The Badger Moot 2014 – Part Two: The Hollywood Party

For those of you that have landed here without reading the first half of the 2014 moot please click here.

We returned back to Berwick Manor late afternoon as the sun went down.  The kitchen was out of bounds as Adam and Lucy and Steve and Zoe prepared not only the evening meal but the decorations necessary for the Hollywood Party so we herded the kids in the TV room to keep them out of the way.

Ezra was so tired after his earlier excursions that we put him to bed before dinner and therefore he didn’t join in with the fancy dress but everyone else took the evening to heart including little Letty (a papoose from Dances with Wolves).  You would think that with a subject as wide as Hollywood that there would be a variety of different costumes and indeed there was but great minds seldom differ and we did have a couple of duplicates: John and Steve both came as chimney sweeps à la Bert from Mary Poppins, and Lucinda and Lucy both came as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

As usual Adam and Lucy and Steve and Zoe worked hard to decorate the kitchen to help everyone get in the spirit of the party.  There was a red carpet down the hall to the kitchen, a Hollywood style Walk of Fame and a gold curtain to stand against for the paparazzi photos.  There were even three mini Oscars that were awarded to the best male costume, best female costume and best child costume as voted via secret ballot.  Lauren won the Oscar for the best child costume as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series, replete with a hand-crafted spell book with every spell from the series;  Zoe won the best female costume with her Mary Poppins outfit and I won the best male costume as Animal (from The Muppets).  I felt a little bit of a cheat as mine was completely bought with no extra effort required, however I was very pleased with the outfit and was delighted with the win.  You can see everyone’s photos below so feel free to make your own decision and whether you would agree with the Badger clan voting.

Tuesday was the Bagnall turn to cook, therefore we did not venture too far from Berwick Manor.  We drove to the nearby town of Abbotsbury to have a mooch but primarily to buy a Christmas decoration that we had seen the previous day when we drove through on the way to Portland.  A very simple idea, but it caught our eye, an enterprising local had made snowmen from three different sized cross-sections of logs.  It will sit nicely in our porch for the yuletide, greeting our Christmas visitors.  I promise to take a photo when it is in situ and post it on here but in the meantime here is a photo of Amélie choosing it.

We also took the opportunity to go for a cream tea.  We had passed the Eggcup tearoom on the Jurassic Coast road many times over the last decade but had never gone it for a scone but this year we rectified that omission.  Situated in Swyre directly off the Jurassic Coast road about halfway between Abbostbury and Berwick Manor it seemed rude to past it by.  The scones were big and delicious the only disappointment being that there was no view of the sea (they are situated on the wrong side of the road for that).  We bought the girls a slice of Victoria sponge to go with their drinks but for some reason neither of them like it, therefore Daddy had a Victoria sponge chaser to go with his fruit scone and jam!  I would quite happily recommend a pit stop there if you are on the B3157.

A year does not go past without a trip to Lyme Regis and so it was this year.  Lyme Regis is probably one of our favourite places in the world and if we are in the area we will visit.  So although Wednesday morning saw the first downpour of the week the inclement weather did not stop the Bagnalls from going to the seaside.  Our faith was repaid for although it rained heavily during the journey as we arrived the rain stopped and even if the clouds sat on the surrounding hills and it wasn’t until the afternoon that the sun came out we still headed straight to the beach to build sandcastles and collect seaweed for decoration.

The good thing about the weather being a overcast is that you pretty much get the beach to yourself.  The day before, a number of the family went to Lyme Regis but because the weather was so good everyone in the area had the same idea and so the car parks were full.  Indeed some of the family had to find an alternative, as there was simply no where for them to park.

