Piping Instructor for Lochgelly High / Margaret Stoddart poem

Lochgelly High’s Novice Juvenile band.

Lochgelly High School in Fife, Scotland is seeking a full time Piping Instructor.

The school’s pipe bands have been successful in recent years and have been taught mainly by Tom Brown with assistance from Keith Robertson who is Pipe Major of the Novice Juvenile band.

The new instructor will be based at the school and teach and its five feeder primary schools.

For further details and to apply.

Our post from ten days ago – National Poetry Day – regarding the poem 100 Pipers that appeared in the June 1980 Piping Times, prompted some readers to get in touch about the possible author(s) of the ditty.

We think Roddy Livingstone, Treasurer of The Piobaireachd Society, has quite possibly nailed it with the suggestion that Margaret Stoddart (wife of Pipe Major George Stoddart) and Muriel Clayton (long serving secretary of the Scottish Piping Society of London during the 1970s and 80s) came up with it. As Roddy says, both ladies were accomplished singers and great entertainers who also devised other parodies including putting words to The Caledonian Society of London and Mrs MacPherson of Inveran.

Coincidentally, we stumbled on an original poem of Margaret Stoddart’s (this time with Betty Dingwall) from the April 1975 Piping Times, and reproduce it below:

The Grass Widow

George and Margaret Stoddart. Early 1970s.

The grass widow of the golf course is the butt of many jokes,
A scene of desolation her neglected state invokes,
But there exists another type who suffers more in life.
You don’t believe me? Have you met a lonely piper’s wife?

From the day that she accepts him she has to realise
That she will take but second place to some piping cup or prize.
In fact some poor souls have been asked whatever made them think
They even lay in second place; that honour goes to ‘Drink’.

At first he’ll manage home at nights in order to atone,
And when they have some children, well … she won’t be left alone,
But later, his appearances are limited to few,
Till she asks him, “Are you staying dear or only passing through?”

Her wedding anniversary is coming round once more,
So she makes some preparations for a little treat in store,
But then she hears him stammer out those dreaded words so foul,
“I’m sorry, darling, but you know that’s when I go to Cowal”.

She gets the chance of a weekend to take the kids away
So he tells her to enjoy herself and if they like it, stay.
But when she breaks the news to him that she will need the car,
He then confesses he was going to take it to Braemar.

Of course, the games and gatherings don’t go on all year round.
So in his home one would expect he sometimes would be found.
But no! He must ensure he does not let his piping slip
And in some well known hostelries he plays between each nip.

When challenged he will answer, “What am I supposed to do?
I told you my religion, dear, when I proposed to you.
There’s no use nagging on at me, I am above all strife.
The noble art of piping is a sacred way of life”.

So for marriage plus devotion one should try to find a spouse
Whose hobby is the kind which keeps him stuck inside the house.
But if piobaireachd is her fancy, why bother him to wed?
Just join the Highland Pipers and live in sin instead.

Betty Dingwall and Margaret Stoddart.