There are number of updates throughout the year that you can guarantee will beglamour this corner of the t’interweb. The Christmas message and the beginning of the year Janus (p)review and then there are the three Baguettes’ birthday write ups. The first of the birthday write-ups, calendrically if not chronologically belongs to Ezra. Our third child, and youngest member of our Bagnall enclave has the honour of celebrating his birthday first – a full week before me! Read more
You are all probably waiting for an update regarding Éowyn’s birthday; patience my dear readers that will be early next week. This is another one-off special regarding my 40th birthday present. As you may recall for my 40th birthday my family bought me a super car experience and to help me make up my mind I even invited you all to join in the fun with a poll for you to vote for your favourite. The early leader was the Aston Martin (indeed if I were to be given one of the cars and asked which one I would like then I would choose the Aston Martin) however a late charge saw the Ariel Atom win by a nose (the final vote was actually cast on Thursday night – that’s how close it was). The Ariel Atom was my particular favourite as it is so far removed from a car that it made sense for such a special occasion.
For those of you that do not know what an Ariel Atom is, it is probably described best as the go-kart that go-karts threaten other cars with when they are being bullied. It is a road-legal, two-seater high performance sports car that is little more than an engine, chassis, wheels and a seat. It is the world’s third fastest accelerating road car after the Bugatti Veyron and the Ultima GTR, going from 0-60mph in about 2.8 seconds (new ones are apparently even quicker!). So you can see why I chose it.
The 6th Gear Experience was held at Longcross Test track which is situated between Virgina Water and Chobham, just alongside the M3 and less than a 20 minute drive (in our S-Max) from home. The first thing that struck me was how well organised the venue was, with stewards to direct you to the car park and a trucks for catering and to entice you to buy photos of the day (I did buy one, as you can see below). After registration you head to the demo car to be driven around the track (at a sedate pace) to give you a feel of the course and to explain the hazards. The main ones being the lack of any run-off (it is a test track not a racing track with all the associated safety features), the damp course, fallen leaves and conkers! After the demo lap you wait with nervous excitement for your time slot.
Although I was there for my Ariel Atom experience it was quite a quiet day and there was spare capacity to book other laps or indeed a passenger experience with a racing driver in a Radical race car (everyone was saying what an experience that was!). Lucinda was tempted but Amélie and Ezra were getting restless and so it wasn’t to be – this time!
As the Ariel Atom has no roof (or windows or sides), one had to don a crash helmet, which is plugged into a wired radio so that the instructor who sits in the passenger seat can talk to you. A quick tour of the controls (there are not a lot), a quick pose for a photo and off you go. The ride was exhilarating, I have never experienced such acceleration. The instructor keep an eye on the mirrors, so you only have to concentrate on the road ahead and apart from a couple of missed gear changes and a slight fish tail (that I got quickly under control and got a ‘well done‘ from the instructor) I was quite pleased with my laps. I even managed to overtake a Ferrari 360 and a Lamborghini Gallardo. In fairness to them they were probably on their first lap and I was on my second but as we rapidly approached I prepared to break and the instructor just said ‘You are quicker than them, overtake‘. So I did; with ease. That alone was justification for the choice of car.
At the end of the experience the instructor marks your driving (I was quite pleased with my 86% and comments: ‘Positive driving, took instruction well.‘) and you get a certificate. You are then encouraged to have a look at the photos taken of you round the track. It seemed a shame not to buy at least one, so I did.
I would never describe myself as a petrolhead but I could get used to days like that. If my lottery numbers ever do come up I would still buy the Aston Martin but you may just find me spending a fair few days at the race track hurtling around in an Atom.
Peace and Love
P.S. For those of you that are interested the results of the poll are below. The final (and winning) vote (for the Ariel Atom) was cast on 17th October, so congratulations to that person – no prize available.
Which supercar should I drive?
- Ariel Atom (42%, 22 Votes)
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage (40%, 21 Votes)
- Audi R8 (9%, 5 Votes)
- Ferrari 360 (4%, 2 Votes)
- Lamborghini Gallardo (4%, 2 Votes)
- Porsche 997 Turbo (2%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 53
A little later than planned but happy birthday to my darling wife and welcome to the 40 club. I was aiming for an update just after her birthday but once again life has got in the way (
excuses reasons later).
Lucinda’s birthday fell on the day before the last day of the Premier League season which was both fortunate and unfortunate in equal measures. As Head of Live Operations for IMG my major client is the Premier League and thus taking the last day of the season off as holiday is not an option and therefore the idea of taking Lucinda away for a birthday weekend (notwithstanding the fact that Ezra is only two months old) was a non-starter. However, I am fully aware of the importance of birthdays and especially ones with a zero on the end so I made sure that everything was in place for our busiest day of the season so that I could take her birthday off.
Lucinda has a number of favourite places around the world: Hawaii, South Island, New Zealand, Melbourne, St Ives, Cornwall and Hengistbury Head, Dorset to name a few and as Hengistbury Head was the closest we decided that was where we would go for a day trip to the seaside. Looking at the weather forecast leading up to the weekend our hearts dropped. Snow, month’s worth of rain and 65mph winds is not the usual Maytide offering from Ambisagrus (or other weather deity of your choice) even for Britain. Thus we were fully prepared to stay at home for the day.
