First day at a new school

I’m afraid you are going to have to wait a little longer for the annual Badger Moot write up as Tuesday 4th November saw a huge change in the lives of both of our girls and I’m afraid that takes precedence.

When we had to apply for schools for Éowyn we lived in Stanwell Moor and thus took into account journey times to school among educational and development promises the schools made.  That sounds worse that it actually was, you can rest assured that we were dutiful parents and attended the open days  and listened attentively to each of the presentations.  After much deliberation we chose Town Farm.  Town Farm is based in Stanwell and geographically is the closest to our old home (although still a car ride away).  Town Farm had always had a poorer reputation than some of the other schools but on our visit we were impressed with the attitude of the staff and the obvious improvements that had been made to the school, with the cash injection that it had seemingly received.  We do not regret for one moment sending Éowyn to Town Farm, she had progressed well, made good friends (one very good friend) and got on extremely well with the staff, especially her reception teacher Miss Finbow.  Nevertheless, since moving into Staines (upon Thames) and more importantly, the other side of the A30, (and Crooked Billet roundabout) the journey had made us begin to question whether we should keep her there and that question was becoming more important as it would obviously influence our decision of where to apply to send Amélie and consequently Ezra.

In addition to these logistical challenges of keeping the kids at Town Farm there were also the positives in the local school: Riverbridge.  Riverbridge is a five minute walk across the park at the end of the road, and a number of children in the road also attend.  One negative thing about Town Farm, from our point of view was that we never felt fully part of the community, probably because we drove there, dropped the kids off and drove back.  The alternative is sitting in the midst of our (albeit new) community.  Therefore at the beginning of 2014 we put Éowyn on the waiting list to join Riverbridge.  We were hoping that a place would become available over the summer and Éowyn could start year 1 at Riverbridge.  That did not happen and we were only offered the place at the start of October.  However, with the girls party and birthdays we asked if we could defer the start date until after the half term break, as it seemed like a more natural starting point and give us time to break the news to Éowyn, and her best friend Aaliyah.

Riverbridge, always had a very good reputation in the area but it has recently merged with 2 other schools, one of which has closed down.  This transition has adversely affected its Ofsted rating but we think that this is just a temporary situation and the other positives will hopefully justify changing Éowyn at this stage in her education.  That is what we are telling ourselves anyway!

Changing Éowyn’s place of education also meant that we needed to change Amélie’s place of education.  Obviously Amélie is not in full time education so in some ways it is not as difficult to move her.  However, Amélie has made friends at MiniTots and is very settled with the children there and the staff, so it is going to be a hard transition for her too.  Again, we were very happy with MiniTots and with their flexible hours it was ideal to fit in with Éowyn, and placed on the same site as Éowyn’s school, we could not have asked for a better nursery.

Riverbridge has a nursery but you have to commit to either all mornings, or all afternoons there is no provision for children to stay there all day.  This does not suit us as we prefer 3 full days rather than 5 half days.  However, the second closest school, Our Lady of the Rosary has a nursery that has spaces and the option to send Amélie for three full days.  We were very impressed when we went to look around but two factors swayed us.  The first is that our neighbour Kathy works there, so Amélie would know one member of staff before going there and secondly one of her friends from MiniTots goes there on Wednesdays, so she would know at least one other girl.  Unlike full time school, Amélie was able to go there for a taster session before half-term and thus was a little more prepared than Éowyn for her first day.

Although the schools are closer and there is no driving required, we still have to leave home at about the same time.  This is because Amélie’s school starts at 08:30.  Also, since Éowyn’s new school uniform includes a blouse and tie, it will take a little longer to get ready we woke up, on quite a cold morning, nice and early.  The obligatory photos of the first day were taken (see below) sand we dropped them off.  Amélie met a little girl on the way to school and immediately stuck up a conversation with her.  There were no special measures for Amélie, she simply joined the rest of the children waiting outside and quite happily headed inside.  It seemed a bit of an anticlimax.

