Becoming mobile

Out of respect for Eilidh, I have not updated the blog for a couple of weeks.  If you have been directed here to read my tribute to Eilidh please click here, click on her name in the tag cloud or search for her in the Search bar both of which can be found in the right hand column.

We had a shock today, as our first born has reached the tender age of 18 weeks!  We had somehow managed to mislay a couple of weeks and were working on the fact that she was approaching 16 or 17 weeks (we weren’t quite sure) but Friday marks the end of the 18th week since we became parents and as you can see from the photos below Éowyn’s development is still speeding along.  It seems that you only have to leave her for five minutes and she is doing something new at the moment.  She takes after her father in many ways, not all of them good, but one of the better ways is her love of laughing.  She finds delight in most things, mainly her dad doing stupid things, making stupid noises and tickling her belly.  It is without doubt the best noise in the world, it takes away all the world’s worries.

She also takes after her father in her new major achievement.  She has been able to roll onto her belly now for many weeks, and she has been getting herself into the crawl stance for the last couple of weeks, but has not managed the next stage.  Then last Saturday (14th February) she crawled for the first time!  Not very far, half a body length or so, and not very quickly, but nonetheless she crawled.  Only it was in reverse.  Yes she went backwards backing away from the toy she was trying to reach but it was movement!  Apparently I only ever learnt to crawl backwards before taking to two legs, it explains a lot.  It reminds me of the Goofus bird of North American lumberjack tales, that only flies backwards, so that is can see where it has been!  This is an extension of her recent trick of rolling on to her belly and then rotating her lower body round in a circle such that she is 180° to how you left her.  So in her cot, she sleeps with her feet to the foot of the cot, but if she wakes and gets bored, she will kick the covers off, roll on to her belly and then rotate her body round, pivoting around her head and shoulders (see photos below).  You have to be careful where you leave her now!

She is also currently fascinated by food. (yes, like her dad!)  She loves to watch you eat.   I think she is trying to work out why the thing that you have put into your mouth does come back out again.  Anything that is within reach is currently forced into her mouth and chewed.  Today, she tried to grab my coconut macaroon, it is a good job she is my daughter, many a person hasn’t lived to tell the tale of stealing a man’s macaroon!  This is why we had to calculate how old she was. We were thinking that she had not yet reached her 4 month mark and hence no solids, but as she is passed that mark, we aim to introduce her to baby rice on Saturday.  The current NHS guidelines say that you should not give a baby solids before they are 6 months old, but I think that tens of thousands of years of humans introducing solids to babies when they start showing an interest in food hasn’t done us much harm as a species… and she is a Bagnall!

Enjoy the photos below, there are some new ones on the Flickr site too.

Peace and Love


Rest well Chicken

This is a very difficult piece to write, but I feel that I must.  On Thursday 5th February 2009 riding her bike to work, a friend and colleague Eilidh Cairns was involved in an accident and passed away a short time later.

Eilidh was full of life, and lived her short life to the full.  She was very comfortable with who she was and made no excuse for that and we all loved her for it.

Her passing has hit all that knew her very hard, and that is right and proper and no words that you can say can take that hurt and grief away and nor should it.  Denial, Anger, Depression are all part of the process before Acceptance can help you to heal.

Some people entrust in religion at such times to help them, and others do not have such a crutch.  My belief is that when you are in a relationship with someone, whether that is friend, relative or lover that you exchange a piece of your hearts and entrust the other with its care.  Between those pieces a thread joins you.  The stronger the friendship; the deeper the love, the larger the piece and the thicker and brighter the thread. When that person is taken from you, the thread is broken and you feel the pain of that part of your heart that you have given; however what you must remember is that you still have part of their heart and you are honour-bound to look after it and do what is right by it.

So when you have partied too hard and dragged yourself into work; when you have woken early because it has snowed and a smile creeps across your face, and everyday in everything you do, doff your cap, tip a wink and take Eilidh Cairns with you.

Sleep well Chicken

Eilidh Jake Cairns
Eilidh Jake Cairns

Update 1:

A memorial bike ride, commemorating Eilidh and to draw attention to cycling safety in London took place on Saturday 7th March.  Hundreds of her friends, family and members of cycling forums traced her route to Notting Hill.  There are some photos here, it made the local ITV news here and a very touching video tribute can be found here.

Sleep well Chicken.

Update 2:

It has been over three months since Eilidh’s accident and we are no closer to knowing exactly what happened that morning.  To try and jog people’s memories Eilidh’s friends and family handed out leaflets appealing for witnesses and have produced a short video to be broadcast.  This twofold: to ask if you saw anything on the morning of Thursday 5th February 2009, however insignificant you think it may be, to contact the police to help piece together the jigsaw of what happened and secondly to raise awareness of the safety of cyclists and prevent accidents like this from happening.

So please if you saw anything on the morning of Thursday 5th February 2009, the week of the heavy snow, please watch this video and contact the witness line on 020 7388 6806.

Update 3:

Eilidh’s memory has been honoured with a  ghostbike, the first city approved ghost cycle in London.  Ghostbikes are small and sombre memorials for cyclists who are killed or hit on a street. A bike frame is painted white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise ordinary street.

Update 4:

Eilidh’s mum, Heather, has been working with her local M.E.P. to try and get a E.U. declaration signed to get H.G.V.’s fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spot.  They need your assistance so please pop by to and see how you are able to help.

Update 5:

It has been over three years since Eilidh’s death but not only is cyclists’ safety still an issue (only yesterday a cyclist was knocked down and killed by an official Olympics bus) but the driver involved in Eilidh’s accident has still been affecting other’s lives.  Yesterday however he was sentenced over the death of Ms Nora Gutmann whom he ran down in June 2011 on a light controlled pedestrian crossing and falsifying the data from his tachograph of the lorry his was driving.  This is not the forum for a detailed write up of the details of the sentence but if you are interested please click here.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Okay, we need to mention the weather.  Yesterday Britain suffered a significant snow fall, the worst (or best depending on your point of view) in London for 18 years.  It is amazing how poor Britain (and especially the South East) is at handling a little inclement weather.  The whole infrastructure of London ground to a halt.  Only a few hardy (or should that be foolhardy) individuals made it in to work.

I am not sure how I feel about this.  Should we reward people for making it into work?  Should we punish people that didn’t?  Should the country invest in equipment to ensure that there is little disruption to the country?  I’m sure that we all have own views and it is probably somewhere between the extremes.  Although I think it is frustrating that you get no thanks for coming into work; perhaps that is because I am one of the foolhardy individuals that feel a sense of loyalty to make it into work.

However, the heart-warming side of the snow, was watching fathers building snowmen with their children and spontaneous snowball fights in the streets, and although I was at work, it didn’t stop us.  A 12:45 snowball fight was duly arranged by work e-mail and it is frightening how much exercise is involved in a snowball fight and how unfit we all were.  However the snow was perfect snowball snow, light and fluffy with enough moisture to stick together easily. So after 30 minutes of running round like idiots we decided to build a snowman.  Again the snow helped and it was not long before we had a 7 foot high snowman  (see photos below).

I am a big fan of snow, probably due to the childhood memories it brings of snowball fights, building snowmen and having days off school.  My only disappointment was that Éowyn was too young to appreciate the winter bonus.  Perhaps next year…