Éowyn's first trip to foreign climes

Éowyn has done what it took me nigh on another 22 years to do: take a trip on an aeroplane.  My first flight was in 1996 at the age of 23.5, Éowyn took her first flight just before she turned 20 months old.  Friends of mine Simon and Stefania were getting married on the 18th June in Stefania’s home town of San Baronto in Tuscany, Italy.  We therefore decided to make a holiday around the event and, considering other events due this year, make it our big holiday for the year.

The holiday didn’t start in the most positive fashion.  Our flight was due out at 09:00 BST and so we decided to push the boat out and have tea (or dinner for you Southerners) at the Earlybird at the local Harvester restaurant.  We went with Nanny and Granddad as we do relatively often.   Both Lucinda and I decided that we fancied the scampi and chips and duly ordered said meal each.  It tasted lovely and thought no more of it, and what followed may or may not have anything to do with it.

Cue 02:00 BST Lucinda begins throwing up.  This took us back to when she was pregnant with Éowyn and  suffered food poisoning from a re-heated quiche.  That time we went to A&E and she was kept in for a few hours to monitor Éowyn.  We were told then that the blood supply of the baby is separate to that of the mother so that the baby should be fine however it was important to keep up her fluid intake for dehydration was the real issue.  This did become a concern as Lucinda developed diarrhoea.

Cue 04:00 BST and I began to feel ill.  I did not vomit (which in hindsight was probably a bad thing as you will discover later) and only suffered the secondary issue (pun intended).  So now there was no way we were going to be nipping off to hospital to get Lucinda and the bubba checked out before our flight (and for a while it looked like we were not going to be able to make the flight!).  Fortunately about 06:00BST everything seemed to settle for a while so we decided to head to the airport (thanks Granddad).

At the airport we felt rough but (due to many years of experience) managed to check in and get through security and find the gate.  Éowyn was being golden, and enjoyed looking around the shops.  She eventually took me into one of the many shops in T5 Heathrow for she had spotted a World Cup ball and wanted it.  As she was being so good I bought it for her for it was something else to keep her amused with, for airside we were both suffering new waves of diarrhoea.  Fortunately we were out of sync with each other and could take it in turns to look after Éowyn.

We got on board and the plane filled up.  It was going to be a full flight.  As we taxied to the runaway we though we would give Éowyn her bottle to help with equalising her ears on take off.  However we were foiled by the French!  French air-traffic controllers to be precise who had decided to go on strike, thereby delaying all flights across French airspace.  So we sat on the runaway, on a full flight, feeling rough with a 20 month old that rapidly drank her milk thinking things couldn’t be much worse.  It wasn’t a good start.

However after about a 45 minute delay it was our turn to take off.  We should have had no fear.  Éowyn sat on my lap shouting ‘Wheeeee!’ all the way down the runway and into the air.  She loved it.  She was so well behaved on the flight, we could not have asked for any more from her.  When we landed I felt incredibly bad and rushed for the toilet as we got off the plane.  Somehow we not only got through customs, collected our luggage and hired a car.  We managed to drive the 100km or so from Pisa airport to the Hotel Monti in San Baronto, check in before collapsing on the bed in the hotel room.

I stayed in bed for the next day and a half, unable to keep any food or drink down.  I wouldn’t like to think how much weight I lost in that time frame but I was 9lbs lighter on my return and I ate nothing but pasta, pizza, cakes, beer and ice-cream while I was there.  It was not much fun for Lucinda as she had recovered the next day and could not explore too far as I was the only one insured on the car and walking was out of the question as it was torrential rain for those first few days.  The holiday had not started well.

I did, however, flush the toxins from my body and although weak and gaunt looking was able to get out of the hotel on the third day.  Although I took it easy in order to save myself for the wedding, which was on the fourth day (Friday 18th June) of our holiday.  My friend Hami also arrived on the third day just as I was beginning to feel better.  Another good friend Sanjiv arrived late on the Thursday and caught up with him on the morning of the wedding.

The wedding was fantastic.  The ceremony was held in the Church in San Baronto and the reception in Villa Rospigliosi in nearby Lamporecchio.  Villa Rospigliosi is a 17th Century Villa built for Pope Celemns IX as a summer retreat from the Vatican.  It was a fabulous setting for the wedding, Simon and Stef have true style!

We were in Italy for 10 days in total and took full advantage of being in the middle of Tuscany.  We visited Florence, Lucca, Vinci, Empoli, Pistoia, Lamporecchio but missed out on Pisa (although we did see the learning tower from about a mile away as we headed to the airport on the way back home).

For Éowyn it was a holiday of many firsts:

  • First time she had used her passport
  • First time in the airport
  • First flight
  • First foreign country
  • First trip on a bus
  • First wedding
  • First trip on a coach
  • First trip on a train
  • First time she has used another language on a trio (Ciao and Grazie)
  • First Father’s Day spent outside of England

Highlights of the trip (apart from the wedding) would have to be meeting up with Simon, Hami and Sanjiv for me.  The trips to Florence, Lucca and Vinci and the fact that we got to spend a considerable amount of time together as a family.  Something that we very rarely do for any length of time.  During our trip Éowyn is now confident counting up to 10.  Can name a considerable amount of colours (her favourites being Orange and Purple) and can tell you the noises that animals make.

