First update of the year

2014 has begun (in the UK at least – we will not talk about the Polar Vortex in the US) as 2013 ended with storms and flooding, indeed the floodwaters have been encroaching the Staines area and the Thames is approaching the record highs of 1947 and 1894 (and let us not forget the terrible floods of 1774!). Fortunately the new Bagnall manor although not that far from the River Thames and Staines Upon Thames town centre stands on a 1000 year flood plain, which although doesn’t completely guarantee that we will never get flooded, does infer that it would have to be a pretty weather impressive event to do so, which is just as well as I have not found my wellies yet, they must be still in one of the many unopened boxes sitting in the garage.

We may have moved in to Bagnall manor in November with Christmas but with the general malaise induced by the melancholy weather (not to mention the almost perpetual precipitation) we still have a considerable number of boxes sitting in the garage waiting to be opened.  Most of the important stuff has found a new home however the bookshelves betray what lies hidden in some of those boxes.

With the New Year comes a return to routine.  I am at work (not that the Christmas break affected that routine), the girls are back to school (and thankfully their school has remained open during the ‘floods’, many of the schools have closed not due to the flooding per se but because the drains are full) while Lucinda is left at home with Ezra (at least for a couple more months until her maternity leave comes to an end).  Amélie is now entitled to 15 hours of free nursery tuition and so to take full advantage of one of the few government schemes we are entitled to, she now goes to TinyTots 3 days a week.  This means that we only have to pay for three hours of tuition a week (and her lunches) a considerable saving for us but it does mean that Amélie has had a 50% increase in attendance.  Poor little mite, although she enjoys it and it is good for her.

Ezra is growing up fast.  He spends a lot of his waking hours (and to be fair to the lad he does still like his daytime naps) either standing against whatever seems stationary, included your leg if you stand still long enough, crawling around the house or putting whatever he can find that is small enough into his mouth.  Has has also started cruising, holding onto the furniture and walking.  Although he has not yet summoned the courage to try to walk.  Indeed if you try to encourage him by holding his hands he tries to sit down, not yet interested.  Not that he needs to expend any more energy to wear himself out for he is usually good at night.  However over the last week or so he has been a little disturbed but that is due in no small part to his teeth.  He already has 9 teeth, which I think is quite a lot for 10 month old, however we think his back teeth are starting to poke through and they are causing him some pain. We are prepared though, Bonjela and Calpol the pain-fighting duo are at hand to numb the pain enough to get him to sleep.

The biggest milestone that Ezra has just achieved is the power of recognisable words. ‘Daddadaddadaddadda‘ is the main (and most important) one but he has also said ‘Yum‘.  Éowyn is convinced that he said ‘Éowyn‘ and this let Amélie to say that she heard him say ‘Amélie‘.  Poor Mommy.

As part of the new year, new house regime we have decided to mark the height of our children for prosperity.  It will be interesting to see how much they grow over the months and years.  For those of your that are unable to see the results:  Éowyn is 119.5cm (a shade under 4 feet – the height of an average 7 year old); Amélie is 103cm and Ezra is 71cm.

Anecdote of the month goes to Amélie.  I was putting the girls to bed and Amélie, tries to climb into bed wearing an eye-patch.  Thinking that this wasn’t a very good idea I said to Amélie, ‘Take that off please, you are not going to bed wearing an eye-patch.‘ (A phrase that I never thought that I would ever say). ‘But Daddy, I’m a pirate.‘  A fair reply I hear you cry.  However the danger of going to bed with a piece of elastic around her head is a stronger driver so it was time to make a new rule ‘We do not go to bed with an eye-patch in this house, whether we are a pirate or not.

Now as this is only a relatively short write up so I will leave you with this nugget of information: last weekend’s full moon was the smallest full moon for 1,000 years as the full moon occurred within 2 hours of apogee (the furthest point in the moon’s orbit).  It will keep that distinction until 2154 when a full moon will occur closer to apogee.  Unless I live to 181 I will not see this, even the Baguettes will have to break the current longevity records to see it.

I will leave you with some photos and promise that it will not be so long until I update you all with latest events in the Bagnall household.

