Thursday, March 29, 2012

Down Under for a Spell...

Australia Bound
It has been a while since the last entry here... no excuses, except so much travel this past couple of months and my attention to all details has slipped. The one thing about "piping travel" is the friends, both old and new, that you meet or acquire. Just recently I had the good fortune of visiting Edmonton, Alberta - cool and dry and at elevation. The pitch of the pipe changes - dryness means increased hydration - and ouch, my lips started to chap and worse yet, my chanter reeds dried out. Time to pour water into those Ross canisters and control the top hand pitch! The weekend coincided with St. Patrick's Day, so the Saturday was alive with all those "once a year" patriots of the auld sod - Donegal, Claire, Cork, Galway, Connemara... and everywhere in Erin.... Sunday was actually a relief! Then on to Denver... the "Mile High City", and if I ever thought Edmonton's elevation was a challenge, then Denver's 5200 ft. literally blew me away. Playing at a ceilidh on the Saturday evening on pipes much too demanding for this old feller, just about flattened me...I managed, but not without the occasional choke... a new found respect for all those playing high above sea level. This must be what the long distance athletes all call high altitude training... NOT for us mortals!

This week I leave for Victoria in Australia where I will have the privilege of judging the Australian Pipe Band Championships being staged in Ballarat. To say that I am pumped, is an under statement. Having never been to Australia, I am looking with interest to the events - a very large entry - world class performances in all grades. I have many friends in the area and I look forward to visiting and taking in the sights in the days that follow, with even a little bit of touring into the McLaren Vale wine district. If you haven't noticed my life passions, in order

Piping, Fly Fishing and Red Wine!

 Now what can be the matter with that? Will keep you posted on my return - pics and stories should be plentiful.

Chapter 3 -  Brasil Caledonia The new generation of players that was under training was still not ready when the band started to compete...