Welcome to 2013

So as we sit Janus-like at the start of his month I will take the opportunity to review 2012 and attempt a prediction of what is to happen over the next 12 months.

So firstly what did we learn in 2012, the year that the Olympics came to London and Britain became really good at sport (except Football)?  The World didn’t end; we didn’t fall over a fiscal cliff and the best way of guaranteeing the wettest year on record is to issue a hose-pipe ban in March.  From a Bagnall-centric point of view we discovered the joys of all-inclusive holidays and the holiday island of Tenerife.  Éowyn had been asking to go on a ‘plane again throughout 2011 and Amélie had not had the joy.  We, obviously wanted a family holiday that was easy and would be rain-free and therefore would be relaxing for us too and so we opted for all-inclusive (eliminates the worry of finding child-friendly meals).  Tenerife seemed to be a good bet for weather and had the attaction of Loro Parque as well as being the third largest volcano in the world.  Both girls were extremely well-behaved throughout the holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘plane ride, the food and the pools.  Éowyn discovered her burgeoning love of photography (behind the lens, she has fallen out of love with being the object of the photo) and the horrors of a camel ride while Amélie was content to take the experience in her stride.

Éowyn also discovered the joys of the cinema.  She has been a film fan for a long time but going to the cinema is very different, especially when you are three years old.  Her first film was The Muppets and she thoroughly enjoyed it, so I bought the soundtrack (on CD – I am still 20th Century when it comes to music) and it hasn’t been out of my car stereo since.  Both of the girls request the album before I am even in the car and they know all the words to all the songs.  The film therefore had to be bought (on Blu-Ray) and has been watched a number of times.  It is a good job that I am a big Muppets fan and I think that it is something that the youth of today have definitely missed out on and I can not wait for the sequel.

The biggest lesson from 2012 however was all about the preciousness and fragility of life.  The beginning of the year saw the passing of a number of friends and family members and without wishing to put one life over another possibly the most significant to me were my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Roy and my Nan’s brother, my Great Uncle Albert.  And although we are sad at their passing the circle of life continues and in June we were delighted to find out that Lucinda had fallen pregnant for the third time.  However our joy was somewhat tempered by the blood results at the 12 week scan, which indicated a high risk of chromosomal abnormalities. Both being of the mind that we needed to know we opted for Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) to know for certain.  Fortune looked upon us and the results came back that we were expecting a healthy baby boy.  Both of us feel that this now makes our little family complete.

Then in early October a second reminder was sent our way with Lucinda suffering from Appendicitis.  She has put the initial pains down to pregnancy twinges but as the day continued the pain got worse.  A trip to A&E confirmed the worse and Lucinda was rushed into theatre for an appendectomy.  It was a close thing with the swollen appendix about to burst (it was already weeping) but she is now fully recovered (apart from a small scar) and it is but a memory and we will not dwell on the statistics regarding pregnant women, unborn children and burst appendicies.

And to end the year Nanny Fran has retired; therefore it is our mission to keep her as busy as possible and with 3 grandchildren she will not have time to put her feet up.  As both Lucinda and I came from three child families and so for us it seems quite natural to have three children.  However in the modern world that doesn’t seem to be the norm.  Indeed, holidays, family tickets and even cars do not seem to have been created with three children in mind.  The biggest of those problems is the fact that modern cars have not been made wide enough to fit three car seats across.  When we were growing up that wasn’t a problem as there were no car seats.  Indeed there were no rear seat belts!  However the modern age dictates that a child should be in a child’s car seat (which it right and proper) however to fit three car seats into a car one has to opt for the seven seater, the MPV.  At least should we opt for the Ford S-Max (which is our current favourite) then we can take Nanny Fran with us on our excursions!

It seems a bit of a moot question to inquire as to what we are looking forward to in 2013.  A new car, a new house (if we can possibly find what we are looking for in our price range) or a change in work premises (yes, after 10 years in the current building we are moving from the surburban idyll that is Chiswick to the leafy business park that is Stockley Park)?

