Thursday, 19 July 2012


we are on our way to collect h's violin from the repair workshop
it's a half-size model that my grandfather bought for my uncle
when he was a young boy during world war two
and hasn't been played for nearly seventy years
hearing of h's violin exertions
uncle john has passed this family heirloom on to us via my mother to see if it's worth fixing
we haven't been to the workshop before
and i have to consult the map carefully to work out how to get there
we drive several miles out of the city to the edge of the countryside
a wedge of worcestershire strangled by the m5 and the m42 ringroads
we pass the crown pub and turn off the main road into a country lane
it narrows rapidly and takes a sharp bend past several cottages
just as we approach another abrupt bend
an elderly couple hoves into view
as if in a dream
i find my eyes focusing on none other than my uncle and aunt
out for an evening amble through the country lanes
as is their dog-walking habit
i suddenly remember that the crown is just round the corner
from the bungalow they moved into a few years back
they are as surprised to see us as we are them
particularly when i tell them why we are in this neck of the woods
after a few minutes driving up and down the lane and asking a few locals
i discover that the entrance to the workshop is opposite the very spot
where we bumped into my uncle
chris the violin repairer tells h that she is a very lucky young lady
the violin he has repaired dates from late victorian times
it is a high quality instrument worth between five and six hundred quid
h's eyes widen - that's a lot of pocket money
i'm wondering if we should tell my uncle how much his antique is worth
perhaps he'll want it back!
but more than anything i am staggered at meeting him yards from the repair shop
a route he must take often
for these days i barely ever see him

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