Accordion Inquisition – A Small Adventure


Does not involve lassoes, monkey brain soup or romancing any stones.

Does involve plan flexibility, adventure opportunity awareness, an A to Z.

(I believe that taking small adventures when the opportunity arises is vital for succulent living. These adventures do not need to be great hikes into the unknown, just tiny diversions into something you’ve never experienced before. They will fill your well, brighten your day and inject your creativity with star bursts.)


Accordion Inquisition – A Small Adventure

Last Friday – 9.30am.

At Roo’s Christmas performance where his class were singing “Imagine” by John Lennon. Plan is to go running with Naughty N once watched. As song comes to an end, I discreetly glance around to see if any other parents besides me are having a Mummy Tear and notice a fidgety figure sitting at the end of aisle. Long dark, straight hair, gypsy features, fingers (born to be wrapped around a fiddle) – the Lovely Sarah! Ha. She is deliberately sitting on the aisle end for Easy-Exiting.

Easy Exiting – Strategy known to all parents who find it hard to endure the entire Celebration Assembly.

“What’s is wrong with Lovely Sarah? Why is she fidgety?” I ask Naughty N.

Naughty N informs me that Lovely Sarah is off to by an accordion. “She asked if we’d go with her,” N added. “I said we were running.”

Outside the hall window the sky turns black. Rain. Running = off.

10.05 am

Sitting outside school in new Doris Black whilst torrential monsoon creates mist cloud all around us. Naughty N in passenger seat. Lovely Sarah sitting in car behind us waving an A to Z at us through misted up window.

“I think she’s saying we should just drive and she’ll follow.”

“But she has the A to Z as well as the address.”

“Lovely Sarah is v nervous about the accordion. Just let her follow.”


I start the ignition and take lead.

10.16 am

Driving through monsoon. Naughty tries to ring Lovely but it turns out Lovely has no mobile. (All symptoms of a fraught woman about to make a live-your-dream purchase.)

10.32 am

Near miss in car. Too busy looking up at rear view mirror every two seconds to try and translate Lovely’s hand flapping movements as directional terminology than focus on road.

10.40 am

Pull over on main road. Hazard lights on. Lovely Sarah pulls over behind. There is a moments pause as we all sit there, wondering who is going to get out of car and brave the rain curtain (and hence frazzle hair) to speak to other driver. Me and Naughty N stubbornly nestle down. No rush. Not our accordion. Eventually Lovely gets out, dashes over, stuffs A to Z through window slot, blurts address then dashes back to her car to take cover.

As I’m watching Naughty N leafing through A to Z, it suddenly occurs to me that there is not long at all until Christmas, my house is a mess, I haven’t done Christmas shopping, I have hardly any time off until The Big Christmas Eve (in which we are entertaining) and that a sensible person wouldn’t be so easily diverted from being sensible.

“I hope this bloody accordion seller is worth visiting,” I say, suddenly v grumpy.

Naughty N doesn’t hear. She jabs the page and shouts, “aha! I’ve found it! Let’s go!”

11.02 am

Pull up in very terracey sort of street. All houses very red and brick like. Lots of lace curtains. Park Doris Black beautifully (am quite paranoid about alloy wheels being scratched. Not quite sure what makes a wheel alloyish but they are shiny and silvery with spokes and a little disk in the middle. Does that sound like an alloy? Must ask Ads.)

Lovely pulls up behind us in her people carrier. She gets out. Drags gypsy handbag behind her. Looks nervous – as nervous as I must have looked when I was about to meet my Burberry Aviator for first time.

“This is the one!” I declare confidently, opening the gate to No 16.

We stand outside the door and Naughty knocks.

“Please make sure you behave,” Lovely says imploringly as a shadow appears behind the crinkly glass. “He sounded like a very nice man on the phone.”

Just then the door opened!

And there he stood …

A real life accordion seller.

And his nipples were both quite hard.

11.13 am

In accordion seller’s workshop. Carpet v swirly on the design front. Accordion seller has not offered us tea. He is showing Lovely the accordion that she is after buying. Lovely is dripping over it like a candle of love.

“Will you give us a tune?” she asks Accordion Man.

He grunt/sighes and picks up accordion from workdesk. Straps on the straps. Pulls squeezy part apart and … The moment he starts playing we are all whisked to somewhere in Italy! Or a French street in a market town. Or a gypsy night, beneath the stars, dancing around the fire ….

As we dance and jig, I can’t help noticing that Accordion Man’s nipples harder than ever. This is mysterious, as room is v warm.

11.26 am

Have begun compulsively assaulting Accordion Man with questions. Don’t know where they are coming from. And each time I pause for breath, Naughty N fires a question. We discover:

There are 137 accordions under the roof of this very terracey looking terrace house.

The black jazz accordion down there on the floor is worth £3000! Whoo!

Playing the accordion as much as Accordion Man plays does NOT give you toned biceps or pecks.

No one is sure where accordions originate from.

There’s no particular reason why, in the room across the hall, there are multiple toilet seats (new) leaning against more accordions (these ones gliztier than Elvis’ underpants).

His father (who he didn’t get on well with) was an accordion fixer and maker so Accordion Man has been around accordions his whole life. His mother is in a home. Didn’t pursue this line of enquiry.

No, he does not give accordion lessons.

11.28 am

Lovely Sarah jumps in – possibly to divert Accordion Inquisition – to request a brief lesson in accordion playing. Accordion Seller looks suddenly weary although his nipples are still alert.

11.34 am

Am getting mildly bored of Lovely Sarah’s accordion lesson. The buttons are quite small and Accordion Man is becoming frustrated because she is accidentally pressing OTHER buttons whilst trying to press THE button. Naughty N being very helpful by relocating Lovely Sarah’s fingers to the right button only. All this is made difficult because Lovely Sarah appears to have no circulation in her hands and her fingers are white and quite stiff with cold.

I decide to change the subject. “Can you play “Imagine” by John Lennon on an accordion please Accordion Man?”

11.36 am

Oh My God. He CAN play Imagine on an accordion!

Eyes suddenly filled with tears again as if back at school and Roo is singing. We all sway backwards and forwards in Accordion Man’s studio, singing the lyrics and feeling the love.

As Accordion Man squeezes the final lung of air from this song, it’s as if he is closing a book at the end of a very beautiful story.

I smile at him.

He smiles back.

“I’ve had an idea,” I say v sincerely. “I think we should start a band. Me, Naughty N and Sarah can sing. You can play the squeeze box.”

“You must be bloody joking,” says Accordion Man. I think he is touched by suggestion.

“Anyway, anyway,” interrupts Lovely Sarah, who is determined to squeeze every ounce of Accordion’s knowledge from his little accordion filled head. “What about the chord of C? I need to learn the chord of C.”

11.50 am

Having exhausted Accordion Man’s patience, Naughty N and I abandon Lovely Sarah to pay. It is clear that now, being almost midday, there is no point in going home to tidy or prepare for Christmas so instead we decide to go and have a lovely, long lunch at Olivios and discuss excitedly, everything that we’ve just found out about accordions – including the mystery of the toilet seats and why the man’s nipples were everso hard. My theory is that they were musical nipples. Naughty N agrees.

Key Point: Small Adventure isn’t a means to an end. You may not find treasure or fall in love or fight terrorists or get scars to tell your grandchildren about. Small adventure gives you amusement, comedy and value for time in a world where our time is spent on so much con ven tion a L ity.

Two hours spent on a small adventure is worth a thousand toilets bleached.

Well, maybe not a thousand.

But at least five hundred.


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