Amélie’s Fifth Birthday

A few short weeks after she started full-time education our second child Amélie turned five.  This makes her one of the oldest in her class and her parents feel older than they think they are!  Since this was Amélie’s first birthday in full-time education I decided that it would be nice to take the day off so that I could be there to take her to school and then be there when she arrived back home.  This was doubly important because the weekend before Amélie’s birthday one of the MCR operators got married, this coupled with other commitments meant that we were a little short in staff levels on a busy weekend.  This is my department, therefore I could not justify taking leave either for Matt and Sharon’s wedding nor to celebrate Amélie’s birthday.

Amélie however did have special visitors at the weekend in the shape of Nanny Fran and Aunties Liz and Mary.  Since Nanny Fran and her aunties had come a long way and it was only the day before her birthday Amélie was allowed to open her presents.  She, therefore, had two birthdays or, more accurately, celebrated her birthday for 48 hours – I am sure that is allowed!  Nanny Fran waited until I arrived back from work however this did mean that she got caught in traffic and it took her 3.5 hours to return to West Bromwich, which made it an awfully long day.

So the big day arrived and to her credit Amélie didn’t wake too early.  The promise of being able to open her presents if she got ready for school early spurred her on and both she and Éowyn were ready by 0815!  If only it was like that everyday!  Some of her presents duly opened she headed off to school (with a smile on her face, for the first time in a week) wearing her ‘I am 5′ badge.

The girls’ school has a healthy eating policy and therefore there are no sweets or cakes to be given out in class for birthdays.  Although that is admiral if you can’t have a cake or some sweets on your birthday when can you?  There is no policy, however, to stop one giving sweets and cakes out to classmates outside the school gates.  Therefore, like some nefarious drug-dealer (and let’s face it sugar is a particularly bad drug) Amélie handed out bags of Haribos to her classmates as they left for home.

As I mentioned in the last write-up, Amélie has been getting herself upset in a morning saying that she hasn’t wanted to go to school.  Much of this is because Amélie hasn’t made many, if any, friends.  Most of the girls in her class have come to school via the same nursery therefore friendships have already been formed and Amélie has to break into this circle.  She will.  When she has been upset she has mentioned how much she has missed Georgia her friend from pre-school who attends another school and unfortunately Lucinda and Georgia’s mum had not managed to swap contact details while at pre-school.  With a some luck Lucinda bumped into Georgia’s mum last week at one of the playgroups that she takes Ezra and her childminding ward and so snatched the chance to invite Georgia over for a birthday tea.

Amélie was shocked to see her friend walk up the driveway.  Georgia was also pleasantly surprised as her mum had not told her what was happening or where she was going and this was Georgia’s first playdate so they were both very excited little girls.  Sometimes birthday surprises are better than birthday presents.

Georgia wasn’t the only birthday visitor that Amélie had on her birthday evening.  Nanny and Granddad came round with Uncle John and Auntie Margaret.  Auntie Margaret received an education in current girls’ toys, in the U.K. at least.  She learned all about Pinypons, Monster High Dolls and Fright-Mares.  She will take this knowledge back home to see if this is same in Australia and thus be the cool Nanny in her granddaughters’ circle of friends.

Before they sat down for a birthday tea there was still room for more visitors with Uncle Michael and her cousins Lauren and Maddie popping in with more presents and a quick game of Ludo.  What an exciting day!

The heavens seem to celebrate too for the day began with a lunar eclipse, that coincided with the moon at perigee (a so-called supermoon) and ended with N.A.S.A. announcing that liquid water has been found on another planet, our neighbour Mars.  A very auspicious day to celebrate your fifth birthday.

Happy Birthday Amélie


Mommy and Daddy

Bongo, bongo stylee

After an early hat-trick of updates at the beginning of November this site has been a little quiet.  Three weeks into our new home I thought it was perhaps times to rectify this and give you a little insight to the life of the Bagnalls in the new Bagnall manor.

November was always going to be a busy month.  A wave of productions were due to relocate from Chiswick to our company’s new base at Stockley Park and a number of these involved Live Operations (and hence me and my team) including the Football League Show.  Therefore if there was one month I didn’t want to move home it was November.  Unfortunately fate conspired against me and so a busy month at work coincided with the move.  With no opportunity to take leave, the relocation of the family was done on days off and hence we are still mainly in boxes.

