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


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!


School’s out for Summer

A second write up in a week.  When I get the opportunity I am a fast worker!  The reason for this second write up is due the fact that last weekend I had managed to secure an extra long weekend off work and as this will be the last chance for an extended break from work until at least September (the joys of working for a sports-orientated television company!) so we squeezed in a number of trips.  Unfortunately the weather had not improved and so raincoats and wellies were still the order of the day.

The week started with an unpleasant trip to the doctors.  Éowyn needed her last set of pre-school inoculations.  As we did not know how she was going to react and the fact that she is a Daddy’s girl we decided that I would take her.  We prepared her for the experience as best as we could and promised her a present if she was a brave girl.  Last Tuesday I took her into the nurse’s office and Éowyn walked in all bubbly and chatty, talking to the nurse.  Even though we had prepared her the best that we could I still think that she did not know what was going to happen.  She sat on my lap and the nurse gave her the first injection.  It was think she realised it was going to hurt.  Quickly before the shock could kick in, I turned her around and the nurse gave her the second.  Unfortunately, she tensed up and tried to move her arm which meant that it hurt more and bruised quite badly.  However, all was now over although that didn’t stop her becoming apoplectic for a couple of minutes.  Even stickers from the nurse didn’t help but she did talk to the nurse afterwards and even thanked her and amazingly all was forgotten by the time we got home and as soon as she saw her Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Magical Playset then nothing mattered.  So she was a brave little soldier and deserved her present.

As I was off from Thursday to Tuesday we took full advantage and Thursday morning saw us heading down the M3 towards Peppa Pig World.  As regular readers will know this isn’t the first time we have been to Peppa Pig World but as Peppa Pig is now Amélie’s favourite television programme as much as Éowyn’s, and now Amélie is more self aware it was fun to see her reaction to the park, especially to the characters dressed as Peppa and George.  We managed to miss most of the wet weather although, as is the norm for this summer, the rain did begin just after lunch and so by 1400 we decided to head back home with two tired little girls.

Friday was the last day of Éowyn’s schoool year and as tradition dictates this was the time of end of year school concert.  Armed with video camera as well as the more usual stills camera we were actually more impressed with the children on Friday than at the Christmas concert at the end of Winter term.  Éowyn sung loudly and enthusiastically ans seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself.  However we were disturbed to see just how many of Éowyn’s friends will be leaving for their first year at school proper.  Éowyn has another year and not only will she be one of the oldest in her year she will also tower above the others in the class, we will have to be very conscious of this advantage of physicality and she will need to learn to deal with this herself with our (and the teacher’s) help.

Since the concert ended at 1030 the rest of the day was ours, so we decided to take the girls to London.  As mentioned many times before we have Merlin passes, and one of the many attractions that one can use them on is the London Eye.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in London, the weather has turned cloudy and it was nearly lunchtime.  Rather than queueing up (the queue was quite large) we decided to grab some lunch.  The Merlin pass also gives you a discount of 20% on food at all the attractions and in the Rainforest Café.  So rather than taking the girls to the usual haunts we walked across Hungerford Bridge (from Waterloo train station), skirted along the side of Trafalgar Square through Leicester Square to Shaftesbury Avenue and the Rainforest Café.  The Rainforest Café lives up to its name with a jungle theme throughout the seating area and animatronic animals hiding in the bushes. Unfortunately the girls got a little freaked by the thunderstorm sound effects.  The irony of seeking shelter from the rain in the Rainforest Café was not lost upon us either.

Leaving the Rainforest Café we retraced our steps to the South Bank (of the River Thames) and the London Eye.  However the queue was now even longer and both girls were tired.  The weather was turning even worse and with the low cloud it would not be a good view from the Eye so we decided that we would simply return to Waterloo and catch the train back to Staines (Upon Thames – as it should now be called).  So it was a little unsuccessful as a trip, effectively we headed into London to have lunch and returned slightly soggy.  Still it was an adventure!

We spent most of the rest of the weekend in and around home.  I caught up with my friend Sanjiv who was over from India for 4 days (yes 4 days!) and his children.  It was good to see him but far too short a time although the India meal that we had was delicious.  Lucinda was working early on the Sunday so the girls and I stayed at home.  However it did give me some Daddy and daughter time with both of the girls.  the spectre of a busy August/September is looming so weekends like this are precious.  Éowyn is growing into a little girl (definitely leaving the toddler days behind her) and Amélie is aping her sister in so many ways (not all of them good).

An example of the above would be from Monday.  We decided to head to our local Toby Carvery for our evening meal.  En route we passed my friend’s (and one of my Best men) house and so phoned to ask if he wanted to join us, which he duly did.  We enjoyed our repast and were saying our goodbyes in the carpark (as the girls splashed in the puddles – the new summer sport!) Andy turned to return to his car.  I was buckling Éowyn into her car seat and said ‘Say goodbye to Andy.‘  Éowyn turned to a departing Andy and shouted out ‘Bye, bye Mr Poo-Poo Pants!‘ Have no idea where that came from and it is a phrase that she has not used before but it was such a shock that I didn’t hide my smirk.  Sensing this it encouraged her to say it again and turn to Amélie, ‘Say Poo-Poo Pants.‘  Which Amélie duly repeated.  Obviously it is something that we do not want to encourage but it is difficult to tell her off when you are trying to surpress a laugh!

