When we moved to our new house last year, my aunt in Cork very kindly asked whether we would like her old upright piano. I hummed and hawed. Then my brother-in-law generously asked whether we would like his spare piano, currently in storage. Conveniently, the piano was in tune and in Dublin. I said definitely maybe. Then my mother asked me whether we would like my Nana’s old piano currently with my aunt and uncle in Limerick. I kicked to touch.
I kept my options open by not doing anything for the best part of a year. My aunt rang me recently to say that my uncle was coming home from hospital and that they were going to move his bed to Nana’s sitting room and the piano had to go. She confirmed that none of her 6 children (some of whom to my knowledge actually learnt to play the piano) wanted it. I talked to my sister. She suspected that Nana’s piano was probably a good one. I sent in a man to assess it (based on my, admittedly partial, research, piano tuners in Munster seem to be German or American men). I reassured Mr. Waffle that if it turned out to be not particularly good or very expensive to repair we would go with the perfectly good piano (in Dublin) which his brother was offering us.
The man called me. “It’s a really lovely old piano,” he said. “You could pay up to â‚¬10,000 for a new piano like this.” That was a really good line because it persuaded me to part with â‚¬100 to “weatherise” it so that it will be safe in my aunt’s shed while I make up my mind whether I want to spend â‚¬850 on repairing and another â‚¬200 at least on transporting it to Dublin. I have six months. But I think I am committed; my Nana’s piano, after all, and I loved my Nana. It’s the piano my mother learnt to play on; mind you, she absolutely hated learning the piano, but still.
Incidentally, I have discovered that I am not the only person to experience the whole, you have a new house, would you like a piano phenomenon. It seems that almost everyone my age had piano lessons growing up but very few children now seem to be interested and there are far more pianos than pianists about.
Anyhow, did I mention that no one in this house can actually play the piano? If we go ahead, all of the children will have to have lessons.