When deciding to leave Oxford, one of the hardest things to let go was May Morning. I fell in love with it from the start and have been going out and doing stuff ever since.
Ten years ago I got the Whirly Band together, and over that period it grew from this:
Along the way I discovered the Bosky Man (or perhaps it's more accurate to say he discovered me).
Various people have been asking if I'll be coming back this year to take my traditional place at 6 o'clock in the morning on the Clarendon steps. They already know the answer. Leave or don't leave. There is no middle ground. In any case, having gone it would feel dishonest to claim to represent a community I'm no longer an immediate part of, nor to channel the spirit of a land I no longer tread. Dartmoor has gotten into my veins again. My blood runs a different colour. No, this year I shall be having a year off, fulfilling a long-cherished desire to go to Cornwall to see the Padstow 'Obby 'Oss. I'll let you know how that goes.
But I've left the Whirly Band in the very capable hands of friend and expert piper, Jo Hamilton, to whom I've passed the bosky baton in a secret midnight ritual. Just as the band changed and grew during the decade I was at the helm, so, I'm sure, it will become something else again under her leadership. That's just what traditions do.
But to all my Oxford friends: I miss you and I shall be thinking of you and if I'm up in time, I shall raise a glass to you. May your day be blessed.
Up the May!