At Riverbridge, we had to take Éowyn into school via reception.  At least it was warm inside the school.  We had to fill in a couple of forms and while we were doing so the head teacher introduced herself.  Éowyn went into shy mode and lost her voice.  She seemed more overwhelmed by it all but wasn’t upset more shell-shocked.  We said goodbye and she headed off after the secretary down the corridors and towards her classroom.

The beauty of being a short walk away from school is that there is no need to get the car out and fight for a parking space outside school. The downside of being a short walk away from school is that you walk to school and although that is really something to enjoy when the sun is shining, it is a different matter when it is raining.  At 14:45 today it decided to rain, not a drizzle but a serious downpour.  Lucinda and I were soaked by the time we picked the girls up.  Nevertheless, standing in the pouring rain we did manage to have a quick chat with Éowyn’s new teacher:  Mrs Preston.  She said that Éowyn seemed to settle quite well, made a few friends and joined in with class discussions.

After changing out of wet clothes and warming up we spoke to the girls about their first days.  Amélie seemed to enjoy her day and had made a few new friends and was looking forward to going back the next day.  There is another girl there called Amélie, so Amélie is known as Amélie B.

Éowyn was a little more reserved by said that she enjoyed her day.  Blake, her friend and son of our friends Emma and Martin, sat with her and played with her: the consummate gentleman, looking after his friend.  She made a new friend and had taken a tumble in the playground.  Pretty standard stuff.  She was given a new reading book (a story about a mermaid, so she was very pleased) and the work that the class had been given to complete over the half-term holiday.

Although both schools will be following similar curriculum they have concentrated on different things thus far.  As a consequence it is going to take Éowyn a little time to play catch up with the rest of the class.  Éowyn is very bright so we have no worries that she will catch up, but for Éowyn it is a novel experience being the only one not to understand something that the rest of the class does.  She does not like this, so this evening she asked me if I could explain Hundreds, Tens and Units, so we sat down until she grasped the fundamentals.

Everything seemed good and we were mildly surprised how well it had gone, until Éowyn got out of the bath and burst into tears.  I think potentially the realisation dawned on her that this was it, she was at the blue school and there was no going back.  Up until today, it was just a notion, an idea an abstract concept.  Today it became real and talking to Nanny and Granddad and then Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz coupled with explaining her day to Mommy and Daddy brought home the fact that she was not going to see her friends and teachers at Town Farm again.  It is completely understandable, I know some adults that have the same difficulty with change and I suppose deep down we all do.

A cuddle and a chat with Mum, then Dad eased her tears but I have no doubt we will have more before the week is out but I also have no doubt that she will settle down and catch up with the work that the rest of the class are finding easy at the moment.  As always I will keep you informed through the medium of this website.

I will leave you with photos of them in their new school uniforms.

Peace and Love


PS This momentous day also happens to be the 200th post on this website – thank you all for reading


The boy’s on record

I have been spoiling you of late with the frequency of updates and indeed this one is at least a day late.  There is a good reason for the delay though, I have been suffering from a cold.  Not a man cold (and certainly not man ‘flu – I would be incapacitated if it was the latter) just a heavy cold but enough of an illness that the thought of sitting down to write something just didn’t enter my bunged up head.  Nevertheless I have dragged myself before the keyboard today to get you up to speed with the latest developments at Chez Bagnall.

So what has happened since last Thursday?  The most important event is surely the fact that Ezra John Bagnall is now an official member of the UK population.  With Éowyn at school and Amélie at Nanny and Granddad’s, Lucinda, Ezra and I headed to the local registry office in Weybridge to register his birth and obtain a birth certificate.  With a birth certificate we can now open a bank account for him and obtain a passport, so quite an important day.

The snow that hit large swathes of Northern UK on Saturday completely missed our corner of the land and we woke only to a slight dusting that quickly melted.  Thus Lucinda’s trip to the midwife clinic on Saturday morning wasn’t the epic journey that we were fearing when we went to bed.  This was the final check up by the midwifery team before being discharged into the realm of the local health visitors.  The midwife was very pleased with his progress.  There was nothing that concerned them regarding his physical health and indeed they were delighted with the fact that weighing in at 4.01kg (8lbs 13oz) he had returned to his birth weight.

