The Baguettes at Nanny Fran’s

The title of this write-up may give you a clue as to the title of the next, but if it hasn’t, don’t worry, by the time you have read the remainder of this essay then I’m sure that it will all make sense.

I need to take you back to the final week or so of school term, so mid-July and give you the conclusion to a number of the events that you read about in the last installment, and no doubt have been waiting with bated breath, so without further ado I will put you out of your misery. Read more

Uncle Bill’s birthday

I was hoping to have posted this at least a week ago but with a busy period at work and an intermittent internet connectivity at home (it has been reported to my ISP – don’t you worry) somehow the time has eluded me.

January saw Daddy enjoying weekends at home, and with weekends off it meant that I was able to do the kind of things that daddies should be doing with their kids.  One of these important events was to take Éowyn to the park and teach her to ride her bike.  Éowyn has had her bike for a while but has refused to learn and with the fact that I have been working at weekends Lucinda and I have not had the opportunity to force her hand.  So when the school arranged a road safety awareness week and the children could take either a bike or a scooter in, it seemed like the ideal time to address this skill gap.

The first hurdle was to attempt to stop her giving up before she even got on the bike.  With that stage passed it was the back-breaking role of holding onto the back of the seat while she peddled and I ran alongside her.  It didn’t take long for her to gain the confidence albeit with stabilisers.  After a few trips around the park she was riding barely using the stabilisers.  Therefore the next stage will be taking the stabilisers off and getting her to ride on two wheels!

That hasn’t been the only big step forward for our first-born.  After a hiatus of over a year she has lost her third tooth.  As you may recall she lost two in relatively quick succession and we thought that was going to be the start of the avalanche.  However, there was no further exfoliation, edentulism if you prefer, until this week.

The tooth was wobbly for nearly a week before it fell out and we got regular updates from Éowyn.  We tried to encourage her to eat food that would encourage it to exfoliate but it did not happen until she was at school and out it came.  Obviously, the school is prepared for such occurrences and she was given a small paper envelope in which to place the tooth to keep it safe for home time.  This was then placed under her pillow for the tooth fairy.  As per tradition, the tooth was replaced by a shiny pound coin (so shiny it looked like it had been cleaned with Cillit Bang).

This loss of a milk tooth occurred at an appropriate time, the bi-yearly dental check-up.  This was Ezra’s first trip to the dentist and Lucinda had spent the previous week pretending to be the dentist and asking him to open his mouth so that she could look in his mouth.  The training paid off, for at the dentist Ezra was the most comfortable and most compliant with the dentist.  Éowyn, on the other hand, freaked out when the dentist looked in her mouth.  He did manage to confirm that although she may have only lost 3 of her milk teeth, that her adult molars had come through at the back of her jaw.  It was these teeth that he was trying to paint with a protective coating but had to leave because she was so distressed.  I think it is time for Daddy to be the bad guy and take her next time.

The majority of the photos below though come from a weekend away in Dorset.  Lucinda’s Uncle Bill decided to celebrate his 70th birthday at Berwick Manor in Puncknowle, the scene of the majority of the Badger Moots.  Uncle Bill had hired it for the week, but being term time we joined him for the celebrations just for the weekend.

We always enjoy the Badger Moots (we are usually held in the October half-term) and this was no exception.  It was a long way to go for a weekend but definitely worth it.  Berwick Manor feels like a home from home as we have been there so many times before, so it feels very familiar as soon as you drive through the gate.

We left home late on Friday night (after I had returned home from work) and so didn’t arrive until long after the Baguettes’ bedtimes, however the sight of their cousins gave them all a second wind and so didn’t get to bed until late.

Since we were planning on leaving after lunch on Sunday this meat that Saturday was our only full day in Dorset. We know the west of Dorset extremely well due to the annual Badger Moot and one of our favourite places is Lyme Regis.  Therefore we were looking forward to a trip to the edge of Dorset.  However, when we looked at the weather report we decided that Lyme Regis was perhaps a little too far to shelter from driving rain and a howling gale.

Nevertheless we did not want to come all that distance and just sit in the house, regardless of how homely it is.  So we decided to head just down the road to Bridport to check out the Saturday market.  However, the market stall holders must have heard the weather report too and there were only a handful of market stalls brave enough to open in the rain.  Therefore after running from shop to shop to avoid the rain we decided that enough was enough and after picking up supplies from the local supermarket headed back to the manor house.

The girls did not mind going back to the house.  One of the shops that we had stopped in was Toymaster, a large toy emporium in Bridport where they had spent the shiny Christmas money that Santa had left them, plus the shiny pound coin that the tooth fairy had left.  Thus, going back to house gave them the opportunity not only to play with their cousins but to play with their new toys, while Daddy could watch the start of the six nations rugby.

Saturday evening was Uncle Bill’s birthday buffet and it was family time.  The large kitchen table seated us all comfortably and it was a good night spent eating, drinking, catching up on family news and putting the World to rights.

Sunday morning started bright although still extremely windy and with Sunday lunch booked for 14:30 we had some free time in the morning so we decided to pop out and visit the nearby town of West Bay.  West Bay beach was used in the introduction to the television series ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin‘ and more recently the series ‘Broadchurch‘.  Although it wasn’t the weather for filming when we were there.  Nevertheless, despite the weather when the girls asked if they could have an ice cream, we decide we would let them, they were by the seaside after all.

So after a Sunday lunch we bid farewell to the birthday boy, Nanny, the rest of the family and Dorset and headed back home ready for school (and work) on Monday morning.  It was a long way to go but a thoroughly enjoyable weekend spent with the family in what could be described as a Badger Moot-ette!  Roll on October and the next.

