Thomas in town and taking a blow
It’s is one of the advantages working somewhere like Orange City Life that when you see something that strikes you as unusual or interesting, you can simply go and ask about it.
So, when I spotted Thomas Freeman casually pull bagpipes out of his car and commence to play in Robertson Park on Friday, I decided to go find out what he was up to.
“I'm down from Port Macquarie doing some work with NetWaste, they’ve brought me in for one week a month and I just like to get out on a lunchbreak and have a bit of a blow on the bagpipes,” said Thomas.
“Normally, back in Port Macquarie, I go surfing on my lunchbreak, so when I'm in Orange this is an alternative.”
Thomas picked up the bagpipes just three years ago and plays with the Hastings Pipe Band in Port Macquarie.
He has dabbled with guitar in the past, but the bagpipes have him hooked.
“This was a hobby I just stumbled into and it has become quite an addiction, I can't quite cure myself of it. I'm just like a bit of a bull at the gate, whatever I’m passionate about I tend to take it to the enth degree” said Thomas.
“But it is a bit of fun really and it is quite a challenging instrument. I also quite like that it gets you in touch with a lot of people in the community. Often with local pipe bands you can just walk in and say you’d like to learn and there are older guys who have a lot of knowledge, who have been playing all their life, who are more than happy to teach you.
“Being a folk instrument, a lot of it is handed down via simply sitting opposite someone and have them listening to you playing and telling you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.”
When not surfing or playing the pipes, Thomas is also a member of a local men’s choir and somehow found time to publish a book.
“I like history and I've written a little history book on the specific beach that I live on in Port Macquarie, so that took me about two years,” he said.
“I find plenty of time for hobbies, the hard thing is finding time for work!