This write-up is centred around events that seem an age away. I have always caveated this website with the fact that life will always trump this blog and over the last month life has certainly got the way, and no, I am not going to apologise for it. I will, however, attempt to make up for the lack of updates with several over the next couple of weeks as I get you up to speed with the latest news from chez Bagnall and although I am not going to apologise for the lack of updates, I will apologise in advance for the rushed nature of this and the following updates and any grammatical errors that you may notice.
I will now take you back to mid May and the final couple of weeks of both the school half-term and the Premier League football season.
The end of the Premier League season is always a busy time for me and keeps me away from the family for long hours. This, for the last few years has been complicated by providing the facilities for the BBC for the Eurovision Song Contest, which this year added another level of complication by virtue of being scheduled the week before the end of the season and thus, for the first time, on a day with Premier League football matches. This was then further complicated by the fact that I had been invited to speak on a panel at an industry conference in Luxembourg which took me away from the family home for two days, so days off were scarce and Lucinda had to take the responsibility for home and kids all in the week of Lucinda’s birthday!
As you may have guessed from the title of this page, Amélie had a follow-up appointment with the orthoptist during this time. As you may recall the previous visit wasn’t the most positive. The orthoptist that she saw on that visit said that there had not been much improvement but to give it one more session to see if it would respond further. Therefore, there were no great expectations for this visit. However, Lucinda and Amélie were pleasantly surprised when the orthopist said that there had been a marked improvement and she would prescribe a further session of patches in an attempt to continue the improvement. Thus, we wait for the next appointment to see whether her brain has completed its training and has learned to control both eyes equally.
Amélie is not the only one who has sought medical attention. The newest member of the Bagnall household has also been receiving treatment. Willow came to us, under-weight and with a sore (and bald-patch) at the base of her tail. The trips to the vet haven’t identified the initial issue, but a course of steroid cream and a couple of anti-biotic injections were prescribed to help her heal. However, cats have tongues with tiny, backward-facing papillae which give them that rough feel, which has evolved to help them rasp meat from bones and clean their fur, but equally can irritate itchy skin such that it does not allow it time to heal. Therefore, to prevent Willow from attempting to keep her wound clean she was also made to wear an Elizabethean Collar or, as it is more colloquially known, the ‘Cone of Shame’. Poor Willow was not impressed and looked completed dejected with her new attire. Nevertheless, it is there for a reason and we must be strong!
As I have already mentioned the final couple of weeks of the half-term were incredibly busy and it was also Lucinda’s birthday, so Lucinda’s birthday needed to be celebrated and I had a day off before the eve of the last day of the season and thus it seemed like a perfect opportunity to have a few friends round.
The initial idea was to have a barbecue, but the lead up to the day and the forecast for the day itself was not good and so the barbecue idea was knocked on the head and we decided to arrange a buffet spread with one of my chillis as the centrepiece. As it turned out the weather was clement, if not hot, and so we could take advantage of the garden and the tiki hut got its first proper party. The adults sat under its thatched roof while the kids amused themselves in the house, on the trampoline or kicked a ball around the lawn. Fun was had by all – as you can probably see from the photos below.
Not only, was Daddy busy at work, Mommy busy looking after the house and children while celebrating her birthday the girls were busy at school. The last couple of weeks of school term saw some notable achievements by both Éowyn and Amélie. In the antepenultimate week before the end of term both girls were moved up to silver level at school. The following week Éowyn once again achieved silver, but Amélie went one better and achieved gold. Not to be outdone, Éowyn took Daddy’s challenge to get 10 out of 10 on an extremely hard spelling test to earn herself a fidget spinner (the toy of 2017!) and then went one better at the weekend. As many of you that follow this blog know, Amélie was two classes above Éowyn at swimming, that is not true any more. On the last Saturday of term Éowyn was assessed and moved up to yellow caps. She is now only one class behind her little sister and in a class taught by Amélie’s instructor, who seems to be more senior and encouraged Amélie through the yellow caps quite quickly. Hopefully, it will not be long before Éowyn catches up with Amélie.
It did cause a few problems though. Éowyn has become disillusioned with swimming because she did not seem to be progressing and had not be assessed and her little sister seemed to be progressing much more quickly than her. reluctantly, we had agreed to stop taking her swimming (at least for the summer) and revisit it in the autumn meaning that this was to be her last lesson. However, after moving up to yellow caps her appetite for swimming had returned and she wanted to keep swimming, so we signed her up for the classes again. This complicated matters somewhat as we hadn’t actually left but we had handed in notice and thus the system wanted to add a signing on fee, fortunately the guy at the leisure centre was switched on and overruled the computer that said ‘no’.
After the manic fortnight alluded to above, I had a couple of days off before the half term break, but there was no rest for Daddy there was one more event to squeeze in. Year 3 (Éowyn’s year) had been learning about African animals and were to visit Whipsnade zoo as part of the learning experience and the school had asked for volunteers to assist the teachers and teaching assistants. As I have mentioned before I have an dichotomic ambivalence towards zoos and I waver between hatred and upset that wild animals are imprisoned for our amusement and thankfulness not only for the educational and environmental awareness that they provide, which is sadly essential in our world, but also the chance to see such magnificent creatures in close quarters. Nothing quite beats seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat but many people will never have the opportunity so see a fraction of the creatures that you find in a zoo in their natural state.
The parents that volunteered were given six children to look after, their own child and five others. Éowyn wanted me to sit on the coach with her and her friends (how much longer will that happen?) and it was really quite pleasant to sit and be part of their conversations. It was quite refreshing to see how Éowyn reacts with her friends and the respect that they give their teacher. It was a pleasure to have been a part of the trip and I have to say that it hasn’t put me off volunteering and I look forward to doing it again if they require volunteers. Assuming that Éowyn still wants her old man to tag along on her school trips. Then again there are always Amélie’s, and from September, Ezra’s!
I will leave you her but stand by for news of our half-term family holiday, hopefully in the next few days if I can managed to pull my finger out and sit down with the computer for more than 5 minutes.
Peace and Love