Out with the old, in with the ….just as old

He bit his bottom lip and looked at me. I knew he had something to say. “Erm… you might hate me… but you might be really happy.” I waited, looking down at the floor. This usually meant money was involved. He went on cautiously, “Did you see the post from Bonners on Facebook?”. This seemed rather a random change of subject so I just shook my head…. then a cold dread eased its way up the back of my neck. Another musical instrument. “They’d delivered a new electric piano to a customer and collected the old one and said it was too good to go in the skip but the cabinet was too shabby to sell so the first to collect it could have it…..  SOI’VEJUSTBEENDOWNTOCOLLECTIT.”

That makes 3 pianos in the house. And none of us ever play piano.

Apparently I had said I’d like a keyboard. I have no recollection of saying this, especially as we already have a keyboard crouching behind the sofa in the living room and one lurking in the loft. I vaguely remember saying something as Jim was pumping the pedals of a harmonium – oh, I’d better explain about the harmonium. The village church had an unwanted harmonium which they talked about selling on Ebay but they go for pennies if at all, so Mum suggested we collect it and give it a home here – it could go in the hall of the house (we live in the bungalow next door, the ‘granny annexe’).  The unwanted harmonium, which weighs a tonne,  and its equally unwanted woodworm remained in our garage until, infestation free,  it was manouevered into the conservatory rather than the hall because it was bigger than expected. As Jim was pumping away at the loudly creaking pedals while the bellows wheezed and he picked out the theme tune to Captain Pugwash, I MIGHT have said it would be good to have the piano accessible. Purely because he never plays it these days. He used to play some decent tunes on the piano, all by ear, but these days his ear is playing the fiddle so a return to the more dulcet tones of a piano would be nice. And it would be nicer than a creaking, wheezing harmonium.

I know I am guilty of adding to the instrument count. I have an elderly and decrepit clarinet mouldering sadly in the loft somewhere, a bugle which I can’t play – I still maintain that noone could get a note out of that thing so it’s not my fault, but it does look good in a still life set up – an extremely pretty melodian which I did spend one summer holiday learning a couple of tunes on, a couple of penny whistles and a jews harp.  We also have an upright piano, a drum kit, bongos, a djembe, 2 electronic keyboards, a few – I’ve lost count- guitars, violin, mandolin and 2 almost entire accordions. Plus a grand piano and a harmonium in the house.

The timing of the ‘new’ piano was not ideal as I had just the day before asked, yes on Facebook, if anyone would like our little upright piano as I was moving my Studio into the garage while number one son temporarily moves his stuff back home.

We have a lot of storage space here, although we live in a tiny 2 bedroom bungalow and our bedroom just about houses a double bed and a dog bed. The larger bedroom we decided to use as my home office and studio. The loft, garage (actually a 400 year old flint and chalk barn which separates the bungalow from the main house), summerhouse, shed and old stables are a depository for… stuff. We have space – we fill it. We hoard. I tend to like clutter – that is until the clutter starts to drive me insane when I can’t find something and I end up doing my back in again because, in a hulk-like rage, I have tried to hurl a sofa across the room in order to get to the bookcase. But our clutter is getting out of control. Last week an overflowing skip was collected from the front of the house. While builders were working on the bathroom, we took the opportunity to have a clear out. Don’t get me wrong – we Freegle, re-use, recycle, sell at boot sales and give stuff to charity shops and jumble sales . This stuff was just beyond any of that so I have no idea why we had so much of it stored. A lot of the time it’s not even our stuff – someone says they are getting rid of something, and ask if we would like it.    We say yes. We never have any money to buy stuff so when stuff is given for free, we’ll have it whether we want it or not. We always think there’ll be a use for it sometime or we’ll find someone who needs it and pass it on – sort of custodians of crap.

And so to the ‘new’ piano. I am writing this after spending almost an hour playing it. I have rediscovered the only 3 tunes I can play (a couple of bars of Fur Elise, another short classical piece which I play by ear but apparently in a major key when it should have been minor, and the March of the Chocolate Soldiers that I learned for my grade 2 exam when 10). It sounds lovely and feels great – the piano, not my playing – and it has ousted the cringing keyboard from behind the sofa.

Anybody want a keyboard?

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