Badger Moot 2016 – Part Two

If you are reading this, I trust that you have read Part One, if not please click here first.  If you have, welcome to the second half of the Badger Moot 2016.  The first instalment retold the Bagnall’s experience of the Badger Moot until our evening meal on the Tuesday evening.  This is the remaining story of our time down in deepest darkest Dorset.

We decided that our Wednesday trip would see the Bagnalls head to one of our favourite haunts along the South Coast: Lyme Regis.  We have been to Lyme Regis many times and although it is a relatively small town it never ceases to delight us. Halfway between Dorchester and Exeter, Lyme Regis, overlooking Lyme Bay sits on the Dorset-Devon border and is part of the world famous Jurassic Coast, famous the world over for its fossils.  For the first time this week we took Nanny with us and so the six of us headed down the A35.  It is always surprising how busy Lyme Regis is but we found somewhere to park and walked into the town.  It was lunchtime so we headed to one of our favourite little café’s and had a quick homemade sandwich (finger fingers and mayonnaise for me – just to make you all feel jealous).  Then we took a stroll around the town.

Famous for fossils means that Lyme Regis has a plethora of fossil shops.  With the Baguettes new found interest in the palaeontological it was welcome attraction, especially considering it had a life-size replica Tyrannosaurus Rex skull in the window.  Time spent in the fossil shop gave Nanny and Mommy time to have a look around a couple of other shops.

I had to nearly physically drag them out of the shop (it was a good job they had already spent their pocket money for this trip otherwise I think we would have been in there for hours while they tried to work out what prehistoric paraphernalia they wanted to purchase) when Nanny and Mommy arrived.  It was the lure of an ice-cream – what do you mean it is the end of October, we are on holiday by the seaside and we are English, therefore we can definitely have an ice cream, regardless of the weather – that finally convinced them to leave.

We said goodbye to Lyme Regis, but not for the last time this year – more on that later – and headed back to Berwick Manor.  The Wednesday evening meal was also a celebration of all the ‘big’ birthdays that the greater Badger clan have celebrated during 2016.  I won’t embarrass anyone by naming and shaming, suffice to say that the total of these ”big’ birthdays was 415 and that was the number in candles – not 415 candles I hasten to add, that would be a serious fire risk, just a ‘4’ a ‘1’ and a ‘5’ candle respectively –  that adorned the joint birthday cake that was the evening’s desert (along with jelly and ice cream and selection of other sweets).

Party hats were worn and party poppers fired and after the meal it was time for PieFace.  If you are unaware of the game a mechanical arm will plant a cream (squirty cream) ‘pie’ in your face after a ‘random’ number of turns of the handle.  You roll a die to see how many turns of the handle you have to perform.  The larger the number on the dice, the more turns of the handle and thus the more chance that you will be ‘pied’.  That is the theory anyway.  The Baguettes were in bed and so missed out on the fun, but everyone else, except (strangely) the youngest members of the greater Badger clan (Baguettes notwithstanding, being asleep is a good excuse) took part delighting in the misfortune of others.

As you may recall we paid Auntie Margaret and Uncle Ray a visit on Tuesday.  We mentioned that we drove through Abbotsbury and along the coast road and Auntie Margaret mentioned that the Enchanted Illuminations at the Subtropical Gardens were well worth a visit.  Without a plan for Thursday we decided that could be somewhere to take the Baguettes.  Therefore on the return journey from Auntie Margaret’s we stopped in to the Subtropical Gardens to inquire.  It is always difficult to tell from leaflets but it looked promising and with a discount for online bookings and with the temptation of the passport ticket which gives you entrance to the other tourist attractions of Abbotsbury (The Swannery and the Children’s Farm) we headed home to book up via the internet.

Thursday was thus planned:  Swannery then the Children’s farm, back home for tea before taking Uncle Michael, Auntie Cristina and cousins Lauren and Maddie to Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens for the Halloween Enchanted Illuminations.

The only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world has its origins in the Benedictine monastery of Abbotsbury.  The monks farmed the swans for the tables of the local barons until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII when the land (and the swannery) were bought by Sir Guy Strangways and it remains under the stewardship of his descendants today.

Abbotsbury Swannery is the probably the idea of a nightmare for Lucinda.  Over 650 swans, or, as Lucinda refers to them, mean peaking beasts that can break your arm (and according to the warden who had spent 36 years at the Swannery it has happened at the Swannery – once!  Once in 36 years!  Nevertheless it did happen).  So, it was very brave of her to visit the swannery bay at the Western edge of the Fleet, the lagoon that was formed when Chesil beach formed (and geeky stat:  It is the largest lagoon in Europe).

