Christmas is over (or is it?)

So Christmas is over (unless you are a part of the Eastern Christian orthodoxy that celebrate Christmas on the Epiphany – which is probably more accurate for that is when the little baby Jesus received his presents), turkey has been eaten, festive drinks have been quaffed and the presents have all been opened.  I trust that you have all had a good time and that Santa has brought you all that you wished for.  Well if he hasn’t it was because you have been naughty so you only have yourself to blame!  Unfortunately it wasn’t quite a ‘White Christmas’, on the contrary, it was the third warmest UK Christmas on record with the mercury reading over 14°C.  A veritable heatwave but you can’t have everything.

It has been a busy couple of weeks in the Bagnall household since the last update so forgive the length of this installment.  It has also been fun for Éowyn for the first time has understood the basic ideas of Christmas (i.e. that Santa rides around the world on a sleigh giving good children presents) and so the magic of Christmas has been re-ignited for Lucinda and myself.  Now correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that most children believe that Santa has a list of children under two headings: naughty and nice, and that in a Big-Brother style surveillance operation that he is spying on them and that only the children on the latter list will receive presents.  Therefore one would hope that in the build up to Christmas those said children would be doing their utmost to stay on the latter list or indeed hope that Santa has a short term memory problem and move from the former to the latter in time for the big day.  Éowyn has to be different.  For months she has been very well behaved, unfortunately in the last couple of weeks her behaviour has made a turn for the worst (although not to the extent of the bad days of the terrible twos when she would spent large percentages of the time on the thinking step).

The last day of Éowyn’s school term was the obligatory Carol Concert (our first as parents – although there were very little ‘carols’ per se, more Christmas songs).  I took the day off work and we were joined at the school by Nanny and Granddad.  Éowyn was dressed as a sheep (the head came off half way during the concert) and delighted us by singing her heart out to every song.  We were obviously very proud parents and filmed it for prosperity.  When she returns in January we will be taking full advantage of the free nursery hours given by the UK government (currently 15 hours per week) and upping her days from 2 to 3.  She also left school with a traditional gift – a heavy cold.  Indeed in the spirit of giving she has passed it on to all of us, including her little sister – more of which later.

Christmas week started with Amélie at Jo’s and Lucinda, myself and Éowyn heading on a mystery tour.  We had not told Éowyn that we had pre-booked for her to see Father Christmas at Peppa Pig World (Paulton’s Park).  As she was a she a little heavy with cold she slept for the entire journey down the M3 and only woke as we entered Paulton’s Park.  The Paulton’s Park Christmas world is excellent with a trip through a sleeping child’s imagination through to the North Pole to visit Santa.  The path is lined with animatronic creatures (from yetis to white tigers to sleeping polar bears to dwarfs and reindeer and a whole host of woodland creatures along the way).  Considering that Peppa Pig World was fully open and the cost was the same as just going to Paulton’s Park it was excellent value.  However it was bitingly cold when we first got there and as the warm air gradually crept in, it brought rain.  Conscious of her cold we placated her with a few of the rides before curtailing the trip short and heading back home to the warmth of the moor.

With all of my Christmas present shopping complete the week leading up to Christmas was not as hectic as it usually is, a novelty for me.  It was as well as it was quite a busy week at work (with a full Premier League schedule in the mid-week before Christmas) as well as squeezing in a funeral of a friend of mine, Mike Royle, who lost his battle with cancer the week before Christmas and a couple of days before his 50th birthday.  My thoughts are with his family.

It has become (or is becoming) a tradition that on Christmas Eve we host Lucinda’s parents and brother Mike and family and it was so this Christmas.  With Lucinda at work all day I was charged with the honour of preparing the house and food while looking after the girls.  Fortunately, Éowyn was coming out of the worst of the cold which was good, however she had passed it on to Amélie and myself.  Not having the chance to feel sorry for myself I dosed myself up and just got on with it.  We were fortunate that it wasn’t ‘man flu’ otherwise we would have been in trouble.  So the first of the great feasts of the yuletide began and the six months of dieting were forgotten.  A good evening was had by all and Éowyn was so worn out that she went to bed after everyone left and was soon asleep.  Amélie however was coughing heavily and didn’t finally fall asleep until 2300.

Christmas morning started with the girls giving Lucinda and me the best Christmas present ever: a lie-in (until 0830)!  Very well received and thank you girls.  So at 0830 Éowyn popped her head around our bedroom doro and said, ‘Mommy, Daddy, Santa has been and he has left me lots of presents.  Am I allowed to open them?‘  That will probably be the last time she asks however we were not cruel but said that we would take the sack of presents downstairs to open them in the lounge.  She was very pleased with her Cicciobello doll but her Woody (from Toy Story) was the number one favourite toy on Christmas day and would later come to Nanny and Granddad’s for Christmas lunch.

