A trio of wins

Although you have had three updates this month it seems an awful long time since I have given you a detailed summary of life in chez Bagnall.  Let me see if I can put that right.

September has been dominated by the return to term-time routine for Éowyn and the start of full time education for Amélie.  For Éowyn this means a new teacher, in Miss Bernath and a change of campus.  It is also a slightly earlier start and 20 extra minutes at the end of the day.  She still seems to be enjoying school but now there will be more homework.  In addition to the mathletics and reading homework, she will, from next week, have a weekly spelling test.  This is probably her weakness at the moment.  She finds maths relatively easy (or at least the maths that she has at the moment) and her literacy is very good and is always praised for her imaginative writing, however her spelling is awful.  It will be interesting to see how this improves as she receives more spelling homework.

Amélie on the other hand is no longer enjoying school.  That is not exactly true.  She enjoys it when she gets there and speaks fondly of it when she comes home but is getting herself upset when she is thinking about have to go to school.  Indeed in a morning, and on occasion before she goes to bed, she has been crying saying that she doesn’t want to go to school, because she has no friends and it is too small.  It is true that the classroom is smaller than she was used to at pre-school, but I think it is the former that is more the issue.  Amélie is not backward in coming forward in introducing herself to people but most of the class have come through nursery together and so have already formed friendships that Amélie is not party to.  This will take time but we have no doubt that it will happen but it is not easy to see your daughter so upset.

The school have always employed a traffic light system for behaviour.  Everyone starts on green and depending on your behaviour then you can be put on blue, yellow or red depending on how badly you have behaved.  This is good for making the children think about their disruptive behaviour but doesn’t reward children for good behaviour.  There have always been stickers for good work (and both girls have received a number of stickers for good work so far this term) but nothing for good behaviour or sustained good work.  Hence the school has introduced bronze, silver and gold for good behaviour or good work.  I like this and am pleased to let you know that not only have our girls remained on green they have both been awarded bronze level so far this month.

The girls are not the only ones who have received a reward for good work.  As I mentioned earlier this year,  NBC (the Premier League rights holders in the United States won an Emmy in the 36th Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Technical Team Studio.  NBC were gracious, not only to recognise the fact that my department assist them in their technological endeavours but to include me and a number of other IMG staff members on the official list of winners.  I was very touched by this kind gesture and NBC had no obligation to include us in their win nevertheless it means that I am an Emmy winner and entitled to say so in perpetuity.  However, just saying it isn’t enough and as an Emmy winner I am entitled to buy a statue, so I did.  This has now arrived and sits with pride of place in the lounge.  It also means that I have become the second person in the world to be the proud owner of an Emmy and a Blockbusters dictionary – Stephen Merchant being the other – a very elite group.

The second weekend in September sees the annual Broadcast convention at the RAI in Amsterdam.  This is the chance for techie people of television to see the new gadgets that will hopefully become industry standard in the coming years.  I flew in on the Friday morning and caught the flight back home on the Saturday evening and the majority of the time in between was filled with meetings.  At many of the stands there were pots in which to put your business cards for draws for various company related prizes.  I usually toss one in and think nothing more about it, and so it was when I threw one into the SIS draw for a Rugby World Cup official ball, signed by the England squad.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call a week later to say that my business card had been drawn and I was the proud winner of the ball, complete with plastic display case.  A fine addition to the Emmy (and Blockbusters dictionary)!  This completes a trio of wins for this year with the trip to Austria that I won in the raffle at the Austrian Embassy at the Eurovision Song send-off party.  An impression triumvirate of prizes that I would swap in a heartbeat for things of more importance.

