A trip to the seaside and a barbecue at work!

August is traditionally a busy time for me at work.  It is the start of the football seasons, especially our biggest client:  The Premier League, and so my days off are extra special.  Therefore, as this is the only month that the Baguettes do not go to school there is a lot of pressure on Lucinda to be the sole carer for our children, while I spend an inordinate amount of time at work.  As a consequence, Lucinda is keen for us to book trips so that we can have some quality family time together.

As fate would have it, I had the first two days of August off and so days out were planned, although as you will see I did not leave work behind for both days. Read more

When I’m 102!

Well aren’t you blessed?  Two updates within the arbitrary fortnight deadline that I set myself.  However before you get excited there will not be the 27 or so photos this time, you win some, and you lose some.

Éowyn has just finished her half-term break and pre-school beckons.  Unfortunately, I was at work for the majority of it so the onus for entertaining was entirely in Lucinda’s hands.  This was made more difficult with the meteorological spring ending in a similar vein to the previous three months (cold – indeed the coldest spring since 1962 and the fifth coldest on record, according the Met-Office or the coldest since 1891 according the Central English Temperature Series) there was not the opportunity to go out and enjoy the weather.  Nevertheless, Lucinda managed an admirable job entertaining them (as always) heading to friends’ houses to relieve the boredom of being stuck in the same house.

I may work long hours but nearly every night it is I that read the girls their bedtime stories (assuming they haven’t lost them as a punishment).  They have free range over which stories they chose and often go through phases of what is their particular favourite: any of the Julia Donaldson stories, Mr Men, Disney, ‘Traditional Fairy Stories’ or one from their big book of Princess stories.  However, Roald Dahl now finds himself added to that illustrious list.  It began a couple of months ago with me introducing Éowyn to the Candy Man by Sammy David Jnr.  That lead to reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which both girls love and once we had read the book I let them watch the Tim Burton film version.  As you may or may not know there was a follow up to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory called Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.  In my opinion, it is not as good as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (sequels rarely are – Empire Strikes Back the obvious exception).  Nevertheless I began to read it to them (we have since given up and begun to read the BFG!).

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator begins as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with Charlie and his entire family in the aforementioned Great Glass Elevator along with Willy Wonka heading back to the Chocolate Factory.  Now, the method of entry of the Great Glass Elevator into the Chocolate Factory involves gaining height in order to fall to the Earth with enough force to smash a hole in the roof of the factory.  (We will ignore the science behind terminal velocity, deceleration on the human body or the tensile strength of glass and just suspend our disbelief).  As all good adventure novels begin something goes wrong and Willy Wonka is distracted at the vital moment and instead of hurtling to Earth, the Great Glass Elevator and its occupants enter orbit (again ignore the science, it is a children’s book!).

As I read, Éowyn asked what ‘in orbit’ meant.  I explained it is when you go into space and circle the Earth. ‘Daddy, I would like to go into space.‘  I explained that so would I.  She then asked as to whether we could go into space.  I explained that when I was a boy we were told that we would be able to take holidays on the moon but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet and only astronauts or very rich people can go into space at the moment, however when she was Daddy’s age then hopefully there would be affordable trips into space.

That would be great, I would be your age and you would be 102 and we could go into space together.’  She has got her sums a bit wrong but idea is wonderful and very sweet that she would want to take her daddy, so I replied that I would like that and then I made my mistake.  There are times as a parent when you say something and as soon as you say it, you realise that you shouldn’t have said it, but now it is too late and you have a long drawn out discussion ahead of you.  I made one of those mistakes.  I replied that I would like that and that I would be very happy just to live to 102.

Éowyn picked up on this immediately and began to cry.  I asked her what the matter was and she replied ‘You’re not going to die are you?  I don’t want you to die.‘  When do I go with this?  I said that everyone dies and that 102 is very old and that she would be very old (well 67) if Daddy lived to be 102.  ‘But Daddy I would miss you and wouldn’t be able to see you ever again‘  Fighting the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes I reassured her that I wasn’t going to die any time soon (well I’m not planning on it) and that I would always be there for her.  She hugged me tight and sobbed into my shoulder, while Amélie looked on oblivious.  It is nice to know that I am still her hero, for the time being and I will have to remind her of this if she turns into a stroppy teenager wishing her parents would just leave her alone!  Better still remind her of the story in 2075 when I turn 102!

