It has been a while, hasn’t it? I thought I would take the opportunity to try and squeeze in a quick update before work became the dominant force in my life as the football seasons kicked off and IMG Studios at Stockley Park was tested to capacity. That didn’t happen, work crept up and slapped me in the face with a wet fish (metaphorically speaking) before I managed to sit down and regale the latest Bagnall adventures. Therefore, firstly accept my apologies for the hiatus between updates and secondly for any discrepancies or omissions that will undoubtedly occur. It has been nearly seven weeks!
So let me take you back to the end of June and Staines upon Thames day. One of the many stalls was run by the local estate agents ISIS (named after the stretch of the River Thames above Iffley Lock, not the Egyptian goddess, AVID storage or the Islamic State militant group). We bought our house through ISIS and were very pleased with their assistance in the purchase so we thought we would pop over and say hello. After collecting a number of ISIS branded freebies we decided to enter their competition. An ISIS branded Smart Car was filled with helium-filled balloons; 50p entitled you to have a guess at the total number for a chance to win £100. With a combination of back of a fag-packet calculations and a stab in the dark I put my guess on the entry form and thought no more of it.
A week later I received a phonecall from ISIS to let me know that, not only was I the closest, I had got the number spot on and had won the prize money. ISIS asked if we would pose of a photo with one of those oversized cheques for promotional material, to which we agreed. However, with the Managing Director on holiday that has not yet materialised. Nevertheless a cheque for £100 duly arrived in the post the following week and has been cashed!
Although it seems a little strange to be saying it this week (with overnight frosts in some parts of the country and a weather warning in force for Bank Holiday Monday) July and the beginning of August have been blessed with warm weather and dry days. Indeed, ideal days for exterior painting. Yes the second big job to personalise the house has been completed. The first was installation of photovoltaic cells to provide electricity; the second was to paint the exterior of the house.
One of the few things that we didn’t particularly like about the house when we saw it was the dull colour of the pebbledash render. We thought about painting the house as soon as we moved in and initially we just thought that this was just an aesthetic choice on our behalf. The winter of 2013-2014 was extremely wet and although we escaped fairly lightly in terms of damage, it was evident by the number of pebbles that worked loose from the render that something needed to be done to the exterior to prevent further damage before winter returned to finish the job. One of the solutions to help protect the render is to paint it with a suitable weatherproof paint.
After receiving a variety of quotes we settled on a company that was both reasonable and had good on-line reviews. The next decision was which colour. Éowyn was disappointed that we chose the neutral ‘Country Cream’ rather than a shade of her favourite colour: pink.
Since this was the first time the house had been painted it makes the job a little more difficult as the render absorbs much of the first coat. I have to say that even after the first day the house looked completely different. Indeed I almost drove past the house on my return from work.
It is satisfying to know that not only does the house look so much better but that the paint is protecting the render and hopefully will be saving us a hefty repair bill should the weather win the war against the pebbledash.
We are hoping to make one more major alteration to our home before the end of the year. Will we manage to make it happen? You will have to keep popping by to find out.
But what has else has been happening in the Bagnall household?
July is the traditional end of the academic year and this July saw Éowyn’s first school year come to an end. Éowyn has thoroughly enjoyed going to school and has done extremely well in her first year. Her reading and writing has developed quickly. Indeed she doesn’t just write sentences she makes books. Her spelling might need a bit of work (she tends to write phonetically) but she is very good at capturing her imagination in the written word.
Éowyn’s strength has been her personality, she can be strong willed and determined but that makes her a good leader and thus seems to be the centre of fun in the classroom. This made an impression on her teacher Miss Finbow, who spoke very highly of her and her leadership skills. This has also lead to her having many friends but more importantly she has made two very good friends. Unfortunately, one of these friends has moved to Hastings over the summer holiday and the other has been out of the country for the entire summer vacation. Therefore she has to rely on her little sister for entertainment over the holidays. So it will be interesting to see what happens when she returns to school in September. A new teacher and one less friend: I am sure she will cope.
Before work became the main force in my life we tried to squeeze in a few family days. It may have been a couple of years since we have had a Merlin Pass but those days were not wasted and it has given us a good knowledge of the attractions in the area and Legoland in particular.
For our first day out we decided to head to Windsor. The girls are getting bigger (and bolder) and so were more interested in going on the rides. Realising this, and also looking to have a little fun ourselves, we decided to leave Ezra with Nanny and Granddad. It was a little strange being a family of four but at the same time it was a little liberating not to have the pushchair and not have to try and entertain a baby as well as keep an eye on young children.
We let the girls choose rides to go on and Lucinda got to choose a ride too: The Viking River Splash. I don’t think that Éowyn forgave mommy for at least an hour. Éowyn doesn’t like getting wet! Despite the soaking on the first ride, the girls thoroughly enjoyed their day at Legoland and enjoyed the freedom of not having their little brother distracting their parents. It gave Lucinda and me a glimpse of the near future when Ezra is a little older and we can finally ditch the pushchair and the associated paraphernalia that a baby or toddler requires.
Ezra is still ‘walking’ on his knees, he still hasn’t taken that bold step (forgive the pun) and begun truly solo bipedal motion. Nevertheless there has been a development: Ezra has begun to walk with his walker, or one of the girl’s pushchair. You can tell that he has the strength and probably the balance for he will swing the walker around to change direction but seemingly wants the reassurance of something to hold onto. Another indication of the strength that he has in his legs is demonstrated by the distance he walks with it.
At the end of our road is an entrance to Staines (Commercial) park. Lucinda took the kids to the park for a quick and easy day out. Ezra indicated that he wanted to take the pushchair while the girls grabbed their scooters. Lucinda thought he would walk partway and that she would end up carrying him and the pushchair. indicated that he wanted to take the pushchair while the girls grabbed their scooters. Lucinda thought he would walk partway and that she would end up carrying him and the pushchair. Ezra had other ideas. He walked all the way to the park. Walked around the park, played with the girls and then walked halfway back home.
With this adventure you would think that maybe it would give him some confidence but no. However, I am determined that he has avoided walking for too long so I am trying to encourage him as much as I can. He is more determined however not to walk and so far he is winning. Nevertheless, there has been a little breakthrough with his eldest sister. With a little encouragement, we can get him to his feet and holding Éowyn’s hand he will walk forward as she walks backwards. Hopefully it will not be long before our little boy is truly bipedal.
I am going to stop here and let you enjoy the photos below. Fear not there is a lot more to tell and I am back in the writing frame of mind. For those of you that haven’t guessed the title of this update alludes to the fact that on the 20th July Lucinda and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, only a month or so late but ‘Happy Anniversary’ darling.
Peace and Love