It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year when I approach my employer to ask for time off to attend the European Brass Band Championships. Of course, they say ‘yes’ (thank you Blaenau Gwent!), but it’s always ‘without pay’, which, for a contest that starts on a Friday, means two days off without pay (I can forget the solo events, then!!). My question every year is whether the event should be classified as ‘representing your country’. I’ve brought it up with our personnel department and if it was sporting honours, the rules are clear; time off with pay. However, banding, as near as dammit to sport as it is, lies in a ‘grey area’ and my LEA don’t pay us for grey areas! I was wondering if anyone on the forum has had experience of this, or if there’s a precedent elsewhere?