It only happens once every four years, and although this blog started with the birth of Éowyn in 2008, its (and, obviously, her) birth was in October, long after 2008’s leap day. Therefore despite running for 7½ years it is only the second time that this blog has seen bissextus (the leap day). The first leap day of the blog (and Éowyn and Amélie’s first) deigned a day specific write up so, too, does this second (and Ezra’s first) deserve a whole write up to itself; let’s make it a tradition.
As you may know the leap day is an extra day added to most years that are divisible by 4 (except, of course, ‘end of century‘ years that are not divisible by 400), this is to compensate for the reality that the Earth does not take 365 days to revolve around the Sun. In fact, the Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds to complete its journey around our local star hence the need for the additional day to keep our fragile grasp on notional time in sync with nature. Therefore, our calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks, which includes 97 leap days. (This extra day is entitled a ‘Leap Day’ because the usual convention is that a fixed date normally advances one day from one year to the next. In a leap year is will advance two days, thus leaping over one of the days in the week). These 97 days are divided thus: 13 times on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday, 14 times on a Friday or a Saturday and 15 times on a Monday or a Wednesday. In 2016, we find that the leap day is on a Monday, which, along with Wednesday (the day on which the previous leap day fell) is statistically the most likely.
So what happened on Monday 29th February 2016, in our little enclave of the world?
The new Monday morning regime began with ensuring all three Baguettes were ready for school, on time and leaving the house by 0810 to allow Ezra enough time to walk to school. It was a bright, crisp and frosty morning to greet the extended February. Thus we wrapped up warm and headed off into the winter air. The first destination was Our Lady of the Rosary where I dropped Ezra off for the start of his second week at school; before then dropping Éowyn off at her base and then Amélie off at hers before walking back home and starting my work day by driving around the edge of Heathrow to Stockley Park. Lucinda had no children to mind and therefore was alone in the house for a couple of hours before having to return to Our Lady of the Rosary to pick Ezra after his morning session of pre-school.
Therefore, like the first bissextus of this blog the second saw the Bagnall family members apart (five now as opposed to the four as was then) each in their own environ, for the morning at least.
As usual, Lucinda collected the girls from school but bought one extra home. Amélie had one of her new friends around for an after-school playdate. This, coupled with inviting Nanny round for dinner and taking Éowyn to Brownies made for a busy evening for Lucinda before I walked in through the door.
I had a very meeting-centric day at work (we are going through a very busy period at work with lots of exciting projects in the planning stages). I walked through the door with just enough time to warm my dinner up, say ‘hello’ get changed and head back out to pick Éowyn up from Brownies.
As I returned Lucinda took Nanny back home before heading to her Slimming World meeting, while I read with the kids and put them to bed. Then it was a week’s worth of ironing (see I am a domesticated husband), a quick tidy of the lounge and then relax! The glamour of the Bagnall household on bissextus 2016!
This is a bit of a departure from the usual fare on BaggieandLucy.com and so there are no photos today, although I am hoping (time permitting) to complete a more traditional update with photos (and there are some on our Flickr pages that have been recently added) later this week – although do not hold me to it.
Hopefully Saturday 29th February 2020 will be a little more interesting than today. At least being a weekend there is a chance that we will be together as a family (assuming I am not in a similar role to my current one).
So as we sit Janus-like at the start of his month I will take the opportunity to review 2012 and attempt a prediction of what is to happen over the next 12 months.
So firstly what did we learn in 2012, the year that the Olympics came to London and Britain became really good at sport (except Football)? The World didn’t end; we didn’t fall over a fiscal cliff and the best way of guaranteeing the wettest year on record is to issue a hose-pipe ban in March. From a Bagnall-centric point of view we discovered the joys of all-inclusive holidays and the holiday island of Tenerife. Éowyn had been asking to go on a ‘plane again throughout 2011 and Amélie had not had the joy. We, obviously wanted a family holiday that was easy and would be rain-free and therefore would be relaxing for us too and so we opted for all-inclusive (eliminates the worry of finding child-friendly meals). Tenerife seemed to be a good bet for weather and had the attaction of Loro Parque as well as being the third largest volcano in the world. Both girls were extremely well-behaved throughout the holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘plane ride, the food and the pools. Éowyn discovered her burgeoning love of photography (behind the lens, she has fallen out of love with being the object of the photo) and the horrors of a camel ride while Amélie was content to take the experience in her stride.
Éowyn also discovered the joys of the cinema. She has been a film fan for a long time but going to the cinema is very different, especially when you are three years old. Her first film was The Muppets and she thoroughly enjoyed it, so I bought the soundtrack (on CD – I am still 20th Century when it comes to music) and it hasn’t been out of my car stereo since. Both of the girls request the album before I am even in the car and they know all the words to all the songs. The film therefore had to be bought (on Blu-Ray) and has been watched a number of times. It is a good job that I am a big Muppets fan and I think that it is something that the youth of today have definitely missed out on and I can not wait for the sequel.
