Reluctant Landlords

I am spoiling you this week.  You have just had a special for Amélie’s first day at nursery, and now a second in a week.  Even disregarding the bonus write-up it is has not been quite as long between ‘actual’ write-ups as one would usually expect.  Not that it has become any less busy this past fortnight but my workdays have not been quite as long so I can squeeze in a little time for you dear readers.  The stress at work is still quite high bedding in a new season, coupled with a new technical facility, coupled with new clients and a new delivery system and all the associated issues blending these together.  At home, the stress is different but equally as high, with our blighted home and attempting to purchase a new home coupled with raising three children under the age of five.  How Lucinda and I are both so young looking, I’ll never know!

The children are not helping during this stressful time, Amélie especially.  With Éowyn not at pre-school (and not yet at school proper) the girls are spending a lot of time together, winding each other up in only the way sisters can.  Amélie as you may recall is a little bit of thief and, in the past, has earned the name ‘Swiper’.  However, she has been relatively good of late.  Therefore, last Thursday when Lucinda and I were getting ready to head to our first wedding of the season (Jon and Taryn – congratulations guys) and Lucinda couldn’t find her purse, Amélie was least in our minds.

Lucinda looked in every bag and everywhere else that she may have put it and came, quite reasonably to the conclusion that it must have fallen out of her bag the previous night after she had paid for her groceries at the supermarket.  She called the supermarket, it hadn’t been handed in and so to add to the stress that we are under, Lucinda began to cancel all of her credit and debit cards that were in that purse while I drove to Braxted Park in Essex for the Dodds’ wedding (photos here).  Fortunately nothing had been added to (or taken from) the cards, so they hadn’t been used nefariously, which was good; however as most of them are joint cards it meant that my mine were also compromised and so had to be cancelled too, which was bad.

Nevertheless, we put it out of our minds and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the wedding with the Baguettes (our nickname for the little Bagnalls) safely in the care of Nanny Fran.  Nanny Fran had thankfully driven down from West Bromwich the day before to look after her grandchildren while we celebrated in Essex.  It was an excellent wedding, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves ‘East of London’, and we wish the Dodd’s all the best for their future lives together.

Ezra, however was not quite as well behaved as he usually is and gave Nanny Fran a little trouble.  Ezra doesn’t normally take bottled milk but I have managed to give him a bottle on a couple of occasions when Lucinda has been out but he wasn’t going to have it from Nanny Fran.  Éowyn however was full of good advice for her Nanny.  When Ezra was fussing and refusing the bottle, Éowyn calmly said, ‘Nanny, there is no other way, you are going to have to get your boobs out.‘  Nanny Fran explained that only a mommy can feed a baby to which Éowyn replied, ‘But you are a mommy.‘  There is no denying the logic from our eldest.  Poor Nanny Fran.

Ezra is no longer solely relying on milk but taking solids and thoroughly enjoying them.  Indeed, he is not content until every scrap of food has been scraped from the bowl.  Definitely a Bagnall!  He probably needs the extra food for he no longer sits or lies still but is moving around the house quite well.  He isn’t crawling as such, although gets himself into the crawl position (and sometimes ‘the plank’), but as mentioned in a previous update tends to ninja roll across the floor and then moves backwards until a wall or a piece of furniture stops his progress.  I don’t think it will be long before he is chasing his big sisters around the house.

I will use that as a segue into our big story of the last few months:

As regular readers will know we have found a house that we love and have had our offer accepted.  We had found buyers and we had accepted their offer.  Mortgages had been arranged and the chain was complete, it seems that everything was going well.  That was mid-July.  Two days later BAA announced their proposals for a possible expansion of Heathrow airport, namely the building of the third runway.  One of those proposals involves the complete destruction of our village, Stanwell Moor.  Even though this is but one proposal, regarding one airport, it has effectively blighted our sale and our buyers pulled out specifically citing those proposals as a risk they are not willing to take.  I can completely sympathise with their decision, but what does that mean for us?

We had two options:

  1. Pull out of our sale knowing that it would be unlikely that we would be able to move until the proposals are confirmed
  2. See if we could keep our current home and still buy

We had already consigned ourselves to moving and once we had made that decision, no matter how much we love our current home and Stanwell Moor, there was not going to be any turning back.  So option 2 was pursued.  After a heavy discussion and consulting a financial adviser, we had an option: rent our current house and become reluctant landlords.  So that is what we are doing, the mortgage applications are in and soon we will be in a frightening amount of debt, but we will have a home that is big enough to accommodate our growing family, let’s hope that we can get tenants or it is going to be a very short experiment!

