Friday, 27 January 2017

On With The Show

Had a lovely day yesterday. Paella tasting at Casa Keza, my friend Maia's bar. Sangria and iced coffee flowed freely.

I haven't updated as I have had my head in editing for the past couple of weeks. Almost 160,000 words, 566 pages. Now that's done I can relax a little. Spring cleaning the house. Planning for a birthday bash in a couple of weeks. Haven't had a house party here before and it's a lot to organise. Hoping to have a fire pit and a barbecue. 

Also booked a trip to Maasai Mara next month with my friend Tracey, who runs Overland Travel Adventures and came for New Year. 

I'm taking in a lodger for a couple of weeks, so he'll be able to look after the cats whilst I'm away.

Lots of things to look forward to.

Sen kitty has recovered very well from her sad ordeal and has been helping me edit.

I've just dropped her off at the vet this morning to get her belly shaved like her sister.

Sophie After The Snip

Always feel so guilty about that, but she is an amazing vet, and Kigali doesn't need any more unwanted babies. 

She's with the same vet who saved her before. The vet has rather fallen for Sen (who she named Harold, after Harold Finch from Person of Interest). There is a small chance Harold might stay with her. Part of me feels sad about this, because she loves playing with her brother and sister - they're the best of friends again. But part of me is delighted at the prospect. Three cats is definitely a lot more work than two, and there couldn't be a safer, more loving home for her in the whole of Rwanda than with the vet. She's asked to keep Harold overnight. I'm going to suggest she keeps her over the weekend. See how it goes.

In other news, my tuning hammer arrived. I've set to tuning up Lirika, but I still need some other tools so that I can adjust the dampers on the bass section.

Tuning Kit
Tuning a piano is a lot harder than I thought, though it's made much easier with an app called TuneLab. You just load it onto your phone and away you go. But most of the keys on a piano have three strings - any, or all, of which could be out of tune. So you have to start by tuning the middle string, and then trying to match the other two (the unisons) to the first. 

In order to clearly hear the middle string, you need to dampen the two on either side, which you can either do with a temperament strip (long strip of felt) or with rubber dampers (things that look like barbecue skewers above).


It takes a really long time because the tuning pins are extremely sensitive. You only have to tap slightly to raise or lower a step. You can spend ten minutes or more trying to get one string to hit the right pitch, then you need to tune the strings on either side. 

I was really surprised because the guy I bought it off didn't think it had been tuned in ten years, yet the majority of the strings were sharp by almost a semitone. This suggests someone tuned it by ear, and their ear was either sharp or they knew that it wouldn't get tuned again in a while. The surprising thing was that the notes had held for so long. A piano frame holds around 20 tons of string tension, so it's impressive it hadn't gone flat. It had hardly been played, though.

It's been a really fascinating experience. I just hope the post doesn't swallow the rest of the things I've ordered. I never thought of myself as being particularly technical, but the inside of a piano is so beautiful. People light up when they see it. Many locals haven't seen a real piano before. 'Piano' and 'keyboard' are used interchangeably here, and invariably mean an electric keyboard. Two people have already asked me where you plug it in, and became fascinated when they learnt it doesn't require electricity. 

I just wish my playing matched my progress in piano maintenance.

Had a guest come to listen (I think I knew her mother).

I've also had some new furniture made for the house. A bookshelf, kitchen table and new bed. Plus I've fulfilled my dream of square mosquito nets - almost. I've had both beds fitted with frames, only it's proving impossible to get the nets made. I've just ordered one from eBay (thank you free international delivery). Hoping it fits.

And, on a final fun note, apparently Leonardo DiCaprio is in town with Miss World and Miss America. Had to laugh. They stayed at my friend's hotel, Five Volcanoes, but she wasn't there at the time. Apparently the tour company keeps these things very hush hush. But a few months back her daughter made national news at the gorilla naming ceremony when she took hold of the President's hand and followed him everywhere. She only saw that online afterwards. Bless her.

So, life in Kigali is good at the moment. Need to find some clothes to wear for my party. Think I'm going to have to get them made. Everything's looking a bit threadbare at the moment. Considering a short trip to the UK around July, but nothing definite yet.

We've also had some really impressive storms lately. Plenty of thunder and lightning. Causing a lot of damage in the villages, and I lost power for twenty-four hours. The kind of storm where you find yourself sitting in the dark, whistling the theme tune to Jurassic Park.

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