Memory: Smiling Alone in the Lamplight

February 28, 2014 on 8:41 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Random Thoughts | Comments Off

At their kitchen table the other day, talking with my mum and dad, the subject of our earliest memories came up.
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The Australian Ladies

February 17, 2014 on 7:40 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Stories | Comments Off

Here’s a neat old picture: a postcard from 1926. Here we have “The Australian Ladies”. The inspiration for William Fergusson’s great pipe tune.
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Sheepskin Bagpipe Bags

January 31, 2014 on 8:35 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts | Comments Off

Firm under the arm.
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If a Car Stalls in the Forest …

December 29, 2013 on 7:35 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Random Thoughts | Comments Off

I took this odd photo this past week. I was a little startled [a word easier to write than say; does anyone say "startled" anymore?] to stumble on this while trudging in the woods not far from where I live.
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A Jolly Ol’ Christmas Stamp

December 21, 2013 on 8:35 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Random Thoughts | 4 Comments

Ha! You might have read the heading of this post and thought of a super-festive polka step, à la Ebeneezer Scrooge at the height of redemption; maybe stompy snow-removal attempts at the entrance to an anticipated Christmas shin-dig, one where you enter the room with snow-covered shoes and hope-to-hell you’re not asked to unveil your stinking socks (and the feet they conceal). No. This post is philatelic, that word you use never and the the kind of stamp you, um, lick (or did, back in the day).
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John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto)

November 6, 2013 on 9:45 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off

A glance at the “this day in history” section of pipes|drums just now reminded me that John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto) died on this day in 1979. He was a great hero of mine. Confident, bold, full of epic stories and opinionated in the extreme (oh, and a superb piper, even in the last years of his life). John Wilson both fascinated and intimidated me. Before I attended private lessons at his Willowdale (Toronto) home I’d be in his small classes at Moss Park Armouries (downtown Toronto), in the 48th Highlanders band room; we’d almost always travel home together riding street car and subway – John Wilson never owned a car. I loved his sureness. I loved his stories.
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Advice: Car Hire/Rental in Glasgow (GLA)

October 31, 2013 on 7:40 pm by Michael Grey | In Tips, Whinges | Comments Off

Many of you may hire/rent cars from Glasgow International Airport. Having recently been seriously ripped off by Budget/Avis I’m committed to letting you know that their business practices suck. Common to the car rental world? I don’t know. I hope not.
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Bagpipes in a Canoe: Aspiration Number 27 … Check

September 29, 2013 on 6:30 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 2 Comments

Back in January I wrote about Sir George Simpson, the Dingwall-born Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. As part of his 18th century trading adventures in the Canadian wilderness he’d travel with an entourage of honking big canoes and always – apparently – with a piper. Sir George’s piper always played in the big canoe – white water rapids notwithstanding - and for years, knowing this small fact, the piping-in-a-canoe thing has intrigued me.
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The Medley: That’s Entertainment

July 15, 2013 on 7:10 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Tips, Whinges | 3 Comments

A funny thing happened at work the other day, among the real world of work-a-day people, I came across a true fan of the GHB – the Great Highland Bagpipe. Had my employer been a bagpipey teaching sort of place you wouldn’t be surprised – nor would I. But I work in a *gulp* bank; not the usual employer of bagpipe-loving types – or so has been my experience.
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Overheard: Judges Losing Cred

June 20, 2013 on 6:45 pm by Michael Grey | In Overheard, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off

Here’s something: an abridged version of something I overheard in the Cobourg, Ontario games beer tent last weekend (just after Boghall & Bathgate had played their entertaining victory sets). I assume the man talking played in a competing band that day. My impression was he was more bundt than cake. He said:
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