It is not like Éowyn to be so loving and emotional.  She is usually the stoic one, headstrong and determined.  Amélie on the other hand is the more loving.  While Éowyn certainly went through the terrible twos (although not as bad as some children), you would not know that Amélie has reached that stage.  Her only slight rebellion is the refusal to eat meals (but she doesn’t have the iron-will of Éowyn and folds usually by the next meal) and the fact that she will ‘swipe’ things (indeed, you may remember that when she was younger we nicknamed her Swiper after the Fox in the Dora the Explorer cartoon).  My nail-clippers disappeared for about two weeks, Lucinda’s tweezers for the same length of time both found in Amélie-type hiding places around the house.  However, we may have to forgive Amélie because it might be someone or something else, a house pest of frightening proportions.

An ornament had disappeared and found on the floor in the middle of the landing.  Sensing the unmistakeable signs of Swiper I said to Amélie ‘Did you take this?‘  Looking me in the eye, she sincerely replied ‘Daddy, it wasn’t me.  It was the Big Bad Wolf!‘ I think she needs to work on her lies either that or I should be slightly concerned about the house pests in this part of town.

Amélie is certainly growing up, she is potty trained during the day and now is in the process of occasionally waking up at night to use the potty, which is a huge step of a 2 year old.  In addition, her cognitive powers are certainly increasing.  If she refuses to do something or wants to do something and you ask her why she wants what she wants she will reply with the conjoiner ‘’cause‘ to buy herself some thinking time.  However, when I type ’cause it doesn’t quite do justice to the word that Amélie uses.  A close approximation to the word that Amélie uses is ‘caaaaauuuuu-uuuuuusssssssseeee’, which lasts about 2 seconds and more accurately could be described as a whine that varies in pitch, starting low, ascending with a descending dip before ascending sharply.  Have you got that?  For older (UK) readers somewhat similar to the way that Richard Briers’ character would say the word ‘Ann‘ in Ever Decreasing Circles.

Although Éowyn and Amélie are very different in temperament, both seem very forward for their respective ages.  I find it fascinating sometimes where they pick things up from and have to be careful exactly what you say, either to them or around them.  Éowyn for instance was eating her lunch and said, ‘Daddy, this is delectable!‘  Now I personally do not think that I have ever used that word (I even had to check that I had typed it correctly as I wrote this) and neither has Lucinda.  Therefore, although I am not sure where she has picked that up but kudos to her that not only did she use it but knew in what context to use it.

With the summer comes a return for me of a Monday to Friday working week.  I now get weekends off, like normal people, but the trouble is there seems to be an awful amount of people around.  However, I do now manage to go to events and this weekend saw one of the first of the summer:  Ashford on the map.  Held on the playing fields of Brooklands College in Ashford it is the ninth annual fun day.  It seems that they had booked the weather for it had turned particularly summery with bright sunshine, although there was still a chill in the air; it was probably the warmest day of the year.  There were about 100 stalls, pony rides, fairground rides, face painting and all the usual things that you would expect at such an event, including a display by the Spelthorne gymnastics club that Éowyn was a member of, and indeed the display has inspired her to go back.  Watch this space to see if she is still interested next week.

This was the first time that we have visited it and it was excellent.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Éowyn who, in addition to getting her face painted, won a prize on ‘hook a duck’ and happily threw herself down the 10 metre high inflatable slide.  Unfortunately her parents caused the only problem.  We didn’t expect it to be so big or have so much to entertain the girls so we only paid for 2 hours of parking at the local car park thereby enforcing an artificial deadline on our fun or at least the girls’ fun.

Amélie fell asleep on the return home; it had worn her out so much.  Therefore, with Amélie asleep, Ezra snoozing between feeds and Éowyn happily amusing herself I mowed the lawns.  What a perfect picture of modern suburbia.

In other news, Ezra is still behaving himself and growing at a rapid rate of knots (am I allowed that mixed metaphor?);  Éowyn’s current favourite song is Think by Aretha Franklin and Amélie has begun to craft stories, and not only to shift blame from her direction. While the next big change in the Bagnall world, selling our house, is a slow process with no news to update you with yet.  Rest assured though you will be the first to know.

Therefore, before the length of this update (and it has to be close to taking the record for the longest update of the site) causes you to pandiculate I will bid you adieu and leave you with a few more photos.

Peace and Love


We have a kitchen!

Again it has taken me longer to update you than I had hoped that it would.  This is nothing to do with the fact that I have hit the 100 mark and given up but as you can imagine it has been a busy time with a variety of demands on my time and so updating this website suffers.  The demands on my time are coming from all angles.  It is a busy time at work (when isn’t it?) with the end of the majority (apart from the Russian Premier League) of the football seasons (and hence much of my work – for a couple of months until it all starts again!) including the last day of the English Premier League (with the unusual feeling for a West Bromwich Albion fan of knowing that we have been safe for a couple of games and heading for a mid-table finish!).  It has been quite manic with the kitchen build which has effectively turned the whole house upside down and now that it is complete, it is taking longer than expected to put it all back together again.  Juggling this with the usual family commitments has not left a lot of time for dallying on the computer.  In theory, therefore, this should be a fun-filled update jam-packed with interesting ancedotes.  Please don’t be too disappointed.

