River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Runnin' on

November 2001

Pianos and Gongs

My Dad was an inveterate collector of anything, and in his trade of house decorating he came across a varied collection of items that were no longer wanted by his clients. Regardless of the fact that our family had already filled our small house with all the usual things, Dad kept bringing home more trophies.

We had a piano that he had bought off a customer; no one in our house could play the piano and we didn't really have room for it but, as Mum said, it was a lovely place to put a vase of daffs! The piano stayed and eventually Dad found something that made it very easy for us to play it.

By then I had met Brian and of course he was a regular visitor. Mum felt happier when she could keep an eye on us! Mums haven't changed much since then have they?

One day we knew that Dad had been given something large as he came home in the Boss's van. With all of us pushing and shoving we managed to get the "something" into the sitting room. Dad said it was a pianola and fitted it to the front of the piano.

With the pianola were a lot of stiff rolls of perforated paper. These fitted into the instrument and Dad sat down at it and started to work a pair of pedals with his feet. We had wondered what the pedals were for, and we soon found out. The piano was being played by the weird machine. We were amazed; the music was impressive and achieved so easily.

We all had a go and felt that at last Dad had excelled himself. Brian used to spend hours playing his way through all the rolls; he thought it was wonderful and even neglected his record collection. I hope someone will be able to tell me if I have spelt pianola correctly, the computer has underlined the word in red throughout, my dictionary is no help to me with the word.

We came home one day to find a set of stuffed birds, all in glass cases. The cat thought they were wonderful and would sit for hours eyeing the owl and waiting for it to make a move. Eventually the collection was given to my Granddad. His Jack Russell terriers were more interested in the tree branches that the stuffed birds were displayed on.

We have on our hall wall the one trophy that I really like; small enough to fit into any home we have had. A roaring lion head carved into a piece of dark wood, from the lion's jaw a small dinner gong hangs on a cord, a leather headed "donger" suspended at the side of the lion's head just asks to be used to beat the gong. All the children ask to use the lion and as it hangs just inside our font door it gets plenty of attention. Over the years the dark wood has been polished by Dad when he had it and me now. It has a lovely shine and I love to run my fingers over the head. I wish I could thank the person who carved my lion; it is so very special to me.

Brian has just come in, he reckons that what I have called a "donger" should probably be called a striker, I bet he's right, but all the children have always asked if they can make the lion dong! The sound produced by the gong is nice and the smiles on the little faces make my day!

Janet Tilburn

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