Indeed.

Normally, every Monday morning at 10am the air raid siren goes off. Absolutely diabolical noise it makes, which sends chills beneath my skin and fills me with dread. Awful. I can imagine how fearful it sounded when it was actually needed, but nowadays I think it’s just sounded to test it. During the 1970s, they used to test it at 11pm, and, if I was still awake at that hour, I remember scrambling for cover beneath my blanket as I never wanted to hear it. At 11pm, it also echoed outside, like a ghostly reminder of ugly times gone by. And, in some places, those ugly times continue today.

A few minutes later, the all clear is sounded. Still with the same old warbling mechanical siren sound, but somewhat gentler than the first one. It still sounds horrible, I have to say, but I prefer it out of the two.

This morning, I’d completely forgotten about the air raid siren. You tend to do that when things happen regularly, so when 10 o’clock came around I was most definitely surprised.

This morning, there was no air raid siren. This morning, there was a lone bagpiper a-piping. I have to confess that bagpipes aren’t a particular favourite instrument of mine, but it was a very pleasant change form the fear filled siren that we normally get treated to.

A change is as good as a rest, as the saying goes.

If it means never hearing an air raid siren again, I’d happily take the bagpipes everyday.

Image from Pixabay

Posted by Tom Merriman

A future writer living in the present day

20 Comments

  1. It’s a horrible sound, isn’t it? Or is that just because of what it signifies? I think I could just about cope with bagpipes but I’d prefer a cello. 🙂

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    1. I think it’s a horrible sound made even worse by what it signifies, Jo. Sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. Bagpipes are much better. I think I agree with you about the cello as well…

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  2. Get your kilt laundered and pressed TL…You need to join in with your surroundings. Do post a pic please 🙂 VK

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    1. Will do, VK – I’ve never been to Scotland so that should be an adventure!

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  3. I will happily listen to the bagpipes. I am amazed there are still air raid sirens being sounded or tested. As a little girl I remember them at our school in Vancouver BC Canada and being taught to get under my desk when it sounded. That’s years ago and I only remember that my happening in my first year of school.

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    1. Bagpipes at a distance touch my soul. Absence has made the heart grow stronger … And possibly the ear drums 😉

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      1. Yes, Val… distant bagpipes can sound haunting, can’t they?

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    2. I hear them every week, Susan… maybe they are a factories break time alarm or something now, but it seems odd to sound only on Mondays at 10am. I have no idea what the bagpipes were for though.

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      1. Hopefully nothing sad. Maybe it was a parade or happy event. 🙂

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        1. I actually hadn’t thought of that… let’s hope it was something happy (like the end of the air raid sirens! 😀 )

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  4. Oh my … how unnerving. I’m not a fan of bagpipes but it’s because they used them at funerals for police officers in NY. Well, not everyone, but for those who chose to have that instead of trumpets for taps.
    Perhaps, ear plugs??? ~~ : )
    Isadora 😎

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    1. I’d love to use ear-plugs, Isadora, but work wouldn’t look too fondly on it. I seem to recall seeing funerals with bagpipes, now that you mention it…

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      1. No sense in getting into a problem. It might be best to just try and ignore the sound. ~~~ : – O
        Yes, taps no matter what instrument plays it, is a very, very sad song. 😎

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  5. No air raid sirens here in MIddleton – the teenagers nicked them!!! 🙂

    God Bless!

    Prenin.

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    1. Sigh. Nothing’s safe nowadays, Prenin.

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  6. The small town where I grew up used to sound the air raid siren every day at noon, but since we were in the middle of the prairies it didn’t have quite the terrifying connotation that it does in the UK. For us it was just ‘the noon siren’, and as a kid I always thought it just because they didn’t want anybody to accidentally work late and miss lunch! 🙂

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    1. I tell myself something similar, Diane, in that it’s the neighbouring factory’s break time. They must only be allowed the one a week…

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  7. I once had to play the organ for a wedding with someone playing the bagpipes right next to me. I still haven’t recovered. 😆

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    1. Ouch!
      Sylvia, I think I prefer the bagpipes from a distance! 😀

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