Lunapigs!

It doesn’t take long for a week off and a holiday in Turkey to fade in the memory as normality and the daily grind come back into view.  The girls returned to school the next day, while I had an extra day off before heading back to the land of Sports Television.  A land of Sports Television over a summer with none of the additional quadrennial events that tend to fill in the gaps between football seasons.  Therefore, my working pattern over the summer resembles some form of normality with free weekends to spend with the family.

Not one to miss these opportunities Lucinda has booked up our weekends for the summer so that we can make the most of them.  The first weekend off saw the family Bagnall head down the road to Windsor.  To the Legoland Windsor resort, to be specific.  Legoland is an ideal destination for the Baguettes since most of the rides and attractions are geared towards their age range.  In addition it is about 9 miles from home, so takes next to no time (depending on traffic) to get there.  It was with this in mind that we decided to use this year’s Tesco vouchers to buy an annual pass to Legoland.  This allows us to ‘pop in’ whenever we like and not feel obliged to spend a whole day with tired children so that we don’t feel like we have not got our money’s worth.

We certainly got our money’s worth on our first visit though.  We were there from just after the park opened until late afternoon.  We were limited on rides though since the Baguettes are still of an age (or height) where they require an adult on the ride with them.  When you have three children that poses some problems.  However, Legoland have this sussed a little with ‘parent swap’.  Effectively, either the parent stays on the ride and swaps children with the other parent, or alternatively the parents and the children swap to save double queueing.  It works and with Ezra still a little too young to go on some of the rides it was very handy.

There were still a number of rides that we could go on as a family however and so we took full advantage of those even if the queues were a tad long at times but that is the problem of going places at weekends when the weather is nice.

June has been quite a pleasant month, weatherwise.  The overall the temperatures have been below what one would expect for the summer month, but there has been little rain (in the South East of the UK at least).  This is both beneficial and a hindrance to the Bagnall household.  The sunshine is great, not just generally (who doesn’t like the sunshine) but also for our electricity generation.  Having bright, sunny days when the days are longest is a definite bonus, despite the ever growing threat of the pigeons that have decided to nest under our panels.

I have always thought of pigeons as rather dumb birds, which is completely undeserved, they have passed many cognitive tests, but the ones nesting on our roof have demonstrated the exception that proves the rule.  Obviously, they have demonstrated some form of intelligence by nesting under our photovoltaic cells, as it offers protection from the elements, and some warmth from the cells themselves.  Nevertheless they have not yet worked out that laying ovoid eggs on a sloping roof is not necessarily a good idea and we have found many broken on the patio and driveway.  More disgustingly that is not all that we have found splatted on our patio and driveway.  So if anyone has a hawk that they would like to exercise over our house I would be very grateful.

The flip side of bright sunny days is the lack of rain, as our water butts can testify.  I am happy for our lawn to change from green to brown however the vegetable patch is another matter.  Our vegetables will not flourish without a daily watering and so we are having to resort to water from the tap.  Even the thunderstorms of last night (110,000 lightning strikes in one night) haven’t replenished the water butts.  What I wouldn’t give for a heavy downpour (sorry to all of you who are enjoying the weather) or a couple of days of rainy weather.  I would have expected the heatwave (if you can call two hot days in row a heatwave, more a heatsplash) to have triggered more thunderstorms over chez Bagnall, apart from the night before’s mega-storm, as it is being labelled, nothing, just uncomfortable nights of sleep and the knowledge that the baguettes have seen the hottest UK day in their lives.

Since the football season has finished, Lucinda has been filling my weekends up.  The first one saw us in Turkey, on holiday so that doesn’t really count.  Then I was back at work for European Qualfiers!  I thought that the football season had ended.

The following weekend saw Lucinda’s ex flat mate, Emma, celebrate her 40th birthday.  She had reserved a room at a pub in Chiswick on the River Thames.  This is where living next door to a baby-sitter and just a short walk from Staines train station comes in handy.  A direct train from Staines to Kew Bridge and a five minute walk saw us at the pub.  a good time was had by all and return by train although requires some time discipline is far cheaper than a taxi.  I think Amélie must have missed us because at 0330 she crept into our bed, I think primarily to ensure that we hadn’t left for the weekend.

Then Lucinda took advantage of not only the fact that I was off at the weekend but also having holiday entitlement to use up and went away on Friday returning Sunday lunchtime.  Not just Sunday but Father’s day but more of that later.  I took the Friday off and took the girls to school, then it was a boys’ day for Ezra and dad.  Nothing too exciting but it was nice to spend some time with him alone.  Friday night is usually movie night but this had already been cancelled so after dinner, the Baguettes and I cuddled up on the sofa and watched Despicable Me 2.

