Twelve years ago my old headteacher decided to sell the infant school piano to the piano tuner for £100. I interjected and asked if I could buy it for the same price.
At the time, we had a shell of a sixty year old house. The only floor which had not been dug up due to a dodgy dampproof course was in the living room and the day when we would make that house our home seemed a long way off.
Yet sure enough, the following Saturday morning saw two men in a van transport the battered and coffee-ring stained mug that was a feature of my own childhood infant assemblies, to our 'new' rubble-strewn house. We protected it from the constant dust for six months, encasing its wooden, badly varnished carcass in many layers of plastic sheeting, cursing the hefty lump of wood and wondering why I'd had this bright idea when neither of us could play the piano.
But I had a dream.
I dreamt of a child tinkering away on the yellowing ivories on a Sunday morning, creating his or her own melodies, exploring the different effects of pressing more than one key at the same time, and inadvertently annoying the neighbours. I didn't have a child at the time, but the dream was still there and I desperately wanted that to become a reality.
Last Summer, having finally managed to track down a teacher (one of my colleagues who used to actually play the same piano for infant assemblies!), my son started lessons on the piano which we had sanded, oiled, protected and had freshly tuned.