The lone piper

A lone piper was playing at the station this evening, on my way home. I find bagpipe music haunting. I’m guessing it’s in connection with Remembrance Sunday which is imminent. We wear poppies to remember those who fell in the two Great Wars and all other conflict.

I never hid my desire to join the armed forces when I was younger. But back then – unlike now – homosexuality was banned in the armed services. You’d get thrown out. So I ultimately thought better of it.

I guess I’d had the kind of upbringing (strict, formal, protestant, provincial, English) that predisposed me to want to serve.

These days I love military fly-on-the-wall docs. I also read militaria. Not what you expect from someone who is, technically, as queer as a $3 bill, eh? Hah! I guess that shows that generalisations are unreliable at the best of times. But I’ve never defined myself by my sexuality.

Mine wasn’t just an old-fashioned schooling. It was the type of schooling. Sent away aged 11 with a big metal trunk. To a boarding school. Living with other boys 24/7. Highs and lows (and these were in equal measure). Discipline. Routine. Hierarchy. Pride. Camaraderie. I got used to it; I grew to like it, even. These were the formative years of my life.

You can’t change your past and you don’t choose your upbringing – but ultimately they do define you.

6 thoughts on “The lone piper

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  1. I agree. As much as I live a very different life comapared to the way I was raised, there are still SOME THINGS I will never be able to get rid of…attitudes etc. Pains me to say that, but it’s true.

  2. Birdy – yeh, is true. I think we can say we’ve moved on from our past (and indeed we can) but it does totally shape us.

    Mancais – yup!

    Josh – glad you agree!

  3. I’ll just comment on the music ! Actually no, I’ll comment on bagpipe noise which isn’t the same thing at all.

    I hate the damn things and if I never hear Amazing Grace again it’ll be too soon.

    (I must stop sitting on the fence )

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