Saturday, September 22, 2012

Armidale - the sounds of distant bagpipe music

Saturday 15 September 2012. I was sitting on the balcony outsiP1000758de my motel room, writing up my notes. Suddenly, the sound of bagpipe music came drifting through the air.

I suppose that it's the Scottish connection, for my grandfather was very proud of his Scottish ancestry, I remember one Christmas he arranged for a piper to come in and play. We sat on the verandah after Christmas lunch watching and listening as the piper strode the lawns below.

Distracted, I put away my notes. I had to be back at TAS (The Armidale School) for a school reunion anyway, so I walked down to nearby Central Park through the bright light. It was one of those superb Armidale Spring days. In the distance, I could see the band on the rotunda.

For those who don't know Armidale, Central Park occupies a block next to the CBD and is a very pretty park indeed.

As I got nearer, I could see the small crowd gathered. It wasn't a big group, just people enjoying themselves in the sun.P1000761

Curious, I rushed around taking photos. Then I realised that the band was from Sydney's Scots College. Reporter Jim kicked in. "What's Scots College doing in town", I asked. "It's PLC's 125th anniversary", I was told. "Didn't you go to the procession?" "No", I said. "Didn't know that it was on."

PLC stands for the Presbyterian Ladies College, one of Armidale's many schools. "You must meet the head", my friendly informant said and promptly dragged me across to do just that. "My aunt used to teach at PLC", I explained. "Brother David and I used to line up in the afternoon with the borders for bread and jam." 

I do so love these random things! She allowed me to take her photo, but I think that the following photo with the Scots boys better captures the event.

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Now the Armidale Pipe Band was gearing up to take it's place on the rotunda. I stood back to watch as they marched down.

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Suddenly a voice said "Hullo Jim. What are you doing in town?" I was startled, but shook the outstretched hand. There wasn't time to talk. I watched as the band took its place on the rotunda. I couldn't stay to watch. I had to be back at TAS.

Walking the few blocks east to my old school, I thought about the wonders of serendipity. I had really enjoyed the whole thing.      

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