I think the kids were aware of the lack of Mum, and although they weren’t particularly upset about it, it must have played on their minds.  For at about 0200 I felt a little presence creep into bed.  It was Ezra.  Although Ezra has been sleeping in his bed, as opposed to his cot, for many months now he hasn’t really worked out that he could get out when he wanted to.  The drive this night must have helped him realise and he found his way to Daddy.  So while I was giving him a cuddle, before preparing myself to pick him up and put him back in his own bed, in wanders Amélie.  So another child to comfort before finally getting back to sleep.

Before Lucinda had left on the Friday morning she has given Éowyn my Fathers’ day present and got her to write the card in preparation for not being there on the Sunday morning.  Therefore as I put them to bed on the Saturday night, and remembering the night before I told them that as it was Fathers’ day that daddy would appreciate a lie in and no nighttime visitors.  At 0700 É0wyn and Amélie come in with a card and presents and asked if it was too early.  How can you refuse that?

With the approaching end of the academic year and the conclusion of after school clubs it means two things.  The first is the perennial Sports Days.  Éowyn’s school has adopted the new Sports Day standard where there are no individual races as such, it is all relay based races and you are competing for your house.  Éowyn’s house won, so she was over the moon.

Amélie’s was probably even less competitive and every child received a medal – real plastic gold!  Nevertheless Amélie was very proud of her medal, and rightly so.

Éowyn’s after school drama class is coming to an end and that means only one thing – shooting has begun.  Last week Éowyn filmed the first of her scenes for the film that Sense Theatre are producing.  There will be a quick turnaround in post production as the premiere is on Sunday 12th July and there are still scenes to shoot.  Éowyn said it was a little daunting with the lights and the camera lens in view and it took her a little while to relax and deliver her lines.  For anyone that has been in front of the lens I am sure that you can relate.

I can’t wait to see the finished film.  Tickets have been bought for the premiere and the dvd has been pre-ordered.  You never know it could be the start of a promising career.

Before I leave you, this month’s funny word comes from Amélie.  Referring to her brother and sisters madly running around and came in complaining that they were acting like Lunar-pigs.  I think she meant Lunatics but Lunar-pigs or should that be Lunapigs sounds so much better!

Peace and Love

Baggie

It has been a while

I am necessitous of absolution from you dear readers.  Apart from a slow start I have been updating this website with some alacrity this year but as we hit the halfway mark, nothing.  Nigh on four weeks and no news from the Bagnalls.  Now the reason for the lack of updates is nothing to do with a lack of news.  On the contrary there is perhaps a little too much news for one update.  No, the reason for the lack of updates is due more to the fact that we have been taking full advantage of the hiatus before my working life takes over family life for a month or so.  The fact that the UK is currently enjoying (or not – depending on your point of view) its first proper heatwave for 7 years also adds to the desire to enjoy the outdoors rather than sitting indoors on the computer (and if you look on our Flickr page you will see over 100 photos taken over the last three weeks or so).  So although I beg your forgiveness dear readers I make no apology for spending the time with the family!

The disadvantage of leaving four weeks between write ups is the fact that there is so much to tell you and yet I fear that I will bore you if I regale it all verbatim so this will be more a précis than usual.

On the last day of June, Staines-upon-Thames celebrated Staines-upon-Thames day.  So to show support to our local town (and because Ashford on the Map was so good) we decided to head down with the kids.  Unfortunately Staines-upon-Thames days was not a patch on Ashford on the Map and we were actually disappointed, the only highlight was a boat trip down the Thames.  It was then back home for the first of many barbecues.

With the approaching school holidays (and my approaching busy period at work) we decided to get a head of the game and spend a day at the seaside before it gets mobbed with schoolchildren.  We decided on Mudeford since we enjoyed our trip to Hengistbury Head and since we only passed through Mudeford we thought it would be nice to actually explore Mudeford for a day instead of just using it to catch the ferry.  Nanny and Granddad know Mudeford quite well and they joined us on our trip to the seaside.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as did Lucinda and I and Nanny and Granddad.

The turn of the school year marks a big change for Éowyn.  No longer will she be at pre-school but will start full time education at Town Farm school in Stanwell.  The last few weeks saw Éowyn begin the transition and preparation for the move.  Lucinda and I had a tour and introductory chat with the staff; Éowyn spent an hour and a half at school (and although she was very teary when I left her there by all accounts she was on good form and was one of the more confident children) and then Éowyn’s teacher Miss Finbow paid her and us a visit at home.  It was something that surprised us but in a nice way.  It is good that Miss Finbow got to see Éowyn in her environment and she how she spends her time.  I think that Miss Finbow was a little overwhelmed with the greeting that she received.  The girls were both very excited to see her and Éowyn had drawn her a picture of a butterfly and wouldn’t leave her alone.  At least Miss Finbow is forewarned before she receives Éowyn in September.

