Three friends sit at my piano — 30 fingers at the ready — to play Mozart’s overture to The Marriage of Figaro.
Two sit comfortably on the bench and the third on a Chinese tea table that is just the right height.
At our respective homes, we each have our own much loved piano. I bought my Victor in 1957, chosen from a showroom in the city with money saved from the time I started school.
I didn’t know then that I was saving for a piano, but every week of my school days one shilling was deposited in my Commonwealth Bank book.
In primary school a bank clerk came to the school and set himself up at the teacher’s desk to collect the deposits.
In high school my mother made the weekly trek to the bank, and finally the passbook was given to me when I married.
At the time I felt guilty spending the money on myself, but my understanding husband assured me the money was mine to do with as I wanted and so this sweet-toned piano came to live in our flat. It has not been played every sin- gle day since but has always been there as a calming influence in good times and bad.
At first we four friends played duets — and we each had lots of music from our childhood — but then Ruth discovered some music for six hands among some inherited sheet music, and since then we’ve searched high and low for others. With help from some sheet music suppliers it’s amazing how much we’ve found.
Our group meets at 10am every alternate Tuesday at one or other of our houses to play four and six-hand piano. We call it an “elite contact sport” as there is plenty of elbow contact as we fight for “our” notes. Very ladylike, of course.
But the first item of business is always to have coffee and cake because Joy, who travels the farthest, assures us she can’t do anything until she has had both.
The coffee and cake is a small ceremony in itself — best cups and saucers, silver teaspoons and our mothers’ cake forks. Ruth makes the best light teacake in the world; Bev continues to surprise with her never-ending variety of slices; and Joy serves us a cream sponge that she tells us she buys (but we know she really whips it up herself). I’m still trying to bake the perfect date loaf.
We look forward to our Tuesdays with the same enthusiasm as when we first met.
We rejoice in our friendship. I smile when I think about it.
We could never have imagined that 70 and 80 years ago when we were practising our scales and arpeggios we would, at this time in our lives, bless the hours spent together.
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