The Northern Ireland trip passed off peacefully. It was great. In fact it was dead-on, so it was. There have been some changes since my last proper visit (where a proper visit is defined as lasting more than 24 hours). The now relatively well-established peace (I describe it thus with some caution, as our Admin Supremo, volatile enough to spark a civil war in Switzerland, is actually holidaying VERY NEAR to the province at this very moment) has caused house prices to sky rocket. However, some things remain the same. You still get offered a choice of chips or rice with your Chinese takeaway.
I made my escape back to Scotland and drove straight to the Strathclyde Hilton, where an old friend was having a ceilidh to celebrate her recent marriage. Needless to say, with dancing to be had, much of the chatroom was present. Jen, on her way rather predictably to the bar with a couple of friends, where she was no doubt planning to convince someone to buy her a drink, was accosted by an older gentleman and his mates.
“It’s alright, ladies, I’m HERE,” he announced.
“YESSSS!” replied Jen, rather more audibly than she might have planned, while punching the air triumphantly. Whether the trace of sarcasm in this response was picked up or not was unclear, and she spent the rest of the night looking nervously over her shoulder.
Wiseman, out of circulation of late due to spending time with the missus, no longer has a missus to spend time with, and hence had to make do with our company instead. Having booked some rooms at the hotel and stayed overnight, I got up early and sneaked into the gym the next morning to watch the great man at work.
A picture speaks a thousand words, they say.
Tonight I made my yearly visit to my mum’s GB Display. The GB is an organisation for young girls that gives them something to do besides buying shoes and talking about Big Brother, namely playing games and learning about God, and their Display is the annual end of year show. I realise that openly admitting that I spent the evening watching young girls cavort about a hall might not do any good to either my credibility or my status with Disclosure Scotland, but I can only protest my innocent involvement as the musician. Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player. I might hope that Broon, who was also present, would back me up here, but realise that my acerbic character profiling might just come back and bite me on the bum. Oh well, such is the lot of us satirists.
Mum, who is captain of this particular company of girls, waited until halfway through the minister’s opening prayer before deciding to check if the radio mic was working. She switched it on and blew hard into it. It was working, what’s more it was turned up quite high. After the subsequent explosion she turned and smiled, apparently pleased that the whole hall now knew the PA was switched on.
We moved on to the first song, during which my music book made several attempts to pitch itself headlong onto the keys. My playing wasn’t that great, I’d be the first to admit, but I didn’t consider it so bad that the music book itself would seek to intervene and call an abrupt and atonal end to matters.
These evenings tend to include games with audience participation. Early on in the night we witnessed a game which involved one of the leaders “making soup” by waving her arms vigorously as a number of girls-pretending-to-be-vegetables ran round her at speed, before they shot off back to the corners whence they came.
“You got the idea?” she asked the audience, confidently. I chanced a look across to Broon, skulking in the back row on the opposite side of the hall. Broon clearly had as much idea what was going on as I did. Which was unfortunate, as shortly afterwards she was deemed to be a leek and was summoned onto the floor. It wasn’t long before she got confused and tried to pass herself off as a parsnip (no-one was fooled), and ended up back in her seat red-faced.
And that’s about it. Colin Eye informs me that the pesky IT people at his workplace have blocked his ability to make comments. Perhaps they have read your comments, Colin. One can only surmise how long you can remain in the Cabinet without being able to make comments… shame really, since you’ve just made it in. And it’s such a nice photo…