Spean Bridge Parade

The Summer Parade at Spean Bridge, 2013.

The Verdict!

After much of a to do, it’s on it’s off, I’m going I’m not going, is it in the book? The
weekend itself has been and gone. Was it enjoyable? Was it a success? I was there,
therefore my opinion matters. Those who said they would be there, where there, almost and then some. I would love to regale you with tittle tattle and tall tales, short tales and tales of Short but decorum precludes me. What happens in the Bridge stays in the Bridge, and before you start, yes, I can remember everything. In fact I’m scarred for life but in saying that I have already said too much.

Brian, Pony and myself  headed up there early doors on Saturday morning and
welcomed the rest as they landed in dribs and drabs.  Accommodation was allocated
and we settled in for an evening of carousing and song. Before long the bothy was
buzzing and the air was thick  with various groups extolling  the peculiarities of a single malt, the distinctive bouquet of a fine wine, the shelf life of a sherry. How best to remove a red wine stain from a white cotton shirt or how to darn a Thunderbird hole in your jeans. I can’t say for certain who was dribbling and who was drabbling when they arrived but by the time both the big hand and the wee hand had passed twelve there was slaver everywhere. As competition for the most outrageous dit grew in it’s intensity we ended up with a two headed camel which when shaved resembled some parentless  sergeants wife or another,  if suitably adorned with the proper shade of lippy, but boy could she dance (Not to be confused with Butt boy,  yet another story I cannot tell.) Soon the nighty nights were casually mentioned as the troops headed off to bed and some well deserved sleep. It may have been an hour, though no more than two, when the grump of voices could be heard cutting through from the kitchen area. People were not happy! Now readers, have you ever witnessed a clip of women devoid of makeup and teeth, dressed only in their “away” sleeping strip,  gnawing their way through the entire animal kingdom as they attempted to describe the monstrous level of snoring that was keeping them from
their slumber. Everything from the horny wild boar with his privates caught up in a razor fence to a bull elephant with the hellfire of a heartburn was mentioned and deemed to be not sufficiently adequate to describe the voluminous bellowing that defied the descriptive abilities of a former school teacher and several seasoned facebook bullshitters. Life long grudges were formed and fixed that night.

Meanwhile the bootnecks slept on. Once you have slept underneath a Norge Leopard Tank in minus forty or so as it periodically cranked its big diesel engines to prevent the derv from freezing, a Led Zeppelin level snorer was not going to create much of a stir. In the morning those who had slept through laughed off the very notion and those who had not had eventually fallen asleep, snoring! We breakfasted, dressed and headed off the couple of miles up the road to the monument.
We were early for once.

We toured the Garden of Remembrance and stood around jollicking while, in the background, 43 set the scene up at the monument in readiness for the parade. The wind whipped up while over the far distant hills the dark clouds gathered. Good commando weather. Up went a shout, a horse darted out (There was no horse, but you can hear that song again!) The lads from 43 formed up as did Thirty-one  ranks from the RMA. The piper situated himself next to the bugler. The bugler from last years parade must have  turned up also, there were two of them. Stand by to stand by, the great and the good entered stage right. The padre headed straight for the microphone, he clearly felt a need to share something, he had to get something off of his chest, he thought he had something or another that we all should know. It was most likely all of these as he didn’t half go on a bit. Maybe it was the mushrooms I had with my breakfast but I could swear that he mentioned a burial at sea for a tortoise. Then it was all over. Parade shun, tick, tock, tick, tock. 43 moved off and down the hill while the RMA followed like an arthritic centipede with gout, marching like men who no longer get paid for it. Bloody good effort just turning up.

We all regrouped at the nearby Ben Nevis Hotel, just outside Fort William. Ritchie Puttock was there to meet and greet and point us in the direction of the bar (Yes, I don’t know why either! Maybe he felt the need to interrupt us running full pelt from the car park to the gantry!) After a few short half’s and a smattering of bullshit we were herded in to the large, spacious dining room. Our branch set an ambush next to the main buffet tables (We knew how it panned out from here on in!)
Blah! Blah! Blah! Come and get (Before he said “it” we were on it). The scran was one of the highlights of the weekend. It was hot, on time, plentiful and very, very tasty (BZ the Highland Branch, you got it very right this year)

Our branch made it back once again to our bothy in Roybridge. Berets and blazers were bagged as we slipped into something more appropriate and seeked to perfect the carousing we had practised the evening before. Those rehearsals paid off, we were shit hot. As the bottle levels dropped the body counts kept on rising. We recalled long lost faces from far off places and recounted events and happenings with the relish of someone who has no fear of contradiction for the players involved were long gone. I’m looking forward to next year, Roybridge, 2014. WW.

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