The Bill and Z

Little Hadrian isn’t very well.  He came to me as usual on a Monday, but looked heavy-eyed and was sneezing.  He didn’t want bacon for breakfast, though tucked into toast and jam.  We spent much of the morning cuddling on the sofa, watching CBeebies, the tv programme for little children.

Today, Dilly emailed to say that she was staying home to look after him because he wasn’t well enough for nursery, but was I free in the afternoon?  Of course – and I’m pleased to say that he ate a slice of ham and half a buttered biscuit, which was more than he’d eaten all morning.  Later, he ate a few mini-Cheddars and drank quite a lot of Ribena.  Then he fell asleep.  When he’d arrived, you could see the pain in his eyes, but later he looked better.

People arrived for a meeting when he was still asleep and he was much admired.  He is indeed a beautiful child.  Tomorrow, I’ll have him again – Dilly teaches on four days a week, though not always full days – I’ll fit in with her.  It wouldn’t be easy on Thursday, but that’s her day off anyway.

As a result of this afternoon’s meeting, I’ve offered to host another brief one next week, the same day as I’m interviewing – and, of course, that’s the way I like it.  Being busy, fitting things in, feeling useful. I realise it’s a flaw in my character, but it doesn’t bother me.  It’s only one among the rest.

The piano tuner came for the most obvious of career-specific reasons and he admitted to have brought the bill for the restoration of the pianola.  He was deeply embarrassed and had a lot of explanations, without coming to an actual sum of money.  Finally, I suggested he might give me the bill at the end and run…I have known him for so many years, either side of 40 – “we’re older than we look,” I said…and that’s almost what he did, went out to his car at the end and fetched it.  Yes, it’s a lot.  Not beyond the bound of what I’d thought it’d be, somewhat more than my optimistic moments had suggested.  About halfway, in fact.  I’ll transfer money from my savings to my current account tomorrow and pay him.  I wanted my pianola at any price and that’s that.

Wink left today, after a really good weekend.  I’m waiting for a phone call to say she’s safely home.

And I’m taking the rest of the evening off.  Books and newspapers await.  And online Scrabble, I dareasy.

10 comments on “The Bill and Z

  1. 63mago

    Hope the small one does not develop something serious.
    Ah, the right price, pretium iustum, a problem since the middle ages, even St. Thomas had to deal with this. But now your pianola is all yours again, sine obligationibus.
    Happy scrabbeling !

  2. Z Post author

    If anything, he’s out of pocket – at any rate, he has charged little or nothing for his time. And he knows that, having paid out for all the work he couldn’t do himself, I shall stump up straight away. There’s a lot to be said for mutual trust.

  3. chairwoman ros

    Ah, the Piano Tuner’s bill! Brings back many memories, most of them happy.

    Did I ever mention that the late chairman was a piano tuner? When we first met, he’d played keyboards in blues and rock ‘n’ roll bands, but with fatherhood, he decided on a more regular life, and became a piano tuner. Most of his work was professional, music business stuff. Up until his passing in 1999 there were very few major bands and artistes he didn’t work for at one time or another. He tuned for the Grateful Dead at the Theatre of the Sphinx in Giza, and for virtually everybody at the first Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium. When our daughter, Katy was 6 months old and he was ostensibly baby sitting, a phone call came from a desperate studio manager whose piano was drifting in the heat. He explained that he was minding a young baby but was told to bring her as there was somebody who’d look after her. Somebody was Julie Andrews! There aren’t too many people who were actually looked after by Mary Poppins.

    He’d have loved to have reconditioned your Pianola. It is just the sort of challenge he relished. Also, as you appear not to be a household name, the bill would have worried him, particularly as the job was out of the ordinary, and he would have enjoyed it so much :).

    By the way, both Jools Holland and his mother had Pianolas, and at one time his mother was, I believe, President of the Pianola Society.

    1. Z Post author

      Ros, I suspect the Chairman might well have known the PT’s father, who was a pianola enthusiast too. he was a member of the American Pianola (or Player Piano) society. The surname is Reynolds. His son told me a tale about a very old pianola he spent 100 hours on – and in the end, the new mechanism still didn’t work. He owned it himself, so at least didn’t have to explain it. When mine was returned from a firm in Hastings, it didn’t work either, but at least, with his father’s previous experience, he knew how to put it right. The firm insisted on fetching it and bringing it back: that part of the bill (£760) was the bit he felt most awkward about.

      Brilliant to have been babysat by Mary Poppins, pity Katy was too young to have appreciated it!

  4. Blue Witch

    The piano tuner came for the most obvious of career-specific reasons

    Line of the week, that 🙂

    Hope Hadrian is soon back on form and that you don’t contract the bug.

  5. Z Post author

    He’s rather better today, but taking another duvet day, snuggled up on the sofa. We’ll have to go out soon, though, for a little while.

    1. chairwoman ros

      She was indeed too young to remember Mary Poppins but made up for it later when her father took her to Wembley Arena for the sound check of a Prince’s Trust concert as a leggy 11 year old, and was given the freedom that went with her ‘Access All Areas’ pass, which she exploited to the full. She popped into Elton John’s dressing room, he was delighted when she, prophetically as it happened, addressed him as ‘Sir’. He later told my husband that she was delightful. She hobnobbed with other luminaries such as Eric Clapton and Paul Young, and was cuddled by Anne Diamond.

      I can’t remember who else she hung out with, but she came home with pockets full of autographs.


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