Easter eggs and a trip to the Seaside

Once again I feel that I have to apologise for the lack of updates through 2014.  At this point last year you would have had 17 updates, this is only this year’s 8th!  In fairness, last year was busier than usual mainly due to the birth of Ezra but you have to admit I am normally more prolific than I have been this year.  I have always said that this is a window into our world and it is more important for life to get in the way of this website than vice versa.  There have been plenty of jobs to do around the house and garden, it has been the traditional end of the season business and there has been something that has been overhanging the family (or not overhanging the family – a little joke that you may understand when you read about it) over the last six weeks but more about that in the next update.  Ah well, there are the excuses on with the update!

So what has been going on the in the Bagnall household?

Easter has come and gone since the last update and with it school holidays.  Yes, Easter marks the end of the second term and a fortnight break from school for both of the girls.  This came at an opportune time for Éowyn as she was beginning to get a little tired and was in need of the break.  It is hard enough as an adult doing a full week of work, week after week without a break (I know I have not used an of this year’s annual leave as yet!), it must be ten times as hard for a five year old.  Unfortunately we could not take full advantage of this hiatus from school because Easter is also a traditionally busy time in the football calendar and thus it is difficult for me to take time off work.  (It has to be said that the busy points in my work calendar:  Christmas, Easter and August unfortunately coincide with the term breaks and thus school holidays, that’s what you get for being the Head of Operations of the World’s largest independent sports production companies!).

A week off work was therefore out of the question but a tip to the seaside was still in order.  The weather hadn’t truly warmed up but nevertheless this has not stopped the Bagnalls in the past and it certainly isn’t going to stop the Bagnalls in the future.  So the S-Max was packed, a DVD loaded to keep the girls entertained and we headed to one of Lucinda’s favourite places, in probably her favourite county:  Hengistbury Head in Dorset.

We arrived in good time and parked the car at Mudeford Key before heading across Christchurch harbor on the ferry to Hengistbury Head.  Our arrival coincided with a heavy downpour and unfortunately we were on the open top ferry when it hit.  As you can see from the photo below there was nothing we could do except grin and bear it.

It was no surprise then that we didn’t head straight to the beach, but rather the cover of the beach café and lunch.  The rain clouds blew away while we were indoors and we headed to the beach; if not in bright sunshine at least it was more ‘cloudy with occasional breaks for the sun to peak through’.

The girls love playing on the beach (as I am sure that most kids do) and they do not feel the cold as much as adults.  While Lucinda and I barely took our coats off they wanted to strip off (thankfully managed to dissuade them from that!) and paddle in the sea.  Despite Daddy trying to convince them that the sea would be cold (it has barely had chance to warm up since the winter) it wasn’t until they had run in that they believed their Daddy.

Despite the weather, fun was had by all and three very tired kids reluctantly were convinced to return to the car for the journey home.   Éowyn and Amélie both protested the return but both (indeed Ezra too) were asleep before we made it to the M27 and the journey home.

The Easter holidays also saw a visit from Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.  Nanny Fran’s birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year (a day that both Lucinda and I were working!) and so she came down on Good Friday to stay for the weekend.  Her visit wasn’t just to get her present and deliver Easter Eggs.; it was to finally take advantage of last year’s present a ride over London in a helicopter.  This was, if memory serves me correctly, the third time that she had tried to take to the skies.  The previous two times the weather had put pay to the experience. This time however it was successful and she had a great time viewing the sites of our Capital City from an unusual vantage point.

Before we let her take to the skies though both she and Auntie Liz had to be roped into an Easter egg hunt.  You may recall that a couple of years ago Lucinda and I organized an Easter Egg Hunt around Lucinda’s parents’ garden for our friends children, unfortunately without having weekends off and not quite the time to prepare that remains the first and only time (so far) that we have managed to organize such a big event, however that doesn’t mean that Éowyn, Amélie and Ezra should miss out.  Therefore, while we were talking to Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz, Lucinda nipped outside and hid Easter Eggs around the garden for the girls to find.

With Éowyn paired up with Nanny Fran and Amélie with Auntie Liz they headed into the garden armed with Easter baskets.  All but one of the eggs were found (I am sure the local foxes will have found it by now) and divided evenly – you have to be fair!  These were then added to their, not too unreasonable, hoard of eggs and other assorted chocolates.  I would like to know whose idea it was to associate Easter with chocolate; I don’t recall Jesus telling us all to eat chocolate in memory of his resurrection.