Peace and Love

Baggie

 

 

It has turned a bit cold

You may have had to wait for over a fortnight for the first update of 2016, and that was more of a reflection of 2015, a little more than a week later you get, this, the first proper update of the year.

The update begins on the last day of 2015.  At Granddad’s funeral we meet up with Lucinda’s cousin Joanne. It was the first time that I had met Joanne and, it goes without saying that she had not met Éowyn, Amélie or Ezra and so we decided to make amends and made a promise to meet up.  There is something about funerals that makes you appreciate life and one quite often makes promises to meet up, or take life less seriously or focus on the things that make you happy.  I think we all start off with good intents before life, once more, gets in the way and we fall back to our old ways and habitual behaviours.  However, sometimes, something sticks and we follow through.  So it was with a visit to cousin Joanne.  She had initially invited us to her house to go for a walk and take advantage of the communal swimming pool in her complex sometime between Christmas and New Year.  She called just before Christmas to confirm a date and we decided upon New Year’s Eve; the invite was open to the whole family.  Therefore, on New Year’s Eve the Bagnalls and Nanny headed to just outside of Godalming to do just that.  Uncle Michael was away in Spain, so did not join us but Uncle Steven, Auntie Zoe and Megan and Finley met us there.

We took advantage of the 55 acres and the dry weather and went for a walk around the woodland surrounding her complex.  There was plenty of chopped wood that caught my wood-burning eye but unfortunately due to the extremely muddy ground Ezra’s pushchair could not be used a wood-carrier and it had, unfortunately, to be left on the ground to rot.  After the muddy stroll it was time to relax in the swimming pool (and by the swimming pool for those who didn’t take a dip) before heading back to Joanne’s flat for a spot of dinner.  A very sedate but enjoyable way to spend New Year Eve’s day.

There were no mad New Year’s Eve parties for the Bagnalls which meant that when the Baguettes woke early on New Year’s Day although slightly annoying they were not greeted by hungover grunts. As we were awake, we greeted the new year with a full English breakfast before heading to Bedfont Lakes with Nanny for a New Year stroll.

Indeed, taking advantage of Daddy having work-free weekends, weekend strolls have become the norm for 2016.  Our usual haunt, however is Virginia Water, with our annual car park pass allowing us free entry into the Royal car parks.  One of these Sunday strolls saw our N.C.T. group meet up for the first time in over a year.  One of the reasons that we decided to do N.C.T. classes when Lucinda was pregnant with Éowyn was to meet people in the same situation, expecting their first child at a similar time, so that we had a support group.  We were very lucky and amazingly six of the eight couples are still in regular contact and we now only live 4 doors away from one of the group.

Unfortunately, as with most things, life tends to get in the way and we do not meet up as a big group as often as we once did, especially now that the children have school friends of their own (although Éowyn, Billy and Blake are at the same school and indeed Éowyn and Blake are in the same class).  What was interesting was that the kids, even though they have made their own friends, still see the others from the group as their ‘true‘ friends, perhaps somewhere between a relative and a friend.  It will be interesting to see if this continues as they grow older.

Although true when I first sat down to write this update and not quite so now, we have had (at least in this corner of the world) a week’s worth of winter.  The overnight temperatures dropped below freezing and we even woke on a Sunday morning to snow.  Not enough to call a blanket, not even a sheet; I think the correct term is a dusting.  Nevertheless this is the first time since we moved to our current home that it has snowed, and the first time that Ezra had seen snow.

The Baguettes woke up excited and asked Anna-like, ‘Can we build a snowman?‘  Unfortunately the dusting wasn’t even enough to make a snowball in our garden, so once again we climbing into the trusted S-Max and headed to Virginia Water.  Again there wasn’t a huge amount of snow but the snow still lingered in the shaded areas and they ran around excitedly.  Snowball fights and sliding on the slippery surface helped them to ignore the sub-freezing temperatures and we spent over an hour taking advantage of this excitement.

The other side of the cold weather was that it gave me an excuse (as if I need to have an excuse) to light the wood stove.  I have developed my technique for lighting a fire and when it is at optimum burn the heat it gives off is amazing.  It easily warms our lounge and the rest of the house also feels the benefit of a roaring fire.  It is interesting to think that lighting a fire is easy and we do it without thinking but when you are doing it everyday you notice the science of fire-lighting.  The fuel (down to different types of wood and how dry it is) all affect the quality of the fire.  I have even had the unfortunate effect known as a downdraft.  This was caused by atmospheric/ wind direction over our flue.  This meant that the fire struggled to light and the smoke decided that the easiest route wasn’t via the flue but into the room and we were quickly coughing with the smokey atmosphere.  A quick google and  warming the stove with some flaming paper soon warmed the flue itself and begun to draw the smoke back up and into the atmosphere.

Toffee and Frazzle (the guinea pigs) are settling into Bagnall Manor and becoming more comfortable with the attention that they are getting.  They still run and hide if they think you re going to open the cage but are quite happy to squeak to you if you just sit and talk to them.  Once you have taken them out of their cage they are quite relaxed and will sit happily on your lap.  The girls (and Lucinda) are becoming much more confident holding them, although it is still Daddy that has to take them out of the cage.  The girls and Ezra are still very much engaged with their first pets and not only want to hold them most days but help with cleaning of the cage.  Indeed they fight over who is going to clean what and how much.  They enjoy the engagement with the guinea pigs’ home and they know that when we clean the guinea pigs out then before we put them back into their newly cleaned home we get to handle them.  Hopefully this level of engagement will carry on.

I will leave you now with the first set of photos from 2016, mainly from our various walks in Virginia Water, perhaps we need to go elsewhere before the next write up.

Peace and Love

Baggie