The Marathon Circle Of Life

Personally, I really did not know what to call this piece. I felt a sea of emotions over the last couple of weeks, from elation, to sadness, to pride, and everything in between. Watching yet another month pass into our history books, I would like to take some time to just contemplate as to what really happened in the capital in addition to my work. This is important, because what happened, will have an ever-lasting impact in the whole world. Let’s tackle each emotion, and feeling one at a time.

Queen's 90th Birthday

First off, let’s talk about pride. Saturday 23rd April was of course St. George’s Day. The man, most widely known as the Patron Saint of England, can still inspire the best among all of us; a sense of real pride to be English, and British. From Oxford Street and Picadily Circus to Westminster, Whitehall and the entire boroughs of Southwark and Greenwich, it felt like I was living in perhaps the greatest city on the planet, at the heart of the greatest country on Earth. Couple this with the Queen’s Birthday, and Barak Obama’s historic visit, there were troops seen marching near Hyde Park, St James’s Park and near Buckingham Palace. There were men and women with Union Jacks milling about. There was definitely a greater buzz on the streets of Hammersmith and Fulham, around Knightsbridge, and it seemed like even my lovely customers were getting into the national spirit as I visited them to carry out tuning and maintenance jobs on their pianos. I just could not help but think of how many pianos have been manufactured in, and sold by, Britain, as a sense of joy flowed through my veins that whole week.


Next up, came the London Marathon. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, this was a record year for the London event, where over 247,000 applicants put their names forward to take part in the event, which finally totalled a very cool 36,000 runners. I guess pride and elation would both go hand in hand here, since it was none other than Major Tim Peake who provided the countdown to the start of the race, right from his International Space Station hangout. While so many people ran a great race, including an actual giant shoe, I felt partly disappointed not to be able to run it myself due to some niggles. Still, there is always 2017, and I certainly hope to run the event, and would really like to thank Metro Blind Sports for their support throughout my campaign. Finally, my condolances to the family of the late Army Captain David Seath, who lost his life during the Marathon, and a well done to so many of you who battled adversity to show your strength and determination in reaching the pinnacle of human endurance as you crossed the finish line near the Embankment.

DJ Derek

This conveniently brings me to the one emotion we dread as human beings: sadness, caused by irreversible loss. As news about DJ Derek from my old haunts around Bristol filtered through, about his funeral last Friday, and the details of his mysterious yet tragic death kept becoming clearer, I could not help but mourn the loss of a West Country icon that stood for diversity and cross-cultural integration, in an era where there was none of it. The following few days then further brought bad news for the Arts. First, we lost the extremely versatile and talented Victoria Wood due to cancer, at the not-so-old age of 62. Then, as if that news had not quite sunk in, we lost Prince. This one was of particular sadness to me. Not only was he extremely innovative as a musician and an artist, he was also just 57, and from the time where in order to succeed, you did not always have electrickery at your disposal; a great voice and all round talent had to be your instruments. From the amazing patriotic highs, to the extreme lows of sadness and bereavement of some of the most iconic figures of their generation, gone in an instant within the space of a week.

Prince PicturedIn1986

So as we approach a rather cold end to April, and make our way towards the bank holiday, I wish to take a moment of introspection. And I ask that whether you had the chance to fly the flag around London Bridge, watch the London Marathon near the Cutty Sark, or pay tribute to your favourite stars of yesteryear around Brixton, there is just one truth to the matter. Life is too short! Therefore, take every opportunity to strive to be the best at whatever you do, so that your name and deeds become your ever-lasting legacy. Have a great bank holiday from AMH Pianos and be sure to pay your tributes in the comments.

VictoriaWood 1954-2016

Promoting The Perfect Pitch

It is just under a week to go before the 2015 London Marathon. Now in its 34th year, this is the largest marathon by virtue of its global coverage, number of runners and the amount of fund-raising. A scenic route, of 26miles 345yards, from Maze Hill to Green Park along the Embankment, awaits over 36,000 runners this year. These are the lucky folks who have made it to the starting line out of a record 247,000 entrants who went into the ballot. This post is for all of you; in honour of the 2016 London Marathon, let’s talk about the fun facts, history and highlights that you would encounter during the course.

London Marathon StartLine MazeHill

The course begins in London’s East End. The site sits outside of the traditional Roman boundaries of the City of London. Initially composed of small villages and hamlets around a Roman roadleading from London to Colchester. This was an area of green and open space compared to the crowded streets of the city. Olden day East London was a deprived, impoverished, crime filled, smelly neighbourhood, where the more odour rich employment sectors were based, away from the the over-crowded and affluent centre and Westminster. So, early industry included tanning, rope making, lead making, slaughter houses, fish farms, breweries, bone processing, tallow works and gunpowder production. However, it also saw the creation of the city’s cultural melting pot due to mass migration since the 1750s, starting from the Huganots, and carrying on to the Russians, Jews, Afro-Asians and more lately the East European states.

