Sunday, September 16, 2007


Yesterday, a dull Saturday morning in Glasgow, Govan rang to the sounds of 24 orange bands parading through the streets; I could imagine all the pillows over hung-over heads – I mean it was 11am for God’sake! My head was clear and zinging with caffeine. It took them almost half-an-hour to pass. What I like about high-rise-living is the view and the muted street noise; not that muted really; we’re only eight flights up. I stood at the window and watched as they drearily marched through the grey day…and there might have been a little rain in the wind.

My mind flipped back to my youth, when I played a drum in a marching band. My family were a mixed bunch of Catholics and Protestants, and when I joined the band my mother went mad, ‘Wait till your granny hears about this,’ she said. My granny loved it! I used to pop in to see her after practice on a Sunday and she’d get me to ‘give her a tune’ on my drum.

Drums feature several times in my life; when I came back to Glasgow, after living in Newcastle for 15yrs, I joined a drumming band in Barrhead called ‘Wummen Drummen’. I absolutely loved it; it’s hard to describe what it feels like to be part of that huge beat and rhythm. Even now when I hear drums in the street I come to a standstill…I have to find them through the crowds and stay for at least part of the performance – this drives my family and friends insane; they’ve been hurrying me away from things like this most of my life, and I suppose I was such a people-pleaser that I’ve always let them. I should have made them sit with me sometimes rather than me always having to move on to the next thing with them – there never seemed to be any time in any of their lives to just stop and listen, to pay attention to what was going on around them. In my life as a young mother my children were always hurrying me out of bookshops and charity shops. Now that I’m free, I can sit where I please as long as I want, but sometimes it’s a lonely life.

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