We arrived just before feeding time so we headed towards the feeding area, only being mildly distracted by the pedal go-karts along the way.  The Baguettes were very brave and entered the feeding area with Daddy to feed the swans.  Mute swans are big birds – indeed one of the largest flying birds in the world and must look even bigger to the Baguettes, Ezra especially.  However, they were all very brave and took turns throwing the feed into the Fleet for the birds.  Seeing the bravery in her offspring gave Lucinda the impetus to come into the feeding area and join us feeding the waterfowl.

Both Éowyn and Amélie had lots of questions for the warden, including tricky ones like: ‘Why are they called ‘mute’ swans?‘ (No real answer as they do make sounds – they are just not renown for a call like Trumpeter or Whooper Swans). ‘How do you tell the difference between male and female swans?‘ (The males tend to be a bit bigger but a large female and a small male would be about the same size; but the key is the ‘knob’ – the ‘pea’ – on top of the bill is bigger in males than females).

After a quick tour of the maze, another go on the pedal go-karts and a quick tour of the play area we stayed at the Swannery for lunch.  Conscious that we were running out of day, we walked up the lane towards the Children’s Farm.  Again, the Children’s Farm sits within the grounds of the original Benedictine Monastery that was dissolved in 1539.  Indeed, the Tithe Barn that sits in the centre of the Children’s farm was built by the monks in 1390.  The farm has all the usual suspects and was decorated with a Halloween theme for the half-term.  We could have spent many hours around the farm. but with the excitement at the Swannery and with half an eye on the evening’s plans we didn’t spend that long at the farm.  It was long enough, however, for Éowyn and Amélie to have a pony ride each and for Ezra to be completely freaked out by some of the Halloween decorations, especially the full sized skeleton.  I think it was the false eyes that had been placed in the skull that freaked him out the most.

So we returned to the car and headed back to Berwick Manor to grab something quick to eat.  Reading the literature regarding the Halloween Enchanted Illuminations leaflet from the Subtropical Gardens it seemed to encourage dressing up in appropriate Halloween costumes.  Ezra didn’t need too much encouragement to dig out his dragon costume for the second time that week.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t brought any Halloween costumes for the girls and it really wasn’t the weather to wear Hawaiian costumes.  That was when Maddie and Ella came to the rescue.  Using eyeliner they made Amélie into a cat (at her request) and Éowyn into a spider queen replete with cobwebs and spiders across her face.  You can see the results in the photos below and now, at least, they had made a bit of an effort to go to the evening with a form of costume.

When we got to the Gardens we realised that we were severely underdressed.  Most people had gone to some serious effort to come to the Garden in full regalia, we will not make the same mistake next year! Thankfully the make up was a little nod to a costume, although Éowyn was rocking the festival chick look with wellies, leggings, skirt and hoodie rather than a Halloween costume.  With our pre-booked tickets we bypassed the queues and passed through into the fun.  There were plenty of things to do throughout the gardens.  The first stop was the ‘bug tent’ where you get up close to stick insects, tarantulas, lizards and snakes.  The tent was quite packed with eager children wanting to hold the creepy crawlies, Éowyn and Ezra were the exception, they were not interested in holding any of the animals (although Ezra did like the lizards), Amélie however was first in the queue to hold a stick insect.  This then gave Auntie Cristina the courage to hold the stick insect too.

Next to the bug tent was the disco tent.  This held more interest for Éowyn and her older cousins Lauren and Maddie.  While the girls (Amélie joined them too) danced to the tunes, the adults (and Ezra) queued up for the ghost train that was the next attraction in the gardens.  The queue was enormous and it probably took thirty minutes to reach the front despite the fact that the ride itself only lasted 30 seconds.

There was no way we were going to let Ezra go on the ghost train, especially since he is freaked out by masks and he had been completely freaked out by the skeleton (with eyeballs) earlier in the day.  However, both girls were trying to be brave and saying that they would go on the ride.  It was decided that Amélie would go on with Mommy while Éowyn would go on with Daddy.  Lucinda and Amélie bravely took the first carriage and Éowyn and I sat in the one behind (only one carriage went into the ghost train at a time).

