Tuesday, August 9–Glasgow, Strathclyde

Laundry again; minor electrical problem in the room; red hop on, hop off Glasgow sightseeing bus; George Square & Piping Live events; lunch at Wetherspoon's Counting House; piping quartet competition at the Royal Concert Hall; late night snack from Tesco

Novotel Glasgow Centre



It's now 1:00 AM Wednesday morning and I'm just getting started typing up my notes for yesterday. I got back to my room after tonight's event about 11 PM and have been doing other things since then.

I'm amazed I'm still awake and functioning. I slept very well last night–for about an hour and a half. I woke up sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 AM and have been awake almost the entire time since then. I'd watch something streaming via the hotel's wifi, try and go back to sleep, give up after a while, watch something else, try and go back to sleep, give up again and so on until I finally gave up entirely a bit before 7 AM. I got up, showered, took my laundry down to the reception desk, and had breakfast. I really like the shower here. It's larger than a phone booth and has both an overhead rain shower and a handheld nozzle to facilitate rinsing areas the overhead one doesn't quite do.

When I was sorting out my dirty laundry last night so I could correctly write up the laundry ticket I realized it had been longer than I had thought since the last time I was able to get clothes cleaned. Instead of a week, it had been 11 days since the last time I did laundry, which explains why I was running out of clean clothes since I only kept just over two weeks' worth.

Breakfast was pretty good in the hotel's pleasant restaurant. I had some very tasty and filling porridge, eggs, and sausages.

I then came back up to my room to wait for someone to come fix the malfunctioning outlet over by the bed. I had to wait a bit past 9:15 since maintenance had to deal with an emergency elsewhere in the hotel first. The maintenance guys were puzzled as to why that one outlet had apparently not been replaced when the rest of the ones on this room had been but they took care of it then so I no longer have the extension cord running across the room.

I tried going back to sleep for a little while after that and couldn't so around 11:30 I gave up and set out to catch the red hop on, hop off Glasgow sightseeing bus at the nearest stop. I don't know if they're all the same company but I've ridden on similar services on similar buses in many places, both back home in the US and abroad, most recently in Dublin a couple of weeks ago. The nearest stop is around the corner and down the street on Sauciehall a couple of blocks from the hotel. When the bus was moving it was rather chilly up on the open top deck but I stayed up there anyway.

I rode all the way around once and then got off when we got back to George Square, which is where many of the daytime piping events during the week take place. I stopped in the Counting House, the very nicely done branch of the Wetherspoon chain across the street from the square for some soup, a sandwich, and a pint of St Mungo's, a lovely local beer first. I heard a bit of the performance by a traditional pipe band from Mallorca followed by the Edmonton Youth Pipe Band until it started raining again. My balance was off a little more than usual today, probably because of the lack of sleep, so I decided not to walk back here to the hotel but took a cab instead.

After I came back here to my room I stretched out for a while again and may actually have fallen asleep for a bit but not long enough. Tonight's event was in the Royal Concert Hall, about a 10 minute walk away, at 7:30 PM. I left here around 5:45, hoping I'd find somewhere to eat along the way. I should have gone back to the buffet I went to last night, or the wok place next to it, because once I got to the end of Sauciehall around the corner from the RCH I realized that the only places still serving food were a pub and a McDonald's, a Burger King, and a KFC. By then it was too late to go back up to the buffet, so I ate at the McDonald's.

Tonight's event was in one of the smaller venues in the RCH and I'm glad I didn't get there much later than I did because it was open, unreserved seating. It was a small enough hall, though, that you could hear the music very well everywhere (it was bagpipes after all).

The event was the quartet competition–no barbershop or doo wop here, just the four best players from eight of the best pipe bands in the world competing at this year's World Pipe Band Championships, Tonight's quartets were from: 1. Bagad Cap Caval 2. Dowco Triumph Street 3. Inveraray and District (2015 defending champions) 4. Johnstone Pipe Band 5. Spirit of Scotland 6. New Zealand Police 7. Police Scotland Fife 8. 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel)

The first band is from Brittany, and was the only group not wearing kilts.

The second group is based in Vancouver BC and are frequent competitors and performers at the Highland Games back home in Portland OR.

The third group is from Scotland, in Argyll, and their website says they reformed only two years ago.

The fourth group is also Scottish but their website doesn't indicate where they're from.

Group 5 is based right here in Glasgow.

Group 6 is the official pipe band for the national police force of New Zealand, as the name indicates, and is based in Wellington.

The seventh group doesn't seem to have their own web page but is on Facebook. They, and the eighth group, were the only groups that had a female piper in their quartet and she was a lovely redhead.

The final group is associated with the Canadian national historical site in Halifax NS.

All eight groups were excellent, and performed sets in both parts of the program. The first section was the MSR or March, strathspey, reel competition where I think the bands are assigned the tunes they play. The second part was the medley, which I think they can choose from a wider assortment of tunes.

I did stay for the announcement of the winners but can't remember who it was. We left shortly after 10 PM and almost every place along the way from the RCH back here to my hotel was closed. Tesco fortunately was open so I popped in for a sandwich and some yogurt.

My laundry was waiting when I got back here to the hotel but one of my friends in reception brought it up for me as I came upstairs.

I had my snack, then portioned out next week's batches of my various medications from their separate bottles into two (evening and morning) pill carriers. I then sorted out my laundry and the rest of my clean clothes for the following week. I might have one last load done here in Glasgow, if it's available on Saturday, since I prefer to pack clean clothes as much as possible. I do, however, have more than enough clean clothes to last until I get to my hotel in Edinburgh next week.

I booked a ticket for tomorrow night's concert, which is at the National Piping Centre at 7:30 PM. Other than the piping events, most of where I want to go while here can be grouped as follows due to their geographic proximity–the Kelvingrove art gallery & museum, and the Hunterian gallery and museums (Kelvingrove is a half an hour walk from here, and then 15 minutes further on to the Hunterian); and the Glasgow Science Centre followed by the delightful Riverside Museum (half an hour to the Science Centre, then 20 minutes to the Riverside). I bought the 48 hour hop on, hop off bus ticket so tomorrow I can take it back here from whichever group of places I go to.

And now it's just past 2 AM and I really need to get to bed and hope I sleep better than I did last night.

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