The biggest lesson from 2012 however was all about the preciousness and fragility of life. The beginning of the year saw the passing of a number of friends and family members and without wishing to put one life over another possibly the most significant to me were my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Roy and my Nan’s brother, my Great Uncle Albert. And although we are sad at their passing the circle of life continues and in June we were delighted to find out that Lucinda had fallen pregnant for the third time. However our joy was somewhat tempered by the blood results at the 12 week scan, which indicated a high risk of chromosomal abnormalities. Both being of the mind that we needed to know we opted for Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) to know for certain. Fortune looked upon us and the results came back that we were expecting a healthy baby boy. Both of us feel that this now makes our little family complete.
Then in early October a second reminder was sent our way with Lucinda suffering from Appendicitis. She has put the initial pains down to pregnancy twinges but as the day continued the pain got worse. A trip to A&E confirmed the worse and Lucinda was rushed into theatre for an appendectomy. It was a close thing with the swollen appendix about to burst (it was already weeping) but she is now fully recovered (apart from a small scar) and it is but a memory and we will not dwell on the statistics regarding pregnant women, unborn children and burst appendicies.
And to end the year Nanny Fran has retired; therefore it is our mission to keep her as busy as possible and with 3 grandchildren she will not have time to put her feet up. As both Lucinda and I came from three child families and so for us it seems quite natural to have three children. However in the modern world that doesn’t seem to be the norm. Indeed, holidays, family tickets and even cars do not seem to have been created with three children in mind. The biggest of those problems is the fact that modern cars have not been made wide enough to fit three car seats across. When we were growing up that wasn’t a problem as there were no car seats. Indeed there were no rear seat belts! However the modern age dictates that a child should be in a child’s car seat (which it right and proper) however to fit three car seats into a car one has to opt for the seven seater, the MPV. At least should we opt for the Ford S-Max (which is our current favourite) then we can take Nanny Fran with us on our excursions!
It seems a bit of a moot question to inquire as to what we are looking forward to in 2013. A new car, a new house (if we can possibly find what we are looking for in our price range) or a change in work premises (yes, after 10 years in the current building we are moving from the surburban idyll that is Chiswick to the leafy business park that is Stockley Park)?
Obviously these are all totally eclipsed by the fact that we are expecting our third child and it is to be a son. With two kids already under our belt we are not entirely newbies to this parenting business but they have been girls. By all accounts the leap from two to three is not as big as either the jump from one to two or indeed zero to one but as Éowyn and Amélie have taught us, no two children are the same. Indeed Éowyn and Amélie are like chalk and cheese in some respects. So where will the latest edition sit? Or will he take the Bagnall children into a third direction. Whatever, as long as the little one is healthy, it will be a fun journey and give me even more reason to update you all via this medium (and, more likely, yet another reason why I will not have time to) and to fill the servers of this corner of the internet with more photos of the growing family.
It will also be a momentous year for our other children. Not only will they have to cope with another child vying for their parents’ (and grandparents’) attention and eventually playing with their toys and upsetting their games but they will have to move in together so that their little brother can have his own room. At the moment Éowyn and Amélie have separate bedrooms but as we live in a three bedroom house the sisters will have to move in together. Eventually they will be in the bunk beds that we have bought but until Amélie is a little older we will just move their current beds into the same room. Therefore there will be a whole learning curve of compromise that they will have to go through.
In addition, Éowyn will be going to school. Not pre-school, but actual full time education. We are obviously anxious that we have chosen the right school and that she will enjoy it. She will be going from being one of the oldest (and tallest) at her pre-school to being much further down the pecking order in a much bigger environment. Although she can be a little on the shy side I am sure that she will take it in her stride. Hopefully the fact that she will be in a more structured learning environment will be good for her.
When we know what school Éowyn has been accepted for, then it will determine which pre-school we will send Amélie to. We have delayed sending Amélie to pre-school only because we don’t want to end up causing ourselves issues with the girls being at completely different sites across the Staines-Upon-Thames (!) area. Hopefully it will not be long until we know the answer.
With a new baby, probably a new car, a new work environment and maybe a new house it is already gearing up to be a busy year. A year that will see visits from two bright comets. The first, Panstarrs will grace the skies around my birthday (and possibly my son’s birth) and the second will perhaps be the brightest comet of our generation, if not the century. Comet Ison is heading our way and should be visible to the naked eye for the last few months of 2013 and at its peak should be brighter than a full moon.
So as portents adorn the heavens and Lucinda and I complete 4 decades on this planet – don’t tell anyone – (I don’t think those two events are related) I leave you a little bit of trivia with which you can impress your friends. 2013 is the first year since 1987 where all four digits are different from each other. Do with that what you will.
And finally I hope that 2013 brings you love and wisdom; the strength to follow your dreams and to learn from your mistakes and the wonder of a child to appreciate the beauty of this World.
Peace and Love
PS: The photo below was taken on our Christmas trip to Chessington World of Adventures, at the Sealife Centre there, it was Yuletide so excuse the reindeer antlers!
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.