We did not have any such problem and managed to park exactly where we went wanted.  After a couple of hours building sandcastles and paddling (in wellies) in the sea we headed for lunch.  A little café near the beach is a particular favourite and being creatures of habit we found ourselves there.  Their lunchtime special caught both Lucinda’s and my eye:  fish finger sandwiches.  As we sat waiting for our lunch, Éowyn mooched around the shell and fossil shop next door.  The girls profited well from their visit to Portland, not only did Auntie Margaret buy both girls colouring books and pens and made them cupcakes she also gave them some money to spend on ice-creams.  Éowyn is a little savvy when it comes to money and knows that Daddy will buy her ice-cream so she asked if she could buy some shells.  I tried to dissuade her by saying that there were lots of other shops if she would like to compare prices.  She thought about this and decided that as long as she could return to this shop if she didn’t see anything else then she would want to return.  An agreement was reached.

We took our usual wander around Lyme Regis and it was little Ezra who spent his money first.  Éowyn and Amélie spent their money from Daddy on their first day of the holiday.  Ezra didn’t.  He didn’t seem interested in anything on that first day and to be honest, when you are trying to help a 6 year old and a 4 year old choose their toys it was too tiring (especially after a disturbed night’s sleep) to try and encourage him to choose something.  Perhaps he was just binding his time for as we passed a shop in Lyme Regis there were some knitted dinosaurs and he grabbed one.  So we picked the three types of dinosaur that they had:  A green tyrannosaurus rex, a blue stegosaurus and a red triceratops and asks him to choose.  The red triceratops came out as favourite (my favourite dinosaur was the triceratops when I was a boy, too!).  So Ezra had now spent his money it spurred the girls to spend the money off Auntie Margaret.  The other shops did not have anything of interest so we popped back to the first shop and they bought their shells, to go with their mermaids before heading back to bass.

Thursday morning saw the Bagnalls visit another sandy beach and another one of our favourite haunts in the shape of Weymouth.  With the weather warming up after the rain of the previous day (and heading for the warmest Halloween on record – in the UK) it seemed a shame not to spend the last full day of our holiday on the beach.  Weymouth is one of the largest towns in Dorset and is a popular tourist venue in no small part due to its beach, low tide and warm(ish) sea.  So we parked the car and headed directly to the beach and that was where we stayed for most of the day.  Fish and chips on the beach added to the idiosyncratic Britishness of the day, especially when you consider that it was the end of October and we were wearing coats and wellies.

The last day of the moot coincided with Halloween and what a Halloween – the thermometer in my car registered 23°C on the drive home and as mentioned above it was indeed the hottest UK Halloween on record.  We had to vacate the house and conscious about trying to miss the rush hour traffic around home we decided that a quick pit stop at Hive Beach and another drive along the Jurassic Coast road would be the last of our Dorset views for 2o14.  Hive Beach had a disturbing, if somewhat fascinating sight: the decomposing body of a baby dolphin.  It looked like it had been dead a while and had lost its head but Éowyn and I were fascinated – Lucinda and Amélie on the other hand were disgusted.  There are photos on my Flickr pages here, if you are at all interested.

We made it back late afternoon in time to answer the door to all the trick or treaters.  But you will have to wait until the next write up to see the photo of our Pumpkin carving.

Peace and Love


PS The photos below are of our family movie night party (feel free to judge the costumes yourself and see if you agree with the family).  If you want to see more general photos of the holiday please see: Badger Moot 2014 – Part One.

(Football) Season’s greetings

You wait seven weeks and then there are two updates in a week.  Yes the football seasons are well underway and work has already started to slip into a pattern.  It is nice to know that the hard work put in over the summer have borne fruit quite quickly and workflows and procedures seem to be working.  There is one more hurdle to jump, one more client to incorporate into the system and then hopefully I can ease off the weekends and start to see the family more.  Don’t hold your breath!

This update however takes us back to before I lost my weekends to the behemoth that is IMG.  Lucinda’s friend Lisca decided to celebrate her birthday inviting a select group of friends for a spa weekend.  So Lucinda took advantage and headed off to the country while I stayed at home with the kids.  I was looking forward to spending time with the kids but it appeared that my body decided to rebel and use the opportunity to lower its guard and let the infection that it was fighting have the upper hand for the weekend.  So, probably before Lucinda had even checked in, I was running a temperature of nigh on 40˚C while every muscle ached.