However, as Amélie and Mommy’s carriage edged closer to the entrance to the ghost train, Amélie lost her nerve and left the carriage to stand with Uncle Michael and her place was taken by Maddie.  This unnerved Éowyn but some reassuring words from Daddy and she was fine and then Mommy and Maddie’s carriage disappeared through the doors to the ghost train.  Unfortunately my hard work in reassuring Éowyn was destroyed by the sound of screaming from Mommy and Maddie as the doors to the ghost train closed.  There was no time now for Éowyn to get out of the carriage and the carriage lurched forward she became really scared so i told her to close her eyes and hold Daddy and she would be fine.

The usual dummies dressed as vampires and zombies were there with false cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, while at the same time you were being disoriented by the twists and turns in the rail track and the flashing lights (fortunately we do not suffer from photosensitive epilepsy).  Bravely Éowyn opened her eyes only for the real scares to happen and there were two people in there who jumped out on you as the carriage wheeled around the track.  The choice of costume of one of the ‘actors’ was perhaps a little insensitive considering the contemporary media reports but I suppose they had already ordered their ‘Killer Clown’ costume before the furore of the proliferation of such reports this year.

Understandably Éowyn was a little shocked as she got off the train, but when she realised that it freaked Mommy and Maddie out and that Lauren had hidden in the carriage as she went round with Auntie Cristina then she felt a little better about herself and it was soon forgotten as we continued to explore the gardens.  After the excitement it was quite nice to amble around the gardens illuminated by a spectrum of coloured lamps.  There were various characters dressed up standing in specific areas to add to the atmosphere:  witches giving out sweets (shades of Hansel and Gretel?), Zombies and Skeletal Queens to name a few.  As we walked out onto a grassy knoll (no J.F.K. here) there were a couple of ‘fire acrobats’.  Their show was very impressive with fire juggling, fire eating, fire breathing and general pyrotechnic pranks.

We continued around the park enjoying the walk and the illuminated vegetation until the final stretch before the exit.  The final 100 yards or so of the path was a gauntlet of Halloween style japes with people jumping out, people rattling bushes and dropping Halloween related items from the trees (on ropes so there was no actual danger of being hurt – apart from coronary related issues).  I carried Ezra through the Halloween run and for the most part he nestled his head in my shoulder, hugging me tight with his eyes closed.  However, he still seemed to enjoy it and wasn’t traumatized as we exited the Gardens.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Halloween evening and will definitely be going back next year, this time with a costume to feel a fully paid up member of the evening and I think we have convinced other members of the greater Badger clan that it was worth the money and a good night out.

That was our last evening for the Badger Moot 2016 and Friday morning we headed home.  However, we decided to head in the wrong direction for a quick visit to Lyme Regis to say another good-bye to our favourite place and have a spot of lunch before heading back to Staines Upon Thames.

Normally I would end the Badger Moot write up there, but I thought you may appreciate the following.  The journey back was a slog.  It took over 4 hours (nearly twice the time it took to get there) to get back.  Indeed, it took 2.5 hours to get to the bottom of the M3.  Now usually we would be nearly home and Ezra must have an innate timing in his being because it was at this point he asked whether we were nearly home.  I looked at the Satnav and it was displaying an ETA of an additional 2 hours, so I told Ezra that it would be another 2 hours. ‘You’re kidding me!  Right?‘ was his reply.  It was a good job that I was in stationary traffic.  I have no clue whether he understood either what he said or how long two hours are but it did make us laugh.

I think I have bored you enough so your reward is another crop of photos from the holiday.  There are plenty more on the Flickr pages so please feel free to pop by there if the 33 below has whetted your appetite.

Peace and Love

Baggie

It has turned a bit cold

You may have had to wait for over a fortnight for the first update of 2016, and that was more of a reflection of 2015, a little more than a week later you get, this, the first proper update of the year.

The update begins on the last day of 2015.  At Granddad’s funeral we meet up with Lucinda’s cousin Joanne. It was the first time that I had met Joanne and, it goes without saying that she had not met Éowyn, Amélie or Ezra and so we decided to make amends and made a promise to meet up.  There is something about funerals that makes you appreciate life and one quite often makes promises to meet up, or take life less seriously or focus on the things that make you happy.  I think we all start off with good intents before life, once more, gets in the way and we fall back to our old ways and habitual behaviours.  However, sometimes, something sticks and we follow through.  So it was with a visit to cousin Joanne.  She had initially invited us to her house to go for a walk and take advantage of the communal swimming pool in her complex sometime between Christmas and New Year.  She called just before Christmas to confirm a date and we decided upon New Year’s Eve; the invite was open to the whole family.  Therefore, on New Year’s Eve the Bagnalls and Nanny headed to just outside of Godalming to do just that.  Uncle Michael was away in Spain, so did not join us but Uncle Steven, Auntie Zoe and Megan and Finley met us there.

