A week in Dorset

We have just got back from a week in sunny (yes, sunny) Dorset (unbelievably for the end of October the temperature peaked at 20°C).  Every year (for the last 6 years) Lucinda’s family have hired Berwick Manor in Puncknowle, Dorset for a week as a big extended family holiday.  I don’t know of any other family that does such a thing and some of you maybe horrified by such a thought but it is actually very enjoyable and I think each of us very much look forward to it.  We were unfortunately unable to go last year (as we were waiting for the imminent arrival of Éowyn) and so we were looking forward to it more than usual.

The week is usually relaxed with trips to the coast and local towns confirmed in the morning depending on the weather and number of others who are interested, we are usually back as it gets dark and each family takes it in turn to cook an evening meal.  There are number of places that we usually go to and this year was no exception.  They include visiting Bridport market, Lyme Regis, Hive Beach, Weymouth and a number of walks especially along the Jurassic coast.

We did however journey further afield and one of the most memorable trips was organised by Lucinda’s cousin Adam and his girlfriend Lucy:  A ghost walk around Dorchester.  Alistair our guide for the evening (dressed in full Victorian regalia, including top hat and cloak) pitched the tone just right.  The bravado of the children was soon replaced by a healthy fear, but realising that he was actually getting to them he turned it round quickly so that they thought they were getting the upper hand on him.  If ever you are in Weymouth or Dorchester and enjoy a ghost walk I would highly recommend him.  Éowyn slept through the majority of the evening, although she was enthralled at Alistair’s voice at the beginning of the walk.  She was however, the only one that dressed up for the occasion in her fancy dress bat outfit.  What cruel parents we are!

Lucinda’s dad, John, is rapidly approaching his 70th birthday and realising that since most of the family would be in the same place at the same time Lucinda decided that it was a ideal opportunity to hold a surprise birthday party for him while we were at the manor.  To add to the party atmosphere Lucinda invited a number of his good friends to join us.  Amazingly he never caught wind of the party and it was a complete surprise and we were also pleasantly surprised that his friends made the long journey to join us.  He was truly touched and thoroughly enjoyed himself, and Lucinda was happy that all her hard work had paid off.

The week was also good for Éowyn, as apart from at her Granddad’s party she was centre of attention from all generations of the ‘Badger’ clan (everyone is either related to, or partner of someone related to, Lucinda’s Granddad Badger – although interestingly this year there was no one with the surname Badger at the manorhouse).  Her confidence in walking grew this week (taking at one point 32 steps – I will now stop counting) to the point where she now likes to walk alongside you holding your hand.  She especially liked playing with her cousin Finley who was very good with her, and knew exactly how to make her laugh.  She also has semi-learnt a new trick:  to blow a kiss.  However, she understands that you have to kiss your hand but as not yet blown that kiss to anyone.  I don’t blame her!

The week seemed to be over very quickly (especially with work for both me and Lucinda looming on the horizon) but to extend the holiday we decided to head to Monkey World on the way back.  Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but made it a long journey back especially since it was heavy traffic all the way back.  And now we are back at work at seems to have faded into a distant memory – well there is always next year!

I will take my leave of you now but please enjoy the new photos.

Peace and love


Happy Birthday Éowyn

And so the year has turned full circle.  Yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this update our first born is now a year old.  She reached this milestone on Saturday (officially at 04:01), although in fairness to her it has just passed her by. However as proud parents we wanted to celebrate this achievement and so hosted (at Lucinda’s parents house) a birthday party for her little friends and our immediate family.

The last few weeks have been a little stressful for not only have we been preparing for the party but gearing up for Lucinda’s return to work.  The 21st marks the occasion of a return to the adult world after nearly 14 months in the land of nappies and coffee mornings and understandably Lucinda is not looking forward to it.  Hence I have taken holiday from my job so that I can look after Éowyn while Lucinda is at work.  Éowyn has only spent a couple of hours alone with Jo (our child-minder) and so it seemed unfair both to Jo and to Éowyn to then leave her for two shifts. However, in order to build a relationship between Jo and Éowyn I will be taking her there for one of the afternoons. This gives us all a safety net and Lucinda piece of mind to just concentrate on getting up to speed with work.

Éowyn’s party was good fun, if hard work, especially since there was about half a dozen other one-year-olds and about the same of older children. Éowyn appeared to revel in the fact that she was centre of attention and on a number of occasions went up to other children and either hugged them or stroked their hair saying ‘Aaarrrhhhhh’.  She was nonplussed about her presents, they just didn’t interest her, however the Butterscotch Angel Delight was another matter.  It was a big hit with all the children, and a number of the adults too!

We have to say a big thank you to Lucinda’s parents for letting us host the party at their home and especially to Lucinda’s mum and Cristina for helping set everything up for the party.  A special thanks to Éowyn’s cousins Lauren and Maddie too, then were a big help making sure that everything was just right for all her guests.

