Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Once a jolly swagwoman...

I don’t know what it is about marching down the street to Waltzing Matilda on Anzac Day that sends shivers down my spine. It’s not like it’s any different to playing Waltzing Matilda in any other street parade but there’s just that extra little special something to this occasion. To be honest, I’m surprised I’m even admitting this in public; I’m usually not one to endorse the commotion that occurs around this time every year. Rather, I arrogantly view myself as being above the masses and intelligent enough to view the event for what it should be viewed as – a day which we dedicate to remembering and showing our respect for all of those who have died in war and how terrible it is that we have killed people, not a glorification of the conflicts that have raged on the planet’s surface since the beginning of time. And now that I have successfully made myself appear as a stuck-up and somewhat left-wing snob, I shall move on.

The reason why I was marching down the street to Waltzing Matilda in the first place is because, as for I have been for nearly 10 years now, I was playing as part of a pipe band in a local Anzac Day street march. One thing that I have never mentioned on this blog is the fact that I play the bagpipes… and that I absolutely love it. In fact, I love it more than I love food or anything to do with it. Yes, I love it that much.

Due to circumstance and crazy happenings in various parts of my life, I unfortunately haven’t been playing my pipes as much as I would like. In fact, I nearly gave up at one stage last year. Yikes. Even the thought of doing so terrifies me now. When I play pipes, it just feels right. It feels like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Today was the first time in a long while that I made an appearance with the band and yes, it felt good.

Apart from the thrill of neatly and musically executing a tune, the main thing that I’m addicted to is the people. The pipe band scene is an amazing place and is one that is filled with the most bizarre assortment of characters you could ever hope for. From teachers to tradies, aeronautical engineers to doctors, each person you meet is remarkably different and full of life (not to mention beer – particularly at the end of a long, hot day on the competition field). Some of them are total misfits and, like most social misfits, most people tend to ignore those. However, there is nothing better than finding yourself in a group where the balance is just right. And I’ve found that with the current band I’m in. I love them. All. To absolute bits.

At this point in time, I would probably be slightly embarrassed if any of them saw this post but I’m sure there will come a day when it all ends up in the open. Two members of the band executive (my pipe major and honourable president) make my ‘all time favourite people’ list which is – trust me – extremely limited in length.  They are just such amazing people and the group they lead is even more so. There just seems to be a certain camaraderie that exits in pipe bands that doesn’t exist in other institutions. It’s also one of those ‘you have to experience’ feelings I think. Nothing I can really explain.

I should probably stop ranting now and go back to my structural biochemistry study. Sigh… after a great day with great people, it’s hard to concentrate on such dry material.  I don’t even have a new recipe to post in order to make it more bearable :-( 

On the other hand, there is a quite exciting bee-and-honey-related event coming up in my household… stay tuned…. 

- Matilda

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