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Carrot Soup

In the past twelve years only one Scottish pipe band has won the World Pipe Band title - Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band in 2000 - with the coveted World Championship going overseas year after year. Two weeks ago (16 August 2003) Scottish pride was restored and piping came home when Shotts and Dykehead, in front of a capacity 40,000 crowd on Glasgow Green, swept all competition aside to give Scotland the top spot once again. The Flag is delighted to congratulate Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band on winning the World Championship for a record 14th time.
 
Thanks to spread of the Scottish tradition of piping and drumming world wide, the World Pipe Band Championship now fully lives up to its name and the standard is probably at an all-time high. Likewise the number of pipers in Scotland is at an all-time high in both numbers and quality.
 
For centuries the Great Highland War Pipe played the Highland Clans into battle and inspired them to deeds of valour. Following the lifting of the proscription on piping, which followed the 1745 Jacobite Rising, the raising of Highland Regiments, cannon-fodder for the English army, pipe bands , as we know them today, gradually emerged. Military bands combining pipes and drums played their part in bloody conflict in every pink corner of the 'English' Empire. Civilian pipe bands now widely exceed in number their military counterparts and are a major attraction at all outdoor events.
 
In the week following Scotland's resurgence in the pipe band world came rather worrying news for pipers and drummers the world over. According to a survey carried out by the Canadian 'Piper & Drummer' magazine, the pipes can damage not only hearing but cause repetitive strain injuries after years of playing. The magazine also suggested that piping was a cause of marriage break-down and alcoholism. The claim was quickly 'rubbished' by Robert Wallace of the Glasgow-based College of Piping, but like all surveys, including political opinion polls, there will an element of truth to the findings - some pipers will become deaf, some marriages will break-down and some pipers will enjoy a dram too many. But surely that applies to all sectors of society, and pipers should feel free to carry on doing what they do best - playing and bringing pleasure to many. Among the top spot on almost every visitor to Scotlands wish-list is to see and hear a pipe band. Long may our pipers and drummers make this wish come true.
 
Carrot Soup provides a 'piping' hot recipe for this week - a simple to make but tasty soup.
 
Carrot Soup
 
Ingredients : 2 oz (50 g) vegetable oil; 1 1/2 lb (100 g) chopped carrots; 4 oz (100 g) chopped onion; 2 pints (1800 ml) cold water
 
Place oil in pan. Add onion and sweat without colouring for two minutes. Add carrot, and sweat under pan lid for five to six minutes. Add water and bring to the boil. Simmer for twenty minutes until all the carrot is cooked. Remove from the heat, and process until smooth. Season to taste and serve hot. Garnish with parsley.

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