Hoots, Mon!

A letter in yesterday’s free Metro newspaper said, in reply to an ongoing heated debate about  whether bagpipes were the work of the devil:

Q “What’s the difference between a bagpipe and an onion?”

A “Nobody cries when you cut up a bagpipe”

Forgetting I was on a packed train, I guffawed out loud in agreement, then had to turn my guffaw into a cough in case my lone laughing, in the absence of a mobile phone, was alarming to my fellow passengers.

I thought no more of the National Instrument until this morning. As I made my way up Buchanan Street pedestrian precinct, I spotted what looked like someone screwing wooden legs on to their pet sheep. In Glasgow, anything is possible, but it turned out to be a kilted youth setting up his bagpipes for a day’s busking. I was reminded of a recent Saturday where a bad-tempered piper had set himself up outside the Apple Store directly opposite the Pan Pipes of the Andes Ensemble. They came off worst despite having a huge amplifier and a set of pan pipes the size of an organ. I made a mental note to avoid this route on the way back.

Fifteen minutes later, mental note instantly forgotten, I spotted the kilted youth hoisting the instrument of cochlear destruction to his lips and taking a deep breath. Even from a distance of 100 yards, the hearing aid was showing signs of distress. It gave a couple of desperate cheeps into my lughole as if to say ‘Turn me off quick, I’m about to blow’, but in the interests of science, I decided to ignore it and see what would happen.

Ouch. I shall do what the hearing aid tells me next time.


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