By chance I have had an eighteen hour stint of raising money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
I had to step in at a late stage for a speech at a fundraiser in Cupar, about 2hrs drive from Glasgow last night.
My speech was somewhat overshadowed by all the people coming in who clearly thought it started at 8pm as oppose to the 7:45 advertised, but in general it went down quite well.
Then we had two hours of the Woodlands Dance Orchestra, which was completely fantastic. They played tunes and sang songs from the 40s and 50s, which, towards the end of the evening, had even the OAPs present literally dancing in the aisles.
Their charge for 18 musicians plus a sound roadie was miniscule - I'm not sure if it was just because it was a charity do, but at that price I would have them at my house most weeks for an evening's entertainment. Tea or coffee and chockie bickies was 50p. and the seats were £6 - and they raised a huge sum. It was a thoroughly good evening.
Drove home to Glasgow and found the whole house fast asleep about 12:45am, and was up again at 7 to drive to Edinburgh for a 9am start at Sainsbury at Cameron Toll, shaking cans.
On these occassions, the nicest thing is the tales people tell you as they shove money at you.
One lady had nursed Gurkhas in India during the war. Another's uncle had served with Alan Bates ( the Actor) in the 9th Rifles. One said he always supported the Gurkhas because he had met two during the last war who had rescued him from getting a battering - and they were immaculately dressed even although not on parade.
But the nicest tale was from an elderly man who said his fondest memory was serving with Gurkhas in Korea. The whole unit was under heavy pressure, and the radio message to retreat had been crackly.Listening to the order, the senior Gurkha NCO kicked the radio, which finally killed it, and said," Radio not working. We attack!"
Which they did.
The Gurkha motto is " Better to die than live a coward".
They're not too good at defence, I suppose, but by God, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a charge.