Money is going to be tight and so knowing where your purse is quite important.  Lucinda was still wondering where her purse had gone the day after the wedding.  It hadn’t been handed in at the supermarket, it hadn’t fallen out of her bag in the car and it seemingly wasn’t in the house.  She was sure she had brought it home but the evidence seemed to point to the contrary.  None of the cards had been used so it appears it hadn’t been stolen.  The girls have a wooden kitchen that is positioned just inside our dining room.  Lucinda, tidying up some of the girl’s toy foods, opened one of the cupboards in their kitchen to put them away only to see her purse stuffed at the back.  Glad she had found it but obviously wanted to know what had happened.  Sensing the fingerprints of Swiper, Lucinda asked Amélie if she had moved Mommy’s purse.

No Mommy, it was Éowyn.‘  Lucinda disbelieving the incumbent thief asked if it was truly Éowyn.  ‘No Mommy, it was the fairies.‘  It is hard to be cross with her and the only thing you can say is that Amélie really needs to work on her lies.  Therefore, although it was annoying that Lucinda had cancelled her cards at least her purse had been found and thus so had all the other accoutrements that are found in a lady’s purse, of which one does not speak.

Tuesday was Amélie’s second day and first full day at nursery.  This wasn’t quite as smooth as the previous Thursday.  All morning Amélie was saying that she didn’t want to go to school and got herself quite upset.  Lucinda was getting emotional herself and was close to not letting her go.  Time for Daddy to be the baddie.  It was always the plan that I would take her, so not showing any emotion I tried to distract her, giving her a special assignment that she had to tell me the names of three people from school when I picked her up.  This stopped her crying and the Muppets soundtrack in the car on the way to Tiny Tots cheered her up and she quite happily held my hand and walked to school.  However as she stepped into the classroom the tears started again.  The staff were great and picked her up and just encouraged her to move from the door and go and play.

She was a little upset when we picked her up but the staff said that she had been fine during the day and even had got a sticker for sitting nicely and listening (wish she would do that at home!).  It is going to take her a while to settle in, as it did with Éowyn but I doubt it will take very long, we just have to be strong as parents, that means you Lucinda!

I have actually just had a couple of days off work (the first two days in a row for a month or so) and so with Éowyn starting school later this week (standby for another special) I have had an opportunity to spend some quality time with the family.  Therefore there hasn’t been the usual choice of photos but I will leave you with some knowing that it will not be long before you are back here for the second special and third update in a week.  I am spoiling you aren’t I?

A quick mention (forgotten in the rush of the previous update) for Lucinda’s mum and dad on celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on the 17th August (the first day of the Premier League season – so someone was missing).  Congratulations and I truly hope that in 2057 Lucinda and I will be celebrating our golden anniversary.

Peace and love


Flaming June! We have movement!

Apologies for the language in the title but it is doubly apt, both in terms of the weather we have been promised for this month and the fact that it is June!  May flew by so quickly and as you regular readers will have noticed I only managed one update all month.  Very remiss of me, you will be going off and reading other websites if I am not careful!

As you will know May is quite a busy month at work with the end of many of the sporting seasons that we cover. Not saying that June and July are empty but let’s just say that the freelancers are picking at bare bones during those months at mediahouse.  This we hopefully allow me to spend a little more time with the family and take precious days off to take advantage of the weather (and the Merlin passes!).

With all this time between updates no doubt you will be expecting a plethora of anecdotes (is that the collective noun for a group of anecdotes?) and a gallery of photos (again?) unfortunately you may be a little disappointed.  I have been a busy boy!

The biggest news of the last few weeks is that Amélie has begun to move.  I hesitate to use the word crawl, she kind of creeps.  Not in a commando elbow over elbow kind of creep more by sheer willpower and energy-sapping full body motions.  But it is movement.  Like her big sister this initial movement has primarily been in reverse.  It is that Goofus bird syndrome all over again.  Amélie however is still not rolling over on her own accord.  I think it is because she has learned that if we put her on her back and she cries loud enough, we will either roll her over or pick her up, or Éowyn will go over to her and see what the matter is and entertain her.  Éowyn is very good like that.  She seems to know exactly what to say or do to make Amélie laugh.  Amélie will quite often have complete giggling fits when her big sister makes strange noises, or pulls silly faces at her,  and Éowyn seems to revel in the adulation from her little fan.  Thus I don’t believe it to be laziness, the lack of desire or the inability to roll but merely an extreme manifestation of tool use; where other members of her family are the tools!