The kids were playing nicely together so I lay on the settee to try and regain some strength.  Éowyn saw that I was ill and asked if she could put on a DVD and curl up on the settee with me.  So, she chose a film (Brave) put it in the player, handed me the remote controls and curled up on the settee with me.  Amélie, wondering where Éowyn was came into the lounge and curled up on the settee too.  Then the Bagnall sandwich was complete with Ezra squeezing himself in the group hug.  There we stayed watching Brave (the first time for me!) the four of us curled up on the settee.  It was delightful.

The following day we had arranged to go to the cinema with the cousins.  Ezra was duly packed off to Nanny and Granddad’s and Éowyn, Amélie and I went to watch Muppets Most Wanted.  The girls are a big fan of The Muppets (indeed Éowyn’s first trip to the cinema was to see The Muppets) and know all the songs from the first film, so it was an easy choice.  Neither of the girls were as captivated as they were with the first film (and in fairness neither was I, and I’m a big Muppets fan) however Éowyn has begun to do a very good Russian accent, in the style of Constantine (the world’s most evil frog).

A fortnight later was our 7th Wedding Anniversary and how did we celebrate this momentous occasion? Lucinda was working, then we had friends round for a barbeque before I, and two friends, went to the cinema to watch the simulcast of the last night of the Monty Python Live (Mostly) stage show.  It is a good job that I have an understanding Wife, and perhaps, in part it is why we got married.  The show was the first time in 30 years that all the (living) Pythons were together on stage and they kept us all happy by performing all the favourites, with a bit of new material thrown in for good measure.

The favour was returned a couple of weeks later with Daddy spending a Friday night in while Lucinda and Lisca once again went out on the town for a kid-free night.  We had told the girls that Lisca was going to stay the night and would be in the spare room and so not to go in there in the morning.  This is the room that Éowyn and Raine spent the night when Raine came for a sleep over.  Something must have clicked in Amélie’s head and equated Lisca’s stay with a sleep over.  Now as Éowyn had the chance to sleep in the spare room with her friend, the cogs started turning in her head and Amélie decided that this was her opportunity.  As I put the girls to bed, Éowyn duly climbing into the top bunk while Amélie disappeared; I found her snuggling into the spare bed.  I asked her what she was doing.  ‘I’m going to have a sleepover with Lisca,’ was her reply.  I don’t think that Lisca would have been very pleased to have come home after a few fizzy drinks to have found Amélie starfishing in her bed.

July also saw the harvest of the first of our crops (16 potatoes from the first plant!).  Indeed for the past month we have kept ourselves in potatoes and beans.  I have always thought about the idea of having a veg patch and so this year was firstly an experiment to seeing if we were any good at growing food and whether we could dedicate the time and effort into looking after the plot.  Secondly, it was to introduce the girls to where food comes from and by encouraging them to be involved in the growing process to get them to eat more veg.  Any produce was therefore a bonus.  Nevertheless we have been fortunate and have had a bountiful harvest of potatoes and beans.  It is surprising how much better vegetables grown by your own fair hand, taste; indeed our potatoes are full of flavour.  The girls get quite excited when I go to the veg patch to dig up some potatoes and insist on coming with me armed with a bag.  I think the girls enjoy it because of the unknown.  When you stick your fork in and lift the plant up, you never know how many potatoes you are going to get or how big they are.  It is like a poor man’s Christmas day.

It is the gift that keeps on giving; we still have beans and potatoes to harvest and now the tomatoes are beginning to ripen.  We thought that our three raspberry bushes were not going to fruit this year, however it looks like we might get a late harvest, which I am quite excited about.  Unfortunately we have had a bit of a disaster with the sole remaining pumpkin plant.  The leaves developed a white growth and within a couple of days all the leaves had died before we had a chance to try and cure the infection.  The vine itself still seems to be alive and the pumpkin is ripening so we may be lucky, we will have to wait and see.

