Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from Ray

New Year's Eve.

Ray is home from hospital and doing very well, with Helen fussing over him as usual !!!!

He sends New Year's greetings to all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"The Sound"

Hi all

It's Andy T. Just a quick response to Y Angus comments on the sound of the Pipes. I must say that at the pitch here, 468, possibly a couple of hertz less, they are definitely louder, with a full nice sound. I have left my drone reeds, but they are tuning extremely high. I think if I was here longer I would re-adjust them, but they sound fine so why fiddle!

What I will say is, for wet blowers, it's a must to have a canister. I have played for about 3 hours since I have arrived, and have nuked the granules as they were soaking. So far it's been a great experience to play them in a totally different environment. I think it can only help with the whole learning process.

Angus's can I have the 300 tunes pdf to me on, just to practice some of the new tunes. I didn't have enough room to carry my music book!

To Andy Tina & Lochie I hope the moving process is going well, keep in touch.

Well I'm off to another evening of drink and ale......ah holidays
For those of you who know me well, this is a photo of me at the Worlds oldest Football (soccer) ground. It wouldnt be interesting to most people.

Regards Andy T

Friday, December 26, 2008

Xmas Photos

Piping up to Norton Hall!

That's what i call a Turkey.

Piping at the front of Norton Hall. Kate's parents' apartments, are the top 5 windows, to the left of the photo. It truly is a scene from Agatha Christie. I'll constantly update.

Regards Andy T

Merry Xmas All

Hi all, it's Andy T.
We arrived in the UK Tues morning, very cold, still trying not to wake up in the middle of the night. Had a wonderful Xmas day, trad Turkey and plenty of ale consumed.
I will add some photos in the next couple of days. I Piped yesterday for the residents of Norton Hall Sheffield, the place where Kate's parents live. It is a big old Manor building converted into apartments. Tuning up here is quite different. I let my pipes stay in the landing for a day to acclimatise themselves. Yesterday I was tuning at 468. They sounded fine after half hour or so. I must say the older Yorkshire men love the pipes - they even knew Leaving Liverpool!
Like I say I'll get some pics up soon.
Aye for noo
Andy T

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Duty of Care

A comment on the uniform discussion attracted my notice, and think this needs to be brought out as a separate issue --- and that's the Duty of Care the band has to its members.

The wording in question is "9. Sunglasses- this should really be looked at as a band. Cannot understand why not allowed to wear. I struggle in direct sunlight. I am told prescription glasses only. "

I hope that this is simply a misunderstanding and that we don't have anyone in the band who would be archaic enough in their thinking to instruct someone not to wear sunglasses, since this is a very simple safety issue and the current OH&S legislation means that we need to take our Duty of Care to all members seriously (ie anyone saying 'no sunglasses' would be opening themselves and the band to legal action).

The official message can be found on the cancer council Australia web page, but the important parts are that the cancer council says we all should

  1. Slip on some sun-protective clothing – that covers as much skin as possible
  2. Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
  3. Slap on a hat – that protects your face, head, neck and ears
  4. Seek shade
  5. Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards
And then they go on with more detail on sunglasses to speak about not using the fashion glasses (they provide no protection) but to make sure sun glasses meet the Australian Standards 1067:2003 with at least category 2, and preferably 3 protection. Clearly to ignore this advice is to put people at risk. And to add a private note to this ---- at a recent visit to the opticians I was told I have bad sunburn damage to the top of my eyes from ground reflected sunlight and told to wear sunglasses when driving or if outside for more than a few minutes. I fully intend to follow this advice from now on.

Having said all that ... there in one exception that I would ask. About once a year we take a formal group photo, and really would ask everyone to remove sunglasses for that photo so we can see all the faces!

Also you may have noticed that I wear a broadbrimmed hat when not playing, that there is always sunscreen for general use in the back of my car ... and that I stick to the shade in warm weather. These are simple matters, but would recommend all to follow the guidance as much as possible.