Amélie has had a bit of a torrid time of late with her teeth.  Not that any have come through yet but she is definitely feeling the pain of teething.  Her little cheeks are red, she is dribbling and anything that is within reach is stuffed into her mouth and given a good chew.  If you put yourself in their little booties, it must be an awful pain and not knowing what it is must make it worse.  Although it is something that we have all been through and it hasn’t affected us that badly.  However teething certainly affects the parents.  With Amélie is so much pain she finds it hard to sleep.  Understandable.  However that in turn means that Mommy and Daddy aren’t allowed to sleep either.  Three days of sleep depravation is difficult.  We had forgotten how difficult it was.  I don’t think that it is helped by the fact that we now also have Éowyn (in a nice way).  For when Éowyn was going through the same at least we only had to care for her.  Now we need to be fully compos mentis with her during the day after we have been up all night with Amélie.  Also I was on shift work so it wasn’t a case of no sleep but I only need to get through one more day at work.  Now it is no sleep for three day and I still have 4 more days at work!

Éowyn is using the slight perceived weakness and the fact that Amélie is seemingly getting more attention to push the boundaries again.  She knows the pattern of how we ask her to do things.  Nicely at first, then more firmly, then more firmly then a three second count to punishment (naughty step, quiet time, telly off, etc).  She is now waiting until 2 of that countdown before even moving to do what we have asked her to do, when previously it was rare that we would even begin to count.  She is a little minx and it can be very frustrating on less than 3 hours sleep. 

She has also has begun to bite.  We were warned about this but other friends that about the age of 2 ½ years that kids find that they can hurt each other with biting.  Well, Éowyn has discovered that too!  However I think that may have been cured.  She had bit Lucinda a couple of times but had not bitten me.  Not until the other night.  She bit me on the arm and it hurt (in fact it drew blood!).  In a mixture of pain and anger I shouted quite loud (louder than I normally shout, although still relatively calm) at Éowyn  and told her that she was naughty.  Unfortunately not only did my voice come out louder than usual, it also came out deeper than usual (and for those of you than know me that could be quite scary).  It did scare Éowyn and she was quite frightened to come to me for a while.  In fact I had to sit with her and give her a cuddle to make her feel a little less scared.  I did explain that the reason Daddy shouted at her was because she had bit him and that it was naughty to bite and that she was not to bite anyone again.  It seems that although it wasn’t the method that I would have chosen it has worked, for she has not bitten since.

Apart from the biting, Éowyn has been a joy (as always).  She picked up a cardboard roll (from the centre of the toilet roll) out of the recycling bin the other day, put it to her eye and said ‘Ah-arr Captain!‘ in her best pirate voice.  We then had to be pirates for the rest of the night.  Not that I am complaining, it was great fun.  I have also introduced her to the delights of my favourite show when I was a child, The Muppet Show.  I have a number of Muppet Show DVDs and so we sat a watched one together (to try and wean her off CBeebies and Toy Story 3).  I wasn’t sure that she enjoyed it, although she did sit there and watch it.  The next day, however, she said, ‘Daddy, can we watch Kermit the Frog again.‘  That’s my girl!

Continuing the pirate theme we took her to Legoland (those Merlin passes are wonderful things) to see the Pirate show they put on (which as an aside is very well coreographed and well worth watching if you are there).  We explored a little more of the park that we hadn’t visited last time (although again we had chose half-term and it was quite packed), but because of the number of people we didn’t get to go on many things.  However she completely surprised us by asking to go on a ride on her own.  It was one of those ride where a swing is suspending on a carousel.  We explained that if she went on it, that she wouldn’t be able to get off until the ride stopped.  She was happy with that.  She we sat her in a swing on the inside of the ride (so it didn’t go as fast) and was delighted to see how much she enjoyed it.  In fact she was swinging the seat from back to front to try and make it go faster.  No fear!

Before we visited Legoland we had decided to measure Éowyn, to find out how tall she was.  So we got her to stand against the wall and we made a little mark with a pencil on the wall and measured it to the floor.  She is 98cm tall (just over 3 foot 2 ½inches in old money) which for a 2 ½ year old is quite tall.  Unfortunately we didn’t factor in the barrier this broke.  So while Lucinda was on the phone to her Mom and Éowyn was desparately vying for her attention a little light must have go off in her head.  She picked up the very pencil we had used to mark her height and went over to the same piece of wall and drew all over it.  I suppose we deserved that one!  Fortunately in light of the kitchen upgrade we had already decided that we were going to redecorate the remaining downstairs living areas and so that has just cemented that decision.  Thanks Éowyn!