Although the snow has missed us it doesn’t mean that it isn’t bitterly cold.  Indeed it freezing out there and so we haven’t felt like venturing out of the house preferring others to visit us.  The lack of snow disappointed both girls (and if I am honest – me!) and indeed when I told Amélie that Nanny Fran had snow, she asked if we could go to Nanny Fran’s to build a snowman.  I explained that wasn’t possible but we facetimed Nanny Fran instead and asked her to show us her snow.  That seemed to sate the girls.  While facetiming Nanny Fran, Éowyn entertained us talking to her imaginary brother Rich.  Rich is quite often the reason she is naughty (according to Éowyn) and this Saturday morning was no different.  Nanny Fran said that she didn’t like Rich and then Éowyn just turned on Rich and said that she had had enough of him.  She then called the Police (imaginary Police obviously) and asked them to put him in jail.  A little harsh.  But she wasn’t finished.  She disappeared off to the brother shop and bought another imaginary brother also called Rich.  It is more complicated than soap opera at times (with better imagination) and takes a bit to remember all the twists and turns.  Not sure what happens when original imaginary Rich gets out of imaginary jail to find his place taken by another imaginary Rich.

Apart from imaginary brothers the girls have been relatively well behaved considering the upheaval of having a new member of the family.  They both are very affectionate towards their brother (real brother) and fight over holding him.  Amélie especially holds him at least a couple of times a day.  The length of this cuddle can vary from a couple of minutes to ten minutes or more, depending on Ezra  behaviour.  If he cries she will try and comfort him for a couple of seconds before asking you to take him off her.  The funniest is when he has the hiccups.  For some reason Amélie finds this hilarious and literally laughs uncontrollably.  It is very amusing!

So maybe not the most exciting of updates but nevertheless important stages in Ezra’s life and not the most exciting of photos below I will try harder for next time.  However a small geeky thing that most of you will not of noticed but this website has reached a new milestone as it has now received 100,000 hits.  Some of you will long memories with think haven’t we been here before?  Yes we have.  But that was 100,000 hits split over two servers, my original WordPress hosted site (still available as and the new (not so new now) privately hosted site that is these 100,000 hits are purely on the latter server and are in addition to the 65,000 hits on  As I have mentioned before it maybe only a small milestone that means absolutely nothing in the real world but it feels like a justification for the amount of work that I regularly put into this site.  So thank you all for your interest in the ups and downs of our family.

Peace and love


100,000 words and bipedal motion!

We have seen 100 posts, we have seen 100,000 hits and now we have hit another milestone 100,000 words (total words across all posts and pages).  Yes this website now has more words than the average novel.  Impressive ne pas? I never realised I was so verbose or that so much has happened to this enclave of the Bagnall clan over the last 40 months or so.

However, that is not the greatest achievement since the last update.  For the greater accomplishment is that my second child can now be truly classed as bipedal.  Yes, last Thursday (19th January 2012) Amélie just decided to stand up in the middle of the floor and walk.  Not just one or two steps but half a dozen.  The encouragement that she received spurred her on.  Within minutes that total was up to 11 and by the end of the day had nudged that total up to 12.  I suppose because she has been cruising for so long her legs have the strength to support her, she has the balance to carry herself but she is just lacking the confidence to continue.  It will come, with encouragement it will not be long before she will leave her crawling days behind her.  She will happily hold your hand and walk for yards and hopefully the more we do this the more this will give her the confidence to strike out on her own.

Now usually on Thursday morning I would be at work, however I still had a number of days left over from last year’s entitlement to use by the end of January and therefore, fortunately, I was at home on annual leave for the week. It was good to spend some time at home but it wasn’t the most exciting of times (apart, obviously from Amélie’s first steps!).  Lucinda took some time off too but with Amélie already booked to go to Jo’s and with Éowyn still at playbox myself and Lucinda had time to off together but there was no time to enjoy that for we decided that we would attempt to straighten the house after the Christmas period.  Not that the house needed that much straightening but it was more an opportunity to go through the kid’s toys and either take the ones that they never play with down the local charity shop or put away the ones that they have outgrown.  Then finding space for them all, either in the toy boxes (yes plural), Éowyn’s bedroom or just tidied away.  It felt good to get back some of the house!