Éowyn has taken the fact that she is going to ‘Big School‘ to heart.  She has stopped sucking her thumb (which is a massive achievement as she has been sucking her thumb since birth), begun taking showers and ventured in the realms of older children television programmes.  She has insisted that we teach her to read and has been practising drawing (drawings that actually look like something) and writing her letters and numbers.

Her choice of television programmes are interesting as they are the same ones that I used to enjoy when I was a child:  Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo.  In fact as I came home one evening I opened the door to hear one of the most delightful sounds there is.  Éowyn was giggling and Ezra was giggling too!  Éowyn was watching Tom and Jerry and thought it was one of the funniest things she had ever seen and Ezra was sitting there giggling at Éowyn giggling.  The small things in life are the best.

Ezra is also developing at a rapid pace.  He is now four months old but looks much older (he is a bit of chunk!).  He is still relatively placid only crying for a reason (hunger, nappy change, wind), however he now wants a little more entertaining.  He enjoys holding his toys and rattling the ones that make a noise.  He has also begun to roll over.  Therefore you have to be careful where you leave him and not only does he roll on to his belly and also rotates around so he can be quite far from where you left him.  As a consequence we have to be careful where we leave him unattended.  It probably will not be long before he begins to crawl – taking after Éowyn more than Amélie!

Let us not forget about Amélie, she, too, is growing up.  Unfortunately she is starting to go through the terrible twos.  Not quite as terrible as Éowyn’s terrible twos but because Amélie is so much of a cutey that the slight change in attitude is noticeable.  Again you have to look at everything in an holistic manner rather than in isolation.  Thus with unemotional attachment you can see that Amélie could be overcompensating for a perceived lack of attention with Ezra taking at lot of our time and obviously with Éowyn’s imminent change in school, Amélie could feel that she is being left out.  Obviously we are trying not to make that so but I think it will be the perennial problem facing us that there is always the possibility that one of the three will feel left out at some point.  So no doubt this will become a common, if somewhat unwanted, theme.

It probably didn’t help that I paid a flying (literally and metaphorically) visit to New York (well Stamford, Connecticut) for a meeting with one of our new clients for the Premier League, NBC.  As an important client it was an important meeting to have to ensure that we can provide the level of service that they expect.  We were only on the other side of the pond for 36 hours and the states were experiencing a heatwave every much as intense as ours.  I think that the girls (and Ezra) missed me but the little cuddly toys that I picked up at the airport more than made up for my absence!

The other big news of the last month is the fact that we have accepted an offer on our house.  It is in the region of what we wanted to accept and the couple that are buying it seem very nice and so we feel that we are handing it over to worthy custodians and at the same time not leaving the neighbours with someone that we wouldn’t want to live next door to.  We still haven’t found anywhere to buy ourselves though, so it could be that we could be homeless before the autumn (a caravan in Nanny and Granddad’s back garden could be an option!).  The only house that we have both fallen in love with is a little out of our reach but we have put an offer on the table and entered into a negotiation with our ability to move quickly the ace that we are trying to play over the higher offer that they have already accepted.  The joys of buying a house!  Let us see how that pans out.

Before I leave you to look through the photos there is just enough time for me to wish Lucinda a happy anniversary.  It has been 6 years since she said ‘I do’ and made me a very happy man.  We have squeezed a lot into the last 6 years but probably not as much as we will fit into the next 6 weeks, with a potential home move, a definite work move, Éowyn due to start school, Amélie due to start nursery and Ezra due to start crawling.  Thus, I am sure you can appreciate that the next few months are going to be somewhat busy so I apologise in advance for any perceived lack of news and any tardiness in relating it to you all via this medium but there are only so many hours in a day!

Peace and love

Baggie

PS This must be the only website written on the 22nd July 2013 that hasn’t mentioned the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son, our future monarch.  Damn!

 

The Olympics are here!

So after 7 years of preparation the London Olympics are here, and aren’t we doing well?  16 Gold Medals and still counting! Unfortunately throughout the build up to tournament I was a little nonplussed by it all, I didn’t apply for tickets and to be honest was thinking more about the impact it was going to have on me at work and its impact on being able to get to work.  Both fears have been somewhat allayed in this first week.  The traffic is incredibly quiet (even for August – i.e. school holidays) and apart from some long shifts at work it hasn’t been too bad!  And now I really wish I had some tickets, even just to the Olympic Park.  The girls are a little young to appreciate it but at least they would be able to tell their children that they were there!

