Tell me baby, do you recognise me? Well, it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me

It is tradition on Baggie and Lucy dot com for me to treat you to pre-Christmas round up, and equally one after Christmas, usually with the pre-Christmas entitled with a suitably Christmassy song lyric for you to guess and award yourself a point or ten.  With the trip to Lapland taking 5000 words and nigh on 70 photos you may have to forgive me this year for not managing to keep this tradition and subsequent failure to squeeze in another essay before the big day (well actually before the equally traditional Bagnall Christmas message).  Although I failed in writing this post before Christmas, I do not like to let you down so this may not be the most eloquent of posts for 2016, or indeed the lifetime of this website, nevertheless I thought that I had better impart the last few weeks of news before bringing you up to speed with the Bagnall’s Christmas celebrations.

Let me take you back to the day before we left for Lapland. Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz were due for a visit but this was no surprise to the Baguettes, even though they initially knew nothing of the planned trip to see the ‘Real Santa Claus‘ as they were aware of Saturday’s planned activity: a trip to the panto.

However, that wasn’t the only event, on what turned out to be a very busy Saturday.  As you may remember it started with the big reveal:  letters from Santa Claus inviting them to Lapland.  Then it was the usual Saturday morning walk through the park to the leisure centre for swimming lessons, only today it was only Amélie that was going to attend her lesson, Éowyn had another more pressing engagement: her best friend’s birthday party.  So we loaded the guinea pigs in the boot of the car and I took her across Staines.  The guinea pigs were not going to the party – although I can understand why you may think that – but needed to go on holiday while we were in Lapland.  Amélie’s best friend (well her mum) had volunteered to look after them while we were away, therefore with a busy day ahead (we still had to pack for Lapland) I dropped them off on my return from dropping Éowyn off.

So, bags packed it was time to collect Éowyn from her party before heading to Old Windsor and this year’s pantomime.  Rapidly becoming one of our Christmas traditions (although this is the first time I have been off work to go), a visit to the Riverside Players Pantomime starts the Christmas celebrations.  Indeed it was the first time for the family as a whole as it was Ezra’s first time too.

This year’s performance was Pinocchio.  The Riverside Players maybe an amateur dramatic society but the manner in which they approach the pantomime is anything but amateur.  It truly was a professional production incorporating modern songs into a timeless classic, even the goofs were handled with aplomb.  The Baguettes thoroughly enjoyed it, even Ezra who was completely immersed in the story-telling.  I thought it was much better than some of the professional ones and look forward to next year’s performance.

The week following our return from Lapland it was the turn of the Baguettes to take to the stage for their nativity plays.  Unfortunately, Ezra’s nativity play performance was due while we were at Santa Claus Village and thus we missed out on his performance of a shepherd.  The girls’ plays were after our return and so I took a day off work and we arranged for Nanny to look after Ezra (in return for dinner) so that we could see their starring roles.  Well, I say starring roles, neither of them had actual starring rolls.  Amélie was a shepherd (and also held the book of lines for the narrator), while Éowyn was in the choir.  With 90 children per academic year group and two year groups per play and for any one story there can only be so many starring roles therefore when you do the maths and divide through by 180 it doesn’t give your particular child a high percentage of getting a speaking role.  You also have to take your hat off to the teachers for wrangling that many children and teaching them their lines.

Now, even though neither had starring roles, it was still a proud moment to see your child take to the stage and show enthusiasm for the play regardless of their place in it.  It is also heart warming as they enter the assembly hall and their eyes dart around looking for you.  Then their eyes light up when they find you, proud that their parents will be watching.

I took another day off that week primarily to take Amélie for her first visit to the ophthalmologist at Ashford Hospital, but turned out to be fortuitous for another reason, but more of that later.  As you may remember Amélie has been diagnosed with a lazy eye and received her first pair (or pairs, two to be exact) of glasses in September.  This was her first hospital visit to see how she was progressing with the glasses and whether it was time to start patch therapy.

There was good and bad news.  The good news is that the glasses are seemingly doing their job and her left eye is getting stronger.  Indeed with her glasses and her right eye covered she could see relatively well, almost as good as her left eye.  Indeed, after a full examination was that they are pleased with the way that her eye is progressing and they would like to see (no pun intended) at the end of January to further assess her progress and then make the decision whether they need to progress to patch therapy.  For her long-sightedness isn’t due to her lazy eye, more that her lazy eye is due to her long-sightedness.  That is, because her eye was long-sighted and her brain wasn’t presented with any usable signals from the start, it decided that it didn’t need it and began to ignore it completely hence it became lazy.  The downside is that her eye is long-sighted and therefore she will always need corrective lenses.  We had hoped that the eye was just lazy and thus could make it be not so and the glasses would only be a temporary measure.  That, it appears, is not the case and she will be like her parents, bespectacled.

A couple of days before Amélie’s eye appointment I received a very welcome phonecall.  One of my best friends was in the country for Christmas.  I hadn’t seen Fabian since my wedding over 9 years ago and thus I had never met his son and he had never met the Baguettes.  This needed to be rectified.  Fabian had a pretty full on schedule on his visit and we had tried to meet up with one of our other friends, Andy and his family but with the lead up to Christmas being such a busy time, we could not coordinate our three diaries to confirm a date.  Therefore we, reluctantly abandoned that notion and met with Fabian and his family individually.  Having Thursday off, worked well with Fabian so I drove to where he was staying and brought him back to Bagnall Manor for a catch up and introduction.

The Baguettes loved Fabian (he has a fantastic way with children) and his son soon came out of his shell and enjoyed playing with the Baguettes.  It was good catching up with Fabian and it is the measure of our friendship that after 9 years we picked up where we left off and it could have been 9 days since we last saw each other.  I have promised that we will take the Baguettes to visit him in the Seychelles, indeed when Éowyn realised that it is warm all year round, she was packing her suitcase to go back with Fabian.  Perhaps they will believe me that they have tortoises that are big enough to carry them when they visit.  It was all too brief so we must promise to stay in touch more often.

The weekend saw the Bagnalls plus Nanny head to one of our favourite haunts: Savill Garden.  There was a festive gingerbread man hunt and we thought it would be a good distraction for the Baguettes leading up to Christmas.  We parked in the newly expanded car park and saw a large old-fashioned carousel.  Ezra was not impressed and wanted not a jot of it but the girls did, so Lucinda took them while I stood with Ezra (and Nanny) taking photos.  The gingerbread man hunt was good fun with questions related to the plants that the gingerbread men (and women) were hiding behind.  It wasn’t too taxing and lasted just enough so that the Baguettes did not get bored.  Thwarted by how busy the café’s were, we had to head back home for lunch without filling up on cake (or indeed gingerbread men) – most disappointing.

After a busy couple of weeks the schools broke up and knowing that my shift meant that I would be working during the break between Christmas and New Year (everyday!) I decided to take the time off leading to Christmas so that I could spend some time with Baguettes and help get the house ready for Christmas.  But that is the subject of another post and so you will have to wait until next time to find out what happened then.

As I mentioned I always entitle this post with a Christmas lyric and I had chosen the title of this post before the untimely death of George Michael little did I realise that this would take on added poignancy on Christmas day itself.

Peace and Love