Monday, September 17, 2007

new house

We made it. We are now the proud owners of a gorgeous Victorian stone house with bay windows, roses round the door, a distinct smell of cat wee and a very leaky roof.

Not that the ingress of water had damped our spirits - oh no! We have spent the whole weekend wandering from room to room with silly grins on our faces, and wondering aloud where we are going to get enough furniture to fill it.

We knew we had moved to a 'nice' street when a jar of homemade jam appeared on our doorstep with a welcome card, and yesterday we were invited across the road for a glass of wine. Oh how civilised. Not sure what they made of me. Naturally everyone is impressed by Nick - he only has to mention the 3 magic letters BBC and everyone fawns at his feet hoping he can get them on the telly.

The chickens seem vaguely confused at the new surroundings but egg production has been unaffected. In fact Scramble laid an egg while she was in the removal lorry!

We had a little to-do with the piano. When we originally looked round the house, the owners said they probably didn't have room for it in their new bungalow, and we expressed an interest in keeping it. We told the agent this and nothing more was said. When we walked in on Friday there was the piano - sitting in glorious isolation in the dining room. We were thrilled, and Nick spent a happy hour on Friday night reacquainting his fingers with his favourite tunes. I even recognised some Pink Floyd creeping in amongst the Beethoven.

Then, on Saturday morning, as we were unpacking, the door bell rang and a man and a little girl were standing on the door step. 'Hello,' he said, 'we are here to collect the piano.' Well, we were a bit aghast, confused and disappointed. We had no idea what was going on, who this man was, or why he had any claim on the piano. We sent him away saying we would contact the agent to find out more.

During the next few hours we got more and more adamant that we were damned if any old stranger was going to turn up at our house and lay claim to it's contents! What would be next? 'Hello, I've come to collect your light fittings.' 'Hi, I'm here for the Sanitaryware.' Oh no you don't! The previous day we had handed over our life savings, and been given the house key. This was our house, and this was most definitely OUR piano! On the other hand we really didn't want to become the neighbourhood bad guys who deprived a little 6 year old girl of her promised piano, so we waited to hear back from the agent.

2 hours later another couple from the street came round to sort out the piano kerfuffle. They explained that the previous owner thought we didn't want it, and had been desperately trying to find a new home for it. The neighbour explained she had rung round and found this family who would take it, the girl was really excited, and would we mind if they came for it, after all it wasn't a very good piano and we should buy a new one really etc etc.

We nearly capitulated, but a stubborn streak in both of us kicked in and we said we would prefer to speak directly to the previous owner. They went off promising to get her to phone us. An hour later the man and his daughter came back. He gave us his number and looked expectantly at Nick. I don't know how he was planning to move a piano with only a 4x4 and a 6 year-old girl to help him. Maybe he was planning to wheel it down the road! That would have been the death of it - it's a very old thing and not in great shape or tune.

Nick ended the encounter swiftly and we awaited the phone call. It was weird. If we had arrived and the piano had already been taken we would have been none the wiser. But because it was sitting there looking so glorious (it really is a beautiful thing) and we had been so happy to think we owned it, we really couldn't bear to see it dragged off to a life of chopsticks down the road.

The previous owner phoned and told us straight away that she wanted us to have it. No question. She said it was sad the girl would be disappointed, but she wanted her Grandmother's piano to stay in the house, and that because we were musical people she wanted us to enjoy it. She is even bringing us her grandmother's piano stool back! It turns out she didn't even know the people who were going to take it; she just wanted to make sure it didn't get put in a skip. The neighbour had organised the finding of a new home for it, which accounted for her keenness for us to give the piano up and save her face.

So the result is we have got ourselves a piano! I will take a snap tomorrow to show you.


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