A New Addition to the Family

Sorry, I got your hopes up then didn’t I?  No we are still waiting for his arrival, the new addition to the family of which I speak is the new car.  Bertie Beast (as the girls have named it) is now a part of our family.  Nellie Bug (Lucinda’s Nissan Micra) has been replace by Bertie Beast (Lucinda’s new-ish S-Max).  It was a sad day to see Nellie Bug emptied of all personal possessions and left on a strange garage forecourt.  This was tempered by actually driving the Beast away and playing with all the gadgets that it has.  It took a while to make the decision as to which MPV (7-seater) to buy; we decided that the S-Max was the best fit.  It then has taken a while (Lucinda’s appendicitis put pay to the first attempt at buying a car) until we found the actual car with all the extras that we wanted for the price that we could afford.  We are very pleased with our new arrival.

It was the first time that the girls experienced such a change in their lives.  Lucinda and I have both had the same cars for the girls’ lives and thus it must be quite a strange experience for them to see something that has been quite a big part of their lives left at a strange place while we drive off in a new car.  Éowyn has experienced hire cars (and vans) and so leaving our car behind to drive off with a new one wasn’t a novel idea but not taking it back and picking up ‘our‘ car most certainly is.  Éowyn is obviously a little older and so we can explain the situation to her and she takes it on board, comprehending a new experience.  Amélie, on the other hand, isn’t really old enough to completely grasp the notion.  It must have been playing on her mind because a couple of days after we had picked up the Beast she said ‘Mommy, I really miss Nellie-Bug.‘  It nearly broke Lucinda’s heart.

As I mentioned in the last write up the girls are now sharing the same room, in bunk beds.  This is quite a change for both of them.  Éowyn now sleeps five feet (1.5 metres) off the ground and needs to climb a ladder to go to sleep (or descend it to go to the toilet).  Amélie has moved from a cot (with sides) to the bottom bunk of a bunk bed, a full sized bed.  They both have to adapt to sharing a room and the disturbances that this brings.  So far it has not been too bad.  Initially they kept themselves awake talking and shining their torches at each other, but since this beginning the novelty has worn off they go to bed and for the most part of it go to sleep quite quickly and stay asleep until dawn.

That is not to say they have slept through the night every night, but then neither did they do so when they had separate rooms.  Amélie, especially has woke us a number of times recently crying and visibly upset although she has been very much asleep.  This, we think, is because she has started to dream vivid dreams, her subconscious attempting to make sense of the day’s experiences.  Éowyn went through a very similar stage at about the same age and although they are very much reduced in frequency she still has them occasionally, then again so does Lucinda.

Although both girls have seemingly adapted to sharing a room quite quickly it would be nice, especially when they get older, for them to have separate rooms.  Not that three bedrooms is a bad thing but we live in a terraced house and so the communal rooms aren’t massive either and so we are on the look out for a larger house, ideally four bedrooms, but anything with more space and room to expand into.  Unfortunately, houses that fit that description in the areas we want for the price that we can afford are few and far between.  Unless one has a bottomless pit of money there is always compromise whenever you buy something.  For instance the S-Max was a compromise as it was a year older than we would have preferred (to be honest I would have preferred a new one but that was completely out of the question) and silver (not the colour that Lucinda wanted) but ticked the remainder of the boxes.  With houses there are more boxes that need ticking and although we have been to see a number of houses lately the compromises that they have are just too great at the moment.  This will probably have to be put on the back burner until junior is a little older as he will be unashamedly (and rightly) hog our attention for the next few months.

However the challenge over the next few months will be to get the balance correct and share our time with the girls.  This onus will probably fall on me more than Lucinda as she will be taking more of the bulk of baby care.  Not that I am a shy of doing my share and I am sure that regular readers of this website will testify.  Every now and then though Lucinda will throw me by changing the goal posts.  This happened at breakfast last week.  I asked the girls what they wanted for breakfast and Amélie asked for ‘Crocodile feet‘.  I laughed because I thought she was being funny.  Now that sounds precocious for a two year old but the girls play a game where they pretend to be waitresses and take a food order from all the adults in the room.  They pretend to write the order down and then return with the order a short while later.  It is a good game to test their memories and I like to push the boundaries so instead of the more usual ‘ham sandwich’ or ‘spaghetti bolognese’ I try to gross them our with items such as ‘Rhinoceros Toenails’ or ‘Camel eyelash sandwiches’ which the girls find hilariously funny. Thus when Amélie said ‘Crocodile feet’ I thought she was doing the same.  However when I opened the cupboard with the cereal boxes in I found a new cereal in the coco pops family called Croc prints which are crocodile feet shaped chocolate covered cereals.  She knew what she wanted.