We took advantage of the 55 acres and the dry weather and went for a walk around the woodland surrounding her complex.  There was plenty of chopped wood that caught my wood-burning eye but unfortunately due to the extremely muddy ground Ezra’s pushchair could not be used a wood-carrier and it had, unfortunately, to be left on the ground to rot.  After the muddy stroll it was time to relax in the swimming pool (and by the swimming pool for those who didn’t take a dip) before heading back to Joanne’s flat for a spot of dinner.  A very sedate but enjoyable way to spend New Year Eve’s day.

There were no mad New Year’s Eve parties for the Bagnalls which meant that when the Baguettes woke early on New Year’s Day although slightly annoying they were not greeted by hungover grunts. As we were awake, we greeted the new year with a full English breakfast before heading to Bedfont Lakes with Nanny for a New Year stroll.

Indeed, taking advantage of Daddy having work-free weekends, weekend strolls have become the norm for 2016.  Our usual haunt, however is Virginia Water, with our annual car park pass allowing us free entry into the Royal car parks.  One of these Sunday strolls saw our N.C.T. group meet up for the first time in over a year.  One of the reasons that we decided to do N.C.T. classes when Lucinda was pregnant with Éowyn was to meet people in the same situation, expecting their first child at a similar time, so that we had a support group.  We were very lucky and amazingly six of the eight couples are still in regular contact and we now only live 4 doors away from one of the group.

Unfortunately, as with most things, life tends to get in the way and we do not meet up as a big group as often as we once did, especially now that the children have school friends of their own (although Éowyn, Billy and Blake are at the same school and indeed Éowyn and Blake are in the same class).  What was interesting was that the kids, even though they have made their own friends, still see the others from the group as their ‘true‘ friends, perhaps somewhere between a relative and a friend.  It will be interesting to see if this continues as they grow older.

Although true when I first sat down to write this update and not quite so now, we have had (at least in this corner of the world) a week’s worth of winter.  The overnight temperatures dropped below freezing and we even woke on a Sunday morning to snow.  Not enough to call a blanket, not even a sheet; I think the correct term is a dusting.  Nevertheless this is the first time since we moved to our current home that it has snowed, and the first time that Ezra had seen snow.

The Baguettes woke up excited and asked Anna-like, ‘Can we build a snowman?‘  Unfortunately the dusting wasn’t even enough to make a snowball in our garden, so once again we climbing into the trusted S-Max and headed to Virginia Water.  Again there wasn’t a huge amount of snow but the snow still lingered in the shaded areas and they ran around excitedly.  Snowball fights and sliding on the slippery surface helped them to ignore the sub-freezing temperatures and we spent over an hour taking advantage of this excitement.

The other side of the cold weather was that it gave me an excuse (as if I need to have an excuse) to light the wood stove.  I have developed my technique for lighting a fire and when it is at optimum burn the heat it gives off is amazing.  It easily warms our lounge and the rest of the house also feels the benefit of a roaring fire.  It is interesting to think that lighting a fire is easy and we do it without thinking but when you are doing it everyday you notice the science of fire-lighting.  The fuel (down to different types of wood and how dry it is) all affect the quality of the fire.  I have even had the unfortunate effect known as a downdraft.  This was caused by atmospheric/ wind direction over our flue.  This meant that the fire struggled to light and the smoke decided that the easiest route wasn’t via the flue but into the room and we were quickly coughing with the smokey atmosphere.  A quick google and  warming the stove with some flaming paper soon warmed the flue itself and begun to draw the smoke back up and into the atmosphere.

Toffee and Frazzle (the guinea pigs) are settling into Bagnall Manor and becoming more comfortable with the attention that they are getting.  They still run and hide if they think you re going to open the cage but are quite happy to squeak to you if you just sit and talk to them.  Once you have taken them out of their cage they are quite relaxed and will sit happily on your lap.  The girls (and Lucinda) are becoming much more confident holding them, although it is still Daddy that has to take them out of the cage.  The girls and Ezra are still very much engaged with their first pets and not only want to hold them most days but help with cleaning of the cage.  Indeed they fight over who is going to clean what and how much.  They enjoy the engagement with the guinea pigs’ home and they know that when we clean the guinea pigs out then before we put them back into their newly cleaned home we get to handle them.  Hopefully this level of engagement will carry on.