Although I, personally, have not had much time to settle into the new abode it does feel like home.  Again that is despite the fact that we still have dozens of unpacked boxes and the heating isn’t working.  Yes, the biggest problem that we have faced is the fact that the temperature has dropped close to freezing point over night and the heating has serious issues.  We have had heating engineers around who both have confirmed that the system is full of gunk and thus the hot water is not filling the radiators.  The good news is that the boiler works as does the pump, however that hot water is not reaching the radiators and thus downstairs, especially, is barely warmer than outside.  Unfortunately due the design of the hot water system it is not the easiest of systems to service and that design is part of the issue, there are lots of turns and u-bends where gunk can gather.  Fortunately phase one has begun and now the radiators take the chill out of the room (I wouldn’t say it is tropical but at least it is a step in the right direction) and hopefully the chemicals in the system carry on dissolving the gunk and allow the hot water to do its job.

Apart from the heating, we are as much in love with the house now as when we first looked round it. There are only a couple of minor annoyances that we hadn’t noticed when we looked round: a)  the kitchen light switch is located behind the door, so as you walk into the room, you have to then close the door before you can switch the light on.  Why do people do that?  It is so annoying, surely when you are designing a room you automatically place the light switch on the opposite wall to the door hinge so that you can open the door with one hand while simultaneously turning the light on with the other and b) the hot water tap in the downstairs shower room (hark at us – downstairs shower room!) opens clockwise and closes counterclockwise which is the opposite direction to every other tap in the house including the cold water tape on the same sink.  These are minor annoyances and the kitchen light switch will be changed when we manage to scrap enough spare cash together to redesign the kitchen.

The girls have settled in well too.  They do not notice the cold (something that we have to watch for as they wander downstairs with no dressing gown or slippers on).  They do not seem even to miss the old house, which is nice.  They have settled in quite quickly and both are happy to use the extra space that the house offers to run around and play hide and seek.  Their playroom is coming together and now we have just got to encourage them that their toys live in there (or in their bedroom) and are to be put away each night in the new boxes we have bought them.  Let’s see how that goes.

So while I have been busy at work, the girls have been busy at school.  Éowyn, especially has been excelling at school, she has begun to read and write and is brilliant at breaking words into their letter and then blending the sounds together.  It is great to sit with her and see how excited she is when she reads a sentence.  It is quite exciting for her parents too!  She also has a line in the Christmas play, but more of that in the December write up.  Needless to say there is plenty of practising  She knows it off by heart and now we are working on projection.  Éowyn wants to take it one stage further though and has started making up some actions to help emphasise the words, building her part up!  We have a little diva.  There is no truth in the rumours that her rider includes 23 orange smarties and a bunch of daffodils.

Although it has been a busy month at work, there was one ‘dark weekend’ and my friend and colleague cleverly chose that weekend to get married.  John and Sara have lots of friends that have small children so their wedding was organised with children in mind and as a consequence my invite also included an invite for Éowyn, Amélie and Ezra.

John and Sara were married at St John’s the Evangelist in Blackheath and therefore the shortest (it turned out not to be the quickest route) was to drive through the centre of London.  It was a great opportunity to point out the Natural History Museum, Buckingham Place, The Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London.  There were colouring books and pencils to keep the children entertained during the ceremony and afterwards there was cake and bubbles.  Then it was on to the reception at Devonport Hotel at Greenwich.  This is where the beauty of the S-Max comes into its own.  One of my colleagues, Matt, was going to have difficulty getting from one venue to the other, so with our seven-seater beast we could offer him a lift.

Now, Éowyn and Amélie have started to make up their own language and phrases.  Bongo, bongo Stylee is one of them (it means something that is very good), others are more nonsensical.  One day going to school they were talking to each other in one of these made up languages so I started to join in and they thought it was one of the funniest things that they had ever heard.  So now they will ask me to talk in my made-up language.

So on the way to reception the girls requested that I spoke my made up language.  So I strung together a line of vowels and consonants into an amusing set of words and they started laughing.  Matt thought that he would join in and copied what I had done.  Amélie, however turned to him and said, ‘Matt, you’re not even funny!‘  Put into your place by a three year old, how we laughed!