The Whitby, London's Oldest Pub, Established1520

Following the German raids during the Second World War, and high crime rates during the 60s and 70s, East London has seen tremendous regeneration, and is perhaps now one of the trendiest areas of the capital. From the Shard near London Bridge to the heart of the financial district near Canary Wharf and Canada Water, places like Bow have also served as the birth place of the Labour Party. Jarvis Cocker, singer of the pop band Pulp, wrote a song called 59 Lyndhurst Grove after being thrown out of a party at that address in Peckham. East London is the most popular film location in the city, playing host to everything from Oliver! to A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket. The naval buildings of Greenwich stood in for Washington in Patriot Games. The Dome, now the O2 Arena in North Greenwich, the focus of the Millennium celebrations, is the largest structure of its kind in the world – big enough to house the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Statue of Liberty. No wonder the area of London has expanded since 1600, making the city first in history to reach a population of one million.


At the other extreme, when you have passed 107 pubs, including some near Borough Market that serve alcohol from 7AM, you would pass the famous Cutty Sark, and possibly run into Jensen Button, Christy Turlington and Downton Abbey’s Robert James-Collier, or one of 25 politicians along the way, you would definitely encounter some querky antics only the marathon can offer. There will be over 100 official Guinness World Record attempts during the marathon, ranging from the fastest marathon dressed as a leprechaun, to the fastest marathon in high heels. I do wonder how many of the runners would have put down piano tuning, or even piano removals as one of their occupations. And one just cannot talk about the Marathon without mentioning the vast sums of money raised by all the runners: £716million in total to date, and charities such as Metro Blind Sports rely substantially from all of your donations to any of your friends and family taking part in the event.


With live broadcast in 190 countries worldwide, remember to catch the action, cheer and push on those tired bodies, aching limbs, and even 1200 St. John’s Ambulance volunteers who make this event one of the most well known on the London calendar. Remember to cheer the 250 birthday boys and girls, aged between 18 and 90 who are participating this year. Finally, a word of advice: whatever you do on the day, running or just observing, please try not to attack a Chelsea pensioner, because theoretically, this action still remains punishable by death!!

London Piano Tuner Running for Metro Blind Sports- 2016 London Marathon

This year, I am running the London Marathon for Metro Blind Sports. The charity has been set up to support both Blind and Partially sighted people, to stay active and engage in sporting activities.

MetroBlindSports LondonAthleticsFestival

Should you be losing your vision, or have had long term sight loss, Sport is something we should not miss out on. It boosts physical fitness, increases confidence and mobility, reduces health risks, and even raises life expectancy.

Wheverever in London you might be, from Greenford to Stratford, from Brent Cross to Bexley, regardless of your skill level or ability, Metro Blind Sports offers plenty for everyone to maintain a good quality of life for individuals who may be otherwise left isolated and at serious health risks.

The charity is mainly run by Blind and Partially Sighted people, offering a full range of sport from Blind Tennis, Football, Cricket, Swimming, Skiing, and a complete range of athletics.

Volunteers for MetroBlindSports

Check out the link below:

Metro Blind Sports – Home Page

Should you be interested in sponsoring my Marathon run, or if you might be considering volunteering to help at events, please take a look at the Virgin Giving page and/or Metro Blind Sports website. Your support and generosity are indeed much obliged with special thanks.

Please Support MetroBlindSports

I will be posting updates of my progress until the actual Marathon day, via Twitter and via the blog. Should you wish to follow my training and fund-raising progress, please take a look at and visit the blog.

It is a real pleasure to have the opportunity to run for Metro Blind Sports, I hope we will be able to raise some funds for this wonderful, and much appreciated important cause.

All the best

Andy Howard

The Cold Blues of London Winters


It has been quite an eventful winter, both for AMH Pianos as well as for the UK. The Met Office, classifies seasons either based on the Astronomical shifting of the Earth’s axes, or on the meteorological shifting of the temperature patterns. The Astronomical shifts are fairly constant, which therefore, makes the temperature shift based seasons more interesting to study. Having recently seen a Flag of London – yes there is a flag belonging to the City of London, on a very cold and rainy day, I, like my fellow Londoners, could not wait for warmer times, brighter days and sweet sunshine.


According to the Met Office, the end of the Winter is scheduled to be on the 29th of Feb. Now that we have passed Christmas, welcomed 2016 in Conventional, Orthodox and Chinese varieties, and even experienced the full force of love on Valentine’s Day, it is time for outdoor fun, be it picnics in Hyde Park, a trip to Kew Gardens, or even some shopping around Shepherd’s Bush. The longer days also mean more tourists, more running and more outdoor musical events. Yet, one cannot feel a tinge of sadness at the passing of perhaps the season that the UK is designed for.

