They said there’ll be snow at Christmas; they said there’ll be Peace on Earth

For those of you who scored 10 for knowing the answer to last year’s Christmas pop trivia another ten points are on offer if you know from which Christmas ditty the title of this update is from.  Well done, treat yourself to a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine.

This will be the last full update before Christmas although the (now annual) Bagnall Christmas message will automatically appear just after noon on Monday 19th December 2011 (already pre-written – aren’t I clever?) and I will try to squeeze in a post-Christmas update (time permitting) before the New Year.

As I mentioned in the last write up, I have attempted to use the remainder of my 2011 annual leave up by taking this past week off, in an attempt to get into the Christmas spirit and complete (start) the Christmas shopping.  The week started well with the obligatory trip into the loft to get the Christmas tree and decorations down.  We then duly put them up and encouraged Éowyn to help decorate the tree.  Not the most enthusiastic of decorating from our oldest child but I think she will get into it a little more as the years pass.  Amélie on the other hand just wanted to pull the bauble that you had just placed on the tree and throw it across the floor, well it is a fun game!  Éowyn however did let us play Christmas songs (her particular favourite being Mrs Santa Claus by Nat King Cole for some reason) while we bedecked the lounge.  It certainly raised the Christmas spirit and indeed does the tree everytime I walk into the lounge, all that was missing was a flurry of snow (still a disappointing lack of snow in these parts this winter!).

As I was off Lucinda also decided that she would book her week off too (both days!) so that we could have some time together and since the childminder had already been booked for Lucinda’s work days then it meant that there was two days that we could have off together.  However, an invite to a supplier’s lunch on the Tuesday put pay to part of one of those days but at least Lucinda could spend a little time with her mum without the kids, which was good for both of them.

The Wednesday without the kids flew by.  We were worried that we would spend the whole day missing them, but to be honest we just didn’t have the time.  Taking advantage of the fact that we were dropping them off at 0800 we headed to Kingston early (to avoid the lengthy queues to the car parks) in attempt to complete our Christmas shopping.  We may not have completed our Christmas shopping but we certainly put a big dent into it.  Going early meant that there was no queue for the car park and we were ahead of the game before the shops got too crowded.  Definitely the way to Christmas shop, second only to sitting at home surfing the on-line retailers and getting it all delivered to your door (or alternatively their door – even better if the on-line retailer offers a wrapping service!).

It seems that no matter how much you think you know you children they will always do something to surprise you.  Amélie has not slept through the night since she was born.  The latest she will wake up in 0530 and usually once or twice in the night.  This week she slept straight through for four nights in a row.  Yes, not one or two days but four!  Brilliant we thought, she is finally learning to appreciate the magnificence of a good night’s sleep.  Unfortunately we don’t know how long she may have slept on two of those days because we had to wake her up to take her to Jo’s (the childminder).  Nevertheless we were feeling a little pleased with ourselves as we headed to the end of the week.

A trip to West Bromwich to visit Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz was in order to complete the week, especially since we will not see them until after Christmas.  We arrived Friday lunchtime and did not stop.  We paid a visit to see Éowyn and Amélie’s Great-Grandma.  Then the school that Auntie Liz works at were having a Christmas fayre and so we paid Auntie Liz (who was busy face-painting) a visit and had a look around the fayre.  Very disappointing really, except for the roasted chesnuts.  They after putting the kids to bed myself and Lucinda headed to the local supermarket to stock up on supplies that we hadn’t brought up with us.

Sitting in the car on the way back to Nanny Fran’s, Lucinda realised that she hadn’t got her purse.  We headed straight back and retraced our steps from the till to the car.  No luck.  No one had handed the purse in and there was no sign of it either in the shop or in the car park.  We gave our details to security and headed back to Nanny Fran’s.  Obviously Lucinda was extremely upset but fearing the worse we left Nanny Fran’s and headed straight to the Police station to report the incident.  As soon as we had the crime number we began cancelling Credit cards.  It was part way through cancelling the second bank’s cards that we received a phonecall from security, someone had found the purse and handed it in.

All the cards and all the money was still in the purse and Lucinda was delighted to have it back (even with the now useless cards in there).  We had been fearing the worse but the spirit of Christmas still endures in the Black Country and we thank the kind soul for handing it in.  He left his name and number and so there is a thank you card and a little something for him to thank him for his goodwill.  We salute you, sir!

Amélie, however was no so generous.  After lulling us into a false sense of security with her four nights of sleep she brought us down to earth on Friday night.  She awoke just after 0100 and would not go back to sleep.  Nanny Fran popped up about 0500 (when Amélie is awake everyone without a blast zone of 20 blocks is awake – she has the most piercing scream when she wants to let loose!) and took her from us and finally got her to sleep leaving us to get a couple of hours.

On Saturday myself and Lucinda headed into Birmingham to visit the German market while Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz, Éowyn and Amélie went on an adventure of their own.  Again the few hours that we had to ourselves allowed us, not only to visit the Christmas market but to finish off our Christmas shopping without the kids.  Indeed I think we are both now completely ‘Christmas shopping’-ed out, we just have to wrap them now!

But where was the adventure that the other went on.  Well Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz took the girls to visit Father Christmas at Dudley Zoo and Castle.  It was Éowyn’s first visit to Santa this year and she was a little overwhelmed by the experience.  She was overcome by shyness and did not ask Santa for anything (does that mean that she doesn’t get anything? – I am a cruel father!), indeed did not speak to him at all.  Not sure what Amélie thought about it.  It was only afterwards that Éowyn got a little upset because she did not ask Santa for a cicciobello doll, which seems to be the one constant that she asks for.  We are not sure where she discovered the doll or why she particularly wants it but it is a parent’s duty to at least investigate.

After another disturbed night of sleep (it is payback time) and a Sunday lunch we headed back down the M40 and home.  When we finally arrived home Elf was on the telly and if there is one thing more magical than watching a Christmas related feel good film that must be watching a Christmas related feel good film with a three year old that believes every word of it.

For those of you that we won’t see between now and the big day we hope that you have a great time and trust that Santa (Father Christmas/ Saint Nicholas/ Kris Kringle/ Santa Claus/ Ded Moroz etc…) brings you all that you deserve and maybe a little of what you want.

Peace and Christmas Love