Ezra, too can be amusing and seems to be a ladies man.  He is forever trying to catch the eye of the ladies and with his blue eyes and cheeky smile he tends to melt their hearts.  Sometimes he is not content with just a smile though.  In a restaurant a week or so ago, he had caught the eye of a couple of ladies and they were cooing over him.  However they turned away from him and begun talking to each other, Ezra was not happy.  He started calling out to them, getting more and more agitated.  When they turned to see what he was doing, he immediately stopped shouting and just looked at them and gave them a big blue-eyed smile!  He is going to break hearts if he continues like that!  His latest smile is even cuter as he screws his eyes up as he grins.  I will try and get a photo.

Unfortunately we have all been fighting a winter cold.  Éowyn was the first to succumb, although we were not convinced at first.  The Bagnalls are the kind of family that do not stop for a mere cold, so when Éowyn had a bit of a cough we gave her some cough syrup, wrapped her up warm and sent her to school.  We were surprised when Lucinda received a call on a Tuesday afternoon to say that Éowyn had vomited and would we collect her.  Lucinda asked her why she had vomited and Éowyn told a different story, namely that she had accompanied one of her friends to the toilet and (I quote Éowyn directly) ‘She did a smelly poo and it make me sick.‘  Therefore thinking that there was nothing in it, we sent her to school the next day.  School must have thought that we were bad parents and immediately called Lucinda to collect her again, saying that when a pupil had vomited they needed to be off school for 24 hours.

Thursday morning came and we sent her to school.  Her cough had got a little worse but nothing too much to worry about.  However at lunch Éowyn had a coughing fit while eating and once again vomited.  So the bad parents were called back and they requested that Éowyn stay at home the next day.  Thus Éowyn will not receive a 100% attendance certificate for the next half term.

So as we settle into our new home we haven’t had many visitors (we are still in boxes and it is a little cold) but the first of my friends to visit has one of the longest journeys.  Sanjiv, was over in England for a couple of weeks from his home in New Delhi (India for those of you with an F in geography) and we managed to meet up (for the first time in ages) and he came round to look at our new home and also to meet the family.  Éowyn was a baby the last time he met them, now we have Amélie and Ezra – how scary is that?  It was good to see him and it illustrates how we let life get in the way of living, years seem to pass so quickly and before you know it, friends’ children are going to university.  Surely I am not that old?  Although I have just ‘celebrated’ 18 years at IMG.  I can now employ people that were not born when I started at IMG in November 1995!

With those thoughts I will leave you and see you in December!

Peace and Love


PS Apologies for the lack of decent photos, have been a little busy, I will try harder for the next update.

Éowyn’s Fifth Birthday

This was meant to have been posted before we went on holiday, but life got in the way and so this post is very belated.  Apologies, but it will mean that you will possibly have 3 (if life doesn’t get in the way again) updates in the next week or so.

The second and third weeks of October were emotional, pivotal, exciting and to top it all, the week that our oldest child celebrated her fifth birthday.  Yes, five years ago we became parents when Éowyn came into our lives.  I probably write this every year and will do for years to come, but it does not seem like five minutes ago that I first held her in my arms.  So, need I explain the first sentence a little more?

Emotional – obviously with the passing of my Nan at the beginning of the week.

Exciting – My 40th birthday present and the track day in the Ariel Atom.

I have missed one haven’t I?

Pivotal – The most pleasant of the big news stories of the last couple of weeks is that we have exchanged on our new home.  The remortgage on our current home is through and so the monies can be transferred and the 10% deposit paid and the contracts can be exchanged.  We complete on the 1st November and the 5 months of an emotional rollercoster is easing into the station.  Yes, there will be the small matter of making the new place a home, no to mention the packing, moving and unpacking that we are yet to face but positive moves are afoot and we can let ourselves believe that it is actually going to happen!  But the gory details of the move will be a subject for another update what have we missed since the last update about the Bagnall household?