The pumpkin probably suffered due to the heavy rain that we have recently had.  Indeed Bank Holiday Monday saw a month of rain only a couple days after the lowest August temperature recorded in the UK (a shade above -2°C in Northern Ireland) and the news that a glacier has begun to form in Scotland (despite this article from 7 months previous stating that they will not return in our lifetime).  So we many feel that we are hurtling in Autumn, and the return to school but it wasn’t like that at the beginning of the month.

Indeed we were more worried about sun cream than wellies when we spend the day at Bushy Park.  We headed there with our N.C.T. gang and enjoyed a traditional day at the park, playing football, frisbee and soft ball all based around a picnic.  The day was made more exciting by an invasion of the Bushy Park resident deer.  First it was the Red Deer that actually kept a discreet distance but not so their smaller relatives.  We sat amazed on the picnic blanket as a couple of fallow deer wandered over and unafraid stuck their noses into our bags to see if there was anything of interest.  I had to stand up and usher them away, only for them to head to an unoccupied picnic blanket and helped themselves to the food that had left behind.  (See our Flickr pages for photos).  So if any of you decide to take a trip to London’s second largest Royal park watch out for cervine thieves, it was definitely a first for the Bagnalls.

Another first for the Bagnall was Amélie’s first visit to the haridressers.  Amélie’s  hair has never grown as quickly  Éowyn’s but has recently become a little wild, so we thought it was time for her to go for a haircut.  Lucinda took both girls to our local hairdressers in Stanwell Moor.  Éowyn has been before and only needed a trim of her blond locks.  Amélie, however, needed a bit more work and we were a little worried how she would react.  She nearly fell asleep when she had her hair washed and was as good as gold while they cut her hair until she saw it on the floor.  Then she started to cry and asked them to put it back on.  The hairdresser was very good with her and said that they collect all the hair and put it in a magic box.  Then we you are older and you would like it back you can take it home.  This seemed to placate her and then said that she wanted to get rid of her curls as she didn’t want her curls any more.  So the hairdresser straightened her hair.  Fortunately, the curls have fought back but not before Lucinda took some photos of her without curls.  She looks very different I am sure that you agree, and probably not as cute.

Before I leave you to enjoy the photos let me regale one small amusing anecdote.  Éowyn may suffer, like her father, from an inability to carry a tune she nevertheless, like her father, enjoys to sing.  However her choice of songs seems to be far too influenced by Disney films and her mother’s CD collection.  One of the songs that she likes is 22 by Taylor Swift.  However, she hasn’t quite nailed the lyrics.  For those of you not familiar with the song, it opens with the line  ‘It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters.’  In fairness to our oldest child, she is only five that therefore doesn’t know what a hipster is never mind what they dress like, so Éowyn fills in the unknown word with a more familiar one singing ‘It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hamsters’.  A somewhat different fancy dress shop but would probably work better visually.

A big welcome to the latest member of the greater Badger clan: Letty Louise Woodman the first child for Lucinda’s cousin Kate and her partner Nolan was born on the 17th August 2104.  Interestingly another girl, the 11th of her generation (compared to only 2 boys), there must be something in the water.  She looks a real cutey from the photos and we can’t wait to meet her!

Peace and Love





A visit from the Tooth Fairy

The trilogy is complete and the third update of the week lands at Baggie and Lucy dot com.  So after the epic write-up(s) of our family holiday to Tenby what could possibly have happened to warrant this update?

