October 12, 2013 Penicuik, Edinburgh
I am extremely grateful to Scottish ratepayers and local and national bus companies that give me free rides to anywhere I care to travel in Scotland just because I was born before 1954.
This is a lovely country.
The bus to Penicuik, under an hour out of Morningside and along country lanes, passes strange university research centres and plenty of horses. Bethany’s bungalow is tucked away in a side street and tucked in her room is a 1965 Knight (standard English piano) studio upright. But I’ll seldom see it again. That piano, delivered in 2005 and last tuned in 2008 – by Graham MacDonald, part-time tuner and pianist in the traditional Scottish band Fantoosh!- was still right at 440. It’s difficult to tune; the pins are extra tight and I had to break out my £250 Cyberhammer impact tuning hammer (the one 2 octaves above middle C in the pic). But I’d be surprised if Bethany has to spring for tuning more than twice a decade, which is too bad because I’ll miss her. A wonderful singer, amateur dancer and former carer she still remains friends with various disabled youth three of whom dropped in to visit when I was there.
My latest desperate attempt at marketing is the Underwater Piano Shop Loyalty Card, by which every 7th tuning is free. Bethany’s should pay off in about 2025.