Peace and Love


A warm November is the sign of a bad Winter – or so they say…

We are two weeks closer to Christmas and I still have no presents or indeed made any effort towards purchasing them.  Nothing new there then (although I have looked on Play and Amazon and bought stuff for myself -it’s a start!).  It is with this in mind that I now start a 10 day break from my place of employment.  I hesitate to use the word work, as Christmas shopping, visiting friends and relatives, preparing the house for Christmas and looking after the children is also work, I just don’t get any money for that!

So, again since this write up comes on the back of a couple of busy couple of weeks at work so you must forgive the brevity of amusing ancedotes and photos.  It has become more of a discipline for me to continue with the updates when I am busy and not let the impetuous slip for as you will notice I have seriously missed the target this year in terms of updates and am currently only averaging 12.85 days between writes ups as opposed to 11.41 days last year and 11.77 days the year before.  OK enough of the geekiness and back to the task in hand. 

So with the 25th December less than a month away it is all geared to getting ready for the big day and Éowyn is, probably for the first time fully comprehending the idea of Christmas, i.e that Santa brings you presents not the religious aspect of the year.  We are trying to temper the fact that she will get what ever she wants and the incessant stream of advertising aimed at children is not helping and the phrase ‘I want one of those,’ is heard umpteen times a day.  However, it is giving us the opportunity to use the notion of Santa to our advantage.  ‘If you are not a good girl then Santa will not bring you any pressies‘, although in fairness to Éowyn we have not had to say that to her that much because she has been relatively well behaved.  We haven’t resorted to the tactics of friends of ours who pretend to call Father Christmas whenever their child misbehaves and asks him to take away a present.  We’ll save that for when we need to wheel out the big guns.

We are, however, trying to use the notion of Santa in an attempt to stop Éowyn from sucking her thrumb.  She has always been a thumb sucker.  The nurses in the ICU at St. Peters tried to encourage us to give Éowyn a dummy when she was born (it seems to be one of the factors in preventing cot death) but, much to our relief, Éowyn kept spitting it out and so never had a dummy.  Thus her comfort became her thumb, which is handy in some ways (never gets lost!) but at the age of three we feel that it is high time that she stopped, at least during the day.  So, the power of Santa is being invoked by trying to convince her that only babies suck their thumb so if she is sucking her thumb then Santa will think that she is a baby and therefore only bring her baby presents and not big girl presents.  Will it work?  Watch and wait.

Amélie, obviously, is oblivious to it all.  As indeed she is oblivious to the fact that her parents need more than 3 hours continuous sleep.  Amélie doesn’t seem to understand the notion of a good night’s sleep and the best we can ever expect is to be woken at 0500.  It is starting to get a little tiresome after 14 months!  We had initially hoped to be able to move Amélie into Éowyn’s room earlier this year but until she sleeps through the night we are of the opinion that it is unfair on Éowyn that unfortunately means she is still in with us.  However, now that Lucinda is back at work it is becoming more important to train her, if not to sleep, then not to scream like she is being murdered when she wakes in the small wee hours of the morning. 

In the daytime Amélie is completely different and a little cutie with a very different personality to Éowyn.  She is much more of a mommy’s girl than ÉowynÉowyn was, and indeed still is, a daddy’s girl which, considering the amount of work that Lucinda does for her, much be frustrating for mommy.  Amélie has redressed that but it can be equally frustrating for Lucinda as Amélie will follow her around incessantly, hanging onto the back of her legs whenever she has her back towards her.  As if to illustrate this Amélie’s favourite word (not that she has that many at the moment) is ‘mommy‘.  She can also say ‘daddy‘ and what sounds like ‘big sister‘ (much to Éowyn’s delight) among others but it is ‘mommy‘ that she constantly mutters.  However, in the last few days that has been replaced with a new favourite: sneezing!  She sits there pretending to sneeze.  She then looks at you and gives a cheeky grin.  You can start her off by saying ‘Bless you‘ and off she goes.

Amélie still has not taken her first unfettered steps.  She spends a lot of her time on her legs cruising along the furniture but has not yet attempted to let go of the sofa and walk across the room.  If you hold her hands to encourage her to walk she just sits down refusing to entertain the idea.  This is probably down to a number of reasons:  there really is no need at the moment: she is the Usain Bolt of crawling and can cross the room in a blink of the eye; her sister will carry toys for her so she can concentrate on crawling and the wooden floor is more slippery than carpet so probably doesn’t install confidence when taking those first steps.  We’ll see if we can encourage her to make that next stage before Christmas; another of the items on the list for the week off. 

