Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Travels with my Cello

"Yes, I need a taxi from the railway station," I told the disembodied voice at the other end of the phone line.
"There's a rank at the station, love."
"I may need a larger cab, though. I'm travelling with four children and collecting a cello."

Even to my ears, it sounded like I was making it up.

Before the holiday to France (see the pod) I bought a cello on eBay for a bargain price. Eartha wants to take up cello lessons and who am I to deny her. Anyway, renting a cello is enormously expensive, so we got a second hand one instead. The only hassle was that the bargain we'd secured was 'local pick-up only' and on the other side of the country.

Thanks to Nick's job, we get a certain amount of free train travel, which was the only reason it was economic to to do a 500 mile round trip. It would only cost us time. A lot of time. It was a minimum of 13 hours on the train.

Logistically it was interesting too. Mum went in for her operation on Thursday. It was very quick, for such a major operation and we brought her home on Friday. She's making a marvellous recovery and is quite mobile; much better than expected. She even had the ener
gy to come to the Captain's Day at the Bowling Club on Sunday. She didn't bowl, of course, but had a social time. She won a box of raspberries in the raffle, but heck, I won a can of coke.

Talking of bowling, I had a match on Saturday, at a small village club in rural Herefordshire. Mum gave me directions - but to a completely different club. I guess she was still suffering from the effects of the anaesthetic. I ended up asking directions from confused guests at a wedding and screeching into the car park ten minutes after the match started. Having said that, our rink was the only one that won, probably despite, rather than because of me.

Anyway, Mum couldn't look after the kids while I was fetching the cello, so they would have to come with me. And then, there was the matter of the dog. Again, Mum couldn't have him and Nick was at work. Eventually, late on Sunday night, I cajoled friend Beth into dog-sitting in return for me babysitting next weekend. Pal got quite a good deal out of this; he got a couple of walks and taken to the beer festival, where he was fussed continually for eight hours. My pooch was pooped when we got back in.

And so it was, that I was trying to persuade the taxi company of Great Yarmouth that I was not making a hoax booking. The whole trip went amazingly smoothly. British Rail, completely out of character, managed to make every connection (and there were lots of them). The kids behaved themselves and the taxi was there as promised. We made it there and back again without real incident. Eartha keeps hugging the cello like it is her best friend. It needs a bit of an MOT and a new string or two, but it'll do the job to learn on.
Guess what woke me up this morning? Yep, a three-string, un-tuned cello rendition of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'.