Éowyn was very good with her presents, clothes were given short shrift but the toys were looked at and filed for future playtime.  After she had opened all of her presents we allowed her to help Amélie open her presents.  As all siblings throughout history Éowyn found Amélie’s presents far more interesting that her own but that did not last long when we threatened to give Amélie Woody if Éowyn didn’t let Amélie have her presents back.

As I mentioned above, Christmas lunch was around Lucinda’s parents (a short walk to the end of the road) where a feast for 18 had been prepared.  It also gave Éowyn the opportunity to play with her cousins who re as good as gold with a sometimes stroppy but always bossy three year old.  After lunch was mass present opening with five cousins (Amélie was feeling poorly and spent the best part of the day cuddling either Mommy or Daddy).  It was manic and I spend most of the time trying to keep an eye on what present she was opening so that we could thank the correct person later.  Needless to say both we spoilt so a big thank you to everyone who bought them presents.

We left shortly after the present opening to take the girls back home.  Éowyn was ready for bed after such an exciting day but Amélie was beginning to worry us.  Her face looked sallow and she was feeling very sorry for herself and just wanted to be cuddled, which is not like her.  She had not taken that much food over the previous days and her cough was sounding as bad as ever.  We decided that if she was not better in the morning we would take her to the walk-in clinic at the local hospital.  The next day (Boxing day in the UK) is traditionally Sales day and Lucinda had decided that she wanted to go to two of the bigger sales available in Staines, Next and Debenhams.  So with this in mind we retired early.

Lucinda was not prepared for the sales the next morning, and will need to sharpen her elbows if she is going to go next year.  The sale at Next started at 0600 so she arrived in Staines at 0545 (I told you she was getting up early) to be greeted with a queue that stretched half way down the high street.  It took her over 2 hours before she even got into the shop but made good of the time she was there and came back with many of the things that she had gone there for.  She then made it a double whammy and wandered into Debenhams to find the last of the sale items she had wanted (indeed it was the last one left in the store).  So it was after 1100 when she finally arrived home laden with shopping bags. 

Meanwhile I was becoming more concerned with Amélie and struggling with the cold myself.  Amélie however was very lethargic and not her self at all.  She was taking very little liquids and refusing most solids and I was worried that she was becoming dehydrated.  When Lucinda walked in, she could see my concern and with the eyes of someone that has been away for a couple of hours agreed that we should take her to the walk-in clinic.  I stayed at home with Éowyn and Lucinda took Amélie off.  The waiting room at the clinic was almost as bad as the sales.  Every seat was occupied and it was mainly babies so they couldn’t jump the queue by playing the baby card.  When the doctor examined her he was concerned too.  He said that she was borderline dehydrated and realising that Lucinda was very concerned attempted to get Amélie admitted to the local hospital (St. Peter’s where she was born).  However when he ‘phoned the registrar at St. Peter’s and described the symptoms they said that she was not bad enough to be admitted (I am assuming that they must have limited staff over the Christmas break and possibly many admissions, so unless it was life threatening they would not admit any more).  The doctor was very good though and wrote a fast track letter for us with the proviso that unless there was an improvement – not even a worsening but a definite improvement – in the next 24 hours we were to go directly to St. Peter’s armed with his letter.  Well Amélie must have understood, for as she arrived home she began to eat and drink her milk (neocate).  She was not going to be admitted to hospital.

A quick day in the office on the 27th was followed by a visit from Nanny Fran and Aunties Liz and Mary.  More presents were exchanged, although Auntie Liz forgot her’s and so Éowyn’s and Amélie’s (and Lucinda’s and my) Christmas will be extended another couple of weeks.  Do we mind – I don’t think so!

So, the year draws to an end and we are trying to work out where all the extra toys are going to fit in our modest house.  Amélie, thankfully seems to be on the mend;  Éowyn is beside herself with all the new things to play with, and Lucinda and myself are just knackered.  We are proud that we were are getting better at this Christmas thing and were far more organised this year than last (which in turn was far more organised than the year before that, and so on and so forth) but are still a long way from making an excel spreadsheet and ticking all the boxes (does anyone ever manage that?).

Work and family beckon but before I leave you, I trust that you all had good Christmasses and may the Bagnall family be the first to wish you all the best for 2012.

Peace and Love


Merry Christmas 2011

To all our Friends and Family, and casual readers of this blog

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your Love and Support throughout 2011 and hope that 2012 brings you happiness, or at least the wisdom to appreciate the happiness you already own.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Love from

The Bagnalls


Merry Christmas with Love from Éowyn and Amélie xxx
Merry Christmas with Love from Éowyn and Amélie xxx


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