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.