I paid my first ever trip to a band contest as a "civillian" at the weekend, when I graced Skegness with my presence. My memories of sharing a chalet at Pontins on a number of occasions in the distant past, compelled me to seek accommodation in one of the more agreeable hostelrys in the Skegness itself. Having safely ensconsed myself in the South View Hotel, I decided to visit the common folk down at Butlins. What a pleasure it was to catch up with all my old pals in the brass band world, it was a suprise to discover how many people I know in the movement, in fact there were many people chatting away to me whom I regrett to say I could not recall ever having met before. I frequently found myself lamenting the onset of middle age, and the beginnings of significant memory loss that tend to accompany this stage of life. How could I possibly have forgotten so many peoples faces and names? To compound my embarrassment these generous folk who I could not remember ever having met, were not the least put out when I was forced to admitt to them that I had no idea who they were. Not a bit of it! off they went to the bar, with a smile on their faces to get me a drink. Back he or she would come, with a beaming smile and yet another full pint for his long lost pal from the distant past. One thing I noticed all these generous people seemed to have in common, was a very keen interest in my present "freelance" position in the brass band world. I was amazed to discover that they all knew that I was no longer signed to any particular band and would all tell me what a friendly, progressive ambitious band they were in themselves, and how well i would fit in with their harmonious angelic dream band. It is so nice to discover that the brass band world is blessed with such copious portions of peace, love and good will to all men. By the end of the weekend I found I could not remember having bought a single drink myself! I also found myself regretting all my sneering mocking posts on this web site in the past. How could I ever have developed such a jaundiced, cynical attitude about brass bands? A very chastening experience indeed.