Before the snow returns (yes really!) at the weekend we have had a couple of vernal days with temperatures hitting 17ºC and so I took full advantage performing the first mow of the year.  Thus the garden is ready for the next new arrival even if the house isn’t fully there yet.  At least Lucinda’s bag is packed and the S-Max is fully fuelled, let’s just hope that the snow that is forecast isn’t too deep or brings the traffic to a standstill at the wrong time!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there and let us see if the little one will appear on his due date.  So stand by for I believe that the next write up will be the one you are after until then

Peace and Love


Not many photos but here are the girls saying goodbye to Nellie-Bug

A week at Nanny Fran’s

A second update in just over a week, I’m trying to make amends for the lack of activity in 2013 thus far.  So what warrants this activity?  In a word (or two) half-term.  The first half term of the year was the first half term since Nanny Fran’s retirement and the last break before Baguette number three makes his arrival.  Nanny Fran therefore kindly offered to look after both girls for the week.  Obviously we asked the girls if they wanted to go to Nanny Fran’s for a sleepover and the answer was an overwhelming, yes.  Indeed they were excited for the entire lead up to their Black Country adventure and spoke of it constantly for at least the week beforehand.  Thus, Sunday morning while Lucinda was completing her antepenultimate day of work before thirteen and a half months of holiday and maternity leave kick in, I drove the girls up the M40 and their home for the next 5 days, West Bromwich.

As is the norm these days ‘Muppets – Soundtrack’ CD was fired up and before Starship’s ‘We built this city’ had begun both girls were asleep and so I could continue with Daddy’s choice of music.  As we approached West Bromwich they awoke and as I pulled up outside my childhood home both girls got out of the car all excited to see Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz and quickly made themselves at home.  Since they were so settled I decided that I would head back home after lunch.

And so a week away from the girls (and a week off work) began.  It was a very strange feeling and the house seemed very empty (and quiet) without them, however it did allow us to get on with all the jobs that we felt needed to be done in order to prepare the house for Baguette number three’s arrival.

So what did we do?  Task one was to move the girls in together.  We had decided that we wanted to move the girls in together to free up the box room ready for the new arrival, and although the need for that bedroom is at least three months away (he will be in our room for the first few months), we wanted to move them in together prior to his arrival.  The reasoning behind this was to prevent his arrival being associated in the girls’ minds with a change in circumstances. Life is going to change enough with their little brother’s arrival without the loss of their individual freedoms.  So, what was, Éowyn’s room was emptied and bunk beds were built and then furniture returned.  This also gave us the opportunity to deep clean the entire room and organise their many toys.  The beauty of the bunk bed arrangement means that they have a lot of floor space on which to play.

Although this sounds like a relatively quick job, it did take best part of the day.  However we did finish early so that we could take advantage of an evening without child responsibilities and go out for a meal and actually relax in each other’s company without entertaining small ones at the same time.

The second day we spent out of the house primarily looking at cars.  As previously mentioned the imminent arrival of number three means that Lucinda’s Nissan Micra was a little too small.  We spent sometime researching cars back at the tail end of the summer and we poised to make the decision until Lucinda’s appendix interrupted the process.  Now we had the opportunity we decided to see what was on the market.  We knew the type of car we wanted: A second-hand Ford S-Max.  We knew the specification that we were having, the price range we were willing to pay and the extras we expected to get.  Not expecting to see the exact car we wanted we headed to a Ford dealership that we knew had a large selection of S-Maxes to put our names down and give them the specifications we were after.  We looked at a number of S-Maxes and then amazingly we found one that fitted our requirements.  A test drive and conversation later we put our deposit down and arranged a pick up for the following Tuesday.

Lunch beckoned and then time to make another purchase.  This one not as expensive but just as important: a new mattress.  After an hour or two of trying out mattresses across a number of bed showrooms before we found the one that we both felt was the most comfortable and again a conversation later we had made our purchase and we had a second successful day had been completed.

