Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Poet, the Piper and the Clubs

Here’s a picture taken in Edinburgh in the 1930s. It shows a troop of players heading on to a pitch following a piper- a game of some importance perhaps - a challenge match even a final. I don’t know. What I do know is that it features Sorley Maclean , bard, poet shinty player a fellow whose memory commands a massive respect amongst those with whom he lived his life. When he retired he went on to superstardom as a mega serious literary figure- but it was his humanity wit and the sheer eccentricity he displayed in his ordinary life that endeared him to me- that and his devotion to shinty. He was extraordinarily keen on it and I was part of a troop of kids who went in his Hillman minx to various venues to take part in games and tournaments. Not so good in my day, his teams were better nationally after I left just as they were before I went- there is perhaps some significance in that though I would like to pretend there is none.

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