Sunday, June 17, 2018

Up The Hutts

Last week, a person who shall remain nameless managed to put their foot through the cello, which was on the floor in its gig bag at the time. This necessitated a call to our insurers to make a claim on the contents.

Now, I wasn’t expecting the person in the call centre to be particularly knowledgeable about musical instrument repair, but the conversation did take a slightly baffling turn when she asked what brand it was, and whether it was electric. Nevertheless, the claim was lodged, and a short while later I received a letter by email confirming my claim:

Another email and call later, and it was established that the claim was for a cello, not a chiller. The claims handler still didn’t have much of a clue though, so I gently suggested to him that maybe I’d find out what it would take to repair it; to which he readily agreed.

I put in a call to Wellington’s premier classical music shop, and spoke to the proprietor, Alistair, who put me in touch with a luthier based in Upper Hutt. I arranged to take the cello to him on Saturday.

Thus it was that we took ourselves on a trip Up The Hutts. Wellington, as you know, is made up of four conurbations: Wellington City, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt. The two Hutts, on the Hutt River, aren’t places we visit often – we normally hoon past them on State Highway 2 on our way to the Wairarapa and beyond. But, as we were going that way, we decided to make an adventure of it. After Nicola’s usual orchestra practice on Saturday morning, we drove up to Lower Hutt, to the Dowse Art Museum, which is currently showing an exhibition of contemporary jewellery.

Some of it is just jewellery, but a lot of it is based around what is the idea of jewellery, what it’s for, and how it can be used to challenge people’s perceptions. Art, in other words. We felt very cultured.

The Dowse museum is also home to the Bellbird Eatery, so we stopped for a lunch of Vietnamese chicken salad there, before girding our loins for the trip to Upper Hutt. In fact, the area we were going to was a residential suburb, Totara Park, where we met with the estimable Mr. Collins, and chatted to him about stringed instruments in general, and repairs in particular. He reckons it’ll take him three or four weeks before it’s ready again, and, in his words “it won’t look pretty”. So Nicola will make up some story about how she escaped from Eastern Europe using the cello as a sled, or similar.

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