I will leave you now with the first set of photos from 2016, mainly from our various walks in Virginia Water, perhaps we need to go elsewhere before the next write up.

Peace and Love

Baggie

 

That was the Christmas that was

Trust that you all had a fantastic Christmas and Santa brought you all the presents that you deserve.  He was very generous with the Bagnall household this year and despite rumours to the contrary the Baguettes must have been on the ‘nice’ list.  As tradition dictates this will be the last update of 2015; the next update will be early in the new year when I will reflect on the year but here I will update you on the events of the Bagnall household over the yuletide.

Both girls broke up from school the Friday before Christmas, which means that they will be off school for just over a fortnight.  Fortunately my new shift pattern meant that although I was working the weekend before Christmas (the tail-end of a seven-day stint) I was off for the three days leading up to Christmas and could spend some time with them (and Ezra) at the start of their holiday.

Monday saw our fireplace, or more accurately our multi-fuel stove, finally installed and although it is the warmest December on record, in the South-East of the UK at least, wood needed to be burnt.  It has taken me a few goes to begin to perfect the technique to obtain a really hot fire, and I still think that there is a lot to learn.  My early mistake was that I was a little too eager to get the logs on the fire, as soon as the kindling was aflame I was piling the wood in.  Thus the stove was never reaching the optimum temperature before being asked to work.  There is still a lot to learn though, something that I am looking forward to.

Tuesday was the first day off as a family and I took this opportunity to take Éowyn to the local cinema to see Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, while Lucinda stayed at home with Amélie and Ezra.  I was seven when Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released so I thought it was high time to introduce my eldest to the Star Wars universe.  Éowyn hasn’t seen any of the other films (something that will be rectified over the next few weeks) unlike her friend Blake who, along with his father, accompanied us to the first showing of the day.

Unfortunately, we could not get 4 tickets in a row, so we had 3 in one row and 1 just in front, therefore Martin sat with the children, while I saw on my lonesome.  Even in my excitement of watching a Star Wars film at the cinema, I was conscious of my little girl in the row behind and kept turning round and making sure she was fine.  About half way through the film she tapped me on the shoulder because she wanted to go the toilet, so we headed out of the auditorium.  I took the opportunity to ask her what she thought of the film.  She said that she was enjoying it but was a little scared in places.  This as such didn’t worry me too much as I think that is the beauty of film, that it takes you on an emotional journey, however the next sentence broke my heart.  She said that she had noticed that when Blake was scared he had his daddy’s hand to hold but when she was scared she had nobody’s hand to hold.

Therefore when we returned to the auditorium I told her to sit on my knee to watch the remainder of the film.  As we sat there watching the conclusion of the film my hand was holding her side and chest and I could feel her heart beating at ten to the dozen with the excitement of the final scenes.  Father and daughter bonding over a film.

This isn’t really a forum for my report on the film but suffice to say that I enjoyed it but was disappointed.  That sounds oxymoronic but Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope – as it was retrospectively christened) took Hollywood in a new direction and kicked off the summer blockbuster (in tracks laid by Jaws a couple of years before).  It was a nod to 1930’s serials such as Flash Gordon, it took inspiration from Akira Kurosawa (especially The Hidden Fortress), mixed in 1950’s Westerns and a dash of World War II movies and captured a generation of children’s imaginations.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on the other hand is trying to be Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, it is not trying to be anything new; it has no story of its own.  That is slightly unfair as it is part of the continuing Star Wars story however, for me, it is a scene by scene remake and brings nothing new to either the Star Wars universe or Hollywood in general.  It was Disney playing safe trying not to damage the franchise with its first film especially since it has paid $4 billion for the rights.  It will do well at the Box Office; it is an enjoyable romp and to be honest I think it is a good film and I will see it again, and I am looking forward to the ‘Director’s Cut’, but is it a great film?  Will it be anyone’s favourite film?  Does it do anything that no other film does?  Unfortunately not.  That is why despite my childhood enthusiasm for the film and for all it stands for it is a disappointment.

