Friday, October 16, 2009

The expert Touch

It may not be widely known, but in the years just after the war quite a number of Dutch national servicemen were demobbed in Australia. Several of these men worked on the same sawmill as Mine Host's grandfather. This was in the days when immigrants were required to work a minimum of 2 years in the bush, at a labouring job dictated by the government.

Mine Host's Aunts were keen pianists, playing every day for hours.
These ladies each have now retired from a lifelong career as music teachers, and still play daily, now with more than 70 years on keyboard. A record of which they are justifiably very proud.

As many musicians are, they were fanatic as teenagers, and played for hours each day. The sawmill workers were able to hear the piano notes coming from the cottage.

One day one of the Dutchmen ventured to the door of the cottage, and asked the lady of the house, in very broken English, that he had been listening each day to the playing, and how nice it was, and would the girls mind if he "had a go himself"?

Graciousness dictated that he be invited in, for a cup of tea & then he sat down at the piano and demonstrated skill on the piano that silenced the household. His playing brought goosebumps to the backs of the girls necks.

Prior to being conscripted, he had in Europe been a concert pianist. He was most grateful for the opportunity to play.

Why he had chosen demobbing in Australia, followed by years of unaccustomed rough labour on a bush sawmill, was an unexplained mystery. He was in the company of his countrymen (the sawmill was mostly Dutch) but was in possession of a skill that would have better served him in Europe.

His playing was such that to this day the Aunts are in awe of the playing that afternoon in the sawmill cottage.

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