|Snare drum, gleaming in the sunshine|
With the move from Ironman training to mere marathon training, G finds that he has time on his hands these days to rediscover old hobbies. Given how intolerant I am of his love of music which consists entirely of repetitive beats and no melody, it is perhaps a little surprising that I love listening to his drumming so much. But I do. As long as I have know him, he has been drumming. He was a shocking 45 minutes late for our second date, but when he eventually showed up he had drum sticks poking out of his coat pocket and was full of enthusiasm for a new technique he'd just learned at his drum lesson - he was so engaging and interesting on the subject of drum beats that I forgave his (happily uncharacteristic) tardiness and we went on to have a third date.
I think proper hobbies are the ones that you can't help but doing, and the ones which you return to again and again during your life. G first had drum lessons as a teenager, and when we first moved in together, in our early twenties, the drum kit came too and he played regularly.
|Moving the drums into our new flat in 1998|
When the children were little there wasn't much spare time for drumming; we let them loose on the bongos, while the rest of the kit was packed away.
|O, aged 2, with bongos|
|C, aged about 10 months, with bongos|
But the love of drumming is always there for G, and can be slotted into family life surprisingly easily these days. You don't need a full drum kit permanently set up in a spare (soundproofed) room to play the drums. You can even enjoy your hobby of drumming whilst living in a terraced house in the middle of London - and we've even managed to stay friendly with the neighbours. Like all good hobbies, there are plenty of opportunities to purchase drumming gadgets, and there is a wide array of gadgets to make drums quieter and less invasive.
There are practise pads to hit instead of drums - I find these particularly lovely to listen to, as they give off a gentle tippety-tap sound.
|Snare drumming in the sunshine|
There's also some beautiful blue gel which can be stuck onto the drum skin to lessen the resonance and calm things down a little.
G just has his snare drum out these days - but you can learn and perfect almost all the basic drum techniques you will ever need with just a snare drum, a couple of sticks and some quality practise time. G has some wonderful snare technique books, from the 1930s to the 1950s, which he is working through.
I find the names of the different drum patterns he practises enchanting, and delightfully onomatopeic: paradiddles, flams, ratamacues, rolls (and then there are flamadiddles, rolls into ratamacues and all sorts of other tongue-twisting combinations).
It is the soundtrack of our weekends these days, and I find it very soothing to hear the syncopated taps and rattles coming from our bedroom or the sitting room as I potter around the house keeping busy in my own way - cooking or reading or knitting.