Éowyn was on such good behaviour and really enjoyed herself, probably because she was surrounded by all the people she loves including her Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz who came all the way down from West Bromwich.  Another visitor that popped over to wish Éowyn a happy birthday was a Brown Shrike.  Usually found in India and South East Asia it is a very rare migrant bird to these shores (to Europe in general) but this one decided to take up residence at the northern end of Staines Moor for the week of her birthday, and so did a horde of twitchers looking for a glimpse of it.  Stanwell Moor has become a car park and although I can appreciate the excitement it becomes more than slightly frustrating when driveways and entrances to private roads are blocked by parked cars.

In other news Éowyn’s walking is coming along nicely and has recently beaten her personal best of 7 steps and now stands at, unlucky for some, 13.  she now has 6 teeth and her favourite things are mobile phones, car keys, wallets (or purses) and knocking things down.  Make of that what you will.

I will leave you now to the photos but not before I wish my daughter a very

Happy Birthday

Peace and love Baggie!

Must try harder

I had always said that if I was going to start this website/ blog then I would keep it updated regularly.  However I feel that I am not living up to that promise at the moment.  So, I will apologise to all that regularly read this in an effort to keep up to date with Éowyn’s progress and obviously to enjoy the latest photos.  I must try harder!

Thursday brought the year round to October, the month of Éowyn’s birth.  This time last year, we were poised on the edge of parenthood not knowing what the future held, or indeed when the momentous day would occur.  Éowyn was due on the 5th but as per ‘all good things’ she made us wait, but I will leave the reflections for another post.

Life has settled down into its usual pattern of my shift pattern after the excitement of the summer and so I have been able to enjoy being at home a little more.  However, we never seem to rest on our laurels and try to fit things in on my days off and last weekend was no exception to that.

Last Friday we managed a second trip of the year to the cinema due to the generosity of Lucinda’s brother (Mike) and his baby-sitting skills.  I am sure that Éowyn was aware that we wanted to go out for it took her a long time to settle herself to sleep.  Nevertheless she dropped off and we managed to make it in time for the film we were hoping to see (District 9).  This is by far the least number of cinema trips I have made in a year for more that 20 years.  I have even been known to see more than two in a day on a number of occasions.  We will be fitting at least one more trip in before the turn of the year since Lucinda is eager to see New Moon, the second of the Twilight series after being hooked on the books and I thought I was the geek of the family!

The next day we spent ambling about the home, taking it easy and just playing with Éowyn for we were heading down to Liphook in Hampshire for the evening.  Hollycombe is a working steam museum and every September/ October they open into the evening (10pm) so that one can experience the steam fair at night.  The greater Cathrall clan headed down there early and we cooked up a barbeque in the car park before heading in as the sun went down.  The rides are in remarkable order considering they a close to 100 years old and it is interesting to imagine the wonder the Edwardians must have felt at these rides when they first saw them.  It was also interesting to see how much the children were enjoying it and getting the thrills out of the rides even though they are veterans of Thorpe Park et al.  It was great fun and Éowyn behaved impeccably, considering it was totally against her routine.  We even took her on the carousel and she loved it, sitting there with a big grin on her face.  At her usual time she fell asleep in her pushchair and hardly stirred despite the noise and lights of the fairground.

Sunday was a trip to Nanny Fran’s in West Bromwich.  It was my sister Elizabeth’s birthday and so it was a good excuse to pay a visit.  Also with Éowyn’s birthday around the corner it meant that Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz could take Éowyn and Lucinda around Merry Hill and choose a present for her.  I managed to wheedle out of traipsing around the shops by arranging to meet up with my mate Bobby and we sat in the pub putting the world to rights.  I think that was a fair compromise.  Again Éowyn was in a very cheery mood, despite the previous night’s excitement and entertained her Nanny and Auntie for the best part of the day.  It always seems too short when we zoom up to the Black Country for a day but it we wnot be long before Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz will see her again.

This week it was Lucinda’s turn to entertain the NCT girls for their coffee morning and I was off, which is a rare occurance.  It was really interesting to see how much Éowyn enjoyed people she knew coming round, and there was a definite delight on her face when her little friends turned up.  It was also quite amusing when she went up to Blake and gave him a hug.  He just turned to his mum and burst out crying.  I don’t think that Éowyn understood why he was so upset and looked at him as if to say, ‘I’m only giving you a hug!’

Before I leave you for this update one little thing that Éowyn has started to do this week is very touching and that is to string words together.  The first was on Tuesday of last week when she said ‘Bye Daddy’ as I left for work.  Then on Friday when I was at work, she picked up her toy phone, not once but twice, and said ‘Hello Daddy’.  Okay, maybe not the oration skills of Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln but just as important to me.

Enjoy the photos…