So with that in mind I will leave you with this one thought.  This apparently has been one of the warmest Novembers on record and one of the mildest Autumns on record (for the UK) and apparently the old weather lore states that: ‘A warm November is the sign of a bad winter’ (hence the title of this write up) as does the similar pearl of wisdom ‘Flowers bloomin’ in late Autumn a sure sign of a bad winter comin’ (not sure if that second statement is supposed to rhyme but if it is, it is a bad one, if it doesn’t they why does it look like they have tried to make it rhyme?).  I have no empirical data to back up either of these statements, or indeed if they relate to great swathes of the world or just to a small town just outside of Scunthorpe (Winterton, perchance?) but I thought that I would throw it into the public domain and test it this winter.  Obviously it will prove nothing either way but perhaps 30 years of study and a supercomputer (or at least a piece of paper and a propelling pencil) will, so come back to me in 2041 and I will let you know.

Enjoy the photos

Peace and love




A week in Dorset

We have just got back from a week in sunny (yes, sunny) Dorset (unbelievably for the end of October the temperature peaked at 20°C).  Every year (for the last 6 years) Lucinda’s family have hired Berwick Manor in Puncknowle, Dorset for a week as a big extended family holiday.  I don’t know of any other family that does such a thing and some of you maybe horrified by such a thought but it is actually very enjoyable and I think each of us very much look forward to it.  We were unfortunately unable to go last year (as we were waiting for the imminent arrival of Éowyn) and so we were looking forward to it more than usual.

The week is usually relaxed with trips to the coast and local towns confirmed in the morning depending on the weather and number of others who are interested, we are usually back as it gets dark and each family takes it in turn to cook an evening meal.  There are number of places that we usually go to and this year was no exception.  They include visiting Bridport market, Lyme Regis, Hive Beach, Weymouth and a number of walks especially along the Jurassic coast.

We did however journey further afield and one of the most memorable trips was organised by Lucinda’s cousin Adam and his girlfriend Lucy:  A ghost walk around Dorchester.  Alistair our guide for the evening (dressed in full Victorian regalia, including top hat and cloak) pitched the tone just right.  The bravado of the children was soon replaced by a healthy fear, but realising that he was actually getting to them he turned it round quickly so that they thought they were getting the upper hand on him.  If ever you are in Weymouth or Dorchester and enjoy a ghost walk I would highly recommend him.  Éowyn slept through the majority of the evening, although she was enthralled at Alistair’s voice at the beginning of the walk.  She was however, the only one that dressed up for the occasion in her fancy dress bat outfit.  What cruel parents we are!

Lucinda’s dad, John, is rapidly approaching his 70th birthday and realising that since most of the family would be in the same place at the same time Lucinda decided that it was a ideal opportunity to hold a surprise birthday party for him while we were at the manor.  To add to the party atmosphere Lucinda invited a number of his good friends to join us.  Amazingly he never caught wind of the party and it was a complete surprise and we were also pleasantly surprised that his friends made the long journey to join us.  He was truly touched and thoroughly enjoyed himself, and Lucinda was happy that all her hard work had paid off.

The week was also good for Éowyn, as apart from at her Granddad’s party she was centre of attention from all generations of the ‘Badger’ clan (everyone is either related to, or partner of someone related to, Lucinda’s Granddad Badger – although interestingly this year there was no one with the surname Badger at the manorhouse).  Her confidence in walking grew this week (taking at one point 32 steps – I will now stop counting) to the point where she now likes to walk alongside you holding your hand.  She especially liked playing with her cousin Finley who was very good with her, and knew exactly how to make her laugh.  She also has semi-learnt a new trick:  to blow a kiss.  However, she understands that you have to kiss your hand but as not yet blown that kiss to anyone.  I don’t blame her!

The week seemed to be over very quickly (especially with work for both me and Lucinda looming on the horizon) but to extend the holiday we decided to head to Monkey World on the way back.  Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but made it a long journey back especially since it was heavy traffic all the way back.  And now we are back at work at seems to have faded into a distant memory – well there is always next year!

I will take my leave of you now but please enjoy the new photos.

Peace and love