Obviously these are all totally eclipsed by the fact that we are expecting our third child and it is to be a son.  With two kids already under our belt we are not entirely newbies to this parenting business but they have been girls.  By all accounts the leap from two to three is not as big as either the jump from one to two or indeed zero to one but as Éowyn and Amélie have taught us, no two children are the same.  Indeed Éowyn and Amélie are like chalk and cheese in some respects.  So where will the latest edition sit?  Or will he take the Bagnall children into a third direction.  Whatever, as long as the little one is healthy, it will be a fun journey and give me even more reason to update you all via this medium (and, more likely, yet another reason why I will not have time to) and to fill the servers of this corner of the internet with more photos of the growing family.

It will also be a momentous year for our other children.  Not only will they have to cope with another child vying for their parents’ (and grandparents’) attention and eventually playing with their toys and upsetting their games but they will have to move in together so that their little brother can have his own room.  At the moment Éowyn and Amélie have separate bedrooms but as we live in a three bedroom house the sisters will have to move in together.  Eventually they will be in the bunk beds that we have bought but until Amélie is a little older we will just move their current beds into the same room.  Therefore there will be a whole learning curve of compromise that they will have to go through.

In addition, Éowyn will be going to school.  Not pre-school, but actual full time education.  We are obviously anxious that we have chosen the right school and that she will enjoy it.  She will be going from being one of the oldest (and tallest) at her pre-school to being much further down the pecking order in a much bigger environment.  Although she can be a little on the shy side I am sure that she will take it in her stride.  Hopefully the fact that she will be in a more structured learning environment will be good for her.

When we know what school Éowyn has been accepted for, then it will determine which pre-school we will send Amélie to.  We have delayed sending Amélie to pre-school only because we don’t want to end up causing ourselves issues with the girls being at completely different sites across the Staines-Upon-Thames (!) area.  Hopefully it will not be long until we know the answer.

With a new baby, probably a new car, a new work environment and maybe a new house it is already gearing up to be a busy year.  A year that will see visits from two bright comets.  The first, Panstarrs will grace the skies around my birthday (and possibly my son’s birth) and the second will perhaps be the brightest comet of our generation, if not the century.  Comet Ison is heading our way and should be visible to the naked eye for the last few months of 2013 and at its peak should be brighter than a full moon.

So as portents adorn the heavens and Lucinda and I complete 4 decades on this planet – don’t tell anyone – (I don’t think those two events are related) I leave you a little bit of trivia with which you can impress your friends.  2013 is the first year since 1987 where all four digits are different from each other.  Do with that what you will.

And finally I hope that 2013 brings you love and wisdom; the strength to follow your dreams and to learn from your mistakes and the wonder of a child to appreciate the beauty of this World.

Peace and Love


PS: The photo below was taken on our Christmas trip to Chessington World of Adventures, at the Sealife Centre there, it was Yuletide so excuse the reindeer antlers!

The Bagnalls at the end of 2012
The Bagnalls at the end of 2012

Post Olympic glow

It is only a short few hours before the Paralympics hopefully picks up from where the Olympics left off.  The whole of the UK still bathes in a post Olympic glow and not all down to the fact that it was our most successful games of the modern era (29 gold medals beaten only by our haul in the 1908 Olympics – also held in London) but the spirit that was generated by the whole event.  Even the football stars are trying to use the country’s love of all things Olympian to try and raise its, sometimes, tarnished reputation.  As a West Bromwich Albion fan I am very content that after 2 games of this season we are still undefeated.  Olympics or no Olympics that makes for some very happy Yam-Yams!

It is August, the football seasons have arrived and as usual i am manically busy at work.  Any regular readers to this blog and anyone that works with me will realise that August is a time when I get very little time for anything and so updates to the cyberworld are usually few and far between and days with my family are precious.  However, two days off around the August Bank Holiday, Amélie asleep, Éowyn playing in her room and Lucinda shopping I thought I would try and take the opportunity and give a little update on the life in the Bagnall household.

As mentioned in the previous update after 3 years, Jo our childminder has given us notice and on the 21st August 2012 she looked after the girls for the last time.  It is quite sad and it makes child care difficult as we have no true alternative, there may be lots of trips to Nanny and Granddad and Lucinda and myself taking days off work when possible.  The joys of ‘family-orientated policies’ of this and previous governments.  Nevertheless we will find a way, it will just require more advanced planning on our behalf.

