Glen go out on the Town
Last Friday night (18/9/09) the Glenners -Hendo’s crew and the first team plus assorted Wags and the Committee -had a big date in the Town House. A Civic Reception no less - for being, amongst other things, the Marine Harvest Team of the Year and winning a couple of Leagues as well. It was an auspicious and enjoyable occasion as some of the snaps will show. Of course, not everybody could make it : some had other engagements, notably Russ and Geordie who were off en route to Oban to set up the Shintyshop stall at Mossfield. Also absent was Captain “Boy” Macdonald who has headed off to new employment in France and Calum Smith was unable to get back from College in time.
Big Arran also missed out while Gary Mackintosh has been suffering the effects of a shinty injury which has caused him to be laid up for a week or so. Big Mike and wee Billy were also unavoidably absent- a pity because they would have enjoyed the crack.
The Wing Centre, the Treasurer and the Secretary were there as were the Chieftain and the Chairman. All of them seemed every bit at home in the marbled halls as they were on the sidelines at Blairbeg.
Having stepped off the bus at the Gellions in the High Street the party crossed the road and entered the Gilded Palace of the Gaidhealtachd by – and this was needlessly modest for the Team of the Year - a side door. But then up the marble staircase, past the painted portraits of Chiefs and Generals to the old Council Chamber where it appears that Lloyd George made an attempt to settle the Irish Question in 1921.
There the side were greeted by the affable Deputy Provost Alex Graham and were treated to a free bar - not a concession the Invergarry Hotel would offer to Glenners - and a very enjoyable half hour was spent in the company of some very congenial councillors who appeared to be well disposed towards the indigenous sport. In the Wing Centre’s company were old friends like Councillor Roddy Balfour, Councillor Ken Macleod (The historians amongst the readership will remember that Ken was on the old Burgh council pre -1975) and of course Councillor Roy Pedersen who for all that he is an Aberdonian has west coast roots and is of course the father-in-law of Inverness Shinty Club’s own “Dink” Fraser. Thanks are of course due to the Councillor who made it all possible Abriachan’s own Margaret Davidson - and given that the Glen club is home to Abriachan’s only internationalists (Barr the Older and Barr the Younger) it was a good night to come from the High Plains.
Town manager David Haas (it is hard for someone of the Wing Centre’s vintage to use the word “city” in the context of Inverness) indicated that it was time to move through to the dining room and at the direction of the Town Officer the group went through leaving the top table to enter with due ceremony.
What a delight it gave the lads to see their old music teacher Mrs Sheila Bruce pounding away at the old Joanna : Mrs B was not however fazed to see the Glenners though she did give a nod of recognition to her former star pupil that talented accordionist (and goalie) Stuart “Smack” Macintosh. If only “Smack “had remembered the box , then a rare old ceilidh would have been on the cards. The fact that the guys were shinty players did not impress Mrs B too much however. She had taught hundreds of them – Strathglassers too - and truth to tell, even big James Clark picked up the ability to sing in tune to “Flower of Scotland” in her classes in Fort Augustus.
Also on the stage beside Mrs Bruce were the trophies which had come into the possession of the Glen over the past year : there is absolutely no truth in the malicious rumour that amongst the line up was the “Westfield Challenge Cup” (for cut flowers)which Helen and her Mam had pinched from the Glen Horticultural Society Trophy Cabinet. Nor was Paul Mac’s Meiklie Fishing Cup included.
The Treasurer then gave a fine grace - the meal was served: the Deputy Provost paid tribute to the team and its achievements- and then the Chairman replied on behalf of the Club. He gave a fine speech paying tribute to the Teams, the Committee, the managers, the youth coaches, helpers - and alluded to the fact that the 2nd Team were also in with a chance of the League. He concluded with a joke, at the start of which old hands exchanged uneasy glances because one doesn’t always know where the Chairman’s jokes are going to go. This one however did go -indeed went down well- and on that happy note the Glenners parted from the Councillors with regret but swearing to be lifelong friends.
The bus journey home to the green Glen was a cheerful affair and by the time the crowd got off the transport at the Scotmid Shop they had quite forgotten it was the Council which had given it planning permission in the first place.
Now the Wing Centre would like to win the Camanachd Cup. That victory would surely precipitate another Civic Reception and that looks like it is the only way he will manage to get a snap of himself sitting in the Provost’s Chair. He was about to pose in it last Friday when the Town Officer moved everyone through. Pity