Last night, I was listening to Archie Roach while I wound some hanks of silk into balls. I don’t have a ball winder, so I have to use the backs of two of our upright chairs. I’m not a fan of this job and when I begin I’m in a slightly resentful frame of mind. It should be illegal, I think, to sell hanks that haven’t been wound into balls.

Still, it’s a peaceful kind of job. Rhythmic. And once you begin it soothes in the way that all such rhythmic jobs soon soothe.

Youngest was in bed and eldest was in the loungeroom reading. It’s a new system we’ve got. It’s supposed to stop the pre-sleep fartarsing that always leads to shouting. Youngest just wants to sleep, but eldest wants to fartarse, so one of us (an adult) goes in and tries to use reasonable words in a reasonable tone and that works for five minutes and then there’s more fartarsing, and youngest needs his sleep and because he wasn’t getting his sleep, the mornings were awful. And it was getting worse and worse and worse and every night would end in a shouting match. So now, youngest goes to bed at 8 or around and eldest comes into the lounge to read.

So that’s how it came to be, me in the lounge, listening to Archie Roach while I wound hanks into balls and eldest sitting on the lounge reading.

‘I like that rhyme of Paradise, with very nice,’ he said.

‘That’s funny, because that’s the bit Dad doesn’t like. He thinks the rhyme is too obvious.’ (The mister wasn’t there to speak for himself, because he was in Oman.)

‘Doesn’t Dad know that sometimes that what rhymes need?’

I kept winding. I was aiming for five hanks into balls before I went to bed.

Sometimes eldest was reading, sometimes he was looking over at the stereo.

‘One thing isn’t obvious. Are these songs about having love or not having love?’

I only had three balls, but I stopped my winding and went to sit and cuddle my lad on the lounge. He’s not as young as he used to be, is he?