area was right next to it so I then went back and advised Warren  (the Pipe Major) of the details.  As the time grew closer the band moved over to the official "Tuning area" as Jamie put the final tuning touches on the drones.

Final tuning continues as they build for the performance.

One last play through.

The band played on to the circle and I went live on Facebook for our friends and family watching back home. Had some issues with orientation but it worked out I hope :-) They played great with a good "attack".. this is when the pipers come in with an E note simultaneously to sound as one. The tempo was very nice with good breaks between the tunes. I though it was well played. 

The band comes off the field after a great set.
The post debrief had good comments from everyone and they were very happy with the overall play. It will be up to the judges to see who makes it past the qualifying round to play in the final. This is the bands goal.

 As mentioned, there are a lot of bands here and our nephew Cody was playing with North Stratton from Edmonton, Alberta

Cody is third from the right.
We watched them tune up and then do their set in Arena 2. It was well played and a very nice tune selection. We meandered around the park and watched Inverary & District play in Arena 1. It was hard to hear as the winds carried the pipes away. They looked good!

I & D at the line.
The other Grade 4A bands all finished playing and we then waited for the announcement of the finalists. This was done at 1 o'clock on the big screen at the Needle. The first six where announced from the first flight and then they started with the second group.... the seventh and then it happened! 8th up was City Of Victoria Police! A small roar erupted from the band members and congratulations started. This was the goal and now it would be all gravy from here on in. I was very happy for everyone involved.

Not the best picture due to the frequency of the camera and the tv.
The band now had to prepare and re-tune as they would play again in Arena 3 at 2:56. They all met at the bus and scheduled a meet up time to prepare later. Lots of hugs and congratulatory hand shakes as everyone was excited about the placing! 

Arena 3 tune up area was at the top of the hill and the actual playing area was just down on a bit of a slope. Lots of people watched and the small grandstand was packed full. With the weather cooperating an a nice breeze flowing through it made for a great "Finals" venue.

Round two of tuning as they prepare for the finals.
A light rain fell as they prepped.
It was now their time to play and with a nice break in the weather, they came down the hill and played the MSR. Another nice attack and melodic effort that I recorded. Unfortunately it is too large a file to upload here so it's on Facebook here

The band came off the field and once again was happy with the performance. Many hugs and handshakes as this will be a memory that few who played will ever forget. Seeing them play on the larger stage was fantastic.

Off to the beer garden for a celebratory drink as the official playing was completed. It was such a different vibe from 2017 when the band did not make the finals that year. It was a win for these guys!

Let the social begin!
Lots of smiling faces!
Cody and Kris at the beer gardens.
The band (and everyone else) then left and formed up to attend the massed band and awards ceremony. It took a while to get all the bands in but the presentations were eventually made. Some results here

Kelly and Kris await the reward presentation.
 The band came in 11th overall and the score sheets showed 7th & 8th in Piping and buried 11th & 12th in Drumming in the final. Drums sounded much better than the scores indicate IMHO. 

Everyone headed for the bus and the band posed for one last photo before everyone scatters in the coming days.

2019 GVPPB @ The Worlds
A band social ensued in our kitchen with numerous speeches by members and friends. A great end to a long day! Kelly made a comment that it was always two bands that she idolized as a kid and that was Triumph Street and City of Victoria. She got to play with James W. Troy in 2017 in Glasgow and now with Hal Senyk in 2019... pretty cool.

Hal & Jamie

Social gets started.... pizza is inbound.
A big thank you to all the band members and extended family and friends for making this such a great experience for me. It was a blast watching the excitement!

Tomorrow is a sleep in!

Homeward Bound

Up early for our cab ride to the airport. Kris ordered a seven passenger van the night before and a regular cab showed up. Arghh! With bags ...