On a related issue there is the question of playing in hot weather. The official stance is from Sports Medicine Australia and the important table is

Temperature Risk of Heat illness Recommended management
15 - 20 Low Heat illness can occur in running. Caution over-motivation
21 - 25 Low - moderate Increase vigilance. Caution over-motivation
26 - 30 Moderate - high Moderate early pre-season training
Reduce intensity and duration of play/training
Take more breaks
31 - 35 High - very high Uncomfortable for most people
Limit intensity, take more breaks
Limit duration to less than 60 minutes
36 + Extreme Very stressful for most people
Postpone to cooler conditions /cooler part of the day/cancel

Now these are general guidance for adult males, and they say children, woman, folk over 65, or folks with certain complaints such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, overweight etc are even worse effected by the heat. Also they say that the guidelines are general (for amateur sport), and of course don't deal with the specifics of a Pipe Band (they recommend getting a specialist to provide an analysis for each specific sport/ activity).
So what do we do? Well the carrying of water is essential (they say need to drink 500mm per hour) and over the last couple of years I've used as my guage the TOTAL TIME we can tune up and play in a day is determined by the temperature. Below about 30C the real issue is simply the fitness of our players ---- but there is no duty of care issue other than looking for any signs of stress on the players. At 31-35C the sports medicine folk suggest it's an hour for fit men but given we have some members in the higher risk groups I try to keep this to 45 minutes. At above 35 the best advice is to cancel, but this isn't always possible ... so within the band will try to keep below 30 minutes total, and below 15 minutes total for a temperate at 40C. I believe that these rules of thumb should be enough to meet our duty of care.

Now I am aware that in the past this band (in common with most organisations) didn't worry about these things and has done some strange things --- eg we used to have our sleeves rolled up in hot weather, which is totally against modern thinking due to our understanding of the skin cancer risk. We clearly can't undo the errors on the past, but we do need to abide with the rules and guidance available for the future.

Any comments?


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Update on Ray

Ray continues to make good progress, and sends his regards and best wishes for Christmas to all our members.

This bedside shot was taken on Saturday (20th Dec) .

Old Angus

Saturday, December 20, 2008


To All,

Tina, Lachie and I would just like to pass on our thanks to everyone for making our time in the Band a memorable and enjoyable time.
Angus Snr, I'd like to say thankyou so much for teaching me, thanks for your patience and time, you are definitely an excellent teacher. I wish both you and Flora well.
To Angus Jnr, Peter and Willie, thankyou all for teaching me, and assisting me with my Pipes and taking the time to pass on your knowledge and skills. It is greatly appreciated.
When I left my Squadron my Senior Engineering Officer gave me a lot of praise regarding my Piping over in the Middle East and here at home at the Dining in Nights we have here. He said that I introduced something new to the squadron that they had never seen before and commented on how uplifting, and morale boosting it was.
I would not have been able to achieve this if it wasn't for all you people teaching me.

Tina wanted to say to David, Ray, Marshall, Isobel, Steve, Liz, Deanne & Ted (who hopefully will read this!) thank you. I've learnt so much from you all, but more important to me has been the friendships - I wouldn't have enjoyed my time in the band as much if not for the very people who made it welcoming, and I'm sure that all new members will feel the same way I felt - that being part of the drum corps was like being part of family. I can only hope that the next band will be half as good as the CEPB.

So in closing, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. Also we wish you all the best for next year's competitions and engagements.
We will stay in contact and let you all know how we are progressing in our new band, via the Blog.

All the best,

Tina, Lachie and Andy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ray's progress

Ray, our veteran bass drummer, is now out of intensive care after his five hour operation to remove a pancreatic cancer.

Helen reports that he is cheery and doing very well. He will probably be in the Lyell McEwin Hospital for another two or three weeks.

Old Angus

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More on our proposed uniform

There is a proposition that we should perhaps have a look at what the City of Adelaide are wearing.

This might help members to remember what that particular uniform looks like.

What should our uniform look like?

As some of you may know, a small group of our members is working up a proposal for how the band's uniform should evolve. They are planning to develop a proposal to put to the band in the new year, but I think this is far too important to be left to a few people.

Given this I’ve decided to let everyone know that the future uniform is being considered, and to open up the Blog as a forum to gather opinions.

In order to get the discussions started I thought it would be good to remind everyone of how our uniform has altered over the years, and to give some thoughts as to the future. However this is mainly a call for input from everyone --- so please let us know what you think.


History of our uniform

I don’t intend to go through every variation we have used, but will use our band's archive pages as a quick way to show that we do keep changing things -- and that there is nothing ‘special’ about what we have right now.

