Got back from Harrogate on Monday and today is the first chance I've had to get onto a keyboard !! Never having played in a contest before , I was unsure of what the experience would be like .All in , after playing many different types of gigs over the years with SA / orchestra / Big band etc I can safely say that this was a totally unique experience and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. Arriving at 1400 for the 2nd section draw , we got number 16 and after an hour or so of pacing about our MD made the sensible decision to get back to the hotel and chill out for a couple of hours - an excellent idea Mr Sheldon !! Consequently , when we got back at just after 1800 there was not the amount of hanging about I was told to expect , and progress through the warm-up area , through registration and onto stage was fairly quick , but why do you only get desperate for the loo when the scary woman on the desk tells you you can't go once cards been stamped ??? The acoustic was unlike anything I've played in before - totally flat , and to me it seemed like I was playing along to a recording as the sound of the various parts all merged into one and became quite indistinct .Because of that I was unable to make any sort of sensible call about where we may have come.I'd have been interested to hear what the bands sounded like from in the audience. Very happy with our 5th place , and now I can't wait for the next contest !! Makes me realise now what I've been missing these past few years and how much I'd missed banding !! So , well done to Hathern and indeed all the other competing sections .Big thanks to my Brother for getting me back into banding , and above all , big wet sloppy kisses (with tongues) to all you wonderful people at Becontree for making me feel so welcome. Ps - note to organisers .Some proper real ale will be appreciated in future ."Trophy" is a decent enough session beer , but us band types are a thirsty bunch after a blow and would like something a bit stronger!!