This update comes to you a week later than I was planning. I had planned to update you all about the latest shenanigans of chez Bagnall at the end of the Easter break but somehow I haven’t managed to find time until now to bring you up to speed with our latest news.
After a heavy month at work, including working the Easter weekend I decided to use a couple of days earned in lieu and tagged them around rostered days off to spend a few days with the family in the second week of the Easter holiday break from school. Work is going to remain busy for the next couple of months so it was a good opportunity to spend some quality time with the family.
The Easter break from school was the usual fortnight. My break from work was the second week of that vacation so Lucinda had to entertain our children along with childminding wards for the first week of the Easter break. This included taking them all to Saville Garden to take part in their Easter Egg hunt. There were not real Easter Eggs to find but clues laid out throughout the gardens and a reward of golden chocolate coins for a completed task sheet . The cardboard eggs that they needed to collect via questions on said task sheet were not the traditional chocolate eggs that the children usually try to find at this time of year but Dragon Eggs for this was an Easter Dragon trail. It’s what Easter is all about!
It was also a good opportunity for our N.C.T. group to meet up. The usual place for meet ups recently is Saville Garden. It is convenient for all and the kids can pick up sticks and run around in the mud while the mums can amble and catch up. It is amazing how much the kids still get on with each, I suppose they have known each other for over seven years, even if they don’t see each other as regularly as they should. It is also amazing how much fun you can have with a stick, something that humans of one species or another have been doing for millions of years.
I missed out on those two events due to work commitments so we needed to make up for it in the second week. Therefore the first day of my mini-break saw the Bagnalls and Nanny heading south to visit Granddad’s brother and his wife, Uncle David and Auntie Sally in Middleton on Sea. A short trip East along the shore from Bognor Regis our only previous visit was when we spent a long weekend at Butlins four years previous, a year before Ezra was even born.
We arrived around lunchtime and Auntie Sally has prepared a lovely lunch which stood us in good stead for an afternoon on the beach, which is only a short walk from their house. Lucinda, Uncle David and I played in the sand with the Baguettes while Nanny and Auntie Sally sheltered from the wind in their Beach hut while getting the cake and tea ready for refreshments. We were lucky with the weather for despite the portentous dark clouds we only had one short sharp shower that wasn’t worth rushing for the hut.
It was a really fun afternoon doing simple things that kept the Baguettes occupied more than the screens that they are becoming increasingly addicted to. The bracing sea air really cleared the lungs and we all felt better after an afternoon of splashing in rock pools and building sand castles. Indeed the time when by so quickly that we were surprised how late it had become and after tea and cakes returned to the house for the journey back home. We will not leave it as long for our next visit!
The following day, Lucinda had two of her clients but we did not let it stop us from enjoying the day. Éowyn had a playdate at her best friend’s so we headed out with just four children to Ham House taking advantage of our National Trust passes. The National Trust have begun an initiative to encourage kids to rediscover the simple things of life and the things that kids of previous generations took for granted with their 50 things to do before you are 11¾. Ham House was helping with this initiative with a large pile of branches from which the kids were encouraged to make a den. That only entertained our wards for a short while, perhaps they were a little too young. However, they were more than entertained by one of the other activities, making a kite. It may have only been made with A4 paper, lollipop sticks and ribbon but the older children really enjoyed making it and then enjoyed running around the gardens attempting to make it fly. It wasn’t quite Mary Poppins but the look on their faces as we encouraging them to run so that the kites caught in the draft behind them. We only briefly toured Ham House playing and picnicking in the gardens, enjoying the relatively good weather (apart from one shower). I think that we will have to go back with Éowyn.
The following two days we had an extra ward so it was not so easy to travel far, but it didn’t stop us leaving the house. Indeed with a park at the end of the road we headed there to keep the children entertained and our of the house taking advantage of the break between the showers.
The week also saw Éowyn and Amélie having 0900 swimming lessons to try to boost their confidence in the water. Something that we desperately want them to have and so not only have they completed this week worth of lesson Amélie has been signed up for weekly swimming lessons on a Saturday morning (Éowyn is on a waiting list). This is really going to give Amélie a busy end to her week. For not only has she signed up for dancing lessons after school on a Friday, she then will be going to Rainbows later that evening only to have to wake up early on a Saturday morning to go swimming. She is going to be one fit little girl, who hopefully will want a lay in on a Sunday morning.
Ezra, too, has been taking strides forward in his development. For at long last he seems to have cracked toilet training. All other attempts have failed as he just didn’t seem to get the idea of going to the bathroom before he needed to. However with some persistence from both Lucinda and I and the incentive of a Paw Patrol toy he is now in big boy pants. For some reason however he insists on being completely naked from the waist down when he goes to the toilet (including his socks) but hopefully this is only a passing phase. It will be a little embarrassing at the urinals when he his 21!
The other great stage that my children have reached is the fact that they have now watched all three of the original Star Wars movies with Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi completing the hat trick. I now have the dilemma of whether to introduce them to the prequels.
Usually I would leave that there but I feel I have to share this little anecdote with you as I am worried about my son. While watching Return Of The Jedi, Éowyn cuddled up to me on the sofa saying that she was frightened of Darth Vader as he was scary. A fair comment I am sure you would agree. Not Ezra. He turned to Éowyn and said: ‘Darth Vader not scary, Darth Vader’s the good guy.‘ Now either Ezra is very astute and is looking deeply into the arc of the Star Wars universe or my son is edging towards the Dark Side. I am fearing the latter. Two further incidences are adding weight to that notion.
The next morning Ezra is rummaging in the musical instrument box (nothing fancy, just toy musical instruments) and picks out the old favourite: the recorder. He starts blowing into it and despite not really playing the instrument the overtones of the Imperial March were coming from him as he strode menacingly across the room. Then a couple of days later, we are looking through some Star Wars playing cards and Ezra said that he like it when Darth Vader killed the bad guy. I immediately thought that my son knew what he was talking about and thought of the scene on the second Death Star when Darth Vader despatched the Emperor. No. Ezra pointed to the duel in A New Hope between Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi. I am truly concerned!
Before I leave you, I feel that I have to mention that Friday was the funeral of my friend and colleague Terry Wood. I think he would have approved of his send off. A group of us met up at Piebury Corner for pie and mash before heading to Enfield Crematorium. The service was both moving and funny as I am sure he would have wanted (although the Birdy Song was nowhere to be heard) and it was good to meet his family, if only it could have been in better circumstances. It was a testament to the man that so many people made the journey on a Friday afternoon and I know a number of people that were devastated that they could not make it. The word legend is overused but Terry truly deserved that epitaph. Terry Wood you will be missed.
Peace and Love