As you may recall from the write up entitled Amélie’s Third Birthday Éowyn’s N.C.T. group 5th birthday party was held at Alice Holt but unfortunately due to work commitments I was unable to go.  Therefore with an rare Sunday off we decided to head to Alice Holt for a family day out.  To make it a little bit more fun we told my university friends Charlie and Mel hoping that their boys and our girls would have someone new to play with.  When we woke that Sunday morning the heavens had opened and it was heavily raining.  Undaunted we still headed to Alice Holt and so, too, did Charlie and Mel.  Thus the two families trudged through the rain and the mud, with wellies and waterproofs, you have to be prepared.  We headed to Charlie and Mel’s for coffee and cake before heading back home with two very tired girls.  It was good to see Charlie and Mel and hopefully we will have better weather next time we meet up.

Éowyn’s actual birthday was a little subdued.  Being a weekday she was at school.  Unfortunately we may have set a bit of a precedent with taking cakes and sweets (Éowyn’s insistence) for her classmates.  Although I was at work, I managed to get out a little early and headed to Nanny and Granddad’s for a birthday tea with Uncle Michael, Auntie Cristina and Lauren and Maddie in addition to the Bagnalls and Nanny and Granddad.  As ever she was spoilt with presents and thoroughly enjoyed her birthday cake that Nanny Fran had sent down with me earlier in the week.

Nanny Fran had planned to surprise Éowyn and come down on her birthday and stop the night.  Unfortunately with Nan’s (Great Grandma’s) passing on the Monday before Éowyn’s birthday, Nanny Fran was unable to come down as she had a lot of organising to do and Nan’s affairs to put in order.  As Éowyn didn’t know that Nanny Fran was coming down, she was not disappointed but nevertheless Nanny Fran was and so will have to make amends in a couple of weeks.

Éowyn has grown up considerably over the last couple of months and this is obviously due to school.  With half-term approaching her love of education is not diminishing.  It probably helps that she is one of the oldest children in the year and she is also gregarious and quite clever.  She has received a number of stickers for good work and two certificates for being a ‘superstar‘ the first with explaining what a repeating pattern is and the second for reading.  Yes, our little girl can now read (one of the first in the class to progress to reading – very proud parents).  She also received a certificate for perfect attendance.

This information is not just second hand, we have received it first hand from Éowyn’s teacher when we had our first ‘proper’ parents’ evening.  Miss Finbow spoke very highly of Éowyn, she said that not only is Éowyn academically bright but that she brightens the room with her presence.  She will organise games with the other children and has learned to share and think about the other children, something she has demonstrated on a number of occasions.  Miss Finbow said that there was nothing we needed to be worried about but just to continue the things we do with Éowyn to help develop her reading.  We told Miss Finbow that we would be moving shortly and so we are concerned that it may affect Éowyn and she said that she would keep a close eye on Éowyn and report if she thinks that it is having any adverse effects on our eldest.  She did say a nice thing in reply to our news though, almost pleading with us not to take Éowyn out of the school as she would miss her.

It is a shame that Amélie isn’t quite as well behaved.  She has been a little naughty (although still cute with her naughtiness) of late.  It is probably due to the upheaval in her life at the moment.  She is no longer the baby of the family, Ezra has taken that accolade.  She is going to school but only twice a week while Éowyn goes everyday.  Also Éowyn is getting a lot of praise with her school work, she has a birthday and then three weeks later Éowyn has a birthday.

This culminated in Amélie having a poo on the bathroom floor.  Not sure why she didn’t go to the toilet, or indeed the potty that was in her room but when we asked her why she had done it, she denied that it was her.  Not only did she deny that it was her but blamed an imaginary friend, not her imaginary friend but one of Éowyn’s!

In Amélie’s defence, she has been very well behaved at school (nursery) and is enjoying going which is a great turnaround considering at the beginning of September she was nearly apoplectic with the notion of going.  Now, she positively runs up the path eager to spend the day at TinyTots.

Before I leave you for the day a quick update on Ezra.  His crawling has gone from Ninja rolling to crawling backwards to zooming around the house getting under your feet.  He has also started to pull himself up on the furniture; not quite to his feet but to his knees, somehow I doubt it will not be long before he will progress to standing – then the trouble will begin.

Not the greatest selection of photos below, for which I apologise but rest assured there will be plenty uploaded to Flickr in the next week or so.

Peace and Love