Since I was away from the familial bosom for an evening it seemed only right and fitting that I should return with pressies, especially since, because my flight was delayed, I had some time to kill at the airport.  A trip to the toy shop and 40 euros later the girls had a ‘Fright-Mare’ each and Ezra a cuddly minion.  Unfortunately my minion knowledge isn’t great so I was unable to definitively pick out his favourite (Bob) from the shop, so just randomly picked one.  I need not of worried for the reaction from Ezra was priceless.  I pulled the minion out the bag and his bright blue eyes lit up and he whispered in awe, ‘A minion for me?‘ took it off me and gave it a big powerful hug and took it to bed – this is highly unusual as Ezra doesn’t usually take toys to bed, unlike his sisters where there is often so many toys in their bed that they can’t stretch out.  Ezra’s reaction was worth the total and indeed it doesn’t matter how much things cost when you get a reaction like that.  The girls were also delighted with their Fright-Mares which took pride of place among their toys.

All their toys, however, pale into insignificance compared to the iPad.  The favoured toys of the early 21 century is a constant feature in the baguettes lives.  They come down downstairs in a morning to play games or watch cartoons via Youtube.  We have drilled into them the importance of looking after such expensive items and they are very good with them.  This is usually because of the fear of dropping them and the screen smashing, we did not realise how they can be used a weapon.

Éowyn was carrying the iPad horizontally and walking downstairs to show the others something that she had found.  Ezra heard Éowyn’s excitement and came running out of the lounge.  Unfortunately the height that Éowyn was carrying a horizontal iPad and the height of Ezra’s eye was equal and the corner of the iPad took a chunk out of Ezra’s cheek just under his eye.  In Éowyn’s defence she was extremely upset and in Ezra’s defence his didn’t really cry despite blood pouring from the wound.  You can see from the photos below that he had a significant injury and it developed into an impressive shiner.  It had healed well but he still has a bit of a scar, hopefully it will fade in time, but nevertheless it will remain an impressive war-wound for future stories.

Ezra is going through a rapid growing phase.  His speech is coming along extremely well and is progressing well with his potty training.  He is always proud of himself when he does something on the potty and wants to show you.  He was particularly proud of his first potty poo.  Unfortunately he was less than impressed with Lucinda when she flushed it down the toilet.  He threw a tantrum (a rare event) bemoaning the loss of his poo.  How could his mother do such a thing?

He is also now refusing to have an afternoon nap on some days.  When he refuse a nap it does have an effect on his behaviour as he is tired and grumpy by the end of the day.  He also used to sleep in each morning.  That is no longer the case and, in addition, to the occasional night visits he will wake at 0600 and want to go downstairs.

He is normally pretty good at going to bed although recently he has been taking advantage of his good relationship with his oldest sister.  We will put him to bed and go downstairs.  You then hear little feet across the landing and then bigger feet in the opposite direction.  Ezra will have gone into Éowyn and Amélie’s room and asked Éowyn to read him a story.  It is not something that we are going to stop.  Éowyn enjoys reading to him and it is good practice for her, Ezra enjoys the stories when she reads them to him and we don’t have to walk up the stairs and tuck him back into bed.  Everyone’s a winner!

Everyone may be a winner in that scenario but if the latest doom and gloom eschatologists are correct then there is not long left for the world!  The latest line in nonsense warnings from people who really need to get out more is that tonight’s lunar eclipse, which will occur as the moon approaches perigee, will herald earthquakes and a rain of fire ushering in the apocalypse.  This is, they say, because it is the last of 4 ‘blood moons’ (because during a lunar eclipse the moon appears reddish) over the last 18 months and we have had a blue moon (see below for a definition) this year.  Amazing scientific reasoning!

They really should do a little research before spouting such balderdash, it is possible to have as many as 7 eclipses (a mixture of solar and lunar) in one year!  Indeed this last happened in 1982 and will happen again in 2038, when 4 of them will be lunar eclipses.  If you are lucky enough to still be around in 2132 there will again be 7 eclipses, 5 of which will be lunar eclipses.  So 4 lunar eclipses in 18 months is nothing to concerned about.  Neither is the fact that we have had a ‘blue moon’.