Funny moment of the trip goes to Sanjiv.  Searching San Baronto for somewhere to have lunch (not an easy task I can tell you) Sanjiv spots some women perparing tables in a restaurant, calling over he shouts, “Scusi,” at this point we are impressed, we did not know that Sanjiv spoke Italian.  Then Uncle Albert kicked in, “What-a time do you-a open?” he said, putting on an ‘Allo ‘Allo Italian accent.  It makes me laugh now, just thinking about it!  He should of course have said: “Scusi, Bootiful Lay-dees!  What-a time do you-a open?”  At least he gave it a go.  I suffer from that English disease of being afraid of getting it wrong that I forget to try.  I keep promising myself to learn another language but never get around to it.  Perhaps I will rectify that some day.  Sanjiv’s language skills narrowly beat the result of New Zealand v Italy game into second place, but as England were abysmal the least we say about the World Cup the better.

Returning home we had one more event before returning to work.  Nanny Fran’s belated 60th birthday present.  Due to her accident (she is still in plaster) our surprise trip to Rome has been cancelled and instead we took her to see The Sound of Music with Connie Fisher at Woking theatre.  I have to admit it was a fantastic show and it also gave Nanny Fran a chance to see Éowyn who she hasn’t seen for quite a while.

Now I feel that I have waffled far too much, so please find some photos below to enjoy.  I will be uploading a large number to Flickr in the next few days so keep your eyes peeled for those.  I also aim to write a more detailed account of the holiday and post it as a permanent page under Éowyn’s own page in the right hand column, so keep an eye on that too.

Peace and Love


Flaming June

So it is June.  Who organised that?  I’m sure someone is bypassing the odd day here and there while I am not looking.  They say as you get older the days seem to pass more quickly because the day:life ratio is widening; thus as a fraction of your life a day becomes gradually less significant and hence relatively shorter.  I think that there is probably a deeper metaphysical conclusion I can draw from that basic maths statement but I will leave that for another blog.  From a Geophysics point of view the days are getting longer since the Earth is slowing down as it loses its kinetic energy as a consequence of tidal acceleration.  Don’t say you never learn anything here.

As I mentioned in the last update, Nanny Fran has had a operation to repair a ruptured patella tendon.  All is seemingly going well and she is recovering at home.  Therefore last weekend we popped up to West Bromwich to visit Nanny Fran and hopefully give Auntie Liz a little bit of a break.  (Not sure how much of a break we gave Auntie Liz or whether we just added to her workload!)  Unfortunately Nanny Fran didn’t have a plastercast which we thought that she would so Éowyn was unable to graffiti it. 

Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed herself at Nanny Fran’s and entertained us constantly.  She is quite happy at Nanny Fran’s considering she doesn’t go that often, especially since Nanny Fran has a toy corner and she knows where it is.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very good and Éowyn could not enjoy herself in the garden, instead she had to entertain herself by running out of one door from the lounge, around the house and back through the other door to the lounge.  That is so much fun!  She also made us laugh when she decided that Nanny Fran seems to have so much fun with her crutches that she decided that she would have a go and took them for a stroll across the lounge.  She really can be a cheeky monkey!

Again it has been one of those weeks where my days off has coincided with Lucinda’s working week (I say week, if you can call 2 days a week! 🙂 ).  It is something we are both conscious off and are aware that we need to keep an eye on for our own relationship as much as for Éowyn.  Being primary child carer on those days does give me an appreciation of the work involved in looking after an active toddler, especially when every day off is taken up looking after her and you don’t get a chance to sit back and do something (or nothing) for yourself.  Don’t tell anyone, but I actually enjoy it immensely.  It is great playing on the floor, having tea parties, playing with Play-Doh, scribbling in colouring books and playing ball.  Not quite so happy when Daddy becomes a climbing frame or trampoline!  Nanny and Granddad have a perfectly good one of those in their garden.  I’m also getting into ‘In the Night Garden‘ and ‘Zingzillas‘, will have to see what Éowyn thinks of Camberwick Green, The Clangers and Chorlton and the Wheelies.

Lucinda’s pregnancy is still going well, although the new little bubba gave us a bit a fright the other day.  Lucinda had been busy all day and when she finally sat down she realised that she hadn’t felt the baby move or had recalled feeling the baby move and so we both became a little concerned, frightened even.  So before we trundled off the hospital to check everything out, Lucinda drank a cup of hot tea.  Nothing.  We became more concerned the final chance before heading to St Peters was to make Lucinda drink a bottle of ice cold water and lay down.  The little bubba didn’t like having a cold shower and gave its Mommy a kick.  To say we were relieved was an understatement.  It is so easy to forget that pregnancy is a precious gift and that it is important to take care of yourself and listen out for the bubba.

The keen-eyed among you will have noticed that there is a new link in the panel on the right hand side.  Paso Dance is a new venture by a friend of mine, Roberta.  She has taken the big leap into the wide world of business organising dance holidays.  There will be holidays for all skill levels, so if it is something that you do or something that you would like to do, click on the link and take a look.

Again I have out done myself with another 18 photos below.  Please enjoy and see you soon.

Peace and Love