As you may have guessed from the above, the Easter term break also saw Lucinda’s return to work.  Not great timing on our part but she has had nearly 14 months off and you can’t put off the inevitable.  As avid readers and friends will know this return was going to be more emotional than her previous returns as the end of April saw Air Canada cease ground control of their flights at Heathrow Airport, responsibilities now undertaken by ASIG a general handling company.  Therefore Lucinda returned for her half a dozen or so last shifts for Air Canada.

Change is sometimes good and sometimes beneficial.  Time will tell if this change is good, but it has certainly been beneficial with Air Canada offering V.S.P. (redundancy for want of a better phrase – which Lucinda took) and ASIG requiring a large influx of staff trained in Air Canada procedures (which Lucinda obviously is – if a little rusty).  Thus redundancy was taken and a new job at ASIG applied for and got.  A little Brucie Bonus that doesn’t happen very often in life and thus one that should certainly be taken advantage of when the opportunity arises.  It neatly concludes where 2013 left off, with new house, car, child etc.

So with Lucinda returning to work and with me in full time employment we are in need of an alternative child care facility when grandparents are in need of a rest and when we can’t manage between ourselves through holidays and shift swaps.  This makes it difficult to arrange child care.  Most nurseries and child minders want a set number of hours a week and set days, then they can plan other children around the slots in availability that they have.  This is understandable but very frustrating from our point of view.  However, a friend of ours uses a child minder literally around the corner from us, someone who only wants a few extra days a month.  An ideal scenario.

After meeting her we took Ezra around for a one hour taster session to see how he got on.  He was fine, thoroughly enjoyed himself and so we were happy to book some dates with her.

Lucinda’s shifts tend to be earlies.  This can be anything from a 0500 start!  This means a few things.  Lucinda needs to go to bed not long after the kids in order to get a decent amount of sleep.  Lucinda has to get up about 0345 (at the latest) in order to get ready and out for work.  This means that I have to rise a little earlier in order to get myself and three kids washes, dressed and fed. Bags packed and out the door ready for three different drop-off points before heading to do a full day’s shift at work. Indeed I feel like I have done a full day’s shift before I get there.  It doesn’t help with the little inter-sibling squabbling that tends to happen and when your youngest starts to cry and try and hold on to you when you drop him off at the child minders for the first time.  By all accounts he soon settled down and was fine for the rest of the day (and in that respect was no different to Éowyn or Amélie on their first days too!) but when your enduring image is of your little one in floods of tears reaching out to you it doesn’t set the day up very well.

Ezra is still tending on the lazy side (Lucinda would disagree).  He crawls at lightning speed and is on his feet whenever there is something to support him but he still is not interested in walking.   If you encourage him to take a few steps he immediately sits down.  Legs are for standing so that your arms can stretch to reach whatever it is that you are not allowed to have.  They are also useful for climbing.  He has been able to climb the stairs for a while but now his little mind has worked out that if there is something shiny out of reach that climbing may just help.  He started off by pushing his walker or Lego table towards the settee and using it as a ladder to climb higher.   Now anything that gives him a little extra lift is fair game.  Indeed Lucinda left him in his high chair momentarily to find upon her return Ezra sitting on the kitchen table.  He had seen the biscuit barrel on the table and thought to himself while there is no one around I’ll have a couple of those.  For that is exactly how Lucinda found him, sitting crossed legged on the table with two malted milk biscuits!

That is a bit of an epic but there a few more stories I would like to regale so pop by in the next few days for another snippet (or two) on our world.  In the meantime enjoy some of the photos of the past month or so.

Love and Peace


We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Olivia Lynn Eccles to the world,the first child of my 2nd cousin Charlotte and her husband Paul.  Congratulations to them both.

I would walk 500 miles

Another month draws to an end which means that we have already had a quarter of 2014.  How did that happen?  As John Lennon said: ‘Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans‘.  This update is a little overdue and has had to be rewritten a number of times so apologies for those of you that have been waiting with bated breath for the latest instalment of Baggie and Lucy dot-com.

As 2013 taught us, life has a habit of throwing things at you, both expected and unexpected and 2014 has started in a similar vein.  As regular readers know this is about the time that Lucinda should have been happily returning to work after an extended maternity leave.  That is still true, in a fashion, but not quite the full story.

As regular readers and close friends will know Air Canada are outsourcing ground staff at Heathrow Airport to the handling company ASIG.  This handover coincides with Lucinda’s return to work, consequently just as Lucinda was preparing herself to enter the grown up world of work there have been a number of very grown up decisions to be made.  Those decisions have been made, the relevant applications have been filled in and verbal confirmations have been given however we are still waiting for the definitive written contract (in the case of the job offer from ASIG) and in the case of VSP (Voluntary Separation Package – a form of redundancy) from Air Canada the cheque.  A brave new world beckons.