If you have not guessed from the title of this update the biggest news of the post-holiday period is that on Friday 6th June 2014 Éowyn lost her first tooth.  Yes, our oldest child has taken another step to remind us that they are only children fleetingly.  Unfortunately, this came as a bit of a shock to us and especially to Éowyn.   There was no warning, the tooth had not become wobbly, she was simply eating a corn on the cob and out it popped.  Therefore we were not mentally prepared for it (and hadn’t ever really spoken to Éowyn about it in any depth) and Éowyn certainly wasn’t mentally prepared for it.  I had not yet returned home from work and this probably made it worse, indeed she was inconsolable by Lucinda.

Éowyn always has been a daddy’s girl and whenever she is sad, or frightened or hurt it will always be me that she looks to for comfort.  With Lucinda unable to console her, I received a phone-call from Lucinda asking me to talk to Éowyn.  Therefore work was put to one side while I spoke to Éowyn.  Making her tell me what happened made her focus on talking instead of succumbing to hysterics and then I could ask her the important question: ‘Did she know what this meant?‘  Somewhat taken aback by a question, she thought about it for a while but couldn’t answer.  I replied that she would receive a visit from the tooth fairy, who would leave her shiny coins.  This perked her up, especially after I told her that she could spend those shiny coins on whatever she wanted, although I don’t think that she fully grasps the value of shiny coins and what she could purchase with them.  We also spoke about the fact that she was growing up and was a big girl.  By the end of the phone-call she had calmed down significantly and now was more concerned about what had happened to the tooth to ensure that she could put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy.

It seems that the current going rate for a first tooth is £2.  Unfortunately the tooth fairy did not have a two pound coin but did leave two shiny £1 coins (so shiny that it looked like that the had been cleaned with Cillit Bang!).  Éowyn was so excited the next morning when she woke to find the money and came running in to show me.  I asked her what she would like to use the money to buy.  ‘Can I buy two Kinder eggs?  One for me and one for Amélie?‘ How can you refuse that?

That Saturday was another big day.  As regular readers will know for various achievements both girls had been promised items from the Disney store and both had chosen Frozen related items.  Unfortunately the success of Frozen has not been reflected by the availability of the items in the stores and on the website.  So while we were on holiday we had charged Nanny Fran with a one week challenge to source an Elsa dress and doll for Éowyn and an Anna dress and doll for Amélie.  Nanny Fran is not one to shirk a challenge and came good on three of the four.  Only the Anna doll for Amélie had eluded her.  A stroke of fortune, however, meant that Lucinda found one in another store and so, at long last, we had a full complement to reward the girls.  Saturday was the first day that Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz had to come down and bring them.  As you can imagine the girls were beside themselves with excitement, both at the prospect of seeing Nanny Fran and their Aunties (for Auntie Mary was going to visit too), and the fact that they were going to receive their Frozen dresses and dolls.

You can imagine how excited they were when they opened their bags and took out their dresses.  They put them on immediately and after Daddy extracted the dolls from their respective boxes no other toys got a look in that day.  You will be happy to know that Ezra had not been left out.  When Nanny Fran had visited the Disney store there had been an offer on Muppet related merchandise, so Nanny Fran treated her Grandson to a Gonzo cuddly toy.  You can see from the photos below that not only were the girls were delighted with their presents Ezra was  quite happy with his.

Not that Ezra currently deserves a present.  That is perhaps a little harsh but the girls did receive theirs for their achievements while Ezra, though cute and an ideal baby from a sleeping point of view has not had any major achievements of late.  As he marks his 15th month he has not yet begun to walk.  His preferred method of locomotion is crawling but when that is an inconvenience (for instance when you are trying to run away with the TV remote control) he has resorted to ‘walking’ on his knees!  He will not even entertain the idea of walking and will not let you hold him up.  He will cruise along the furniture and even crawl to you and pull himself up on to his feet against your legs but he will not try to walk.

You may recall that Amélie was also a late developer when it came to walking, in complete contrast to Éowyn who was walking quite early.  Amélie, however, just decided one day to walk, getting up and completing a dozen paces or so; maybe Ezra will do that.  He has until the 4th July 2014 to beat his sister; we will watch this space.

