That monstrous, cool-looking case with the cat ears is a David Gage cello case. It's not mine; it's Anne's, and this is not its first trip. It's traveled the globe, carrying cellos to prospective and new owners, returning to Anne, sometimes empty and sometimes not. This return flight will be empty.
The case is built like a fortress, but fortunately I've received advance instructions to look for the hex wrench under the duct tape.
There it is, snuggled around the lock on top of the case.
It fits that way, but somehow doesn't seem right.
That's better. Now let's see - righty-tighty, lefty-loosy...
Thought it might be better to lay the case down at this point. There's another lock on the side...
...and one more on the bottom.
Inside, the cello is packed in a vintage canvas case, covered with a fine substance that looks suspiciously like cat hair.
Believe it or not, it's secured in the case by a single strap, buckled securely but not tightly across the neck. There's a sling behind the scroll...
...styrofoam blocks under the bottom (the red and yellow tube is punched full of holes and contains a sponge - dry)...
...and a system of airbags inflated around the sides.
There are four bow cases, two in the Gage case and two in the canvas case, one of which contains a bow. It's a well-used Glasser, so I am assuming it is a permanent occupant of the case, and not meant for me.
Inspector #1 is still on the job...
...ensuring the integrity of the cord that attaches the two sides of the case. Note how she carefully avoids stepping in the bridge. Obviously well-trained in these exacting procedures.
Phewwwww - the sound of exhaling as the case is unzipped to reveal an absolutely gorgeous and apparently intact 'cello.
More styrofoam blocks under the tailpiece and fingerboard, and bubblewrap around the tailpiece and bridge.
The 'cello is removed from the travel case, and after careful consideration, Inspector #1 sniffs her approval.
The canvas case lies crumpled in the Gage, rather like a discarded snake skin.
New 'cello is carried to the practice room, heart in throat (mine), and placed on the cello stand.
Inspector #1, still on the job. Is she getting overtime?
John shows up late in the game...
...and immediately walks over to check out Emma, recently displaced from the stand and now homeless. I really need to get another cello case. Or two.
The styrofoam blocks are removed, and the bubblewrap is carefully clipped away.
A brand new microfiber cloth to gently wipe away the packing dust, and careful visual inspection. No cracks seen. Another big whew.
The sound post looks like it's where it's supposed to be...
...the bridge is straight, and the feet haven't moved. There's Madeleine, observing from her spot on the table.
The strings were under very light tension, so I've tightened them slightly and will slowly bring them up. No reports on sound until sometime tomorrow, but if you want to learn a little more about my new 'cello, you can see it here. Yup, that's it on the front page, a very special instrument. There's more later... it's called the Patriot.
Now I really need to go finish my piano practice.