There is a certain amount of inevitable overlap between home life and business when you run your home as a business. Therefore you need to be conscious of what parts of your private life you share with the world, and in some cases, you need to adjust behaviour accordingly. For example, Hannah and I have become experts at having full-blown arguments using only our eyes; and we had to completely cancel “Naked Tuesdays”. Other than a few small adjustments however, we have learned how to wear our home comfortably, and share it’s warmth with anyone who finds themselves in it.
Besides cooking, my life revolves around my Hannah, my kids and my music, all of whom I try to serve with equal dedication. When we first got to Roundwood, I thought that keeping some of these elements separate from the guests would be part of the gig . Little did I know how much they would be able to bounce off each other and live together in harmony. Gone are the days when children should only be briefly seen and not heard. More than a few times, when looking for the kids to get them started on homework or piano, have I found them in the drawing room, filling in the guests on who their best friends are, how nice their teachers are, and the joys of Absynian long haired guinea pigs.
The kids are a layer of overlap that stretch between the guests and the kitchen. in the evening when they’re not informing the company on the current state of childhood, they’re doing their homework in the dining room, within earshot of the kitchen, and although a professional kitchen shared with your family has different standards than most. . . there’s still a lot of swearing. To understand, try splashing burning oil on your arm and say the first word that comes to your mind.
I didn’t realize how much swearing was being done, nor how much I burned myself, until the introduction of the swear jar. It was a physical manifestation of my children’s influence on the workplace. With every bad word I utter, a chorus of “swear-jar” wafts into the kitchen from the dining room, and I’m ok with that. I get to keep being myself and the girls are learning how to work the system. It’s a very full swear jar.
Then there is the music. In the early days, I’d try to sneak away from the kitchen in between jobs, to a quiet corner somewhere to knock out a few tunes. As we steadily got busier, my quiet corners became more scarce, the workload increased, and subsequently less tunes were knocked out. The only fix I could see was keeping a guitar in the kitchen and playing anytime I had five minutes. It’s amazing how many extra five minutes you can find in a day if you try.
This slowly bled into the drawing room for parties, and into the dining room as the “musical sixth course” that we sometimes offer. Musical-me is also quite handy when the “happy birthday song” is required. I knock that one out of the park.
My experience with the music that has passed through this house has been amazing. From jamming “who has seen the wind” with Donovan. Or singing the acoustic version of the newlyweds favourite song in the dining room after the speeches. Or being able to redirect the flow of after dinner conversation from the horrors of American politics to a special sort of harmony that could only have been achieved with the perfect entanglement of my life and Roundwood’s. Fuck me, I love it here. . . Swear jar!