The Baguettes at Nanny Fran’s

The title of this write-up may give you a clue as to the title of the next, but if it hasn’t, don’t worry, by the time you have read the remainder of this essay then I’m sure that it will all make sense.

I need to take you back to the final week or so of school term, so mid-July and give you the conclusion to a number of the events that you read about in the last installment, and no doubt have been waiting with bated breath, so without further ado I will put you out of your misery.

As you may recall, Amélie has been going to Street Dance classes fortnightly for the last few months.  As with all of these classes, there are regular examinations to grade the pupils performance, something that Auntie Mary and Auntie Liz can testify.  It is no different for Amélie, and her Street Dance class.  She took her examination but we had to wait over a month for the results.  The class teacher decided that instead of just giving the medals out that they would put on a show for the parents to demonstrate where our hard-earned money was going and what our children were up on a Saturday afternoon.

Amélie is one of the youngest there and coupled with the fact that she has only been doing it for a couple of months, she didn’t have a big part to play in the show, however, she was extremely enthusiastic when she did come on stage and you can see how much she enjoys it.  When, she was given her medal for passing her exams (yeah!) she was positively beaming with pride.  The only downside is that we are waiting for a replacement as they managed to spell her name wrong and added an extra ‘i’ between the ‘é’ and the ‘l’.

Obviously, Amélie thoroughly enjoys Street Dance however, we are considering looking for another class that might suit her overall enthusiasm for performing.  As always, if this happens, you will read about it first on these pages.

The second story thread that you are looking for a conclusion concerns our eldest.  As you may recall from the last write-up, Éowyn had been picked to represent her school in the district Sports Day in the throwing event.  It all seemed a little underplayed.  Éowyn came home with a letter in her school bag informing us that she had been picked and that it was going to take place at Osterley Sports and Athletic Centre in Isleworth on the morning of the last Friday of term.

From that day, until the day of the District Sports Day there was not a word from the school.  Neither did Éowyn have any further coaching or even any time to practice.  So, on the Wednesday before I took her into the park and we practiced throwing a tennis ball – the item that she would be throwing in the competition.  I asked her if she was allowed a run up to assist with the throwing, or whether she had to stand still.  She said she didn’t know, but at school they have to stand still.  So we practiced throwing a tennis ball from a standing position.  I gave her some pointers and she was regularly throwing 15+ metres and thus we went home on Wednesday night very pleased with ourselves.

On Thursday, I came home from work and Éowyn was in tears.  I asked her what the problem was and she showed me her right elbow and forearm.  She had been playing tag in the school playground when she took a tumble and opened a wound right across her throwing arm.  The teachers had cleaned it and put a patch on it but the patch was across part of the wound and so taking it off was a little painful.  She was in a lot of pain and couldn’t straighten her arm.  Not the best preparation for the event.

I took the day off work to support Éowyn, which began by dropping her off at school at 07:45 dressed in her P.E. kit with a packed lunch and adequate liquid refreshment.  Then I made my way to Isleworth to watch the competition.  Talking to the other parents I discovered that this was the first time that the school had competed for many years and so had been relegated to the third division.  Also, some of the other schools were taking this very, very seriously.

The Osterley Sports and Athletic Centre is a very nice athletics ground, with a proper sprung running track and a well-kept field for the field events.  It felt like going to a professional sports meeting.  There were six schools in total with a girl and boy representing each year from year 3-6 inclusive in each event.  The events were, in no particular order: sprint, sprint relay, middle distance (600m), long jump and throwing a tennis ball.  It was extremely well organised and despite the large number of events and children taking part, then rattled through the events without too much dead time.

Obviously, Éowyn’s injury was bothering her and it was hurting her to move the arm let alone throw with it.  I called her over and told her that it didn’t matter and put all the effort into the first throw and if it hurt too much don’t bother with the following throws.  The injury wasn’t her only disadvantage.  The rules of the tournament allowed a run up to throw the ball and Éowyn had not practiced that technique.  To her credit, she gave it all she could, it was obvious that the injury was impeding her throwing action, and as it turned out her first throw was the longest and was enough to see her secure fourth place.  An admirable effort considering both impediments.  Éowyn was very upset that she couldn’t throw as far as she had done in practice, but I reassured her by saying that if she continues to practice, she will still be the best in the school next year and so should be able to represent the school at District Sports Day again next year.

The school mirrored Éowyn’s effort and finished fourth overall.  So, there is room for improvement all round.

The final school week ended with the traditional end of year disco and last few days of winding down.  Amélie received a certificate for Star Pupil of the week and Éowyn said good-bye to another teacher as Miss Gage left England to return to her native Australia.

Neither Lucinda or I took the girls to school on their last day, however, as we were on a plane en route for an adventure on our own (you will have to wait for the next installment for that story).  Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz came down on the penultimate day of term for while Lucinda and I were gallivanting, Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz took them to school, then picked them up before heading up the M40 for an adventure of their own.

Yes, the Baguettes spent the first five days of the Summer holidays in West Bromwich.  Nanny Fran had booked them up and there wasn’t any free time for them.  Before they went Ezra had already put his order in for what he wanted out of the trip:  to see some dinosaurs (they still roam free in West Bromwich), go to the farm and go to Funky Monkey’s – the soft play area in the town centre.

Nanny Fran certainly delivered.  They did visit the farm, and took part in the great bear hunt.  They didn’t go to Funky Monkey’s (as Éowyn and probably Amélie, are too tall) but they visited another soft play area, which Ezra said was even better and they saw a mural of some dinosaurs, so all boxes were ticked.

That wasn’t all that was in store for the Baguettes, however, as Thursday morning saw all three of them take a visit to Nanny Fran’s local hairdressers and have a hair cut.  Before you fear that the girls have lost their flowing locks, they only had a couple of inches taken off the bottom, just to tidy it all up.  Ezra had a more severe haircut and it marked only the second time he has had his hair cut.

Arguably, the highlight of the trip was a visit to Telford.  That doesn’t sound like a highlight, I admit.  However, it was to visit Nanny Fran’s brother and sister-in-law and meet my cousin Julie and her little daughter Amber, the Baguettes second cousin (if my cousin relationship calculation is correct).

Lucinda and I arrived back in the country on the Saturday night and headed up to West Bromwich to collect our brood.  We were going to tie this in with a flying visit to Auntie Mary’s new purchase – her first house.  Unfortunately, although the purchase was due to be completed on the previous Friday the vendor hadn’t realised that when she sold her house that she would have to move out (!) and so asked for a week extension to organise her own move.  We will have to pop up another time to visit Auntie Mary’s house, although with a busy period of work upon us (me) I am not sure when that will be.

A big thank you to Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz for looking after the Baguettes which allowed us to take our trip.

Before I leave you be, just a quick note to say that if you haven’t stopped by the Flickr page for a while, there is a veritable treasure trove of new photos there for your delight.  In addition, I am hoping that it will not be long before there is another, or even another two posts for your delectation – that’s just put the pressure on me.

Peace and Love