We have some sad news in the past week, Lucinda’s parents West Highland Terrier Harvey was put to sleep.  He was an old dog that had lived a good life but he was in a lot of pain and there was nothing that the vets could do.  It doesn’t make the decision any easier and it doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear knowing it was the right thing to do, especially for Lucinda’s dad.  We have tried to explain to Éowyn but she is a little too young to understand and with probably just forget that he isn’t there any more, which will be a shame as she would quite often lie on the floor next to Harvey.  He will be sadly missed.

I will leave you with a few photos and a promise not to leave it so long before the next update.

Peace and love


First Father's Day

The last couple of weeks have not been so emotional as before the previous write up.  Although, in fariness I have been away, again!  I must have the most understanding wife in Christendom since this is the second time I have been away.  Every year Lucinda’s brother Michael and his friend Neil have been to the Isle of Wight music festival, since it was revived in 2002 and their merry band of hanger-ons has waxed and waned and included me for the first time last year.  This year there was five of us and although the line up was not as appealing as in recent years the weather stayed fine and a good time was had by all.  Although a weekend away with the lads was great I have to say that I missed being at home, Éowyn is changing so much and growing so quickly that I don’t really want to be away from her for too long!  ‘Soppy old git’ I know!

Éowyn is without doubt a little daddy’s girl.  On my return from the Isle of Wight I walked into the lounge and she just beamed a smile at me and as I sat on the floor to play with her she just sat a giggled at me.  The giggle turned into a full belly laugh, which made me laugh and we just sat there, on the floor, laughing at each other.

Unfortunately, nestled around the trip to the Isle of Wight I have been working and due to the long days I don’t get to see Éowyn as she is usually asleep when I leave for work and in bed when I get back.  So the weekend was a chance for us to catch up on each other.  I’m not sure who gets the most enjoyment out of those days, her or me.  Friday we spent the morning playing, mainly with her Duplo Lego bricks.  Well let me rephrase that, I build a tower out of the bricks and Éowyn knocks them down, then picks one up and starts chewing it.  Each time she knocked them down I would clap to encourage her and it wasn’t long before she began to ape me and start clapping herself.  Very exciting for her to have a new trick.  This is coupled with the lip-smacking that she does when either you say ‘Give me a kiss’ or when offering her food that she learnt while I was away in the Isle of Wight.

Friday afternoon saw the three of us at Windsor Leisure centre to take Éowyn swimming.  She loves swimming and we are encouraging this as much as possible.  It also wears her out, which was our ulterior motive as we were going out on the evening to a friend of ours, Kerry, 30th birthday party.  Mike’s (Lucinda’s brother) girlfriend Cristina had bravely offered to baby sit for us.  So for only the third time since she has been born we went out for an evening together.  Fortunately Éowyn was on her best behaviour and never stirred so Cris had a very easy night and hopefully will volunteer to babysit again!

Kerry’s party was very good especially for Lucinda who saw many of her workmates that she had not seen for a while and was a chance for her to catch up on the gossip.  She has a meeting this week in an attempt to work out when she is going back to work and in what capacity.  She is not due back until the end of September the year is zooming by and it is best to sort these things out sooner than later.  It is hardly credible that Éowyn is 8 months old but she passed that landmark in the week and it is hard to imagine life without her.

Sunday marked my first Father’s day but Éowyn did not mark it well.  She had gone to bed on Saturday night with a bit of a temperature, and a concerned newbie parents when we went to bed a few hours later we checked on her to see if she was still hot.  She was and so we tried to take some of the covers from her and she woke.  As she was still quite hot and now awake we decided it was probably best if we gave her some calpol to help bring the temperature down and hoping help her sleep.  Éowyn was having different idea.  It was 0430 before she decided that she would finally go to sleep.  Not the best of Father’s day presents.  She woke at 0800 the next morning.  The lack of sleep and slight temperature was making her crabby and she fought her morning nap, only falling asleep at 1100.  We had been invited around to Mike”s house for a barbeque to take advantage of the good weather and to celebrate Father’s day as a family with Steve and his family and Lucinda’s parents also invited. At 1330 Éowyn was still asleep and so we had to wake her and feed her so that we could get round Mike’s for 1400.

It was nice for Éowyn, even though she was still a little crabby, to see all her cousins again and they are getting more excited about her because she can now begin to play.  It will not be long before she is chasing after them and getting in their way and upsetting their games.

And finally congratulations to a friend from work Ian and his wife Debbie on the birth of their daughter Millie Jennifer on Saturday 20th June.  Welcome to fatherhood Ian.

Peace and Love