So what else has happened since the last update?

I have celebrated another birthday.  A week after Ezra’s first birthday, I celebrated my forty-first complete orbit of the sun.  I think that the girls were more excited that it was my birthday than I was.  For the second Thursday in a row I managed to leave work early and returned home in time to go to the local pizza restaurant for a birthday meal.  The girls enjoy pizza and doughballs and with a discount afforded to me by virtue of my tastecard, Pizza Express seemed like a good choice.  Éowyn was so excited that she kept whispering to the waiter than it was her daddy’s birthday, so when my dessert arrived (tiramisu – if you really must know) it was adorned by a lit candle and accompanied with the waiter (and then the family and certain other patrons of the restaurant) singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.

Happy Birthday isn’t the only song that Éowyn has been singing of late.  The girls’ musical tastes have been somewhat influenced by a combination of the Disney films that they watch and Lucinda’s choice of euterpean delight.  Current favourites include ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney film Frozen, a couple of Katy Perry songs: Firework and Roar and a variety of other Disney songs (thankfully no One Direction!).  There have been a few that I have been responsible for:  Shake Your Tailfeather by Ray Charles, Think by Aretha Franklin and The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Junior.  Then there have been a number that Éowyn has heard on the radio and quiet liked, Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin and Thank You For The Music – ABBA.  Another can now be added to that list: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers.

I had picked Éowyn up from school and as usual the radio was on in the background while I asked Éowyn about her day.  The opening bars of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) began and Éowyn’s ears pricked up.  ‘Daddy, can you turn the radio up please.‘  So I turned the radio up and she attempted to sing along.  ‘I like that Daddy, can we have it on when we get in the house?‘  I have played it a number of times for her now and showed her how to dance like a mad loon around the kitchen and she is not the only one that likes it.  Amélie tries to sing along and joins in the dancing and even Ezra will sit in his high chair tapping his foot in rhythm.  I am most pleased.

Éowyn however is not completely in the good books.  At school they have a traffic light system for behaviour.  Green – good behaviour, Yellow on a warning, Blue – Several warnings and Red – bad behaviour.  Éowyn has always been in green (as to be expected) and I had promised her a special gift if she stayed in green all year (still waiting for the Disney store to receive some more Frozen dresses to pay the promise of collecting 5 superstar certificates in one term).  I was prepared for perhaps a one-off or even occasional foray into yellow depending on the strictness of the teaching but was disappointed when Éowyn came home all upset to tell me that she had been on red.  I asked why she had been put on red and she told me that she had pushed Aaliyah (her best friend).  In Éowyn’s favour, she did not try to justify it, she just stated the facts.

Miss Finbow had no choice but to put Éowyn on red and so when Lucinda picked her up from school she was taken aside and told of the day’s events.  Miss Finbow explained that it was completely out of character for our eldest but had to give her the red card.  She also said that Éowyn was beside herself, extremely upset and there were lots of tears.  However, she somewhat redeemed herself by apologising straightaway and then later in the day with some outstanding writing which helped her to climb back into green.

I could see that Éowyn was upset and somewhat fearful to tell me, however she did and that in itself demonstrated some courage.   There was no point in shouting or getting angry, I just told her that I was disappointed and that she was never going to do it again.  I asked her why she had done it and you could see from her expression that she realised that it was trivial.  Apparently Aaliyah had something that Éowyn wanted, Aaliyah wouldn’t give it to Éowyn so Éowyn pushed her.  At least she had the maturity to realise what she had done was immature, something I wish some grown-ups had the foresight to realise.

Éowyn is still of the age where the term is probably just a little too long as so getting up for school everyday takes its toll.  You can see it on all their little faces that at the end of term they are ready for a holiday to recharge their batteries.  Éowyn’s Easter break could not be more ill-timed from a Bagnall viewpoint.  The first week of this Paschal festivity coincides with Lucinda’s return to work.  That could have worked out better.  Fortunately I work Wednesdays to Sundays and Lucinda only works two days in six and for Lucinda’s first two weeks back at work I can take one day’s holiday (which is actually a day owed in lieu for extra days worked) and be off with the kids for those days.  There are advantages to working weekends (sometimes!).

There will be days that we need to rely on family members and child minders but that is still in the future and we have no fully come to any decisions about that.  That might sound a tad unorganised but with Lucinda’s employment situation and the change of employer she is unsure of her shift pattern after the beginning of May.  That makes organising ad-hoc child minding a tad difficult.  Fortunately I should be able to take some holiday at the beginning of summer (although from July onwards a day-off yet alone a day’s holiday may be a rare and precious thing) to cope with her shifts.  We will see how that goes.

