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For any of those here I've corresponded with and are amused by my misadventures, we're wrapping up our main project in West Africa, and I'm back in DC where I'm packing up all my gear to move to my home in Austin which I'll make my permanent base for the next few years of (lesser and briefer) travel. Exactly as feared, the roof in my apartment leaked while I was gone (none of my stuff damaged thankfully) so I feel very wise for having a 'cellist friend babysit my Morse Beaumont while I was gone! Glad to have it back and get reacquainted, spent the morning playing some R&B pop covers and some Irish airs. That aside I have the following concertina things going on in my life: - have a cheapie Italian English I got for under $100 on eBay, and this afternoon am having coffee with a State Dept. friend who wants to borrow it for a while and see if English is for him - got a plastic-bodied Stagi 20b Anglo in Austin (never managed to get it to Africa...) so that can be my beater for taking to the park. - know a budding concertina builder in Europe who's planning to build me a tiny Hayden modeled after the old Wheatstone Duett; might take a while for that to happen, but I'm patient - I still own a Lachenal 35b Crane Duet down in Bogotá; I left it there thinking I'd be back before too long but it's been over a year. A mathematician friend (who is also a CBA player) is babysitting it and will send it back either to me or to a member here who may buy it so I can upgrade. - I'm on Wim's waitlist for the last two years for a custom 46b Hayden; there's a member here in Texas who I've met before so now that I'm moving to Austin I'll finally have my chance to compare the Beaumont side-by-side with the Wakker and decide if I'm ready to commit the funds now that the startup is paying off - I plan to try playing concertina in the park more, maybe do some light busking and donate the money to charity, just whatever to expose more people to concertina. Might see if any local venues need someone to just sit in the corner and riff on Duet during events, just to keep my busy and out there. - I'm carefully watching the discussion about MIDI concertinas; if anyone comes up with a decently marketable prototype I'd be thrilled to buy one so I can take it traveling, practice silently in hotels and not fret about thousands of dollars rusting and mildewing in the tropical heat Separate from all the above, I'm considering making a little "instrument lending library" at my house in Austin. I could put up a blog listing cheap and replaceable weird instruments I have, and offer folks to borrow them if they put down a cash deposit, fully returnable after their month is up. So an Austin musician who wants to play with an Anglo, an autoharp, or whatever would just have to deposit the money, play for a month, and get all their money back. That way they can try new things without permanently committing funds, and I'm still covered if they flake and fail to return it. Folly, or a fun way to get more music ideas out there? If I do start it up, and the concertinas prove popular, I'll post a WTB ad here asking for anyone who has a beater Stagi (English or Anglo) sitting around who wants to sell it to me and I'll keep it in circulation! So that's me and my life with concertinas at this point!