Nanny and Granddad have spent the majority of the Summer with at least one, and on a number of occasions with all of their grandchildren playing at their house.  Although this must be a nightmare (in a nice way) for them – and they are truly knackered at the end of the day – it is fabulous for the girls for they get to spend a lot of time with their older cousins who genuinely enjoy playing with the two little ones, even if they can be a little bit of a handful at times.  I am sure that Nanny and Granddad enjoy it too and running after them all sure keeps them young and fit sometimes I am not sure how they do it I can be knackered after looking after just Éowyn and Amélie for the day.

Amélie has been worrying us a little of late.  As anyone with kids will recognise (and I am sure ours are no different to any others), kids tend to go through growth spurts.  That is, their growth pattern is not a constant rate but moreover a series of rapid growth spurts followed by a filling out.  It is almost as though they bulk out, then stretch and then bulk out again.  Amélie has just gone through one of these stages but during her growth spurt she seemed to lose and inordinate amount of weight and we were worried that there was something else.  It is something that we will speak to the dietician when we next see her, for we went to see the doctor and the doctor assured us that there was nothing seriously wrong but admitted that it was a specialist question and that she did not feel qualified enought to advise.  I think that is fair enough and since there was nothing seriously wrong and now that her growth spurt has ended she has begun to bulk out once again.

However, we have once again become really strict on removing all Cow’s Milk Protein from her diet to ensure that her intolerance wasn’t having any effect on the weight loss.  Obviously she doesn’t get any dairy products per se but Cow’s Milk Protein is used in many foods that one would never realise, such as flavoured crisps.  In our processed food world milk proteins can find their way into many foods and with one child that loves dairy food, inevitably there will be times when Amélie eats something meant for Éowyn.  Now Cow’s Milk Protein intolerance does not mean that she will go into shock or come out in hives, but it does cause her pain and discomfort and, without painting too graphic a picture, doesn’t make her nappies very pleasant.  A case in point was the other day when Amélie ate a yoghurt intended for ÉowynÉowyn who is acutely aware that Amélie shouldn’t have any dairy, got upset because a) Amélie had eaten her yoghurt and b) Amélie shouldn’t have yoghurt (except her own Soya yoghurts).  All was fine until the night when Amélie woke up screaming and I went into her and she hugged me tight saying ‘Daddy, it hurts.‘  Unfortunately there is nothing you can do except comfort her.  At least when we see the dietician we can categorically say that she still has the intolerance.

Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz came to stop with Auntie Mary for Bank Holiday weekend, unfortunately I was working on that Saturday and Sunday so Lucinda took Éowyn and Amélie to visit their Aunties and Nanny.  Although they were both very happy to see their Black Country relatives Éowyn was a little disappointed that her new best friend, Louise, wasn’t there.  It was while they were there that Amélie first used her new phrase.  She has been bouncing on the mini trampoline that Auntie Mary has and had fallen over.  Everyone laughed and she stood up, pointed her finger at them, stamped her feet and said: ‘It’s not funny!‘ Cue howls of laughter.  This has quickly become her new catchphrase and she keeps using it to the delight of everyone that hears it.

Although Éowyn’s new best friend, Louise, wasn’t at Auntie Mary’s, she does have a new best friend that she quite regularly sees.  You may recall that last year Éowyn had an imaginary friend called Sam that came with us on holiday to Kent.  He was quite a special friend as he could be small enough to fit on your thumb or be bigger than daddy depending on the day.  He spent around a month in her life and then nothing more was said.  A couple of months ago she acquired a new imaginary friend (or quasi-corporeal companion to give them their technical name) a brother (in her words) called Dizzy.  She and Dizzy spend a lot of time together and he often tells her things that they should be doing and apparently they go on lots of adventures together.  She hasn’t really described Dizzy too much and I haven’t pushed it too much as his appearances were very scant but now they are becoming more regular and she speaks of him several times a day I will delve a little more and see what I can find out about Dizzy.

Apologies for the lower than usual number of photos but as I am the photographer in the family (although a number of the photos below were taken by Éowyn and she seems to be following in Daddy’s footsteps) and I haven’t spent much time with the family then I do not have the breadth of photos to call upon.  Will try harder for next time.

Peace and Love



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