Éowyn still has a fascination with graveyards and death in general.  Every time we pass a cemetery she will ask to go in and have a look at the graves.  Passing one with Lucinda, Éowyn begun to tell Amelie that it was the place that they bury people.  This triggered a question: ‘Mommy, why do they bury people?‘  Lucinda explained that is what they do when someone dies.  This did not satisfy Éowyn.  ‘But why don’t they just leave them out on the ground?‘  Lucinda tried to explain that when we die we our bodies shrivel and rot like fruit and that wouldn’t be very nice.  Éowyn seemed nonplussed as if she wouldn’t mind if that was the tradition of this country in the manner of Zoroastrian religions such as the Parsi of India.

I have kept you long enough and now I am sure that you want to see the photos.  I hear my audience and here they are.

Peace and Love







Night Terrors and a change in employment

Updates are somewhat like buses you wait for three weeks for one to come along and then two appear in a week.  What has spurred this productivity?  A week off that’s what: using the remainder of last year’s annual leave entitlement.  Although we haven’t done half of what we have planned to do, but nevertheless it has been an eventful week.

Regular readers of this website will recall how 2013 was one of the most eventful years for this enclave of the Bagnall family. Most years have big events: births, deaths, marriages, holidays, big birthdays, and house moves but 2013 had them all.  However there was one obvious large event that was missing: a new job.  My company did relocate, and then the week before Christmas was sold to William Morris Endeavor, but my job did not change per se.  2014, however has decided to complete the full house.  Before my colleagues cry out in uproar that I have not told them that after 18 years I am leaving IMG, it is not I.

Lucinda has worked for Air Canada for nearly as long as I have worked for IMG, 16 years in total (although with three years of maternity leave only actually worked there for 13 years – I will duck to avoid the right hook now) and she was looking forward to going back after this maternity leave had ended.  Her return date was/is the 2nd April and she received her line (and therefore the days she was due to work – although not the shifts) for the year last week so this week were going to sit down and try to plan our joint leave for the remainder of the year (something one has to do when one has small children).  Somehow we hadn’t gotten around to finding time to do it but now those plans are a little up in the air.

A text message from one of Lucinda’s friends and colleagues from Air Canada alerted Lucinda to the news.  The new Terminal 2 of Heathrow airport is due to open in 2014 and Air Canada is one of the airlines that will be moving to this state of the art terminal.  Lucinda was fully aware of this and her return from maternity leave would have given her a couple of months to get back into the swing of work before the move.  Now that is up in the air (no pun intended).  Air Canada will not be moving.  Actually that is not true.  Air Canada will be moving but Air Canada will/may not have any Heathrow representatives.  Air Canada has decided that London staffing is an unnecessary expense and are handing over ground control to the handling agency ASIG.

What this actually means for Heathrow’s Air Canada staff is still a little confused, for apparently it is not a done deal but a meeting with staff did nothing to allay their fears.  Lucinda is obviously concerned,  job share works so much better for us than part time work and the perks (staff travel for instance) will be greatly missed.  We will have to see what happens and fear not we will keep you all in the loop.

The children are completely oblivious to this, as one would expect and life for them continues to be a big adventure.  However with all adventures there are scary moments and Amélie is of that age where her brain is beginning to appreciate the big wide world but still not developed enough to comprehend it (I still feel like that at the age of 40!).  This has manifested itself in a couple of ways over the last few weeks.  Just after Christmas Lucinda took Éowyn to see Disney’s new film ‘Frozen’.  Amélie is probably approaching the age to go to the cinema for the first time but we didn’t think we would start with this film.   Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed the film (she loves going to the cinema) and related the storyline to myself and Amélie.

Now if you are going to watch the film and don’t want to know anything about it I would skip the remainder of this paragraph now as there is a spoiler alert on the way:  Part of the story involves the protagonist’s parents going to sea in a boat.  The boat hits a storm and is sunk with the loss of all onboard.  As the parents are also the King and Queen of the country it means that the protagonist becomes the queen of the country.  This must have been playing on Amélie’s mind for one afternoon she came up to us quite earnestly and said, ‘Mommy, Daddy please don’t go to sea in a boat.  I don’t want you to die.‘  Touched we assured her that we wouldn’t and gave her a great big hug.  This touching moment was spoilt by Éowyn replying, ‘No, I want you to go to sea in a boat, then I will be Queen!‘  We did have to point out the flaw in her plan:  Lucinda and I are not a King and Queen and so she wouldn’t become Queen.  I think we are safe – for the moment.

