Portobello beach man leaves piano at Haymarket

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A PENSIONER who moved into a beach tent with all his worldly goods has found a new home for his trusty piano – outside Haymarket station.

Music-mad Ben Treuhaft, 66, set up on the sand at Portobello with his instrument after a row with his 39-year-old wife more than four months ago.

Music lover Ben Treuhaft wants the public to play his beloved instrument at Haymarket station. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Music lover Ben Treuhaft wants the public to play his beloved instrument at Haymarket station. Picture: Ian Georgeson

And council officials are trying to evict him through the courts, because he is in breach of the city’s park and management rules.

While he keeps changing pianos at the beach, Mr Treuhaft sold the original instrument to a cafe in exchange for a sausage roll and a cup of coffee.

But the business is facing eviction and the piano needs to move, which has led Mr Treuhaft to place the instrument across the road from the Capital’s busy train station.

The professional piano tuner said: “This is what we call pi-anarchy. I just put it there, because the guy who originally bought it from me for a sausage roll and a cup of coffee is being evicted.

“We decided to make it a public piano again. I want to keep it in a public place until he finds a new place to put it. It could take a while, but I will keep it in good tune. I will keep it there until the weather turns rotten. If that happens we’ll move it into Haymarket Station.

“It’s a great spot for such international traffic and people walking past there day and night.”

American-born Mr Treuhaft, a dad-of-two, left his family home in Morningside and moved to the seaside after an argument with his wife in March.

He is the son of Mitford sister Jessica, who rebelled against her fascist upbringing, ran away to Spain and married Robert Treuhaft, a Communist nephew of Winston Churchill.

He honed his musical skills in New York and spent some time in Japan before moving to Edinburgh, where he opened a piano shop last year.

Despite finding happiness on the beach, Mr Treuhaft was blasted by his 39-year-old wife, who described his actions as “ridiculous”.

Council officials say his tent breaches management rules which prohibit camping within one mile of a public road. And the local authority is still pursuing action through the courts to evict the piano tuner, who has appealed the move.