The definition of a ‘blue moon’ has changed over the latter part of the 20th century.  The original definition of the term ‘blue moon’ came from the fact that the lunar and calendar months are different. Folklore named each of the 12 full moons in a year according to its time of year, therefore the occasional 13th full moon that came too early for its season was called a ‘blue moon’, so the rest of the moons that year retained their customary seasonal names.  Thus the third moon in a four moon season was the ‘blue moon’.  However, with an increasing amount of the population divorced from the farming traditions and reliance on the changing seasons it now has come to mean the second full moon in a calendar month.  This is not as uncommon as one would be lead to believe, a ‘blue moon’ occurs once every 2 years 261 days (or thereabouts) yielding a frequency of 1.16699016 x 10-8 hertz.

I’ve lost you haven’t I?

Let me just say if you are awake at 01:10am tonight and you happen to have clear skies look towards the moon and it should begin to turn red as it finds itself in the Earth’s shadow.  That is it, there will be no earthquakes, fire rain or horsemen of the apocalypse.  However, a blue moon followed by a blood red moon mixed together would make a purple moon, so maybe, just maybe, Prince, the time travelling Maya, with his purply music has saved the Earth once again from the planet Nibiru.  It makes about as much sense.

I will leave you now to have a nose at the photos below and maybe get a nap in so that you can still be awake in the early hours to witness such a beautiful astronomical event.

May I also send congratulations to Matt and Sharon who got married on Saturday, trust that you had a fantastic day and are looking forward to beginning your married life together.

Peace and love

Baggie

 

 

Bipedal Motion and the Return to School

Once again the update has been delayed and the gap between write-ups has widened further than I would prefer.  As per the last few months the shadow of IMG casts long over Team Bagnall and so I have been unable to put fingers to keyboard and regale to you the tales of our corner of the world.  I will attempt to remember the past month and so you will have to forgive any memory lapses or curtness of writing over the next thousand words or so.

As you can perhaps guess from the title it has been a momentous month, even if I have not been there to share it with the family that often.

But first let me take to back to the last Thursday in August.  Friends of ours Kerry and Dave were due to be wed the following day (Friday 29th August 2014) and so we needed to find babysitters for our brood.  Unfortunately both Lucinda and I were due to work Saturday and Sunday so we were looking for at least three days of babysitting in a row, a tall order for anyone.  Up stepped Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz which was very nice of them and the girls were very excited, however it did mean that we had to drive to West Bromwich to drop them off.  The girls are always excited to see Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz but there was an added edge to this visit but more of that later.

Unusually (ahem), I was at work on the Thursday so Lucinda packed them in the trusty S-Max and drove the 120 miles to West Bromwich.  With Kerry and Dave’s wedding the next day she stayed in West Bromwich just long enough to rest and have some lunch before saying goodbye and heading back home.  She was slightly concerned about leaving Ezra as we had not left him that long before and she was concerned how he would react.  She need not of worried as he simply waved her off.  Not only was he not bothered but to rub salt in the wounds of the separation, he decided that being 120 miles away from Mum and Dad was the perfect opportunity to take he first steps!  Yes, the little blighter decided that genicular locomotion was no longer in vogue and decided to totter to his feet and begin the usual plantigrade locomotion favoured by humans.  So, disappointingly, both Lucinda and I missed this huge developmental stage.

Lucinda arrived home Thursday evening and when I got home from work we both commented on how empty the house felt, even though all of the kids would have been asleep there was still a sense of emptiness.

The next day was the Wedding; the venue Random Hall.  Random Hall is 16th Century cottage (somewhat extended) set in the Sussex countryside a short trip outside of Horsham.  As this is within shooting distance of Staines Upon Thames (about an hour away) we decided that we would drive there and back and not look to stay.  This meant that one of us needed to be the nominated driver and as Kerry is ostensibly Lucinda’s friend and many of Lucinda’s (and Kerry’s, obviously) work colleagues would be in attendance.  For those of you that think that the internet is an evil place and no good can come from it, Kerry and Dave met on the same dating website as Lucinda and I, so good things do happen in cyberspace.

