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## 2011/08/07

### New house and the Knight K10

Harry took the wand. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wand above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls. — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

With the help of Duen-Wei, a friend of Shin whom I met during our trip to Oxford in 2008, I moved from Merton Street to a house on Marlborough Road, sharing it with Pan, Eric, and Nien-Ti Tsou who is now writing his DPhil dissertation and will stay for 6 months with his girlfriend. The first 4 characters of the old and new postcodes agree, so the newly rented house is not far away from the city centre. If I go to the city centre via Abingdon Road, I would first walk along a path besides the River Thames, which has a beautiful scene. The area is very quiet, but soon there will be something more in the air, because I've just rented a Knight K10 upright piano and expect to play it frequently — that's the point of getting a piano in where one lives!

Eric came back late (as usual) on Friday evening and we gathered in the living room. Pan played his guitar, and while we were on the topic of music, he suggested that I get a piano in the living room. That suggestion was dreamy! I immediately checked the website of Roberts Pianos (which is a very informative website, by the way) and found that I can in fact rent a piano for a decent price. The first piano I was interested in was a Steinway grand, but later I noticed that unfortunately it has been rented (and it would be hard to move it through the door of the living room anyway). After browsing the website over the night, I had a reasonably good idea about the pianos in stock, and the rest of the job was to actually touch the pianos.

Pan accompanied me to the workshop of Roberts Pianos the next day in the afternoon and Eric joined us a bit later, straight from his lab. There were lots of grand and upright pianos to play with, each having a different tone and quality. I played the Steinway and indeed it was amazing. There was a Chappell baby grand which I liked but was reserved. Other grands either sounded too old or were simply too expensive. Therefore I went on to try the uprights. There were quite a few Yamahas, but they sounded ordinary to me — perhaps I am too familiar with Yamaha pianos. Then we walked into a small room crowded with uprights, and there was a Knight K10 in the corner. Well, it was just like when Harry met his wand. I loved the tone and I could easily make it sing. It responded very well to my fingers. I would say that the decision was made at the very moment, but still I tried some more pianos to make sure the decision was right. Soon it became clear that it was the Knight that will enter our house, and the problem reduced to: Should I rent it or buy it and then sell it?

We asked the gentleman who welcomed us when we arrived. He said there was a special rental scheme (due to lack of storage space) so I can rent it at £28 per month for the first 10 months, and then at the usual rate, which is 3% of the price per month. Later we discovered that, strictly speaking, the special rental scheme does not apply to this Knight, because it was for pianos under £2,700, whereas the Knight was priced at £2,950. The gentleman phoned the boss explaining the situation that he had told us that we could get the piano under the special rental scheme, and the boss agreed! So I rented the Knight for 2 years for slightly more than half of the price, which sounds reasonable. It will arrive at some time in the next two weeks.

Now that I get a piano at home to practise regularly, I think it is much more plausible to hold a few home recitals during the next 2 years. Just thinking about the possibility of doing this makes me excited!

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Living in the house is going to be a really great pleasure because of this, and I really have to thank Pan and Eric for their support!

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