When I set up this blog, I gave myself challenges to achieve during 2011. I'm doing well on the crochet and photography side of things, but seem to have neglected the other two hobbies I was determined to do something with this year.
This weekend I have decided that this needs to change. So I made a start with my piano.
Here it is. It's a Yamaha Clavinova, bottom of the range, but who needs fancy. It was bought for me back in 2005 by my then-partner. I think I will always be grateful to him for that.
It lives in my dining room and, as you can see, is a magnet for stuff. That handy little space underneath the keyboard is useful for storing the (hardly ever used) home gym equipment. Fidget's scratching post also generally lives in front of the piano stool. All this makes it a bit of a pain in the bum to actually get the thing ready to play. Those dumbells underneath play havoc with reaching the pedals, too.
It's not normally so bare. The piano is where I keep some of my most precious memories. Photographs.
On the right side - photos of all of my cats (living and passed). In the pink frame, Nana and Gaga (Dad's folks); in the green furry frame, an old shot of me, Dad and Gaga back from when I was about five years old. It's probably my favourite photo of Gaga.
No, I have no idea what my parents were thinking when they cut that fringe. Yikes.
On the left side, photos of other people's pets who mean something to me. In this case, Jamie's old dog Tiny, his old cat Spook, and his parents's current two cats, Bo and Rosco. Also here are a photo of my Grandad, who died when I was a baby, a photo of my Gran, who died a year and a half ago, and two photos that represent my love of LARP and roleplaying. The purple frame with daisies on is also a memory - an old friend made it for me when we were still at school.
You may also have spotted the little lantern. I have two of them, and they sit one either side of the music stand. They are miniature replicas of the gas lanterns they used in the coal mine where Gaga worked.
New Rockwood was the name of the mine. It's in south Wales, just up from Cardiff. Closed, of course, has been since 1963. The mine entrance is halfway up a very steep hill, just along from the cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried. All you can see of it now is the bricked up entrance to the mine tunnels.
I like having all these photos and memories near me when I play. Almost like I'm playing for them, if you see what I mean. My grandparents in particular were always very encouraging of my creative talents. When I learned to play the violin, Gran gave me my Grandad's violin to play on. I still have it, even though a broken wrist at the age of eleven stopped me from playing seriously. Gran herself was the one who taught me to knit, to draw and to paint. Nana and Gaga encouraged everything indiscriminately.
I don't have a lot of time to practice, which makes me sad. I said I wanted to play once a week at least. I am going to try and squeeze in an hour or so of playing time on Saturday mornings, between getting up and going to Pilates class. I'll let you know how I get on.