From cats to dinosaurs

I can almost hear what you are thinking: ‘Baggie has begun to lose it since his latest birthday‘.  Not your usual start to the Easter holidays I grant you and not a sentence that the average person would ever utter, yet alone write down, unless it is the third volume in a multi-volume encyclopedia of animals.  Neither is it a merry jape for April Fool but an accurate four word synopsis of the start of the Pascal break.

As is the case for the end of each full term, the schools that the Baguettes attend finish just after lunchtime on the Friday and this, being the end of the Spring term was no exception.  As fate would have it, I was off too.  However, I was unable to fully take advantage of the fact and spend some time with the Baguettes as I was due to attend a follow appointment with my ophthalmologist which kept me away from Bagnall manor for most of the day.  Nevertheless, you will be pleased to know that the infection has cleared up, however, there is still some inflammation – a month after my initial infection – but thankfully no new membrane growth so no repeat of the eyeball scraping that I received on my last visit!  Even my ophthalmologist said it was a nasty infection and although he has discharged me from his care, he has prescribed more steroid eyedrops that I need to take for the next month in conjunction with some anti-histamine eyedrops that I need to take for the next two months!  I’m getting quite good at self-administering eyedrops now – and certainly will be after May when I will have had somewhere in the region of 700 eyedrops.  I returned home to a tired Ezra and an even more tired Lucinda.  Éowyn was on a playdate and Amélie was at Rainbows.

So, we may not have been able to take advantage of the extra afternoon on the Friday, but the first day proper of the Easter holidays was a Saturday and I was off for the entire weekend.  Nevertheless, it was not a day of rest; it was a day for a mercy trip.  At the beginning of the year a cat adopted Uncle Bobby.  An adult black cat appeared after a house fire down the street and decided that she would rather live with Bobby.  The family who lived in the house denied it was their cat when Bobby asked them so he let her into his home, and heart.  He didn’t really have a choice.  The cat had decided she was going to live with him and that was it.  Bobby took her to the vets, for she had a scar on her leg, but the vets confirmed that she was healthy and there was nothing to worry about.  Unfortunately, Bobby is moving and decided that it was unfair to take her with him, so he wanted a new home for her.

I knew that another friend of mine, Alistair was possibly looking for a second cat to keep his current cat company while he was out.  I asked him if he was interested and he replied that he was but unfortunately wasn’t able to take her in until the 10th April.  Bobby was moving on the 4th April.  There was a week where she would be effectively homeless; she needed a temporary home.  Therefore, in addition to being the transport conduit between two friends that are unable to drive, we agreed to be the temporary accommodation for the homeless puss.

As a family the idea of a cat had never crossed our mind.  We, as one, like the idea of welcoming a dog into our home, but a cat wasn’t high on the pet list.  Does that mean that we are cat haters?  No, not at all.  I like all animals and am quite happy to welcome any pet into our home.  I err more to the dog side of the dog/cat debate, but it is a close call; Éowyn and Amélie both have cats as their favourite animals (in the shape of jaguars and snow leopards, respectively) while Ezra prefers Gorillas – and we are not having one of those.  Lucinda is the one that needed convincing, but for a short period was quite happy to accept a stray into her home.

Therefore, after swimming on Saturday morning, the Baguettes and I headed up the M40.  Lucinda, decided that she would stay at home to have some time to get some housework done after a term of childminding wards. It was also an opportunity to have a break from the Baguettes in light of their bad behaviour on Mother’s day and the fact that she will be doing the majority of the child care over the Easter holidays while I am at work.  As we were in West Bromwich it was the perfect opportunity to visit Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.

I decided to pick the cat up alone, leaving the Baguettes with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz, as I thought that it would best for putting the cat at ease.  After catching up with Bobby, we managed to ‘encourage‘ or more accurately, ‘stuff‘, the cat into the cat basket ready for her journey to Bagnall manor.

So, what are we going to do for the next week or so?  How are we going to cope with a feline in the house? Will the cat ingratiate itself with the Bagnalls or will we not be able to wait until Alistair can take her under his wing?  You will have to wait to find out, as indeed will we.  All five of us will need to agree if we are going to welcome another being into our home, so let us see how the next week goes.  And although we picked the cat up on 1st April 2017 it is no April fool joke.

The first day of (temporarily) owning a cat was the Sunday and unfortunately we had to leave her in the house on her own for we had prebooked tickets for an event in Osterley Park.  Jurassic Kingdom is the closest one can get to real dinosaurs.  Around 30, full-sized, animatronic dinosaurs are touring the country and they debuted at Osterley Park.  The dinosaurs have moving heads and jaws, arms and legs and necks and tails.  In addition, at the base there were speakers blaring out roars to make them seem even more lifelike.

Seemingly, we were not the only people going dinosaur-spotting as the roads leading into Osterley Park were jammed.  Nevertheless, we eventually parked the car and walked into the grounds following the signs for the Jurassic Kingdom.  All three Baguettes were excited and were comparing which dinosaur was their particular favourite.  However Ezra’s bravado dissipated as soon as he rounded the corner and saw a life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex moving its head and jaws while bellowing an awe-inspiring roar.  In fairness to our son it did look quite realistic and when you add that realism to the imagination of a four-year-old then it was no longer an animatronic dinosaur it was a real-life behemoth.

Éowyn and Amélie were not as scared as their younger brother; they knew that they were just big robots and so they tried to put their brother at ease by telling him so.  That didn’t help.  Now they were real-life robot dinosaurs, no wonder it took him so long before he was comfortable enough to approach within twenty metres of a dinosaur.  However, he was eventually brave enough to stroke a Protoceratops and have his photo taken in front of some of the others, encouraged by his older sister.  Éowyn had taken her camera and was probably as obsessed as her father in taking photos for the beasts.  Indeed, quite a few of the photos below and on the Flickr page were taken by her.

Although it was relatively expensive, it was probably just about worth the money.  There could have been a few more purveyors of food as the few stalls that were there had huge queues.  Indeed, it was fortunate that we had packed a picnic for the Baguettes, unfortunately Mommy and Daddy had planned on getting a Brontosaurus Burger and so had to wait until we got home! (And before you tell me that there is no such dinosaur as a Brontosaurus and that the real name of said dinosaur is Apatosaurus, then you need to update your dinosaur knowledge for latest research has concluded that Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus are two distinct animals and indeed that there are three separate species of Brontosaurus – so there!).

The Jurassic Kingdom is touring the country so if you have dinosaur obsessed people in your life, then it is definitely worth heading out to visit, it is just a shame that they haven’t taken into account the latest research and given us a vision of feathered dinosaurs rather than the reptilian imagining of the bestiaries of my childhood.

I will take my leave of you now, and leave you to guess where the puss heads off to St Albans and Alistair’s or whether it stays in Bagnall Manor and becomes the Baguettes third pet.

Peace and Love