He has, however, developed another habit, one that is not welcome.  He has turned into a bit of a biter.  It is obviously a developmental stage probably borne out of frustration and his inability to communicate or control his emotions.  They are not play bites though and his teeth are sharp.  He has left marks on both girls and myself and Lucinda.  It is a difficult one to deal with as he is a little young for the thinking step, but a firm ‘No’ and then if he persists to try and ignore him is our current strategy.  He is a little strange at times though, for if he is frustrated and he can not get hold of you to bite you he will bite himself.  You almost feel that it is better for him to bite you than hurt himself.  Hopefully this is just a phase that he will grow out of soon before he causes someone real damage.

There is one more first that I need to get you across before I leave you and that is Éowyn’s first Sports Day.  Yes, it is that time of year that schools up and down the country hold their annual sports day.  Éowyn’s class had been in training since their returned from half term and I regularly asked Éowyn how she was getting on.  Knowing that she is not the fastest (we Bagnalls are not build for speed) I was trying to cushion her from potential upset, explaining that as long as she did her best, then that is what matters.  It seems however, that the teachers had already wheeled out the perennial classic: ‘It is not the winning but the taking part‘.

Chatting with Éowyn, she seemed quite content with her ability and that she wasn’t the fastest runner, however she did say that she had come second in the obstacle race.  Therefore, on the way to Sports Day I thought I would give him some fatherly encouragement and told her that the obstacle race was the race for intellectuals.  Anyone can run in a straight line but running and negotiating puzzles takes a special person with special abilities.

The Sports Day was a big event with the day divided between the lower school (Nursery to Year 2) in the morning and the upper school (Year 3 to Year 6) in the afternoon.  Each year had three races so you can see why it took best part of half a day to complete all races.  The three races were a straight sprint, the aforementioned obstacle race and a relay race.

As suspected Éowyn did not perform very well in the straight sprint.  This was due in part to the fact that she is not a particularly fast runner and partly because she was not concentrating at the start of the race and had given the other children a five yard head start.  She was also slow at the start of the obstacle race.  The obstacle race is not about top speed though and she soon caught up and her princess training obviously paid dividends for she came out of the ‘balancing a bean bag on your head’ stage in the lead.  She increased that lead in the ‘pass a hula hoop over your body’ stage and so by the time she came to the slalom run she had a healthy lead and wasn’t caught.  Yes, Éowyn won a race and was so proud, as indeed were we.

We thought that she may have won a second winner’s sticker (no medals here, just stickers) in the relay.  Her team were winning with only a few legs to go.  Éowyn was running the antepenultimate leg but the boy who was running the leg before her (the preantepenultimate?) had a bit of an incident.  Half way down the track his trainer came off.  He never noticed until he was about 5 yards before the hand over, however instead of carrying on sans trainer he turned and ran back to retrieve the offending footwear, then sat down and put it back on (which took a while) before completing his leg.  In the mean time the other teams had completed a couple of legs and poor Éowyn was running against no one (as were the last two in her team).  It was quite funny to watch and Éowyn didn’t seem particularly upset by it.  It is just a shame that I wasn’t filming it, may have been worth £250 from ‘You’ve been framed!’

So, it has been another eventful week in this enclave of the Bagnall family and I leave you with this interesting fact:  today is Friday 13th June 2014 and it is a full moon.  So if you are selenophobic or friggatriskaidekaphobic you may want to stay in bed.  However I do beg you to bear in mind that this is the first time that this combination of superstitions has occurred since Friday 13th October 2000 and you will have to wait until Friday 13th August 2049 for the next one.  So when you look up at this year’s Honey Moon (June’s full moon has several names including the Strawberry Moon and the Rose Moon as well as the Honey Moon) appreciate this heavenly occurrence for you will not see it for another 35 years and 2 months.

Peace and Love