Saturday, August 30, 2008

Avoiding the Games

It's Cowal Games weekend. The sky is a uniform grey, though it is not actually raining. It has been thus for a week now, and there seems no reason to suppose the sun will ever reappear. The Firth is glassy calm, and there are more ferries than normal, though the Waverley has been and gone again. Even through closed double glazing, I can hear the sound of the pipes. At least I was not wakened by the bands marching up the street to the stadium; apparently the pipers have decided it's a mug's game to be soaked before they compete and have taken the sensible route - the bus - to the competitions.

If I were to open the windows, I would hear the unaccustomed noise of far too many people in the main street down the hill. Mercifully I can't actually see the main street, but ever since Thursday evening there has been this sense of restlessness, of voices in the night, of feet and talk. The cars have been diverted, and every street around the centre of town is choked with parked vehicles. Later today, there will be an eruption of bedlam, as if an invading horde were approaching, as every pipe band that ever was marches from the stadium to the pier playing its own selection of tunes. The effect is terrifying and the noise goes on for hours, punctuated by wild yells and cheers. Because I have on occasion been there to watch an infant Tosh leading a band down the road, I know that the cheers mean some drum major is chucking a pole about with unusual vigour and/or dexterity. And because I have been there I know that the miasma of the pipes will be all-pervading - the smell of the inside of thousands of bags.

This evening, I shall not be there. This afternoon I shall head for the hills. And on Monday, I shall once more venture down into the town which for now does not feel like home.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Chris...I dread to say it, but your account has given my heart such a great longing to witness this, firsthand. I so long to see Scotland...I do, however, understand. Although I am somewhat "far removed" from the events of the Naples Grape Festival every year, (being situated about 7 miles north) I do hear the constant drone of vehicles making their way to the festivities and feel the same sense of being invaded by lusty spectators. The Cowal games, I suppose, do cause more excitement and perhaps noise!
    Do enjoy those hills. I only wish I could walk there with you. I would so enjoy seeing and feeling the "Scottish experience". If it would make you feel a bit better, we are currently shrouded in a great cloud of fog. We had cloudbursts of rain throughout the night and then the fog moved in.