LordsCricketGround St.JohnsWood

We celebrate the spring and summer in so many extravagant ways: most of our sports, school holidays, events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Proms, or the Notting Hill Carnival,are all geared to appreciate weather that Britain is just not programmed for. Whatever the weather men say, we are still a cold country, where we build snow figures, wear anoraks and carry umbrellas, long for a hot bath, whilst cuddling up in our warm duvets by the fire at night. Any one of these activities is quite easily referred to by our culture as creature comforts. Yet as people, there must be something missing in the bleak mid winter that the woolly jumpers, winter warmers and season of Santa Claus just doesn’t generate the same excitement.


So as I walk with my tuning tools, I would spare one last thought for the wonderful, comfortable winter. I will do that extra yard of warm-up exercise, shield myself from that cold that one last time, and adorn my warm jumper with pride, while sparing a thought to the leap year day, when the seasonal blues end. I say to you oh glorious winter: thanks for the memories, and see you again soon!

Just Warming Up

London Marathon 2016 Logo

Training for the upcoming London Marathon is not easy! In spite of having already run a considerable amount, just packing in the miles, as any experienced runner would tell you, is simply not enough. There is a range of factors requiring constant ongoing attention; overall fitness, diet, rest and sleep and even the right kind of shoes and sensible clothing depending on the weather. Then again, did I forget to mention AMH Pianos, and the wide area that we cover on a fulltime basis?


Yes it is a gruelling often draining regime from start to finish, literally. Even a standard practice run, lasting a few miles, is able to burn up thousands of calories – thousands more than normal. So why do it? Why should one such as myself pay good money and spend months, training for an event that was first commemorated to honour the sacrifice of a lone Greek soldier who ran a distance of 26 miles to inform the Athenians about an impending Persian attack close to the port city of Marathon? Why endure physical hardship when, at the same time, tuning and moving pianos presents me with physical exertion in the first place?

Metro Blind Sports Logo

With over 36, 000 runners participating each year, everyone has their own reason. Some do it for charity whilst others take it upon themselves to prove to their peers and loved ones their own unique abilities. Even more astonishingly, a sizeable group of people do it for a living, hoping to emulate national and international milestones. My sole reason: Metro Blind Sport, a charity of usually understated importance that is battling on perhaps a vital issue blighting the disabled community as a whole: physical fitness. Many people may or may not realise that a blind or partially sighted person may be limited in their overall mobility, which in turn affects their social wellbeing, quality of life and even mental health. Exposing myself and other blind and partially sighted people to a world of physical fitness and adaptive sports is the sole aim of this small London based charity.

As promised I will continue to keep my readers posted on the progress of my training, meanwhile I would appeal to my readers to please donate generously to this wonderful

cause. My Justgiving page will follow soon.

Keeping the pace with London

2016 London Marathon – Latest update on my progress towards next years Marathon which I will be entering in support of RP Fighting Blindness.

I have been really busy over the last few weeks, setting up some running partners – guides to help with my training during the cold and wet build up to Christmas.

Fortunately I have found a couple of guides who will help me stay focussed over the next couple of months, and help me to build my overall fitness during this period.

I am really pleased to share that I’ve found a fitness instructor, who will be training with me after Christmas, and he has taken on the task to actually guide me throughout the Marathon.

It is really cool to have found such a guide, because he is happy to set me up with a full Marathon running plan, helping me at each stage of the journey.

Being a lazy runner, I will need someone like him to get the best out of my training, keep me injury free, and push things to the next level.

My hopes are to do a sub four hour run but I will have to work really hard to get there, and I will be adding to this blog to keep you all up to date with my progress so watch this space and keep tuned to AMH Pianos or my Twitter feed for updates. Wish me luck!

My Massive Personal Physical Challenge

Next year, will bring for me a massive challenge both mentally and Physically. I am at this time, preparing for the London Marathon 2016. This is going to be my second London Marathon, and I am running in aid of a blindness charity called Metro Blind Sports. The charity helps Blind and Partially sighted people to enjoy sports and live a Healthier lifestyle, and opens sporting opportunities which may not be available to them.

I have not only been set the task of running 26 miles, but also to promote the charity and hopefully reach out to Blind and Partially sighted people across London. Bring it on!

The Race starts in Greenwich Park, and finishes in St. James's Park, with the iconic finish along the Mall heading up to Buckingham Palace. Being new to London, I really enjoy passing through the many Boroughs where I serve the public through my Piano Tuning and Piano Maintenance work.

I am planning to write Blog entries throughout my training, and also hoping to add some film clips of my training runs along the way. These would be available to watch directly from my website or through my Youtube Channel, and I will let you know on Twitter, GooglePlus and Facebook when the next clip is live.

Generally I run from my home, over the Hammersmith bridge towards Barnes, dropping down onto the river bank, heading towards Kew, and on towards Richmond Park. In addition, I will also be doing some track work at the Battersea Park running track , to build up my speed skills and general physical fitness.

As a blind runner, taking on such a challenge, is a real mountain to climb, and I hope my runs over the next few months will interest you, and offer an insight into running a marathon with severe sight loss. If you have any advice or running tips for me, please share them in the comments section below, or by sending me an email. Wish me luck!