The second manifestation of Amélie’s growing awareness is happening at night.  Amélie has had a couple of episodes of Night Terrors.  Night Terrors are very different to nightmares and in some ways a little more frightening for the parents.  Nightmares are bad dreams and occur during REM sleep, Night Terrors usually occur in the first couple of hours of sleep during the transition between one sleep phase and another, and so it was for Amélie.  Three times in five nights about 2.5 hours after falling asleep, she sat bolt upright in bed screaming.  The first (and subsequent times) time we ran upstairs to find her completely disoriented and dripping with sweat.  Not sure what to do I picked up to cuddle her, but to no avail she didn’t seem to be awake and wasn’t being comforted by a cuddle.  After about five or ten minutes (although it seemed far longer) she calmed if a little confused as to why she was not in bed.  Her nightclothes were sodden so we changed her and it was as if nothing had happened, no memory of what had just happened.  She just got back into bed and went to sleep without too much effort.

So what makes this a night terror and not a nightmare?  The last part of that paragraph, Amélie had no recollection of the night terror.  Night terrors do not occur in REM or ‘dream’ sleep and so there are no visions to recall.  She simply stopped having the night terror and, once dressed in fresh pyjamas, got back into bed as if nothing had happened.  With a nightmare the visions seem real and it takes a while to calm your child down and allay those fears.  After the rush of night terrors we have not had one for a few days so we will see if it was a short-lived episode or whether we need to consider changing her bedtime routine to try to prevent them.  They do not seem to have bothered Amélie, especially as she doesn’t recall them, but they are certainly disturbing for Lucinda and I.

No such problems with Éowyn at the moment.  Indeed, apart from, what is becoming an unhealthy, obsession with graveyards and little boisterousness she is being well-behaved at the moment.  Her reading and writing is coming along in leaps and bounds and seems to enjoy both.  She is growing into the big sister role although she doesn’t realise her strength and how much bigger she is that either Amélie or Ezra.  She is, however, learning that she doesn’t always have to win.  Usually when she has a race with Amélie she will win quite easily (she is two years older that her sibling), recently she has been letting Amélie win, which is a big step in her growing maturity.

Ezra, too, is maturing at a steady pace.  He now spends a lot on his time on his legs, leaning against whatever will support his weight.  Mainly to see how far his little hands can reach and what delights they can find.  If he is leaning against you and you are ignoring him (for instance you are on the ‘phone) he will bite you to get your attention.  He knows it is wrong because he looks at you as if you say, ‘Well, you were ignoring me!

Sometimes those hands come back with a great treasure.  Lucinda hosted her first little coffee morning in our new home last week and had the obligatory cakes and biscuits on the coffee table (as one does).  While her attention was distracted with conversation Ezra pulled himself to his feet and reached out those little hands of his. Imagine his delight when they came back with a most delightful treasure: A shortbread biscuit.  He quickly realised he had a mighty treasure and headed off to eat it in secret.  By the time Lucinda had realised what was going on, he had already eaten most of it and sat there with a big satisfied smile on his face.

To end the week, and take advantage of one of the few weekends I have been able to spend with Éowyn since she started school in September we headed out on an Adventure.  Painshill Park in Surrey was the destination.  Just inside the M25 and off the A3 it is only a short car journey from Staines-Upon-Thames, however neither Lucinda or I had even been there.  Our interest in Painshill Park had been piqued by the re-opening of the now fully restored Crystal Grotto.  We had sold the trip to the girls as a fairy cave and we were going to look for fairies, with the proviso that fairies are very shy and will only show themselves on rare occasions.  For whatever reason however they were not interested and the beauty of the folly (indeed the gardens as a whole) was lost on them.  Lucinda and I, however, were impressed with Painshill Park (and definitely the Crystal Grotto), even if it was a little pricey to enter.  We may have to have a return visit when the weather is a little brighter and the water level has dropped enough so that the grotto isn’t lit with temporary lighting and the mirror water pool is actually clear rather than the cloudy puddle it was last weekend.  I even think that the girls will enjoy it next time.

We left Painshill Park just as the storm clouds were gathering and arrived home just as an intense thunderstorm hit.  We watched from the comfort of our own home as the sky turned black and rain so heavy that it was hard to see across the street fell on our little corner of England.  The storm was heavy in Staines but at least we didn’t get hit by lightning or a tornado!  That would have been an adventure.

My week off work is now at and end and so I will leave you with some of the latest photos and don’t expect an update anytime soon.

Peace and Love