Rupert Graves Online.
2008 - My Perfect Weekend.
Author: Yvonne Swann.
My perfect weekend: Rupert Graves.
Football with friends and fun with the children fit the bill for actor Rupert Graves
But despite all this, little weekend routines build up.
It's great fun, although at times we take it a bit too seriously, especially if we lose. I loved football as a kid, growing up in Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset. But at my comprehensive school, they played rugby more than football. I hated it. It hurt too much.
After playing football, my friends don't head for the pub. We're at the age now when we have a cup of coffee and a chat instead. Then I go home to our house in north London to a tumultuous welcome from the family. The kids scream, run, hop and jabber when I get in. Our boy, Joseph, just can't stop talking. It's fantastic! He's got so much to say about dinosaurs, pirates and space.
I'll do a bit of cooking - maybe a roast chicken - and then put our three kids to bed. I must always read three books and tell two made-up stories every night. The kids punch me and become suicidal if they don't get the full five.
Sometimes, when you're tired, you try to skip one book, or no words come to help me when I'm trying to make up a story, but there's no way out that door until it's done.
I'm a hands-on dad, but Susie does the lion's share of the work. We don't have a nanny. I met Susie, who was a producer, eight years ago. Her greatest quality is stoicism. She doesn't ever make a drama out of anything and she is extremely clear-sighted - frighteningly clear. She always knows how to deal with any situation calmly, while I am anything but calm.
After the bedtime reading, Susie and I might watch a DVD - a good film or a TV series such as 24 or The West Wing. There's no lie- in on Saturday, obviously - not with all those bouncy children. We'll read the papers and then take the kids swimming near the Barbican Centre for an hour or so.
Then it's off to a little fish and chip shop around the corner for lunch. A London childhood can be fantastic - there's so much to do. The only thing you can't have in the city, and which I was glad I had in my childhood, is the freedom to just let children roam. From the age of five I was out in the woods all day. I'd become completely absorbed in my own imaginary world, then go home exhausted. Our kids get bored if they don't get exhausted and we have to keep on finding things for them to do. So after the fish and chips, we'll go to Highbury Fields and get the little ones running and playing, and hopefully tire them out.
Occasionally, Susie and I go out for a meal, on our own or with friends, on Saturday night. We love oriental food and have two favourite restaurants, the Japanese Tajima-Tei in Leather Lane and Viet Garden in Liverpool Road, Islington.
On Sunday morning, after a breakfast of banana and cereal and a good session reading the papers, we often go back to the Barbican, to the Family Film Club, to see a movie about penguins or whatever. We then go for a picnic in the park and that will usually drag out all afternoon.
On Sunday night, we'll settle down with a bit of pasta and the children might do some drawing and painting before the ritual of the bedtime story starts again. All very simple stuff.
I never knew I'd have such a big family. It's fantastic. I didn't not want children, but never thought I'd have so many. I love it. Having kids means you keep getting sense memories from your own childhood.
For instance, our children were playing in a paddling pool at the weekend recently and, in sharing their fun, I began to notice little beetles, flies and leaves on top of the water. When you get older your eyes don't focus on such detail, but children bring you back down to their size. You see how extraordinary the world is for a small child and this revives your own awareness in the most wonderful way.