A Piano for Tea

By the Photographer’s Assistant


With Christmas and the New Year unceremoniously swept away the Photographer and the Assistant slammed their cottage door shut behind them. They were on a mission entirely appropriate for a new beginning. A friend had asked them to go to their home and receive delivery of a used and much loved piano. They arrived in comfortable time to take delivery, intrigued to oversee the operation. The Assistant’s only experience with a piano was smashing one up for her grandmother who needed the space for. How much more delicately was this piano handled! The two men had the piano covered in the van and were clearly experts, explaining that delivering pianos was their life’s work. Pianos would often arrive and be loved for five minutes, they explained, and then, they would move on to various owners before being donated in a worthy way, to the Scout movement, where they would end their days. So, there you are, that’s what happens to old pianos. This new arrival was now removed delicately to its new home, where the Photographer thinking of the friend, had it moved about a little for it to have light, but not too much and a comfortable seating area. Now, having settled in and tuned, the piano is Dartmoor’s newest arrival, and Chopin can be heard being played across the valley, bringing peace and rest to its owner and its new home.  The Photographer and Assistant happily homeward bound for tea in front of the fire, the Assistant’s memory jogged, and she remembered donating Aunty Gertie’s piano to an old people’s sheltered housing block, where the piano was a cause of great joy, and occasional anger
The new piano was the first to arrive in this new year’s artistic wave. An artist friend is using the Photographer’s garden for a new and exciting endeavour. It is secret in case it goes wrong, so you’ll need to watch this space if it is a success, otherwise, we shall pretend that it just didn’t happen!


Right said Fred.......

Right said Fred…….

Mains Gas, the jazz group, returned to Hittisleigh Village Hall for another successful performance. The evening ended with dancing and much joyous laughter.

There are stirrings about this year’s Chagford Literary Festival . There is to be a fund raising literary quiz to start things off.

Having moved house and, at last got things straight a well known local artist has built a studio shed in his garden. This is so useful for coffee and teas and ideas that must be worked on while the muse is there.

There are stirrings all around the patch including in the Photographer’s studio, where he has begun to work on his R reg motorbike and his photography in tandem. In order for this to happen, the Assistant and the Photographer had to actually leave Dartmoor and take a trip to Bristol! This was a very rare event. The Photographer had an enormous meeting at his usual suppliers place, and came out well sorted, complete with his missing manuals and having been, much to the Assistant’s relief, been persuaded to part with a camera that had cost much angst and unrepeatable swearing on shoots, where it would jam right at the critical moment. The loss of the recalcitrant camera was duly celebrated at IKEA, where fish and chips were washed down with lots of free coffee ( The Photographer loves being an IKEA family member. He enjoys any discount that he can get. This is a side hobby that the Assistant finds amusing. She had just been told off for not using her Nature Rewards card at the RSPB )


Italian curves......ripe for recommissioning

Italian curves……ripe for recommissioning

Having spent up enough for several months, the two slunk back to the Moor, where the next morning, a couple of goldfinches were discovered on the lavender seed heads in the garden. Much excitement led to no pictures, as the birds were frightened off by all that photographic equipment.
Now, of course, its back to the tits of all types, who loyally turn up all day as they will starve if they don’t, but they are not the same as the goldfinches, and the Photographer spends his breakfasts staring out the window thinking of what might have been.

Soon, the growing season will be upon us, so the seeds have arrived and are being processed. The Assistant’s cunning plan is to write all the labels in advance, in order to avoid freezing to death under the Photographer’s instructions in all sorts of weather conditions. The Photographer has several large jumpers from years ago, when the daughter had a discount as a student. Womens’ jumpers are not so thick and lovely, so the Assistant is usually expected to freeze, writing labels, while the Photographer enjoys warmth and hot drinks. The Assistant has just lifted a hot drink to her lips when she is timed out, and a new really long label with special instructions is required.

Optimism for springtime

Optimism for springtime


At this time of year the freezer stock level in the workshop is examined. This is a job which is beyond being cold. The Moor always gets in a mood about then and throws everything it has straight at the shed and spring, whatever they say, has not hit Dartmoor yet. This year, the Assistant has told the Photographer that much as he loves blackcurrants, there is a limit and it has been reached. The freezer, which is at least twenty years old sighs in agreement, and the Photographer sulks. At this stage, the Assistant has developed the Queen’s cold, and is no longer allowed out of doors, so the Photographer is left to struggle over what feels several miles with the excess blackcurrants, which he is to turn into jam and coulis as a sort of penance . Life out here can be so cruel.

Looking forward, on February 28th, when, surely, it will be warmer, if you are local, don’t miss the Swimming Pool fund raising curry, an event to beat all fund raising events, where food is concerned. Each dish is cooked with great care and much pride is at stake. Go on. Treat yourselves. We won’t tell, unless we are short of copy!

A very special friend is seventy, and has invited us to his party. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID. And to the rest of you, we are a community of Davids so you’ll never guess which one it is! We know a Chris, at Blacks and we know an Adam, who is the best dressed man in Chagford, but which David is it? We’re not telling!

Next time we write we will be in deep panic. The winds and damp cold will have gone, the evenings will be longer and we’ll be in the garden. How many tomato plants can you get in a propagator? Watch this space!



The Photographer’s snapshots can be seen on Flickr (follow link) or the serious stuff is on Artfinder (follow link)

Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental

Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford

1 comment
  1. Neil Tappenden said:

    Thank you both

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