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