“It is the Piano Tuner!!!” I explain to the Toddler, as I spot a car drawing into the drive.
It is, indeed, the Piano Tuner. I throw open the door and greet him effusively, before leading him through the narrow passage to the room with the piano in it.
“This is the piano,” I explain.
He looks grateful for my assistance, and gets his tools out, opening the top lid to reach in for the pegs. ‘Ting!’ goes his fork tunefully, as he plinks on a note and listens hard to ascertain its pitch.
“It’s quite an old historic one,” I continue. “From about 1910 or a bit earlier.”
“1906, I’d say,” he replies, looking up, before doing another ‘ting’ and starting his careful listening again.
“What’s the man doing, daddy?” asks the Toddler.
“He is making a noise with his fork, and then listening very hard to see what sound it makes,” I explain. “It’s very difficult. Would you like a cup of tea?” I ask him.
The piano tuner puts down his fork and looks up again. “Yes. I would,” he replies. He makes to start another ‘ting’ but holds off until I have left the room, so not to interrupt our conversation.
Two hours later, he announces that his work is done. I am extremely pleased, as the piano has not been tuned for a couple of years, and was sounding a bit wobbly.
“It’s a fine instrument,” he affirms. Sitting at the piano stool, he takes a deep breath and launches into an array of pieces, demonstrating the incredible warmth of the sound. He plays ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, then ‘Maple Leaf Rag’, then a couple of classical pieces that are probably by Rachmaninov or somebody else from the past. It is amazing. The room fills with sound – wonderful, incredible music. The Toddler stands transfixed and spellbound, a broad smile beaming across her face as if this is the most fantastic thing that she has ever heard in her life.
I am a bit pissed off by this. I play her the piano all the time, and she has never once stood transfixed or spellbound or with a broad beaming smile. He has probably slipped her some sweets or something. I wait for him to finish and then shoo him out the door.
When he has gone, I pull the Toddler back into the piano room. I play all my specialities, the theme tune from ‘Minder’ and the song that Iggle Piggle sings. But there is no beaming smile. The kid is tone deaf and it is a disappointment to me.