The end of April has seen much of the country take nearly two weeks off work.  This has been due to two four day weekends in succession.  The first was the belated Easter weekend, the second was courtesy of the second-in-line to the British throne’s marriage to Catherine Middleton and the May Day bank holiday.  I had to work the Easter weekend (football does not stop for Jesus or the Easter bunny) but managed to retain the second weekend off.  Hence I could sit and watch with billions (more strictly milliards) of others around the world the first major royal wedding in a quarter of a century.  We sat down as a family and tried to get Éowyn interested in this major historic event.  However we were greeted with ‘This is boring.  Can I have my programmes on, please!‘  We tried to explain that it was a wedding of a prince and one day they will be King and Queen.  ‘No Daddy, I want Toy Story 3 on.‘  I maybe thankful of this one day.  As soon as the television schedules began to return to some semblance of normality (none of your normalcy nonsense) we headed to the Stanwell Moor street party.  Unfortunately it wasn’t in the street and it wasn’t much of a party, so we made our excuses and headed to Lucinda’s parents for a cup of tea and a cake.  Bit of a shame really, we were hoping that it would have been a good excuse for a party.  They just don’t do street parties how they used to!

The next day we headed up to West Bromwich to wish Nanny Fran a belated birthday.  Éowyn was so excited to see her Nanny Fran (and Auntie Liz) and kept everyone entertained (and on our toes) for the whole weekend.  Nanny Fran saw a big jump in Amélie too, for since she has been taking her solids she has really begun to fill out.  She is thoroughly enjoying her food and will demolish her meals with consummate ease, even calling for seconds!  She has even begun to grab the spoon and start feeding herself if she thinks you are not feeding her quick enough.  She is still a little bit of a lazy minx though.  She still has not begun to crawl, although with the power in her legs maybe she has decided that crawling is a waste of time and will just wait until her legs are strong enough and begin to walk.  It is still wonderful to see how much Éowyn loves her little sister and will often lie next to Amélie or sit next to her or ask to hold her.  To think that we feared that she might be extremely jealous and in all fairness to say that there is no hint of jealousy would be a lie but apart from always stealing Amélie’s things (‘I am sharing with her!‘), Éowyn has the makings of a very good big sister.

Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed herself at Nanny Fran’s, especially when Auntie Liz put her face-painting skills to good use and turned Éowyn into a tiger.  Tigers are definitely Éowyn’s favourite animals and she will quite often pretend that she is one.  With the added bonus of a stripy face we all had to endure being on the tiger’s menu.  Although with her mop of hair she looks more like a lion with a rather impressive mane.  One of the things to do while at Nanny Fran’s was to get Éowyn’s hair trimmed, unfortunately with the bank holidays it seemed that everyone had the same idea and with no available appointments it was left to Lucinda to hack away at Éowyn’s fringe so that at least she can now see without constantly brushing her hair out of her eyes.

The weather that had been so kind to us throughout April has continued into May.  It has been a little cooler, but apart from the odd shower has been relatively dry.  This has been a blessing while the kitchen has been done.  It has meant they we could get out of the house and not worry about where we were going.  However the good weather seems to have bought the insect life out of their winter hiding places.  Wasps, and mosquitoes seem to gravitate to our house.  Éowyn is not too keen on either (much like her parents) but strangely seems to detest mosquitoes more.  She calls them midgiebugs and fears that they are going to eat her.  Not sure where she has got that one from.  However, all this glorious weather this early into the year is bound to mean that the height of summer will be a wash out.

Éowyn is now back to school and seemingly very happy there.  Although before she went to school on Friday she said, ‘Mommy, I don’t want to go to school it is yucky!‘  Lucinda told her that she had to go to school and off they went.  They walked into school and Lucinda took Éowyn’s coat off to hang it on her coathook, when she turned around Éowyn wasn’t there.  She had wandered off into the classroom.  Lucinda asked her if she was going to say goodbye to Mommy.  She just turned waved and that was it.  We are glad that she is happier at school and has seemingly made at least three friends.  Hopefully the skills she will learn at pre-school will be easier when she moves up to school proper.

I think I have stolen enough time today so I am off to dandle Amélie while accepting pretend choclate cake and a nice cup of tea from Éowyn as I sit in her hairdressing salon.

Peace and Love