It were that time of the year again. Hey up!

The brass band playing hordes descended upon the Royal Albert Hall from their northern and western (and, whisper it softly, up from their southern) homes for a day of musical jousting. The final of the National Brass Band Championships had come around once again. Tuba versus tuba, cornet against cornet. Mano a Mano. And the odd womano a womano. The bar was full of people open-mouthed at paying £5.50 for a bottle of Specked Hen. Didn’t slow them down, though.

This was my second contest as a spectator and it lived up to the pleasure that last year afforded. I closed my eyes, with a plastic glass of ale in my hand enjoying the sensation of the music meeting the alcohol in my brain. The sound of that brass was nothing short of heavenly.

The competition was intense. Cory, who have won the last two championships, were nudged into 3rd. A soulful Tredegar snook into second place. They played the slow emotional movements so well that I welled. Old favourites Brighouse and Rastrick crept up the rails to win. Lots of Yorkshire whooping followed. I put them fourth with the mighty Black Dyke to win. But The Dyke sadly placed lowly.

Never mind. There’s always next year. Another scintillating competition. Another excuse for a big night out in the smoke.

World class music and good friendly company. In the splendour of the Albert Hall in October. What more could you want?

A proper London day out with hardly a Londoner to be seen.