Throughout my childhood and teenage years, a common theme was that often the background to whatever I was doing at home was the playing of a piano by my Dad George Robertson and sometimes by my Mum Sheila Robertson. It’s probably because of that playing that I am often drawn towards someone tinkling the ivories. I’m into smooth jazz and David Benoit playing ‘You read my mind’ (try the link below) is probably top of my list of favourites although I also love the playing of Bob James, Keiko Matsui, Joe Sample etc….
Mum liked Charlie Kunz and Russ Conway whilst Dad was often playing church-related music as he was in two church choirs in his lifetime – St. Wilfrids Kirkby-In-Ashfield and St Andrews Maghull.
I’m told that they had a piano from when they first got married and moved into 14 Orchard Road K-In-A. I think this will be that original piano just visible in the background of a photo of my October 1958 Christening:-
Later they had a beautiful ‘Baby Grand’, a Gors & Kallmann, which I’m told came from family friends Millie* & Len Rodwell. That piano followed us from Kirkby-In-Ashfield to Rochdale and then on to Maghull as Dad’s jobs for Thomas Cook took us on a Cook’s Tour of northern England. And that piano was probably the most important piece of furniture in all 3 houses. It was French Polished on one occasion and tuned a couple of times each year. I recall watching the piano tuners at work, one of whom was blind.
I never learned to play myself and whilst I don’t do regrets in life in general I’ll make an exception over this. I should have learned.
But playing music had fortunately just skipped a generation as our daughter Jen plays the flute and is a member of Maghull Wind Orchestra. She can also play the piano a little and Dad would help her learn when she was little. Then one day we were at Mum and Dad’s house and I was called in to hear Jen play one of my favourite tunes, Forever Forever by Keiko Matsui and to say I was delighted is putting it mildly.
Then as in all families, the older generation fades away and I was left to clear Mum and Dad’s Sefton Lane house in Maghull but this house had a Baby Grand to dispose of! And what a task finding a new home for it proved to be. I’d assumed that a piano in such great condition and so lovingly cared for would be snapped up. Think again, no one seemed to what it so I contacted Sefton Council’s Music Service to see they had any contacts wanting a Baby Grand piano. They did, and the piano moved to Formby in 2009 finding another loving home for another little girl learning to play.
Jen, in particular, regretted us having to let the piano go but for the same reason I had difficulty finding a new home for it (even a Baby Grand is big) we just did not have the space to keep it.
I’m grateful that I was raised to the sound of piano playing as I find listening to the likes of David Benoit so relaxing………
* Millie, I understand, was a librarian at the Children’s Library in Urban Road Kirkby-In-Ashfield
** The people in the black and white photo are George Poskith Hadley (my great grandfather), Bill Robertson (my Grandad on my Dad’s side), George Robertson (my Dad), Walter Calladine (my Grandad on my Mum’s side), Annie Calladine (my Grandmother), Sheila Robertson (my Mum holding me) and Nellie Robertson (my Grandmother). George Poskith Hadley, Bill Robertson & Nellie Robertson lived at 36 Hampden Street K-in-A. Walter and Annie Calladine lived at 31 Urban Road K-in-A.