Three weeks after we met Lake for the first time, Team Bagnall headed back to Norfolk to celebrate her Baptism. As I mentioned in the previous update Lucinda and I were honoured to have been asked by Lake’s parents, Lisca and Theo, to be two of her Godparents and so nothing wasn’t going to stop us from being there and that boast was certainly going to be put to the test during the preceding week.
I woke on the Monday before the Baptism with, what I thought was the start of conjunctivitis. I have two previous severe cases of conjunctivitis, once at university and the second a mere 19 months ago while we were on holiday in the Lake District. The pharmacist in the Lake District had said that it was the worst case she had ever seen, but nevertheless gave me some over-the-counter eyedrops which soon cleared it up. Therefore, I thought that it was nothing but an annoying case of conjunctivitis and so headed to the pharmacy as soon as it opened on Monday morning bought some eyedrops and thought nothing of it. By Wednesday it was clear that it wasn’t getting any better. Indeed, it was getting decidedly worse and the constant feeling of grit in my eye was beginning to wear me down, in addition, I was feeling like I was coming down with an extremely heavy cold. My body ached, I felt like I had been punched in the kidneys and I could not control my body temperature and I was running a fever. So I phoned in sick from work (a very rare occurrence for me – indeed I was off for two days!) and made an appointment with my G.P. for the afternoon.
The G.P. somewhat worried me. He was very concerned about the infection and said that I needed to see an ophthalmologist because as a G.P. he was not licensed to prescribe the medicines I required and he potentially thought it was iritis. This was where the company healthcare insurance comes in very handy. Our area of the country is not replete with ophthalmologists and the wait on the N.H.S. can be as long as a month by which time serious damage could have be done to my eye. The alternative would be to put more pressure on the A&E departments and risk taking an infectious condition into an emergency area. With my insurance I was able to arrange an appointment at the local private hospital with an ophthalmologist with an impressive c.v. and 40 years of experience.
However, 24 hours is a long time to think about the condition your G.P. has mentioned without googling it, especially considering that he was quite concerned and didn’t have the license required to prescribe the necessary medication. The sensible course of action is never to google your condition, but we are curious creatures and so you follow the white rabbit down the rabbit-hole and scare yourself witless with what could happen and what it could mean. I really wasn’t looking forward to the steroid injection into the eyeball!
The ophthalmologist also confirmed it was a severe case, but thankfully not of iritis. The condition that I was actually suffering with was adenoviral keratoconjunctivitis, also known as keratoconjunctivitis epidemica. Effectively, an adenovirus had made its home in my eye and the usual defenses that the eye has, had not dealt with it and was now full on warfare in my eyes. My cornea was inflamed as was my conjunctiva but thankfully there was no serious damage and after a thorough examination he felt confident to prescribe steroid eyedrops and antibiotics to combat the infection. Fortunately, I had caught it early as left untreated, damage to the cornea will occur.
I left the hospital feeling relieved and headed to the chemists to pick up the medicines. Antibiotic capsule was taken and the first set of eyedrops administered and then it was time to pack up the car (well Lucinda packed up the car), loaded the Baguettes and headed for Norfolk. Usually, I drive whenever we go on a long journey. However, as with the return leg from our trip to the Lake District 19 months ago, Lucinda had to drive through the dark and rain and I could barely see through swollen eyes. Indeed, even as a passenger it was quite uncomfortable. The ophthalmologist had given me dilating eyedrops so that he could examine my eyes, this coupled with the steroid eyedrops and the swollen nature of my eyes meant that the headlights and glare from the wet roads were refracted such that it was impossible for me to judge distances or focus on anything in particular and this barrage of garbled information was too much for my brain to decipher.
Nevertheless, we arrived in Norwich a little after 10pm, checked in and headed to bed. Lake’s Baptism was not until the early afternoon, so we had time to have a leisurely breakfast before getting into our finest. As you can see from the photos below and on the Flickr album of the day the Baguettes scrub up rather well, with Ezra looking particularly dapper. We do not attend church and so we warned the Baguettes to be on their best behaviour, especially because Mommy and Daddy were going to be Godparents then there will be times during the ceremony where they will have to sit on their own and not be next to us.
We popped over to Lisca and Theo’s before the ceremony to say a quick hello before heading to the local church for the Baptism. I was raised as a Roman Catholic and the words of my priest came to the fore. Father O’Connor would always say that it is a Baptism not a Christening. Baptism is a ceremony, indeed a Holy Sacrament, that welcomes a new soul into the family of the Church. A Christening is a giving a name to something. You Baptise a child; you Christen a ship! I had to stop myself on a number of occasions for saying it when people referred to Lake’s Christening, including my own wife. I suppose the terms are interchangeable except to an old Irish Catholic priest, especially in the more relaxed Church of England.
It was a real honour to be asked to be Godparents and I sincerely hope that we can be an active part of Lake’s development. The vicar was brilliant and very relaxed. He realised that most of the people there did not attend church regularly and explained and helped everyone through the ceremony. He was laid back about the involvement from the many children at the ceremony, even if that ‘involvement’ got a little out of hand on a number of occasions. However, you will be pleased to know that the Baguettes behaved impeccably, the combination of threats and a promise to buy them a small toy the following day, worked a treat. Éowyn asked if she could take photos with Lucinda’s phone – which was nice as being part of the ceremony it was not easy to take that many photos! There were a lot of selfies on the camera roll afterwards and some unusual angles of the photos. Lucinda had asked Éowyn to take a photo of the other Godparent Rowena holding the Baptismal candle, so Éowyn took a photo of the candle and Rowena’s hand. Maybe Mommy needs to be a little more specific on her orders! though she did take a lovely photo of the actual Baptism from her view looking up at the ceremony rather than down which is the usual adult view.
After the ceremony it was to the local pub for the reception (what is the correct term for the meal after a Baptism? I went for ‘reception’ but quite like the idea of ‘Baptismal breakfast’ instead, probably for the alliteration more than anything else). It was a chance for a reccie for Lucinda and I as we will be staying here later in the year when we come up for Lisca and Theo’s wedding. The food was very nice and it had a great selection of alcoholic beverages – what more do you need? Across the road someone has converted the old red telephone box (a K6 – for you telephone box nerds out there) into a lending library stroke local information kiosk. A very commendably conversion in my opinion.
We returned to the hotel late afternoon, got changed into our civvies and headed back into Norwich city centre for an evening meal. We had visited Cosmo restaurant when we visited last time. It is an all you can eat buffet with cuisine from all over the world. The Baguettes loved it because they could go up and eat what they wanted, try new things and it didn’t matter if they didn’t like it because they could just go up for some more. Then after the meal there was the same for dessert. We liked it as it was easy and everyone could have to eat what they wanted with no arguments. Amélie had been so excited about this restaurant that she must have asked if we could go 20 times during the lead up to the weekend. The only reason that I mention it was for the strange thing that Ezra did at the end of the meal. One of the dessert menu items was jelly cubes. The Baguettes thought that these were heaven and filled their plates. Ezra, however, picked one up and put it to his ear. ‘What are you doing?‘ I asked.
‘Shhh!‘ He said. “I can hear the sea.‘
Peace and Love