It is always good when there is a major sporting tournament on because part of my work responsibility is ensuring that the television signals from those tournaments are arriving back at base in an acceptable way.  That means I get to watch an awful lot of sport on television.  It is my job!  And whereas most people have to chose which one of the many Olympic channels that the BBC are making available to the general public (on satellite and through their website) I can watch all of them at the same time.  The beauty of a monitor stack!  And what do I do when I go home?  Switch the television on and watch some more!

The week leading up to the Opening Ceremony was the best week (weatherwise) of the year so far with temperatures peaking over 30°C.  However it was not to last and by the time the Opening Ceremony began we were back to 20°C and the chance of a shower.  We are used to it by now, aren’t we? And three days of summer is better than none at all!   The sudden increase in temperature and return to norm was accompanied in the Bagnall household with all of us succumbing to a summer cold, this made the girls a little miserable and they both keep waking up in through the night.  Thus a disturbed week of sleep followed by some long days at work left both Lucinda and me exhausted.

Lucinda was so exhausted that she missed the Opening Ceremony and opted for an early night instead (she was working at 0500 the next morning, in fairness).  I watched it at work arriving home a little after 0200, so we were passing ships in the night.  The talk before the Olympics was how London would compete with Beijing’s Opening Ceremony.  For the first 20minutes or so I was worried, and perhaps a little embarrassed, it was all a little too twee.  Then the Lord of the Rings motif began and with more than a nod to The Black Country (O.K. it was the Industrial Revolution) complete with Olympic rings of ‘Molten Metal’.  The James Bond/Queen sketch was genius and Mr Bean dreaming of Chariots of Fire very amusing.  Overall is was fantastic, at times bewildering but definitely an Opening Ceremony to be proud of.

However you do not read this website to find out what is happening in the Olympics (Team GB doing really well) you read this website to find out what is happening in the world of the Bagnalls (or at least to look at the photos!).  So what have we been up to?  Obviously August is probably the busiest month for both Lucinda’s job and mine so holiday is not an option so we have to take advantage on days off to do things.  So when I managed to get 3 days off in a row we filled them with a couple of trips.

The first was to visit my sister Mary and her new flat.  She is still in Woking but has moved out of a large shared house into a top floor flat with one of her friends, Louise.  We decided to be nosy and this enclave of the Bagnall family visited en masse.  Éowyn loves to see her Aunties, probably because she gets so much attention and this time was no different.  Children do not have that same sense of personal space that adults have and Éowyn quickly explored Mary’s flat.  Then it was time for a game of hide and seek.  Mary got bored more quickly than Éowyn, then Louise decided to take over.  We then didn’t see either again.  Louise kept Éowyn thoroughly entertained (or was that the other way round?).  Indeed on the way home Éowyn if we could visit Auntie Mary the next day.  I asked if she enjoyed seeing her auntie. ‘Yes,‘ she replied, ‘but I want to play with Louise.‘  Someone has a new best friend.

Then we headed out on a bit more of a journey, to Cranbrook in Kent, to pay our annual visit to friends of our that we met on our N.C.T. course.   Ed and Marisol moved to Cranbrook not long after they had their daughter Frieda and so we do not see them that often.  Frieda and Éowyn were the only girls that were born in our class so since Frieda has moved Éowyn had to grow up playing with boys.  Considering that Éowyn and Frieda hardly know each other, their initial cageyness soon gave way to sororal closeness and were playing in Frieda’s room hiding from Amélie, something I think Amélie will have to get used to.  It was a long day trip but great to see Ed and Marisol and were very happy they could see us especially considering the fact that Marisol is due to give birth any day now.  We wish them all the best.

The biggest news to affect the Bagnall family though is that Jo, our childminder for the last 3 years has given us notice.  We can fully understand why, we only give her around 8 days a month and that means that she can not take on other children who would give her more days work a month and in this economic clime then everyone needs to maximise their income but it is quite sad.  Both Éowyn and Amélie love Jo and going to her house.  Jo does so much with them and educates as well as entertains them so they are going to miss going as much as we are going to miss them going.  It puts us in a difficult position for since we only need a few days a month it is almost impossible to find a childminder or nursery that will take children on a shift pattern (as opposed to fixed days) and that is why Jo was a godsend when our paths crossed (with thanks to Nanny Vera).  Nevertheless we wish Jo well and thank her for three years of hard work looking after our brood.

The next few weeks are join to be very busy for me and so there may be a gap before the next update but before I leave you a quick update on one of the saddest stories that this website has bought you.  In February 2009 a friend and work colleague Eilidh Cairns was knocked off her bike and killed by a lorry while on her way to work.  The incident was put down to a tragic accident and the driver was free to continue driving.  However the Cairns family have not been the only family who have been affected by his actions and this week saw him in court once again for causing death by dangerous driving.  This, however is not the forum for this but if you are interested please click here for a more detailed write up.

Peace and love

Baggie