To: the lovely 15 inch viola in school which no one plays (yet)

I suddenly thought about you. You are beautiful. I must say this to all who read this: your translucent chocolate colour, you well-rounded bouts, your luminosity… you are a lovely, lovely instrument. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m sorry no one plays you. I think you would have a wonderful sound if someone warmed you up and played you regularly.

Every time we do stocktaking, we take out all the bows and instruments from the cupboard. All the dusty cases with their hoarse, lumbering, rusty violas- and every time I open your case, I squeal in excitement, as if I’d never seen you. Probably no one is convinced of this display of delight, or they just think I’m a lunatic.

I never had the chance to get to know you better- if ever, it had been with that little 14″ kid, with a body possibly too thick for its own good and the scratches and the strings-never-changed. And you are a totally different thing: you have luscious perfect varnish and shiny smooth new strings.

I hope someone finds you, and plays you, and takes ownership of you, even if for a year. I hope that someone is nice to you; I hope she tunes you and plays lots of harmonics and takes care of you. That someone will undoubtedly be my junior, so you may come find me to give me the news.

Although if you do, it will be quite an irregular affair indeed.