Random Hall was an excellent, one stop venue and a fantastic day was had by all.  Kerry looked beautiful and Dave passed muster!  The only slight downer was the fact that we were both semi-conscious that we would be working the next day, it would have been nice to have been able to take advantage of a sans-child weekend and really let our hair down.  No such luck.

A weekend of work followed and before we knew it Monday morning arrived and we were heading back to West Bromwich to relieve Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz and collect the Baguettes!  We left early because Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz had a big day the next day and was the cause of the excitement from Éowyn and Amélie.  Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz were leaving early the next morning to catch a flight to New York.  Yes, Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz had booked themselves a short trip to the Big Apple.  Now why would Éowyn and Amélie be excited that Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz were going to America?  The power of the internet unfortunately.

The girls have discovered, on Youtube, an American lady who plays with dolls and films herself doing so.  She is either in the employ of the toy manufacturers or is just slightly crazy and has lots of spare cash, or some combination of all three.  She always has the latest dolls and makes little stories with them, much to the delight of the girls.  I have to stop them watching her and actually encourage them to put the iPad down and actually go and play with the dolls themselves.  Whoever she is, it works.  The girls are always interested in the new dolls that she has bought and we had always managed to put them off wanting it by telling them that they were only available in America (which in fairness, they quite often are).  Therefore imagine their delight when Nanny Fran announced she was going to America!  Éowyn began writing a list for her and Amélie so that Nanny Fran could load up with presents.  The upside of this was that we had warned them before going to Nanny Fran’s that if they misbehaved that Nanny Fran wouldn’t buy them anything.  To be honest they didn’t need that (they wouldn’t dare misbehave for Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz) but it was a good warning nevertheless.

The weekend also threw up another of Éowyn’s misheard lyrics, this time Ghost by Ella Henderson.  The actual lyrics are: ‘I keep going to the river to pray‘;  Éowyn instead sang: ‘I keep going to the river to play‘.  Coming from a non-religious household, I can understand where she was coming from and a more enjoyable way to spend time by a river in my humble opinion.

The second part of this update is the fact that September marks the advent of the academic year.  Éowyn has begun year 1 while Amélie still has a year before she starts full time education.  Both girls have had a little shock going back to school.  Éowyn, because there is much more focus on work this year and she no longer has free-time in which she is allowed free reign to discover her talents; Amélie because a lot of her friends have left Mini-Tots to embark on their education journey, leaving Amélie as the oldest at Mini-Tots.

Although this has been a bit of a shock for the girls, it will no doubt all be forgotten in a few weeks.  Amélie is making lots of new friends and Éowyn is thriving on the work focus and it is good for her.  She is racing through reading books at the moment and has already progressed through one level and the next level is in her sights.  There has been an improvement in her writing and she has already earned one ‘Magic Moment’ (the reward system employed by her new teacher Mrs Harris).  It is safe to say they are settling in.

Éowyn’s imagination is developing and will stand her in good stead if she pursues her latest career choice: author.  She enjoys writing and will quite often write books for us.  Yes, books, not stories.  She will fold sheets of paper and loosely bind them into a book before crafting her story.  Her stories are quite good and have a defined beginning, middle and end.  She carries this imagination into her play and some of her character names are quite impressive.  My particular favourite is Sharon Von Poopenwrench.  Have no idea where she got that from!

Ezra, too, is a cheeky little fellow at times.  I was playing with him and pretending to be a sleep replete with comic snoring noises.  As Ezra crept nearer and I suddenly ‘woke up’ and surprised him.  He thought it was the funniest thing that had ever happened and was positively chortling.  So I did it again.  Again, he thought it was a riot and encouraged me to do it again.  After about the tenth time it was becoming a little tiresome, for me at least.  Ezra had other ideas.  When he realised I was not going to do it again he put his head down and started the fake snoring.  So I put my head down and did it a few more times.  The next time I refused to do it, Ezra once again put his head down but still I refused to do it.  So he grabbed my head and pushed it down, he was a tenacious little monkey.

