Breakfast is over. It began late, at 10:43 and staggered through until 11:34 consisting of rotating shifts of curious children with varying levels of abilty with a butter knife, and parents attempting to coordinate procedings. Babies on arms, babies being passed to older siblings when parents needed to spread butter or cut slices of cheese. “Where’s the baby? Ah…good, you got her!” etc, etc…. “Can you pass me the jam?”, “Hey not so much”, “Oh, N, be careful, you’re gonna drop it on the….Too late….Close the door!…The DOOR!…THE DOOR!… “BOOM” ” And on and on until all of a sudden the table is empty, or better said – vacated. And Just me and K are there to share a moment:

I watch my girlfriend wipe the table. She disagrees with how I wipe the table. I “crumb” too much onto the floor, the result of which she (generally) then decides to hoover. I see her about to go for the butter. I want to tidy the butter. I take it and open the fridge door which squeaks and then opens against its will, and place the butter on the appropriate shelf. The shelves have recently been assigned labels according to the produce which belongs there. Sometimes I think we should have organised the food and the shelf order according to the various states of decay. I think this but say nothing. K. utters a few words under her breath, something which could be frustration at my butter-tidying prowess. I tell her that I just wanted to put the butter in the fridge.

“I would like to put the butter away.” she replies.

“Look, I need these moments.” I explain. “It’s nice to feel in charge of something..and tidying the butter gves me a sense of purpose. And how am I going to ever learn it, unless I do it myself?”

“I can give you some tips” she replies.

“Thanks, but I’m not free until a week on Friday. Perhaps after that?”

We carry on removing objects fro the table. Each of us cautious not to infringe upon the other’s enjoyment or new-found sense of tidying-related being, by tidying any given object too quickly, before the other has the chance. A sense of mutual respect emerges. I place lids back on jars, sigh at the amount of apple juice still left in the glasses belonging to the older children and wonder if Hannes got my message about recording in his studio? But in any case, I have no time to dwell upon this. It’s Saturday and all the (6) kids are with us until Monday so I don’t plan anything else…just being “dad” or “papa” or whatever they want to call me.

I’m going to hoover the kitchen soon when K drives down to the town to the shops to be among real people for an hour. In the meantime I’ll search for socks, arrange the winter jackets and trousers in the entrance hall I sorted yesterday, be there for the sudden eruptions when the children fight among eachother about who had the kittens first, send children out, dress them, arrange the jackets again, get them in, arrange the jackets again, plan lunch,tidy, chat with them, if they’ll let me.  And on it will go until Monday morning. This is fine. It’s what I choose, and what makes the time on a stage, singing, seem so palpable and of meaning. One can’t exist without the other. On these weekends I try not to plan anything work-related. It’s not always possible but if I do, it rarely ends well. Of course, this means that I’m restricted to concerts, more or less, on the weekends we don’t have a full house, unless the offer is too good to refuse, or it would take place in the village. However, I’ve come to accept that this is a reality of my life and my choices.

As I write this, I’ve just been informed by my eldest son that the kitten has now peed in his bedroom. He insisted on taking it upstairs. I’m going to go and help him.