I read on a friends blog about people who collect items and just put them on display and never use them for their intended purpose. In this instance it was tea-pots, she said she bought some at an auction and was pleased to find that they all had stains and tea leaves in them, proving that the previous owner, who had died, did actually use them, and didn’t just put them on a shelf to look at.
When I was married my wife bought loads of commemorative plates, the type with fairies, flowers and animals on them and I had to put up shelving all round the room to accommodate them.
This in turn reminded me of my mother who was a house-proud freak; there’s no other way to describe her. In the 1940′s we had a small house in Hinckley (My father moved us there to get away from the bombing of Southampton) She put that little house before everything else. It was her pride and joy and she turned it from a family home into a show house, full of things that were never meant to be used for what they were intended for.
We had chipped second hand mugs to drink out off, and cracked plates to eat off, knives with broken handles etc., whilst in the “Front Room” the was an immaculate Willow pattern dinner set, a beautiful floral tea set and lots of cut-glass wine glasses and tumblers in a massive china cabinet with glass doors just to show off all this stuff that was never used, ever!
The “Front Room” was out of bounds to me and my friends, we were never allowed to step onto the highly polished floor or to actually sit on the sofa and easy chairs, they where as immaculate in 1988, when she died, as when she bought them.
Her pride and joy was a beautiful upright piano that she love to show off to family and the neighbours. It was her status symbol, and every body admired it. Every Saturday morning she unlocked the door to the front room and spent hours polishing that piano, washing the keyboard and polishing the candle sticks and pedals with “Brasso” while my sister and I looked on through the open door. Not allowed to step inside you understand.
She would then lock the lid over the keyboard “just in case”, and come out with one last admiring look at the piano, and locked the door. (I never did find out where the key was hidden, but Dad knew and he wouldn’t tell!)
As regular as clockwork every year the piano tuner came and retuned it.
The amazing thing about all this is that neither my mother or father could play the piano, and my sister and I never had the chance to learn on it. If we had been given lessons and practised on this show piece who knows, I could be playing at the Royal Albert Hall by now! [For our friends in the Colonies, that's like Carnegie Hall. . .only better. (joke!)]
There is some justice in the world though, when the removal men came to clear the parents house they found the piano was riddled with woodworm underneath and at the back. It was so bad that even the floor was infested, and on the verge of collapsing.
This is what a real piano sounds like!
Makes you want to get up and dance doesn’t it? No? Oh well, please yourself. . . .