To pass the time today I joined my daughter in a game. She brought out a few toys and her beloved rabbit glove puppet. We were in the middle of acting out what she called 'Rabbit Day' when I became aware I really was playing the game with her, not floating over the whole situation in a cynical, post-modern ironic sense, but just enjoying the game for it's own sake.

One of the interesting things about become a dad in your 40s is that you have a lot of backed up attitudes and ideas about childhood (and play for that matter) which bear little resemblance to the realities of playing with a three year old.

Not for the first time, I have discovered the joy of letting go and enjoying the moment.


Tuning isn't everything

Gary Willis with Pat Metheny

All quiet...

It’s all quiet now as the due date has come and gone. The house is free of extraneous cats and everything is ready to go. Except the baby, which has taken up squatter’s rights.

Meanwhile, I’m staying away from music practise sessions so I can be on-call but making up for this by putting in some extra house playing the bass and Warr Guitar. This has led to the almost inevitable fiddling about with equipment, making of lists of things to do and having bright ideas about modifying instruments.

The voice/music project I’ve been working on has stepped up a gear too. A new batch of voice recordings is beginning to arrive and the music for these is now mostly written. I’m leaving big gaps in the score because some of the voices will suggest news ideas and instrumentation. So far, amazingly, only two people have said no to my odd request for a recording of their voice. Both of these people have found other ways of supporting the project. I’m very excited about where this is going.


The Curious Incident of the Cat in the Nightime

Imagine the scene. With just over a week to go our house has been hit by the 'nesting stage' of pregnancy. That's to say J has re-organised furniture, essential kitchen items and pretty much everything else. She's painted the walls of the front room and sorted out all the clothes and equipment we'll need for the new child, stacking it all neatly in the bedroom.

The night before last I come to bed, and turn off the light. J is already asleep and, as usual, our cat jumps up onto my testicles and settles down. I drift off to sleep thinking, as I often do, about bass lines and where they'll go. This night though I sense the cat is uneasy but it doesn't stop me drifting ... off ... to ... sleep ...

Then, BANG! Something mad is happening. J has lunged over the bed and is clutching me, screaming something I don't yet understand (it usually takes me approximately three hours to wake up properly). I turn on the light, awre that a screaming, heavily pregnant partner is not a good thing. I'm in primitive mode and want to protect her and the baby from, well, what?

There's a tom cat sitting on the bed and it seems to have just finished an attack on our cat. I throw it off the bed and get out. There is a blur of motion and I'm not sure where the cats have gone. I find myself looking around, gathering up my wits without much success. J shouts that the cats have gone downstairs, so I follow, hearing more yowling and scratching sounds. The tom cat is cornered by me and throws itself through the tiny crack in the kitchen window it must have got in through. I shut the windows and then get back to J.

The initial cat fight knocked the bedroom mirror over and onto J (although it didn't break) but the worst effect had been that the tom cat had sprayed everywhere. The baby's things, out bed, the hallway, the front room (including the walls J had painted) and the kitchen. Our house reeked of cat wee.

It took quite a while for heartbeats to return to normal, during which time I had to find our cat, calm her down and wipe her down. She came back onto the bed and leaked little spots of blood (which we later found was from a missing claw).

J reported the next morning that I had had a noisy, bad dream around half three in the morning so it seems neither of us slept well.

When I got back from work the next day J had steam cleaned virtually the whole house and things were just about back to normal.

We're both hoping for a boring few days.