So with Amélie’s birthday a few short days away and Éowyn’s just under three weeks later I will leave you with the knowledge that I have to update you sooner otherwise two of the biggest events of the year will have been missed.

Peace and Love

Baggie

 

 

Bongo, bongo stylee

After an early hat-trick of updates at the beginning of November this site has been a little quiet.  Three weeks into our new home I thought it was perhaps times to rectify this and give you a little insight to the life of the Bagnalls in the new Bagnall manor.

November was always going to be a busy month.  A wave of productions were due to relocate from Chiswick to our company’s new base at Stockley Park and a number of these involved Live Operations (and hence me and my team) including the Football League Show.  Therefore if there was one month I didn’t want to move home it was November.  Unfortunately fate conspired against me and so a busy month at work coincided with the move.  With no opportunity to take leave, the relocation of the family was done on days off and hence we are still mainly in boxes.

Although I, personally, have not had much time to settle into the new abode it does feel like home.  Again that is despite the fact that we still have dozens of unpacked boxes and the heating isn’t working.  Yes, the biggest problem that we have faced is the fact that the temperature has dropped close to freezing point over night and the heating has serious issues.  We have had heating engineers around who both have confirmed that the system is full of gunk and thus the hot water is not filling the radiators.  The good news is that the boiler works as does the pump, however that hot water is not reaching the radiators and thus downstairs, especially, is barely warmer than outside.  Unfortunately due the design of the hot water system it is not the easiest of systems to service and that design is part of the issue, there are lots of turns and u-bends where gunk can gather.  Fortunately phase one has begun and now the radiators take the chill out of the room (I wouldn’t say it is tropical but at least it is a step in the right direction) and hopefully the chemicals in the system carry on dissolving the gunk and allow the hot water to do its job.

Apart from the heating, we are as much in love with the house now as when we first looked round it. There are only a couple of minor annoyances that we hadn’t noticed when we looked round: a)  the kitchen light switch is located behind the door, so as you walk into the room, you have to then close the door before you can switch the light on.  Why do people do that?  It is so annoying, surely when you are designing a room you automatically place the light switch on the opposite wall to the door hinge so that you can open the door with one hand while simultaneously turning the light on with the other and b) the hot water tap in the downstairs shower room (hark at us – downstairs shower room!) opens clockwise and closes counterclockwise which is the opposite direction to every other tap in the house including the cold water tape on the same sink.  These are minor annoyances and the kitchen light switch will be changed when we manage to scrap enough spare cash together to redesign the kitchen.

The girls have settled in well too.  They do not notice the cold (something that we have to watch for as they wander downstairs with no dressing gown or slippers on).  They do not seem even to miss the old house, which is nice.  They have settled in quite quickly and both are happy to use the extra space that the house offers to run around and play hide and seek.  Their playroom is coming together and now we have just got to encourage them that their toys live in there (or in their bedroom) and are to be put away each night in the new boxes we have bought them.  Let’s see how that goes.

So while I have been busy at work, the girls have been busy at school.  Éowyn, especially has been excelling at school, she has begun to read and write and is brilliant at breaking words into their letter and then blending the sounds together.  It is great to sit with her and see how excited she is when she reads a sentence.  It is quite exciting for her parents too!  She also has a line in the Christmas play, but more of that in the December write up.  Needless to say there is plenty of practising  She knows it off by heart and now we are working on projection.  Éowyn wants to take it one stage further though and has started making up some actions to help emphasise the words, building her part up!  We have a little diva.  There is no truth in the rumours that her rider includes 23 orange smarties and a bunch of daffodils.

Although it has been a busy month at work, there was one ‘dark weekend’ and my friend and colleague cleverly chose that weekend to get married.  John and Sara have lots of friends that have small children so their wedding was organised with children in mind and as a consequence my invite also included an invite for Éowyn, Amélie and Ezra.