We left the cinema with Éowyn asking lots of questions (some I could answer, some I couldn’t – the films haven’t been written yet!) and a promise that we will sit down and watch the remaining canon.  We had a list of things to pick up while in Staines town centre, so after grabbing something quick to eat we battled the Christmas shoppers and headed home.

In November we had offered to cook Christmas dinner for both of our families.  That is Lucinda’s Mom, brothers and their families and my Mom and my sisters.  With Granddad’s passing in October it only seemed right and fitting that we spent Christmas together as a family.  It wasn’t right, however to burden Nanny with the entertainment (even if we, as the next generation cooked the actual meal) so the logical place was our house.  Our lounge/dining room is big enough, with a rearrangement of the furniture to comfortably seat 17, even if the kitchen isn’t quite equipped to cook for that many.  However as we stood on Tuesday afternoon, 72 hours before that meal the house was not in any fit state to welcome Christmas visitors.

The lounge had been emptied to allow the workmen to work on the fireplace and so all the furniture was piled to one side of the dining room.  There was also a layer of dust coating many of the surfaces in the house.  So after returning from the cinema we set about rearranging the furniture and getting ready for the family.

Christmas Eve saw the arrival of Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz, Auntie Mary and Toffee and Frazzle.  The house was ready for Christmas and the fire was on.  Toffee and Frazzle were introduced to their new home (although the girls did not know that we were going to keep them at this point) and we settled down for the evening.  We were all sitting around chatting and watching Christmas telly that we completely forgot to go out into the garden to look for Santa’s International Space Sleigh.

Christmas morning we were expecting to be woken at oh, my gosh it’s early, O’clock.  However that was not to be.  Éowyn and Amélie didn’t wake until 0730 while Ezra was still asleep at 0800! How lucky were we?  Indeed we were downstairs when Ezra woke up and I asked him whether Santa had been and left anything in his room.  His little face dropped and he shook his head.  ‘Are you sure?‘  I inquired (I did have some insider information), ‘Shall we have a look?‘  His face lit up when he saw he big sack of presents and we took it downstairs to join the girls in the big opening.

Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz and Auntie Mary must have also been good girls as Santa had left them a little stocking of presents too.  They certainly were good girls helping us prepare the table and more importantly preparing the mountains of veg for Christmas dinner.

Amazingly, Christmas dinner for 17 went fairly smoothly.  We were planning to sit down and eat at 1500 and we started serving at 1503!  There was a mountain of food left over (that kept us going for days afterwards) and we needed a little bit of a tactical break before tackling the desserts.  Auntie Zoe provided the desserts (with help from Uncle Steven) but as Christmas Day is also her birthday we had a surprise for her.  Instead of bringing in the Christmas Pud alight, we turned the lights out to bring in a birthday cake replete with 4 lit candles.  Apparently, it was only about the third birthday cake she has ever had.

I was back at work on Boxing Day (it is one of the busiest football days!) and Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz and Auntie Mary headed up to West Bromwich, leaving Lucinda and the Baguettes in the house with ridiculous amounts of cardboard and piles of toys.

There was a gap in the fixtures on the following day so it was time to introduce the Baguettes to one of the big responsibilities of pet ownership – cleaning out the cage.  Not sure how long this enthusiasm will last but they all helped cleaning the cage and their house while I disposed of the waste products.  It was a good excuse for another cuddle with the guinea pigs before putting them back into their clean cage for them to mess up and throw their food all over the floor.  I have been teaching the Baguettes that when you approach the guinea pig cage to talk to them softly and walk slowly to the cage so that they know you are coming at it is not a big surprise.  That way they will be less scared (guinea pigs are always scared) and hopefully they will not run and hide as you get there.  We have a long way to go until his guinea pig etiquette is fully established and a long way to go until the guinea pigs are fully trusting, especially of the smaller members of the household, but while the enthusiasm is still there, then we will encourage their interest and hopefully Toffee and Frazzle will begin to trust us more and not be quite as nervous around the kids.

I have a couple of days off around the New Year before football kicks off again on the second of January.  So by the time the girls go back to school I will not have spent too much time with the baguettes, which is a shame but will have had Christmas and New Year off and Lucinda has had the entire time off which would have been an impossibility if she was still at the airport!

I will leave you now but not before I wish you all a very Happy New Year and see you all in 2016!

Peace and Love

Baggie

PS For those of you that enjoy geeky stats click here for a summary of baggieandlucy.com for 2015.