Lets start off with the band in 1973. This pictures shows the pipers have dark diced sock with barrel flashes, buckles on the shoes, Balmoral Hats with hackles, and that we have dress jackets, tartan pipe bags, dark ties and the Royal Stewart kilts. The drummers wore Glengarry hats, pink half hose and gaiters … and the Bass Drummer had a ‘leopard skin’ rather than a jacket since the drum was slung high in those days and you couldn’t swing the sticks high enough with those jackets

Then in 1975 we moved over to a full dress
. Here we have all the band in plaids, cross belts, full jacket and Glengarrys. The pipers wear cock-feathers and black Glengarrys whilst the drummers wear red hackles in diced Glengarry.

However the full uniform was usually too much too wear and usually dropped the plaids giving us a look closer to what we had in 1973 …

And even that was quite hot, so we introduced the shirts ---pipers did retain the cock feathers and cross belts, but we didn't wear ties, and the shirts sleeves were often folded up

In 1977 we had a very relaxed uniform for a while … but somehow don't think we really should go back to it. Or there again, I can think of a couple of pipers in the band who might favour this look ;-)

Then for the 1981 Adelaide Highland Games we added the Stewart ties and the epaulettes, dropped the cross belts and you have something very close to the current street march look.

Then the band went to sleep for a while …. And nothing really changed until 2005 when we introduced the blue pipe bags, leather sporrans, white socks and red flashes

In 2006 we updated the shirts (keeping the same look --- really the old shirts were just worn out -- though we did have strong lobby to move over to blue shirts), and since then we did change the socks.

The final minor change is that a few months back we added the water bottle and that brings us up to date


As for the future direction -- well that’s a question that needs to be discussed.

Think that the starting point would be should we keep the pipe and drum corps dressed differently (ie hats etc) … and must admit that I lean towards having everyone dressed the same.

However the most expensive question is likely to be a jacket. Truth is that we don’t play outside in the cold that much , and as such we have been getting away without one … but I do remember that freezing Anzac Day in Kapunda and that makes me lean towards having something warmer to wear. The current international trend is towards a waistcoat To me this looks very neat from the front and it is very comfortable to play in … but must admit that from the back it looks a bit half dressed. A simple jumper could be OK, or could return to the full heavy jackets, something along the lines of a dinner jacket, or perhaps could simply go for Inverness Capes (ie loosely the pipe band raincoat). They do keep out the wind and cold well enough for Australian conditions and are more traditional.

Hats are another interesting issue … I find that the Glengarry is too thin on top meaning I keep getting a sun burnt head. Ideally would like to argue for a broad brimmed hat (ie Akubra or even a slouch hat so doesn’t hit the drones) but they don’t really look right on a pipe band (ie not traditional Scottish) . Given this I lean towards the Balmoral (ie the flat bonnet we wore in the early 70s) as perhaps the better compromise, even though I know that they are very inclined to look a bit scruffy in a band.

Ties -- well the real question is whether we need them at all. I know that keeping the top button done up on a shirt can be a hassle for pipers, and the size variety within our band means that they can't all look the same. As such I could easily be convinced to dumping the ties, but don’t really have any strong feelings.

After that come the ‘jewellery’ such as cap badges, lanyards, kilt pins, tie pins, skean dhus, flashes etc and though I know most of the band like these things (ie many add bits and pieces to the uniform) I must admit to being a minimalist and as such would prefer not to have any of them. However getting back to reality, we currently have at least 4 different cap badges in use and think it would be a good idea to standardise on one type.


But think that’s enough said for the moment. Could go on about other items, but think you have enough to get an idea of the type of input that's needed.

The real question is what type of look does the band favour, and as such would appreciate comments. Can be verbal or via the Blog, named or anonymous.

Lets hear from you all -- after all its got to be the decision of all the playing members of the band.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Band's Constitution

Gather there has been some confusion within the band on some of our rules – and as such thought it would be appropriate to add a copy to the Blogg site as a reference.

The main points of confusion seem to be on membership (section 5), how the band is run (section 6) and the roles of the office holders (section 9)

I know that the 'pics' above are too small to be readable, but if you click on an individual page it will jump up to full size so you can read the writing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Greeting

It's been a while since I last logged in. Only a wee Christmas greeting fae us here in Tea Gardens.The weather here has been unpredictable, steamy hot one day and buckets the next. Still the tourists will be getting ready to invade, which will boost our local economy.

On behalf of Hilary and I we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Guid New Year

Bill & Hilary Gall