As Autumn strengthens its grip on the land the leaves are changing colour contrasting against the uninspiring greyness that has been the colour of the sky for the last couple of weeks allow the Bagnalls to bring a little colour into your life. We find ourselves sitting pretty between the girls’ birthdays and Christmas and for such a dull and usually monotonous period of the year it has been far from humdrum in the Bagnall household.
In the British calendar Halloween is closely following by Guy Fawkes night (or Bonfire night) on the 5th November. A date which commemorates an unsuccesful attempt at regicide and mass terrorism by Robert Gatesby and his fellow plotters, including the eponymous Guy Fawkes who was caught readying himself to light 36 barrels of gunpowder under the Houses of Parliament by a team lead by Lord Thomas Knyvet. (As an aside Lord Knyvet is quite reknown around our corner of the world, as he was granted the Manors of Stanwell and Staines and his effigy is in the chancel of Stanwell Parish church). Bonfire and firework displays are put on throughout the country and we decided that we would try and see one this year. Unfortunately as I was working at the weekend we had to find one that was planned for the actual date which fell on a Monday this year.
Cleves School in Weybridge appeared to be the closest display and so my friends Andy and Al joined us on a trip to Weybridge. Hats and scarves were the order of the day as the November chill had begun and positioned ourselves at the edge of the school playing field to watch the display. There was entertainment beforehand with halloween themed stilt-walkers and band knocking out covers of 80’s and 90’s rock favourites. The display was not disappointing either and lasted at least half an hour. We were very impressed, although Amélie was a little scared by the loud bangs. There are quite a lot of firework related photos here. I would definitely recommend Cleves School display if you are looking for a firework display next year.
It appears that holiday to Puncknowle has had two positive effects on Amélie. The first, which in fairness was already well on its way, is the fact that she is now sleeping through the night. This means that Lucinda and I will have 6 months of uninterrupted sleep before baguette number three makes an appearance. It is amazing how much better you feel one you can get a good night’s sleep. The second is a big step forward and all off her own back.
On our return from Puncknowle we decided to buy Amélie a potty and to make her involved in the decision we encouraged her to pick one, a dinosaur potty was her choice. We put it in the lounge and thought no more. Then Monday morning she came downstairs and refused to have a nappy on. That was it. No more. Nappies in the day time are a memory. Yes, there have been a couple of accidents but to be honest the transition to nappy-free days has been rather painless. Yes, we do have to clap her everytime she goes for a wee, and she has even begun to take a bow when she receives the applause.
Lucinda is now back at work returning from her appendectomy and holiday. She had to see the company doctor and has been given a gradual restart with reduced hours. These return days have co-incided with my days off. So with our days out of sync it means no requirements for childcare, which has been doubly useful with Amélie potty training and the fact that she has come out in spots. Lucinda took her to the walk-in clinic (no appointments at the doctors) and the diagnosis came back as chicken pox. Fortunately both Lucinda (and it is not good if a pregnant woman gets chicken pox) and I have both had it as children. Éowyn has not had it so we feared the worse with both children going through it at the same time. However, Amélie’s case has been extremely mild (thankfully) and Éowyn has not succumbed to the pox. We have got away lightly. This unsynchronised days off occurs in six week patterns so the next time it will happen will be Christmas week. We both have jobs where public holidays mean nothing to whether we are at work and so it is with Christmas. Lucinda will be working on Christmas day itself and I will be working throughout the yuletide with the exception of Christmas day. The glamour of television.
Not that this will worry the girls too much. Amélie is too young to understand and Éowyn will have her imaginary parents and imaginary brother to look after her on Christmas day. Yes, Éowyn’s entourage of quasi-corporeal companions is still growing. As mentioned above she now has imaginary parents and when they are in the room Lucinda and I become Auntie and Uncle. As you can probably guess her imagination is well developed and her play is quite imaginative and quite regularly makes games up and even songs. She loves to hear stories and will ask you to tell her stories about when you were a child in addition to stories from books. Obviously she is a child of the 2010’s (whatever you call this decade) and so enjoys DVD’s and television programmes too and they all help to fire her imagination.
You may recall that in February I took Éowyn to the cinema for the first time to see the Muppets. Like her father before her she instantly became a fan. So not only do we own the film on DVD but also have the soundtrack on CD. This CD is permanently in the CD player in the car and whenever Éowyn is in the car she requests the Muppets. Not only does Éowyn now know all the words to all the songs, so does Lucinda, and I quite often find myself whistling ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ or bursting into ‘Me Party’ at inopportune moments. Now the fourth member of the family is hooked. ‘Daddy, Muppets please,‘ is the first thing that Amélie will say as you put her into the car. Although I love the Muppets and think that the soundtrack is excellent I think I have to try and find another soundtrack or album that they enjoy as much so that I can have some variety on my CD player in my car!
Julia Donaldson is rightly the Children’s Laureate and the girls enjoy many of her books, indeed Lucinda and I enjoy reading her books too. For those non-parents (and especially non-UK non-parents) her most famous book is probably The Gruffalo (a book I could probably recite by heart) which has made a successful leap to video with a 30 minute animated film. Another of her books has taken a leap into another medium: Room on the Broom , another of our favourites had been turned into a stage show. It is the story of a witch that allows a dog, a frog and a parrot join her and her cat on her broom. Doesn’t sound too interesting? Well there is a twist in the tale and you will have to buy the book to find out what happens.
We thought that Amélie was probably a little too young so we just bought tickets for Lucinda, me and Éowyn for the Sunday show at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-Upon-Thames with the other families of our NCT group. Unfortunately work is extremely busy for me at the moment and it is difficult for me to take weekends off so disappointingly I was unable to go. Rather than see the ticket go to waste we asked Éowyn who she would like to accompany her and mommy to the theatre. Her cousin Megan was the lucky recipient of the spare ticket. Éowyn was extremely excited to be going to the theatre (although I think she thought it was going to be the cinema). The show was excellent and Lucinda, Éowyn and even Megan thoroughly enjoyed it which made me even more disappointed to have missed it. The other members of our NCT group also enjoyed it and all of the children were well behaved throughout the show, which is nice to think that there are alternative ways to entertain our youngsters that does not rely on 21st century technology.
So since Lucinda is at work and it is time for some Daddy time I will leave you with a small selection of photos while I pretend to be a monster.
Peace and Love