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Sunday, 15 April 2012

It's a real piano!

So I reckon Aiden is a relatively musical kid. When he was a baby he loved being sung to. We had many road trips when the only way to stop him screaming was for Arran and I to sing Old MacDonald. We would take turns at coming up with animals for the other to do the sound for. "And on that farm he had a.....Rhinoceros? Lizard? Koala?" It can get nasty on a road trip with a baby screaming in the back.

Aiden has always been really good at going to bed (until his recent bouts of screaming "I WANT TO GO TO THE BIG BOY TOILET" after he has been put to bed, but that's a whole other post. Dam toilet training). It's nice to listen to him in bed because he sings to himself and sings in tune. Sometimes he sings the "Happy Birthday" song including hip-pip, horrah! Funny. Sometimes he sings the "Thomas the Tank Engine" theme song. Kill me.

So Arran and I agreed that while Aiden has a vision impairment we would support him in whatever he wants to do. Realistically though, neither of us are likely to be doing much encouragement for him to play any kind of team sport. We are not a sporty pair. He will be encouraged to ride a bike and perhaps swim, that will be about it. Music it is in our family. Both of us learned music so it seemed natural that our kids should be exposed to learning music also.

Learning piano seemed the natural first step and I will be investigating a Suzuki method piano teacher. Enter Mum, Aiden's Nan who asked if we would like her piano for Aiden. Umm..yes...are you sure?....that would be very nice....really?

So last week a big shiny white truck arrived in our very small side street and delivered a fully restored 80+ year old piano. The previous week we had been given strict instructions. Repeatedly.
1. "Don't touch the candelabras!!!" A somewhat unrealistic request when over the years when the piano lived in Mum's house that were touched and adjusted continually. But now they are been cleaned and are super shiny....

2. Aiden must wash his hands before playing the piano. Fair enough. Yesterday while he was happily sitting on the big boy toilet (with the door shut and me on the other side), chatting to himself...he was playing with his recently produced poo. When I entered the bathroom after being informed "I WANT TO GET OFF THE BIG BOY TOILET" I found poo on his hand, in his hair, on his face, on his shirt, on the toilet seat.....enough said. 

3. "Only let the cleaners use a soft cloth to clean the piano. Nothing else! No polish, no oil and no Mr Sheen." And there I was thinking you could use Mr Sheen on anything! "And tell them not to touch the candelabras!!!" The piano arrived when the cleaners were at my house. Mum wanted to know if they thought it was lovely!! My Chinese cleaners, who don't speak any English, only care about Charlie. They arrive each week and fight over who gets to hold him. I suspect they don't give a rats about another piece of furniture they need to clean.

Ah I'm being flippant (and hopefully a little funny. Sorry Mum). So here is a bit of the story of how we came to have in our home a very beautiful and irreplaceable piano. A gift that Aiden doesn't realise how special it is or how much his Nan loves that piano and how proud she was to be able to give it to Aiden, and also how sad she was to see it go from her home. And she will probably cry when she reads this. Mum wrote the history down for me.

The piano belonged to Aiden's Great, Great Grandmother Eulalie M. Walker (nee Symington) who was born on 10/7/1887 and died on 12/10/1997 aged 100 years.
I believe she bought the piano when she was in her twenties -- it is not yet 100 years old, however the piano stool I understand was second-hand and so older than the piano and likely more than 100 years old at the present.
My grandmother, Eulalie Symington, gave the piano to when I was about 11 years old and I have treasured it ever since, as did my Grandmother who kept it covered with a very thick cover the whole time she owned it.  I hope that it will be treasured by Aiden and that it will still be in good order in another 100 years and that it will be handed down in the family and never sold.  I hope that it will provide enjoyment to many more musicians over the years and that both Aiden and Charlie get to have a grounding in music because of it.


  1. Hi Lisa :-)
    First time commenter here! I've been reading your blog since my family and I moved to Glebe a couple of months ago. It's a fabulous place to live, isn't it.
    Very jealous of your piano! It looks like a great piece for Aiden to learn on.My great- aunt left me one very similar to yours, but my parents sold it - I still haven't forgiven them!

  2. Hi Zelka, it's so lovely when my readers make comments, especially fellow Glebe residents! I love living here (well obviously since I write a blog about it!) My sister and I learnt on this piano also.

    Lisa xx