Meet Charles.

Meet Charles.

Hi there.

Thanks for popping in.

Wednesday’s blog. The day when I step away from Clarity and get a little philosophical.

(Am feeling a little jaded after the TV marathon to be frank, so have decided to step away from Clarity for the whole week!)

There are so many craftsmen, so many people out there like us, who work with their hands, aren’t there?

We make art, we make beautiful cards for people, we knit, we sew, we potter (ooh! That’s this afternoon! Can’t wait)

And yesterday, I watched with fascination, as a gentleman called Charles dissected our old piano,

bit by bit,

one piece at a time..

very expertly, very carefully,

…never stopped for even a tea break…

and gently, lovingly – and with great attention to detail – put it back together again.

tested, tested, tested,

The action as he called it, came out and sat on the dining room table at least 20 times.

Patiently and fastidiously he worked away,

repairing, cleaning, reviving the old girl.

Old indeed! But I do love her so!!!

And the craftsmanship of the inner workings of the piano! My oh my!!!!

Look! Hand painted detail everywhere!

I bought her at an auction many, many years ago,  when we lived in California.

It was at a charity auction for WEAVE. Women Escaping A Violent Environment. Big political affair it was.

I remember some famous politician’s tie being sold for thousands of Dollars. Well, not that famous to me – I can’t remember his name! Hang on… let me go back into my mind temple…Brown…..WILLIE BROWN! That’s right. He was a black bloke. Nice man. Obviously had a lot of ties!

Anyway, while everybody was bidding on his tie, I bid on the old piano – and won it! Honestly, I remember it so well. I was punching the air with excitement.

And it has been part of my life ever since.

The kids learned to play it. In fact, we all had lessons when they were nippers, and we were back in England.

But work gets in the way, Life puts you in a spin, and before you know it, the old girl is worn out, dusty, and in dire need of some attention. The piano, I mean.

So yeah. Back to Charles. I stopped my Barbie-Action Life for the day, sat with him, watched him work, and we had the best conversation.

About faith, about Life.

It was like getting off the hi-speed train for a day, and taking a stroll in the sunshine.

I promised him that I will find a teacher and learn to play again. That is a desire I have had all my life. Otherwise why would I have bought her all those years ago, in California?

And once Charles has fine-tuned her, my dear friend Shona, who is a retired French Polisher, is going to bring the woodwork back to its former glory, too. (No, Charles isn’t fine-tuning Shona before she starts French polishing! The English language really IS comical, isn’t it)

Nice. Very special people, and very skilled.

Time to go to my pottery class. I LOVE IT !!!  Now let me see…shall I try my hand at the wheel? Or stick to finishing my half started coil pot….

Project completion, Gray! Project completion!

Love & Hugs,



36 thoughts on “Meet Charles.

  1. Aww finish the coil pot first, then the wheel. There will be no UFO (unfinished object) and delayed gratification is always sweetest lol

    What a beautiful instrument Barbara! Looks a million dollars already!

  2. This resonates with me. Just over 2 years ago I started learning upholsterery as a lesuire course now part professional student. Something I wanted to learn for many years but like a lot of things couldn’t find a course or tutor. But it’s great when you can.

  3. How lovely indeed, those are the best conversations too. Have a lovely potty afternoon lol, definitely finish your coil pot. Enjoy the rest of your week too.

  4. Some people have some amazing talents and patience. The piano looks beautiful, wish I could play but sadly not. Good for you to step away from the work enjoy your potting. We have been out for lunch today, a rest for me as it is my Birthday today. Yikes another year older already. xx

  5. We had a piano when my boys were young, unfortunately neither really took to their lessons and being a busy mum I didn’t have the time to commit myself. However your tale of Charles brought back happy memories of our piano being tuned etc like you I loved watching the painstaking process and delighting in the wonderful sounds. Aah happy days! Enjoy your ‘pottering’ looking forward to seeing today’s project progress xxx

  6. A true craftsman at one with his trade. Not a single computer app needed for referral. 100% talent ,workmanship and experience, all in the head, eyes and hands. But then there is the other 100% which is All in the heart. Over to you now Barbara, don’t waste Charles’ dedication to the old girl. (piano).xx

  7. What a lovely blog. I’ve always said if I got 3 wishes one of them would be able to play the piano! My mum did when she was young, did exams etc and then life got in the way, she regrets she didn’t carry on like her mother told her to! Enjoy your pottery class, finish one thing before you start another ! X

  8. It’s mesmerizing to watch a true craftsman at work. Their concentration, attention to detail and devotion to the art is wonderful to behold. Which is why I enjoy watching your tutorials so much. Your obvious love of what you are doing is breathtaking. Thank you so much.

  9. Love your interesting blog today. I’ve just got home from visiting Stoneywell, a National Trust property in Leicestershire and a beautiful arts and craft house with the original wooden furniture made by Sydney Gimson & still looking gorgeous. Along with a National Trust tea & cake and informative volunteers, it was a smashing day spent away from the humdrum of life.