All of us have managed to avoid the current crop of summer colds but poor Amélie has been suffering.  She had obviously eaten some milk protein and from her reaction over the last couple of days it is obvious that she still has her Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance, so no challenging for a little while methinks!

The 2012 Summer Olympics are nearly upon us and apparently the weather is going to improve dramatically (at least for the South East of England) in the next week and we may even see 30°C.  The Olympic lanes are coming into operation and I am not looking forward to the traffic chaos this will cause, fortunately the amount of traffic will drop as the schools are on holiday.

Before the Olympics begin though British sport has another hero to be proud of.  Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour De France and amazingly fellow Londoner Chris Froome finished second and to complete the perfect end to the competition Mark Cavendish claimed his fourth final stage victory.  This took Mark Cavendish to the grand total of 23 stage wins past Lance Armstrong’s total of 22 into fifth place in the hall of fame a truly remarkable Tour for the British team.

It is amazing to think that 7 years ago it was confirmed that London was to host the Olympic games and now it is less than 7 days away it will be Christmas before you know it!  well actually if you are worried about your Christmas shopping you can already make a start as the Harrods’ Christmas shop is now open.

Peace and Love





A rainy Bank Holiday May Day

So after the wettest April in recorded history the drought continues and May doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement.  Indeed with the May Bank holiday looming we are living with the threat of ground frosts killing our spring plants.  Glad the Met Office predicted it all (not!) but at least they have updated their prediction for the next few months (apparently there is a great than average uncertainity, i.e. we don’t know!).

Work is still gearing up for its busiest period for me, the conclusion to all the football seasons and the inevitable last day of the season shenanigans.  Hence the lack of exciting trips and a dearth of photos to delight you with this time, hopefully as my busiest period comes to an end I can begin to spend a little more time with the family.

Work was in the way of seeing Nanny Fran for her birthday but not so the following weekend.  So although Lucinda was working until the afternoon the house was full of travelling Bagnalls, as Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz made their way down from West Bromwich and Auntie Mary across county from Woking.  Éowyn is always exciting when Nanny Fran and her Aunties visit and this was no exception.  She even tidied her toys away before they came.  I think as soon as Amélie comprehends the notion that people can plan a visit, (i.e. grasp the idea of the future) then she, too, will get over-excited at the proposal of a visit from Nanny Fran.  With Nanny Fran retiring at the end of the year then it is quite possible that those visitis will become more frequent.

Éowyn entertained her elder relatives with Amélie as support act.  Éowyn even let Auntie Liz plait her hair, something that she will not let Mommy or Daddy do, but it is Auntie Liz!  They also cheated Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz at snakes and ladders,  you have to watch them!

Amélie is going through one of those rapid learning phases.  A couple of weeks ago it seems that her vocabulary was limited to the usual half a dozen or so words, but that is rapidly increasing and it probably will not be long before she is constructing complex sentences, ‘Mater, pray tell your opinion on Boris Johnson retaining the Mayorship of London?‘  Perhaps not that complex.  The current favourite sentence (if you can call it that) is ‘Dad, dad, dad, dad: look!‘  Which is usually followed by her taking a large bite out of what ever she is eating and making a real show of finishing her mouthful. 

She has also begun to enjoy playing with Éowyn, not that Éowyn appreciated it all the time!  Although one game that they both enjoy playing is hide and seek.  Although Amélie’s notion of hiding is to stand by the wall and close her eyes and giggle when you find her.  When it is her turn to hide, she will stand there counting up to 10 (more of a long continuous word onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten than what strictly could be called counting) but with her hands over her mouth rather than over her eyes.  She then runs around giggling while trying to catch you.  She is very good at hide and seek, for an nineteen month old.

Amélie is also very good at eating her food and it is rare that she refuses food or doesn’t finish her meals – unlike her big sister at the moment.  We have been introducing her to the Alpro Soya Milk for Toddlers, mainly with her breakfast.  She doesn’t seem overkeen but neither is she rejecting it out of hand.  It is to be expected and the nutritionist has told us that even if she grows out of her Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance the chances are that she will never be that keen on milk or dairy products.  We just have to ensure that she gets her required calcium from other foods.

Éowyn is back at pre-school and seems to be enjoying herself.  We think she is really going to miss her friends at the start of next term when many of them going up into the infant school, while she has to wait another year.  One can understand why there is a cut off date but surely a staggered start to school would be better, Éowyn is only 6 weeks younger than some of the children that will be going to infant school in September and is equally on a par in terms of development to most (if not all) of the children that will be leaving.  We fear that there will be more displays of naughty behaviour as she will be bored and not challenged, however on the other hand it might do her good for I think she is part of a little gang.  Not that we think that she is being influenced by them, indeed on the contrary it wouldn’t surprise me that she is the ringleader and at the very least there is a lot of mutual influencing.  So breaking that little clique may be a very good thing.  We shall see.

She thoroughly enjoys herself there and I asked her the other days what is her favourite thing that she does at school.  ‘Dressing up,‘ she replied.  So what do you like dressing up as then I inquired. ‘A Unicorn,‘ came the surprising reply.  Although given her name maybe not that surprising.

I will leave you now to shelter from the May cold and perhaps leave you with a timely reminder of the old English proverb: ‘Cast ne’er a clout ’til May be out.’

Peace and Love