Incredibly belated, indeed it is not just the end of the summer holidays as we are now, officially, in Autumn. I thought that last year’s summary of the summer holidays was late, I have surpassed myself this year. Genuinely, I had second thoughts as to whether I should continue with the write-up as some of the events described below happened nearly two months ago. However, I know, that a lot of my ‘readers’ are only here for the photos and there are some nice photos so I have decided that I would put the effort in and describe the events that lead to them.
So why, the wait? It is the start of the football season and thus it is always busy at work, however, this year has seen Daddy work every weekend (except 1 – more of that later) and the days off we have tried to fill with family days, hence no time for sitting at a keyboard and telling you about it. That is, until now. This will be a quick summary of those family days, a few that I missed and the one weekend I was not at work.
Living in Staines-Upon-Thames we are but a short drive from Windsor, home of Legoland Windsor Resort. As regular readers will know it is a place that we Bagnalls know well. Indeed, Mommy and Ezra have annual passes and have taken full advantage of them while Daddy has been at work and the girls have been at school. So, with Daddy having two days off in a row and the girls on vacation, we decided to make the short trip for a family day out. It had rained heavily overnight, but it had not scared the visitors away and the car parks were already full at 10:00, but we found a place to park and with our passes and pre-booked tickets jumped the queue and headed into the magical land of Lego.
Each of us picked a ride or area that we wanted to visit, so that we could plan our visit and keep everyone happy. Ezra’s choice came first and thus it was a sprint to the Atlantis Submarine Adventure! By luck rather than judgement we managed to avoid the worst of the queues and visit everything that each of us had chosen and even managed to get a half-decent place to view the Pirates of Skeleton Bay show. While we were queueing for the Legoland chair-o-planes equivalent Thunder Blazer we bumped into Amélie’s best friend. We had no idea that they were visiting and we hadn’t even planned on riding the Thunder Blazer so, considering the number of people at Legoland, it was extremely fortuitous that we happened to be in the same queue at the same time.
Before leaving Legoland we headed for Daddy’s choice, the Star Wars Miniland. I expected Ezra and Éowyn to be enthralled as they love the series while Amélie and Mommy enjoy them but are not as fussed. Unfortunately, we nearly didn’t enter the attraction as Ezra was completely freaked out by Darth Vader standing at the entrance. It took some cajoling to encourage him to walk pass him, but he would not pose for a photo with him. However, once he was in the attraction his eyes were wide with wonder at the models. His favourite was the Death Star, naturally, and his confidence returned as he walked around so that he was happy to pose with the second Darth Vader at the end of the tour.
The next day saw a return to Windsor, this time with Nanny. Windsor Duck tour is one of the many amphibious sightseeing tours that are dotted around the country. Climbing aboard the purpose build amphibious vehicle next to Windsor Castle feels rather strange; it is obviously a boat with wheels rather than a bus that floats. So, stepping on a boat at a bus stop plays with your mind. However, once the ‘Duck’ drives down the slipway into the Thames then it feels at home.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The unusual views of such a familiar place (we go to Windsor quite often) were further enhanced by the commentary of our guides. Obviously, there are not so many place of interest as say a boat trip further down the mighty river Thames as it meanders through central London, but a view of the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world more than makes up for it. I would whole-heartedly recommend a duck tour of Windsor especially at a reduced Groupon rate that we took advantage of, particularly on a warm summer’s day. It might be a different experience on a cold and rainy day.
Two days off in a row, was soon to be a thing of the past as work began to take over for another week or so, therefore entertainment of the Baguettes was placed firmly on Lucinda’s shoulders. That is when teaming up with other family members and other mums in the same predicament gives one strength. There is strength in numbers.
One of the regular haunts for the Bagnalls in school holidays is a trip down to Auntie Joanne’s. Auntie Joanne always organises some craft-inspired activity, followed by an outdoor activity and then a dip in the pool. So, after mask making and digging for potatoes, they headed to the swimming pool. Éowyn and Amélie love playing in the water and with their swimming lessons are extremely confident in the water. Not so, their little brother. However, last time we visited and then again on holiday in Croatia, we made Ezra play in the pool and overcome his fear of water, so that this time he jumped in the water up to his neck. He was so pleased with himself and kept saying to Lucinda to take a photo to send to me, because he knew that I would be proud of him! He was right.
They paid another visit to Jump Giants and headed out to Wisley Gardens all without Daddy, but as September approached Daddy had five days off in a row! You have to use these days off in lieu or you lose them and I had a very good excuse: friends of ours Lisca and Theo were getting married in Norfolk.
When Lisca and Theo invited us, we decided that if Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz would agree, that we would leave the Baguettes behind and go to the wedding on our own. Over the intervening months we wavered as to whether we had done the right thing. Lisca and Theo were having their wedding at their house and so they were going to make it a family event with plenty of games to keep the young (and some of the old) ones entertained. However, a wedding at home without a wedding planner means that there was a lot of pressure on Lisca and therefore she asked friends to help with certain tasks, so as it approached and we had our own jobs to do, we knew it was the right thing to do and the Baguettes were getting excited to spend a weekend at Nanny Fran’s.
Lisca and Theo’s wedding was fantastic, very personal, with a good group of people and plenty to keep everyone entertained. To pick out anything in particular would do an injustice to the day as a whole, although the rhubarb and vanilla jam on homemade scones were delightful; the gin bar was difficult to stay away from and the Mexican van made the best quesadillas.
The ceremony itself was held in the garden and as the ceremony started the weather forecast seemed to be extremely accurate as everyone need sunglasses to shield their eyes from the sun. Then there was an ominous swirling gust of wind and a few drops of rain. There were a few sideways glances and then, without any warning, the heavens opened and there was a ten minute deluge! This was about 30 seconds before Lucinda was to stand for her reading. The trooper she is, she stood, clutching her paper as they got soaked.
Rain on your wedding day is said to be lucky (we must be extremely lucky then!), but I am sure that is something that people just say to you to try to make you feel better, and although it was upsetting for Lisca, especially, there is nothing that can be done and everyone is going to remember her wedding! Frustratingly, after the rain, it cleared up and, thankfully, there were no further outbreaks of rain. It was just a shame that the shower could not have been 30 minutes earlier (or indeed, 30 minutes later) so that it didn’t spoil the ceremony, but that is the cosmic joker for you! We wish Lisca and Theo all the love, luck and happiness for their future lives together.
The journey back was an epic, as we drove from Norwich to West Bromwich (well Wolston – to have a look at Auntie Mary’s new house) to pick the Baguettes up and then down to Staines Upon Thames, not the best journey to do the day before the girls returned to school. Nevertheless, it didn’t impact them too much, but more of their return to school in the next write-up!
To make up for the wait, there are 33 photos below and if you have not visited the Flickr pages for a while there are a few hundred new photos. I will leave you in peace now and expect a couple more write-ups in the next week or so! (I’ve set myself up for a fall now, haven’t I?)
Peace and Love