I would walk 500 miles

Another month draws to an end which means that we have already had a quarter of 2014.  How did that happen?  As John Lennon said: ‘Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans‘.  This update is a little overdue and has had to be rewritten a number of times so apologies for those of you that have been waiting with bated breath for the latest instalment of Baggie and Lucy dot-com.

As 2013 taught us, life has a habit of throwing things at you, both expected and unexpected and 2014 has started in a similar vein.  As regular readers know this is about the time that Lucinda should have been happily returning to work after an extended maternity leave.  That is still true, in a fashion, but not quite the full story.

As regular readers and close friends will know Air Canada are outsourcing ground staff at Heathrow Airport to the handling company ASIG.  This handover coincides with Lucinda’s return to work, consequently just as Lucinda was preparing herself to enter the grown up world of work there have been a number of very grown up decisions to be made.  Those decisions have been made, the relevant applications have been filled in and verbal confirmations have been given however we are still waiting for the definitive written contract (in the case of the job offer from ASIG) and in the case of VSP (Voluntary Separation Package – a form of redundancy) from Air Canada the cheque.  A brave new world beckons.

So what else has happened since the last update?

I have celebrated another birthday.  A week after Ezra’s first birthday, I celebrated my forty-first complete orbit of the sun.  I think that the girls were more excited that it was my birthday than I was.  For the second Thursday in a row I managed to leave work early and returned home in time to go to the local pizza restaurant for a birthday meal.  The girls enjoy pizza and doughballs and with a discount afforded to me by virtue of my tastecard, Pizza Express seemed like a good choice.  Éowyn was so excited that she kept whispering to the waiter than it was her daddy’s birthday, so when my dessert arrived (tiramisu – if you really must know) it was adorned by a lit candle and accompanied with the waiter (and then the family and certain other patrons of the restaurant) singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.

Happy Birthday isn’t the only song that Éowyn has been singing of late.  The girls’ musical tastes have been somewhat influenced by a combination of the Disney films that they watch and Lucinda’s choice of euterpean delight.  Current favourites include ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney film Frozen, a couple of Katy Perry songs: Firework and Roar and a variety of other Disney songs (thankfully no One Direction!).  There have been a few that I have been responsible for:  Shake Your Tailfeather by Ray Charles, Think by Aretha Franklin and The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Junior.  Then there have been a number that Éowyn has heard on the radio and quiet liked, Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin and Thank You For The Music – ABBA.  Another can now be added to that list: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers.

I had picked Éowyn up from school and as usual the radio was on in the background while I asked Éowyn about her day.  The opening bars of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) began and Éowyn’s ears pricked up.  ‘Daddy, can you turn the radio up please.‘  So I turned the radio up and she attempted to sing along.  ‘I like that Daddy, can we have it on when we get in the house?‘  I have played it a number of times for her now and showed her how to dance like a mad loon around the kitchen and she is not the only one that likes it.  Amélie tries to sing along and joins in the dancing and even Ezra will sit in his high chair tapping his foot in rhythm.  I am most pleased.

Éowyn however is not completely in the good books.  At school they have a traffic light system for behaviour.  Green – good behaviour, Yellow on a warning, Blue – Several warnings and Red – bad behaviour.  Éowyn has always been in green (as to be expected) and I had promised her a special gift if she stayed in green all year (still waiting for the Disney store to receive some more Frozen dresses to pay the promise of collecting 5 superstar certificates in one term).  I was prepared for perhaps a one-off or even occasional foray into yellow depending on the strictness of the teaching but was disappointed when Éowyn came home all upset to tell me that she had been on red.  I asked why she had been put on red and she told me that she had pushed Aaliyah (her best friend).  In Éowyn’s favour, she did not try to justify it, she just stated the facts.

Miss Finbow had no choice but to put Éowyn on red and so when Lucinda picked her up from school she was taken aside and told of the day’s events.  Miss Finbow explained that it was completely out of character for our eldest but had to give her the red card.  She also said that Éowyn was beside herself, extremely upset and there were lots of tears.  However, she somewhat redeemed herself by apologising straightaway and then later in the day with some outstanding writing which helped her to climb back into green.

I could see that Éowyn was upset and somewhat fearful to tell me, however she did and that in itself demonstrated some courage.   There was no point in shouting or getting angry, I just told her that I was disappointed and that she was never going to do it again.  I asked her why she had done it and you could see from her expression that she realised that it was trivial.  Apparently Aaliyah had something that Éowyn wanted, Aaliyah wouldn’t give it to Éowyn so Éowyn pushed her.  At least she had the maturity to realise what she had done was immature, something I wish some grown-ups had the foresight to realise.

Éowyn is still of the age where the term is probably just a little too long as so getting up for school everyday takes its toll.  You can see it on all their little faces that at the end of term they are ready for a holiday to recharge their batteries.  Éowyn’s Easter break could not be more ill-timed from a Bagnall viewpoint.  The first week of this Paschal festivity coincides with Lucinda’s return to work.  That could have worked out better.  Fortunately I work Wednesdays to Sundays and Lucinda only works two days in six and for Lucinda’s first two weeks back at work I can take one day’s holiday (which is actually a day owed in lieu for extra days worked) and be off with the kids for those days.  There are advantages to working weekends (sometimes!).

There will be days that we need to rely on family members and child minders but that is still in the future and we have no fully come to any decisions about that.  That might sound a tad unorganised but with Lucinda’s employment situation and the change of employer she is unsure of her shift pattern after the beginning of May.  That makes organising ad-hoc child minding a tad difficult.  Fortunately I should be able to take some holiday at the beginning of summer (although from July onwards a day-off yet alone a day’s holiday may be a rare and precious thing) to cope with her shifts.  We will see how that goes.

Éowyn still has a fascination with graveyards and death in general.  Every time we pass a cemetery she will ask to go in and have a look at the graves.  Passing one with Lucinda, Éowyn begun to tell Amelie that it was the place that they bury people.  This triggered a question: ‘Mommy, why do they bury people?‘  Lucinda explained that is what they do when someone dies.  This did not satisfy Éowyn.  ‘But why don’t they just leave them out on the ground?‘  Lucinda tried to explain that when we die we our bodies shrivel and rot like fruit and that wouldn’t be very nice.  Éowyn seemed nonplussed as if she wouldn’t mind if that was the tradition of this country in the manner of Zoroastrian religions such as the Parsi of India.

I have kept you long enough and now I am sure that you want to see the photos.  I hear my audience and here they are.

Peace and Love