Greetings once more from Primrose Knowe. Not being sure how I would write this column without referring to certain recent events which have been at once both disastrous and elating, matters which I gather I am not allowed  to refer to, I set to reflecting on my last effort back before Christmas. I’d had a visit, you’ll recall, from a youngster who’d played me a tune I hadn’t heard for decades, a tune he said he’d learned a what he called a ‘workshop’. Well, I was confused, since in my day there’d have been far too much heat and noise in a workshop for you to have heard a tune, let alone learned it, but no, apparently music gets made in workshops these days, not horse-shoes or fire-dogs.
That may be as it may; what struck me was that when he played this tune I struggled to recognise it. It was like hearing it through the sound of hammering, in fact. I couldn’t quite fit it together. It wasn’t till he turned up again recently having managed to produce a few words to the tune that I realised the problem. He knew all the notes, and he knew some of the words, but he didn’t seem to have ever quite learnt the song.
Well, once I’d realised what was going on there was nothing to be done but to get him up off his seat and teach him a stott or two of that particular spring. It took a while, I can tell you, but eventually I had him kicking up up a speck or twa o the dust. Then I hands the pipes over to him, rattles out a few steps and away he goes. Why, it was almost like old times, for a wee while, and I thought, if he can just remember to play to the dancers and not to himself we might make a piper of him yet.
Well, that was a while back and I can’t say whether my first-ever workshop had any lasting effect except to leave me regretting that, judging by the aches I was left with the next day, my dancing days are done.
Enough of that; there’s plenty else to remind me that times have moved on. Take that wee music book that I see talked about in these pages. Why I recall it being sent round a few pipers I knew of, though I never moved in those circles, nor would a music book be of any use to the likes o me. Besides, I never took to all that variorum business. I was happy just to fill in the notes as I went along, and if something came along that I was pleased with I’d try and remember it for next time. The music was always generous enough to leave you plenty of room for such things…