  10. Afternoon Barbara. It’s been a beautiful day today and your blog is like the cherry on the top. I always take time to read it and although I don’t always leave a comment I indulge myself to read it.
    Your piano looks lovely and I bet it sounds a lot better now it’s been overhauled. It reminds me very much of the piano I learned to play as a child. I really would love to own that piano now as it had so many memories in the keys and in the wood. It had originally been my Grandads piano and then my Mum had it…I have no idea what happened to it after I left home.
    I am sure that if you have learned to play in your younger days you will soon pick it up again and Dave can accompany you on his guitar! How lovely would that be!
    Anyway I look forward to hearing about your pottery class and also seeing the piano in all its glory.
    Enjoy your evening. Love and hugs. xxx

  11. Hi Barbara
    Today’s blog bought back many happy memories. I have got my grandparents pianola, which I remember being allowed to play when I was a child and I had grown tall enough to reach the peddles. Many a happy hour was spent with grandma and grandad and my sister playing all kinds of music. Sadly the insides have perished and it’s in a sad way, but one day I will spend some money on it and give it the love and attention it needs. The likes of Charles are hard to find these days. The man who used to come when I was little was blind but knew every inch of the piano. Enjoy being potty this afternoon, I think you need to finish one project before you go onto the next!
    Love Diane xxx

  12. Glad you are taking a break and it sounds like you had a great day with Charles. Craftmen like him are few and far between and should be treasured, but sadly the youth of today rarely have the same dedication.
    My grandparents had a piano and an uncle taught me to play chopsticks and Fleur Elise so I asked for lessons and my mother gave me a definite NO NO NO as she couldn’t stand the noise!!!! That’s why I started crafting.
    I’ve knitted since I was 4, Nan taught me to crochet, an aunt taught me embroidery, another aunt taught me the finer arts of cookery, and then I got into dress making. Now I’m in my mid 70’s I look back and see what a rich catalogue of interests I have accumulated over the years, as well as card making, other papercraft and parching (especially Groovi) all of which have made retirement a joy.
    Hope you enjoyed your pottery class today and look forward to seeing the results.

  13. What a beautiful old piano – I always wanted to learn how to play but my left hand simply doesn’t listen to instruction so I never really got much past ” playing Chopsticks”. Hope you get back to playing Barbara. C xx

  14. How lovely to have a dear and treasured item back to full working order ready to be made good as new with a bit of polish. I think the piano is my favourite instrument, the sound is so peaceful. Hope you had fun at your pottery class. XX

  15. Evening bloggy friends, what a glorious warm sunny day down here in Kent. Hope the fine weather has been with you too. Off to the cinema tonight to see ‘A Star Is Born’. XX

    1. Hi Donna,
      Hope you have a great time, been listening to a few of the songs today on the radio. Lady GaGa sings them so beautifully. Love and hugs,Alison xxx

  16. Hi Barb,
    Pleased to hear that you’re taking time off this week – you deserve it. I would love to be able to play the piano. Sadly when I was young we couldn’t afford the lessons or the piano! I did learn clarinet and have a beautiful wooden clarinet that has such a wonderful tone. I did buy a good keyboard a couple of years ago and am trying to teach myself but it’s not that easy, but I will persevere. Your piano looks fabulous and I’m sure that Charles has made it sound as beautiful as it looks. What a talent that gentleman has – a true craftsman. Hope you had a good pottery class this afternoon. Love and hugs, Alison xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends,
      Hope today has been good for you all. Beautiful day up here today. Spent a lot of it using my Fresh cut dies making Christmas cards.Now got 30 made, so not doing badly. Love and hugs to you all, Alison xxx

  17. The inside of a piano is just so intricate and anyone who can sort that out deserves all our respect, and after yours has had it’s outside polished too it will be a really beautiful musical instrument, and you will just long to get busy with those lessons Barbara. I have always wanted to have a piano but have not got the room for one. Glad you are taking time out for a change and enjoy your pottery class. x

  18. How I envy people who can play the piano. Hope you manage to find a teacher ( and the time to practice!). Hope you enjoyed your pottery class and got nice and messy. x 🙂

  19. Hope you had a great afternoon creating pots with the clay. Have just watched the You tube video so think the next batch of Christmas cards might be like your demo, I have used the Groovi club plate for some already.
    The art of piano tuning is probably a dying trade with all the electronic gadgets these days. Look forward to seeing the end result of the TLC given to your piano.

  20. Hello Barb, your piano is beautiful, and so glad that you found someone like Charles to give it a spruce up. I am sure Shona will do it justice too. Hope Pottery class went well. Take care all.Bx

  21. I love a piano and Samuel’s favourite music is classical piano concerto 💙. He loves to listen to my nephew play. He is amazing & self taught! Remind me to show you a video of him playing. He is so good 😊 xx

  22. Hi Barbara – beautiful piano! My mum was a music teacher so I played a lot when I was younger. I mostly play a keyboard now (although obviously that also on hold until my shoulder”s healed). Very sensible for you to step away from work for a few days and recharge your batteries. Hope you had a great pottery class yesterday

  23. I hope you enjoy your time off this week think it may be a little overdue. Enjoyed your post very much.
    Over 30 years ago my daughter was desperate to learn the piano so acquired lessons for her and bought a beautiful second hand piano for her to practise on. Someone came to fine tune it and he worked as meticulous and as loving as your gentleman. Over the years she rose several grades and then as a teenageer decided she had had enough, such a shame really.

  24. I had to get rid of my lovely old piano when we moved as there was no room for it; I loved the brass candle sticks on it and the beautiful pattern off the wood, So beautifully made. Enjoy your “new” piano and please play it as it needs attention and will give you much pleasure

  25. I do love to see skilled people at their trade. Hubby and I have been watching The Repair Shop and let me tell you there are some extremely talented people on that show. Especially Kirsten who restores pottery and the like – awesome talent that woman has and the other lady who restores paintings – such a talent. What I would give for an ounce of their talent. I look forward to your first rendition Barb. xxxx

    1. I love that programme Dawn, so much skill in that one little house. And every one of them so humble, and modest, and so so gifted. I’m in awe of every one of them. I hope they start a new series soon x

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