When my mother died, there was no problems about books. I had already taken my books out of the house when I came back to reside permanently in Western Australia in 1985. However, there was something else that surprised me.

I had never thought about the piano in the house, nor about the (sheet) music. The printed music had been there forever, and it never occurred to me that it would not still be there for me to inherit. However, my mother must have allowed someone to go through it and take whatever they wanted, as there are many items that I expected to be able to play again which had gone.

There was also the piano.  We only ever had two. The Volmer was my mother’s own.  It wasn’t a top-class instrument, but it was the one I grew up with – and may have been partly responsible for my lack of discrimination in pianistic finesse – in that it didn’t respond much to stylistic variation.

My father took on a new trade at the age of something like 50, moving from being a fitter and turner in an engineering factory to  becoming a self-employed artisan piano repairer and tuner. Props!

He created a modified piano, late in life.  It had no front door, just a sonically neutral cover, so that what came from the soundboard was literally right in your face. And he also created a rather silly row of press studs hanging on tapes which could be lowered in front of the hammers to create a ‘honky-tonk’ effect as the hammer struck the string with the press stud in between.

That’s quite hard to describe, and you might not have understood what I’m trying to convey.  The point is that it was a unique piano.  And after my mother’s death, I found that it was no longer in the lounge room. I have no idea who the lucky new owner is/was, but I felt deprived.

All of that is an analogy with my current problem (as I prepare to die) with books.

Having set that up as the topic, I now have to go. I hope to get back to this …