So imagine our surprise when we woke to glorious sunshine on the morning of Lucinda’s birthday. We had an appointment in the morning (more of that later) so as soon as we left there we headed down the M3 to Hengistbury Head (via Mudeford). Hengistbury Head is a headland jutting into the English Channel at the mouth of Christchurch Harbour and is both an Ancient Monument and a Special Area of Conservation. It is a spit that points across the harbour towards Mudeford and is home to a few hundred beach huts which are among the most expensive in UK. However although Hengistbury Head was our destination it was to Mudeford that we headed. Mudeford is on the east side of Christchurch harbour and thus closer than heading to Hengistbury Head directly, although there is the small matter of an arm of the English Channel between them. So once parked at Mudeford Quay we headed for the short ferry ride over to Hengistbury Head.
The good weather held all day and indeed we were worried that we may get burnt as we sat on a sandy beach looking out to the Isle of Wight. The girls thoroughly enjoyed playing on the sand and in the sea (which was absolutely freezing – a reminder that it has been one of the coldest springs on record) and Ezra cast his eyes on the sea for the first time (we weren’t cruel enough to dip his toes in the sea). Before we headed back to the ferry we stopped off for the obligatory ice cream. Éowyn asked if she could order her ice cream, on her own. So I gave her the correct money and watched from a safe distance. She confidently stepped up to the ice cream kiosk and politely asked the lady behind the counter for her ice cream. I was very impressed and very proud, she is growing up fast. This was further supported a little later. We saw the ferry pulling on to the jetty and so myself and Éowyn ran across the beach and down the jetty to catch the ferry and stop it leaving Lucinda, Amélie and Ezra behind. We boarded and Éowyn walked straight up to the operator/captain/pilot (delete as applicable) and said, ‘Excuse me, please wait there are three more to come.‘ Again one very proud father.
So what was the appointment we had on the morning of Lucinda’s birthday? Well, with a growing family we are in danger of outgrowing our home. It is tight at the moment but as the kids grow older it will become a bit of a struggle and rather than waiting until Éowyn has settled into her school we have decided to dip our toes in the housing market and see if there is anything out there that we can afford. Houses have been very expensive for the last few years and, in my opinion, are still over-priced however I have been waiting for a correction in the housing market to bring the prices down to nominal levels for the last seven years and it still hasn’t happened. This is mainly due to lack of suitable properties and the availability of cheap credit both of which are still there keeping the prices high (especially in the South East of England) and so it doesn’t look like the correction is going to happen any time now (knowing the financial luck of the Bagnalls probably a month after we move in to our next home!). Now time constraints are the greater factor so we have decided to go for it.
We have been looking at property for a while but the better properties are snapped up quickly (mainly because of the lack of suitable properties) and unless you are on the market yourselves some agents will not let you even see the property. Therefore we have put our house on the market and started looking at properties in earnest. We will keep you informed as we go through the highs and lows of moving home. The house that we saw on the morning of Lucinda’s birthday wasn’t quite right but it is the start of a long process and the houses that you don’t like help you decide about the houses that you do like as much as the houses that you do like.
The day after Lucinda’s birthday was the last day of the English Premier League the culmination of this season’s work. As last days of the season go it wasn’t a particularly interested one on paper with most of the major decisions already made and my team, West Bromwich Albion nestled safely in 8th place, their highest Premier League finish. Which was good because our last game was against Manchester United and the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match in charge. After going three goals down it looked like records were going to get broken and that the Red Devils were going to give their boss a day to remember. The Albion had other ideas though and after dragging it back to 3-2 relaxed and let Man Utd restore their three goal lead: 5-2. West Brom were not about to give up though and three late goals saw the first 5-5 draw in Premier League history. Now that was a fitting way to say good-bye to the Premier League’s greatest manager.
You will forgive the above it is not often that whitter on about football but it was something special. It also marks what it traditionally a slowing down at work although this year will be different as it is not only a family move that I am planning but IMG are moving London premises too and this summer (and beyond) is going to be a busy time facilitating that move. I don’t do things by half.
Fortunately, Ezra is currently being close to the ideal baby and seems to enjoy a good night’s sleep as much as his parents. He has even managed a 7 hour sleep, but 5 hours is more usual which is still fantastic for a two month old. He becoming more alert and enjoys watching his sisters play and they, in turn, still love their brother and both hold him at least once a day. However as soon as he cries or, worse, pukes then it’s ‘Mum! Dad! I don’t want him any more!‘ Let’s hope that this sororal love continues.
To complete the busy fornight or so we paid a flying visit to Nanny Fran’s on Sunday. The S-Max makes the journey extremely comfortable so the 250 mile round trip is relatively painfree. Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz haven’t seen the kids for a month or so and therefore saw a huge change in Ezra. The girls were their usual excited selves and Éowyn (who is now beginning to reason in an more grown up manner) lamented,’Why does Nanny Fran have to live so far away. I wish she lived nearer‘. The girls had a great time (as always) at Nanny Fran’s and kept their Bagnall relatives on their toes for the entire day which included making Auntie Liz paint their nails and, if that wasn’t enough, paint their faces too!
I will leave you there and let you enjoy the photos and hopefully I won’t leave it so long next time.
Peace and Love