The Piano #2

I prefer to write this blog about things that make me laugh, which is why I’m not quite yet ready to tackle recent events in the hen run (think foxes and piles of feathers).  So today I’m going to write (again) about my new piano.

If you cast your minds back, I bought it from ebay and two muscle bound blokes brought it from Bath and installed it in the hall.  The piano’s ancient woodwork has the lustre of a newly opened conker and pleases me every time I look at it.  The only slight problem, the teeny little catch, is that when you actually start to play it the piano makes a noise (I use the word ‘noise’ advisedly) of pebbles rattling in a can plus a strange echoing quality.  I contacted a piano tuner.

Colin the piano tuner arrived, struck a ringing chord, said “I can’t do this!” and headed for the exit.  I only managed to grab him because the dogs got in the way as they jostled to leave the building (they’re not too keen on the piano yet) and blocked the doorway.  I gave him a soothing cup of coffee and talked at length about the right of every piano to be tuned to play to the best of its ability until eventually Colin buckled and got down to work.  I guarded the door (entirely informally) in case he tried to escape again.

He finished two hours later, and has got the middle bit of the piano more or less OK in that it sounds like a piano rather than a xylophone.  Colin, with his comb-over sticking straight up with stress, explained that it’s terribly old and had loose tuning forks and a cracked soundboard (I’m paraphrasing, I tended to glaze over when he spoke).

We used to have a much-loved horse called Tallboy who had been a high goal polo pony in his day and played in front of royalty.  By the time he came to us he was a magnificent ruin, with scarred coat and missing teeth, but we loved him dearly until he died at the age of 36.  My piano is the Tallboy of the musical world.

It will only ever sound like the sort of piano played by a character with a glass of whisky and a ten gallon hat who madly bashes out a jaunty tune while the bar around him gets shot up by a rival cowboy gang in my favourite sort of western.  But I love it, and rose above the moment when Colin was leaving and suddenly advised me to release my piano into the wild:  “Why not place it in a hedgerow and allow the wildlife to make their homes in it?”  He really meant it.  But I’m not going to.  But the idea of giving my piano its freedom did make me laugh.

4 thoughts on “The Piano #2

  1. Dear Aly: My late mother did you one better; she bought at auction a Mason and Risch baby grand in the same sort of condition. (It was Canadian -made, 100 years old and very special) She had new works installed. None of us really played it, but it was the centre piece of the living room and the perfect place to protect an 1860′s cranberry and crystal epergne in perfect condition from a houseful of Poodles, After she passed away, I sent it on to her nephew (once removed) and his wife actually took lessons – so now it is played well by that family. You never know – someday you may really rescue yours! (although the hedgerow suggestion does have possibilities if you’ve a green thumb.)

    • Dear Mary Jane, that’s a great story! I admire my new piano immensely and it would be lovely to think that one day it could be rejigged to sound nice. You give me hope! Aly x

  2. I chuckled at your description of your piano, as it seems to be a replica of one we were given last year. Undaunted by the atrocious sound, my husband announced that he would tune it himself, and put “Piano tuning kit” at the top of his birthday list. At his first attempt, he tuned one octave. Second attempt – two octaves, but the original one was now out of tune again. Nevertheless, he perseveres and thoroughly enjoys it, to the extent of declining the offer of another free piano in good nick. His Sunday night concerts, with me as the sole member of the audience, are a high point in the week.

    • Hi Cecily! Oh how funny! I hadn’t even thought of DIY piano tuning, I think the dogs would leave the house for good and camp in the hen run. Aly x

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