And so Christmas is done for another year (unless you are looking forward to the Epiphany) and so indeed is another year! Yes 2012 seems to have flown by and after surviving the Apocalypse that never was we stand at the threshold of 2013. There will be another update looking back at 2012 and looking forward to the new year so tune in later in the week for that one.
So how was the Bagnall Christmas? Well let me take you back a dozen or so days before the big day. Peter Jackson’s eagerly awaited first film in the Hobbit trilogy was released. For those of you not in the know the Hobbit is the prequel to the events that culminate in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That ‘first’ trilogy was released each December of the first three years of the millennium. For each of the films myself and a group of friends went to see the first UK public performance of the film at the Odeon Leicester Square (London). Therefore it seemed right and proper to do the same for these films and so the tradition has been re-ignited. Therefore Thursday 13th December 2012, around noon saw 15 of us waiting in the chill air at the eastern side of Leicester Square before hurrying inside for the 12:10 showing ready to renew the tradition, this time with my wife in tow (someone I didn’t even know when the last in the films (The Return of the King) was released – hasn’t it been an exciting decade!).
The next day was Éowyn’s last day at school and the obligatory Christmas concert. Éowyn had been practising the Christmas songs for weeks and had really been looking forward to it. The weather had changed from cold and clear the day before to overcast and heavy rain (the weather pattern that has settled over this corner of the globe for the last two weeks) and so the parents (and grandparents for Nanny and Granddad came too) were a little on the soggy side by the time we headed indoors. Nevertheless the concert warmed us all up. The children were all in costume (Éowyn was dressed as the Virgin Mary with a little baby Jesus doll) and they sang their hearts out and afterwards there were mince pies. To complete the concert morning there was the raffle draw. Éowyn won the first of the teddy bear raffle and so was able to take her pick of the soft toys on offer. So guess which one our first born picked? Yes, that’s right the biggest one there, a life-size dog! (A smallish dog but a dog nonetheless).
The inclement weather stopped us doing anything of note that afternoon, it was just too wet! The weather continued in the same vein over the weekend (which I was working so it wasn’t too intrusive!) but there was a break in the rain on the Monday and so we took full advantage. Our Merlin Passes have been underused this year (mainly due to the fact that it has been one of the wettest years on record) but Chessington World of Adventures and Christmas opening seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them for the final time in 2012. Yes, Chessington World of Adventures opened it’s zoo doors (and a couple of the rides) and welcomed Santa in the lead up to Christmas day. As we had not managed to take the girls to visit Santa is seemed to be custom made for us to take the short trip around the M25.
We arrived in time for the first Santa show of the day and decided to head there straight away. A little show was put on before the arrival of the man himself, who told the gathered children a little story about a little Christmas tree before handing out Christmas chocolates. The girls enjoyed themselves and wanted to go and see the reindeer straight afterwards. We then headed to the Bubble Works ride before wandering around the zoo. For free it was a perfect day out but if I was being critical it was not as good as the Santa grotto at Peppa Pig World. I wonder where we will see him next year? Definitely going to see him in Lapland when the girls (and the boy) are a little older.
The Christmas schedule over the last few years has been a meal around our house for the family and then everyone around Lucinda’s parents for Christmas dinner. However Lucinda’s mum was concerned that if her Dad had had his knee replacement that they were hoping would happen before Christmas that he would not be able to help her prepare the day (due to various norovirus outbreaks at the hospital his operation will now happen early 2013). Thus to take that worry off her and because Lucinda’s brother Steve and his family were unable to make it on Christmas day we volunteered to host Christmas day at Chez Bagnall for Lucinda’s parents and Mike and his family. Steve and his family were, however, able to make it on Christmas Eve and because our house is a little on the small side (and we were hosting Christmas day) Lucinda’s brother Mike volunteered to host Christmas Eve. It was good to see the family together at Christmas and it was nice to see all the cousins together under one roof.
I was at work for the lead up to Christmas however I did manage to get Christmas Eve and Christmas day off! Unfortunately Lucinda didn’t! Oh, the joys of shift workers! Indeed she was working from 0530 Christmas day and so would miss the girls opening their stocking presents. Thanks to modern technology she didn’t have to completely miss it. A video camera and a tripod and strategically placed children meant that she could relive joy on their faces as they opened present after present. Lucinda’s dad popped round mid-morning to take the girls so that I could concentrate on preparing Christmas dinner and the house for our dinner guests. I am pleased to report that the dinner went well and everyone went home sated. I have to say that after everyone left and we had put the girls to bed myself and Lucinda turned in. We were both knackered.
Boxing Day is traditionally a big day for football in the UK and this year was one of the biggest, indeed if it wasn’t for the tube strike putting pay to the Arsenal v West Ham United game it would have been a full house. As the Premier League is my biggest client I was therefore back in work, no rest for the wicked! The upside of the fact that it was a busy Boxing Day was the bonus that there were no football games on the next two days and so I took advantage of that hiatus to take a couple of days off work. I wasn’t going to put my feet up though, there was the small matter of seeing my mom.
As I have been working every weekend and my mom only has weekends off, I haven’t seen much of my mom this year. However 2012 is to be the last year my mom will be working as she has decided that she would hang up her work shoes and retire. She may be retiring from work but with a third grandchild on the way we will no doubt keep her very busy. And so we did on the Thursday. It was one of those flying visits driving up on the morning, spending the day with mom and my sisters and then getting the girls ready for bed and heading back down the M40 in the evening.
Éowyn and Amélie enjoyed seeing the Bagnall side of their family as they don’t see them that often. Éowyn loves seeing her Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz but Amélie’s favourite is definitely her Auntie Mary. Maybe it is some kind of middle child kindred spirit that they share but whenever we say do you want to go and see Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz, Amélie will say: ‘And Auntie Mary?‘ Hopefully they will see more of their Black Country family in 2013.
Football and televised football stops for no man (or woman) and thus neither does work for me and so with galleries beckoning I will bid you adieu and just take time to wish you all the best for the New Year and hope that 2013 brings you love, luck and happiness.
Love and Peace