Horse Takes off with Groom…Glasgow Wedding Piper in pursuit.
“Never work with children or animals”. WC Fields.
In my younger days I lived in Hyndland near a local shop, where I was somewhat of a regular and had got to know the owner and his sons fairly well.When it was the turn of the eldest to marry, the family thought it would be a good idea to introduce a Scottish element to the wedding, for the benefit of the guests who were coming from such exotic places as Pollokshields.
The family knew I played the bagpipes and so on one bleary morning they propositioned me…I apologised and said I was seeing someone at the time. They quickly explained that they wanted a bagpiper and not a bridegroom. Recovering from the thought of being married off, way too early, I agreed.
This very Scottish wedding was take place at the Normandy hotel on a summer Sunday starting (optimistically) at 9.30am. I was advised that my duties were to lead the groom to the hotel entrance, on his white steed, to meet his awaiting bride. This was to be followed by piping the bride and groom into the hotel to continue the formalities.
The day turned out to be a fine one and I turned up early, full of the joys of a rare sunny day. The bride arrived at 9.55 and I thought things were sure to start soon. By 10.30 there was still no sign of the groom. I started to get a sinking feeling that lunch might become dinner.
Finally, at 11.20 my prayers were answered and another black Mercedes sped into the drive followed by various vehicles and conspicuously by a Land Rover and horsebox.
I gave pursuit, determined not to lose sight of them. They finally came to a halt about 200 metres from the main entrance. The groom appeared from the Mercedes looking like a Arabian prince.
The horse on the other hand, despite being bedecked in green and gold, looked more like it had just come from the beach. I was nose to nose with muffin the mule. I expected two actors to burst out at any moment.
After a lot of discussion and aborted attempts, the groom was finally astride his steed and ready to go. I struck up the pipes!!
Wedding music and horses
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a streak of green and gold speeding past me. Muffin was really champion the wonder-horse and on hearing the pipes, had decided it didn’t like bagpipe music had decided to speed up proceedings, by galloping towards the hotel entrance with a panic stricken jockey hugging his neck and the horse handler being pulled along like a poly bag in the wind..
The trio stopped 50 metres from my doubled up position, so I tried to get ahead of them and this time tried a different tune to avoid upsetting dobbin. The result was yet another similar display of rider, horse and owner in perfect harmony, the only difference being that this time I attempted to keep up. However, playing the pipes and sprinting (not to mention laughing) are not an easy combination and “Champion” wasn’t about to be beaten by a man in a skirt, so I gave up the chase.
The harmony of the wedding piper and horse was never really resolved, but the groom did make it to the hotel entrance, where his puzzled looking bride was waiting for him. The look of terror in the groom’s face, an out of breath piper and a bewildered owner must have taken a bit of explaining. I can only imagine, as I didn’t hang around for that discussion.