John and Sara were married at St John’s the Evangelist in Blackheath and therefore the shortest (it turned out not to be the quickest route) was to drive through the centre of London.  It was a great opportunity to point out the Natural History Museum, Buckingham Place, The Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London.  There were colouring books and pencils to keep the children entertained during the ceremony and afterwards there was cake and bubbles.  Then it was on to the reception at Devonport Hotel at Greenwich.  This is where the beauty of the S-Max comes into its own.  One of my colleagues, Matt, was going to have difficulty getting from one venue to the other, so with our seven-seater beast we could offer him a lift.

Now, Éowyn and Amélie have started to make up their own language and phrases.  Bongo, bongo Stylee is one of them (it means something that is very good), others are more nonsensical.  One day going to school they were talking to each other in one of these made up languages so I started to join in and they thought it was one of the funniest things that they had ever heard.  So now they will ask me to talk in my made-up language.

So on the way to reception the girls requested that I spoke my made up language.  So I strung together a line of vowels and consonants into an amusing set of words and they started laughing.  Matt thought that he would join in and copied what I had done.  Amélie, however turned to him and said, ‘Matt, you’re not even funny!‘  Put into your place by a three year old, how we laughed!

Ezra, too can be amusing and seems to be a ladies man.  He is forever trying to catch the eye of the ladies and with his blue eyes and cheeky smile he tends to melt their hearts.  Sometimes he is not content with just a smile though.  In a restaurant a week or so ago, he had caught the eye of a couple of ladies and they were cooing over him.  However they turned away from him and begun talking to each other, Ezra was not happy.  He started calling out to them, getting more and more agitated.  When they turned to see what he was doing, he immediately stopped shouting and just looked at them and gave them a big blue-eyed smile!  He is going to break hearts if he continues like that!  His latest smile is even cuter as he screws his eyes up as he grins.  I will try and get a photo.

Unfortunately we have all been fighting a winter cold.  Éowyn was the first to succumb, although we were not convinced at first.  The Bagnalls are the kind of family that do not stop for a mere cold, so when Éowyn had a bit of a cough we gave her some cough syrup, wrapped her up warm and sent her to school.  We were surprised when Lucinda received a call on a Tuesday afternoon to say that Éowyn had vomited and would we collect her.  Lucinda asked her why she had vomited and Éowyn told a different story, namely that she had accompanied one of her friends to the toilet and (I quote Éowyn directly) ‘She did a smelly poo and it make me sick.‘  Therefore thinking that there was nothing in it, we sent her to school the next day.  School must have thought that we were bad parents and immediately called Lucinda to collect her again, saying that when a pupil had vomited they needed to be off school for 24 hours.

Thursday morning came and we sent her to school.  Her cough had got a little worse but nothing too much to worry about.  However at lunch Éowyn had a coughing fit while eating and once again vomited.  So the bad parents were called back and they requested that Éowyn stay at home the next day.  Thus Éowyn will not receive a 100% attendance certificate for the next half term.

So as we settle into our new home we haven’t had many visitors (we are still in boxes and it is a little cold) but the first of my friends to visit has one of the longest journeys.  Sanjiv, was over in England for a couple of weeks from his home in New Delhi (India for those of you with an F in geography) and we managed to meet up (for the first time in ages) and he came round to look at our new home and also to meet the family.  Éowyn was a baby the last time he met them, now we have Amélie and Ezra – how scary is that?  It was good to see him and it illustrates how we let life get in the way of living, years seem to pass so quickly and before you know it, friends’ children are going to university.  Surely I am not that old?  Although I have just ‘celebrated’ 18 years at IMG.  I can now employ people that were not born when I started at IMG in November 1995!

With those thoughts I will leave you and see you in December!

Peace and Love

Baggie

PS Apologies for the lack of decent photos, have been a little busy, I will try harder for the next update.