First thing

The way they start their day 7. Roddy Doyle writer Killester, Dublin
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
I'm a light sleeper, and usually wake naturally sometime between 6.30 and 7.30am. Invariably, I'm the first in the house to do so, and generally, I get out of bed immediately. I remind myself if anything has to be done on that particular day - even something as trivial as putting the bins out, or making sure my son's swimming gear is packed - and ask myself what plans I have about how I'm spending the day. Sometimes I have to do an interview, or go somewhere, but usually I'm just at home writing.

I live on the north side of Dublin, about four miles out of the city centre. The bedroom is at the front of the house, and so while I get to hear the nice nature noises, I also get to hear the passing traffic and the sirens from a nearby hospital. It's a big, pleasant room, but I regard it as nothing more than the room I sleep in, and there's really nothing of any sentimental value in there.

The night before, I'll usually have gone to bed between 11pm and midnight. I suppose evening life now consists of long patches spent at home, with the odd burst of social activity in between. I don't indulge myself that often, and hangovers are a very rare event, so I don't really have any difficulty settling down to my work in the morning. In fact, if I don't have to leave the house - during school holidays, for instance - I will often do a couple of hours' work immediately after getting myself out of bed.

First of all, I go down to the kitchen and put the kettle on to make a cup of coffee, which is all I need to get me going. My wife and kids sleep in for another hour, and I'll use this time I have alone to have a look at some football that I might have taped the night before, or maybe just read. I like quietness for a while.

When the hour is up, I'll go and wake everyone else. I have two sons - Rory, who is five and goes to primary school, and Jack, who is four and attends the nearby Montessorian nursery. While they're getting up, I'll go to the bathroom to shower and shave - if I decide I am going to shave that day - before getting dressed. Whatever I choose usually includes a pair of jeans, and seven out of 10 times, they're blue. Then I get the kids dressed and fed, at which point I'll have a bowl of muesli and another cup of coffee.

My wife, Belinda, is a student, and so her routine varies according to her lecture times. Often she works in the university library, and sometimes she works at home, but she usually ends up leaving the house at the same time as me. I go at 8.30, to drive my sons to school. We have to leave in good time because we live in a cul-de-sac, and at this time of day, it's difficult to get out on to the main road. Sometimes I might only be taking Rory to school, in which case I'll cycle him there, and because it's a six-mile journey, I'll wait until I get back home before I have a shower.

I usually arrive back at the house at about 10 past nine, and am usually in my office and ready to start work by half past. But I go into the kitchen to clear up the breakfast things first, and I might have a glance at the newspaper if anything happened the previous day that I want to read about - or if any football was played the day before. We always get the Irish Times, and I also like the RTE radio news programme. I tend to listen to that in the car, though, while taking the boys to school; I don't like having the radio on in the kitchen.

I like to spend time in the morning chatting with the kids, or just listening to them chat among themselves. Besides, I don't particularly want to listen to stories about priests on child abuse charges while I'm feeding my children

The film adaptation of Roddy Doyle's `The Van' opens this Friday

Interview by Scott Hughes

Comments