We also managed to take advantage of my tastecard (for the first time!) and go for lunch, which was good to spend some time as a couple rather than a mommy and daddy, although there is still that little voice in the back of your head saying, Keep an eye on the time, you have to pick Amélie and Éowyn up.  On the Thursday we also managed to invite friends of ours, Neil and Emma, around for an evening.  So we managed to put the girls to bed early (not that early but early enough for us to enjoy our evening) and to their great credit they went down and we heard not a peep out of them all evening.  It was good catching up with friends especially Neil and Emma who we hadn’t seen in over a year.  It is amazing how quickly time passes us by and if truth be told we have a long list of friends that we have not seen in over a year, something that perhaps we need to rectify in 2012.

We also took advantage of the time off to head up the M40 to West Bromwich and Nanny Fran.  Éowyn gets very excited about seeing her Nanny Fran, so much so that she didn’t take advantage of the 120 mile car journey and sleep but rather stayed awake for the entire journey asking the epitomic question ‘Are we nearly there yet?‘  They start early don’t they?  However this tiredness manifested itself as grumpiness and misbehaviour, so there were a number of trips to the re-instated Thinking Step.

In fact, there has been quite a number of trips to the Thinking Step of late.  After many months without even the threat of a trip to the Thinking StepÉowyn has been a regular visitor of late.  There are a number of reasons for this, namely: She is doing 3 days a week at school, plus trips to her childminder’s so she is missing her afternoon nap (I know the feeling) and getting tired and when she is tired she gets grumpy and her behaviour get worse; Amélie is getting a lot of attention of late, especially with regards to the encouragement that she is getting with her walking and her increasing vocabulary, so jealousy plays a part; She gets influenced by the behaviour of other children (as all children do) so making sure that she realises that just because her friends do it, it doesn’t mean that she has to (I think that is going to be a battle for many years to come!); and I have been working some long hours so she doesn’t always see me and Lucinda has, obviously, returned to work so she is not always seeing Lucinda either.  Plus she is probably just going through one of those phases where they try to push the boundaries and see what they can get away with, which is going but it puts pressure on us to keep the boundaries well defined.

Despite her frequent forays to the Thinking Step Lucinda treated Éowyn to a special day out last Wednesday.  A Peppa Pig live stage show was enjoying a run at Richmond Theatre and so Lucinda and Éowyn and her friend Christine and her daughter Arabella took the short trip down the A316.  Éowyn was completely enthralled by Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt (a puppet show) in complete contrast to the last live show that she saw which was the In The Night Garden live show, so much so that at the interval she got a little upset that it was over.  I think this is because, unfortunately, between booking the In The Night Garden tickets and actually going Éowyn grew out of the phase and was no longer interested in the antics of Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy (not to mention the hosts of other similarly named characters).  Now, Peppa Pig is a different matter, it is by far her favourite show and with trips to Peppa Pig world and a bed full of cuddly Peppa Pig characters I think it will stay her favourite for a few years to come yet.

Unfortunately I must end this update on a sad note.  My Great Uncle Albert passed away just after 1505 on Friday 27th January 2012 aged 90.  He had been ill for a little while and while the loss of any one is always sad in some ways his passing is a blessing.  Uncle Albert was my materal grandmother’s brother and was an inspiration.  He gave me my first paid job (in the despatch department of Accles and Shelvoke packing slaughter equipment: bolt stunners and cartridges) the summer after my GCSE exams.  He also ignited my interest in genealogy, tracing his own family tree back to 1546.  He also typed (with one finger and a lot of correction fluid) his wartime memories dubbing himself (in his self-depreciating style) Churchill’s Secret Weapon on an old manual typewriter.  The reasoning behind his monicker was that shortly after he completed his training the war in Europe ended.  Then, as he set foot in Asia (he was posted in India) the war in Asia ended.  Obviously, the enemy did not want to engage Albert Wyton in battle. He is now at peace with his wife of 64 years (my Great Auntie Iris), sleep well both, reunited in love.

Peace and Love