Being confined to the house has many drawbacks but it leads to many unforeseen moments too. Last week I was doing a ‘bit of redding up’ in the loft when I came across a box of tin whistles. The first one I pulled out was an old black Clarke’s. I attempted a few toots on it and I was glad to find that I could still get a few notes.However, I was aware that no-one could hear me (you have to be careful nowadays as being overheard playing the scale of D might give grounds to an unseen listener for a committal order). In no time at all I was halfway through my imaginary Armagh Pipers’ book and was quite pleased with my efforts on Roddy McCorley. I managed a Kerry polka and a slip jig before I decided to place the box close to the loft door where I could reach in, pick up a whistle and play when I knew the coast was clear and I could be sure no-one would be listening. I can remember my first attempt at blowing a tin whistle. Away back in 1961 on St Stephen’s Day my Uncle Paddy arrived at our house with two Basset hounds. He had been out hunting, had retired to the local pub and was now visiting his sister for “a bite to eat”. My mother told him about me passing my driving test earlier that week and Paddy told her that he had heard that and the reason he had called was for me to give him a lift to Mary Ann’s where the huntsmen were gathering for a social evening. Having dropped the hounds in an outhouse we arrived in Mary Ann’s to find the place full and an evening of song and music in full flow.