Excited about our purchase (the car) and thinking that it would be nice for the girls to talk to their parents we decided to ‘Facetime’ (other videtelephony software is available) the girls.  Unfortunately that was a bad idea and one we will not repeat should they stay with Nanny Fran in the future.  Both girls became very upset and insisted they wanted to come home.  This in turn upset us, even though we knew that they were fine, but their upset continued into the night which caused Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz to have less sleep than they are used to.

The remainder of the week was spent getting plastic boxes of new born clothes and toys out of the loft and cleaning the house from top to bottom.  Lucinda is in full nesting mode something that is very difficult to accomplish when there are small ones running around and preventing full nesting behaviour.

Friday was Lucinda’s penultimate day at work and the day that I picked our little ones up and they got to see their bunk beds for the first time.  But more of that in a later write up.  But what did the girls get up to in West Bromwich?  If you ask Éowyn then it was nothing.  Whenever Éowyn has been anywhere and you ask her about it and what she has done the answer is always nothing. ‘Éowyn, what did you do at school today?‘ ‘Nothing.‘  ‘Éowyn, what did you do with Mommy today?‘  ‘Nothing.‘  So we found out off Nanny Fran.

As I mentioned at the start of this write up Éowyn and Amélie ran into Nanny Fran’s house all excited on the Sunday morning.  They made themselves at home almost immediately getting their toys out and settling in for the week.  Then Amélie put her toys and they she went up to Auntie Liz and asked for her nails to be painted.  Auntie Liz obliged and so I was surplus to requirements.

The next day Auntie Liz had taken the day off work and so the four of them headed off on an adventure to Hatton Adventure Farm at Hatton Country World.  They spent the best part of the day there playing in the various playgrounds and visiting the farm animals.  There is even a petting zoo and the girls got the chance to hold a Guinea Pig.  Amélie was apparently the more bold of the two, volunteering to hold the rodent but Éowyn took some convincing, and would only stroke it so as not to allow her younger sister the upper hand.

Tuesday saw Auntie Liz at work and so Nanny Fran had them both to herself.  So Tuesday’s adventure was contained to the town of West Bromwich.  They paid money into their bank accounts and headed to Nanny Fran’s erstwhile workplace.  Again the girls were very well behaved but again Amélie was more bold than her elder sister greeting all of Nanny Fran’s ex-colleagues and even kissing them good bye as they left.

Auntie Liz took Wednesday off so Nanny Fran had support for the second day of the week and more adventures were had including a trip West Bromwich’s Dartmouth Park.  So Éowyn’s summary of ‘nothing‘ as you can see was somewhat misleading.  In addition to the adventures there were visitors to Nanny Fran’s house and visits to various friends in West Bromwich including a trip to see Great Grandma.

I am not sure who enjoyed the trip to West Bromwich the most the girls or Nanny Fran.  Neither am I sure who was the most tired after the week in West Bromwich the girls or Nanny Fran.  It was unfortunate that the weather particular wintry (it is winter) which meant that there weren’t too many attractions open and also it was a little too cold to spend too much outside (for Nanny Fran as much as the girls!). Therefore when it warms up a little and Nanny Fran has had a chance to recover the girls will have to go up for another extended visit.  This will appease the girls since they were very upset to leave Nanny Fran’s and didn’t particularly want to come back home (that’s a nice thing for us to hear – we are only their parents!).

So Lucinda is now on maternity leave and the countdown is nearing its conclusion therefore stand by for the big news in the next week or so.

Peace and Love





Welcome to 2013

So as we sit Janus-like at the start of his month I will take the opportunity to review 2012 and attempt a prediction of what is to happen over the next 12 months.

So firstly what did we learn in 2012, the year that the Olympics came to London and Britain became really good at sport (except Football)?  The World didn’t end; we didn’t fall over a fiscal cliff and the best way of guaranteeing the wettest year on record is to issue a hose-pipe ban in March.  From a Bagnall-centric point of view we discovered the joys of all-inclusive holidays and the holiday island of Tenerife.  Éowyn had been asking to go on a ‘plane again throughout 2011 and Amélie had not had the joy.  We, obviously wanted a family holiday that was easy and would be rain-free and therefore would be relaxing for us too and so we opted for all-inclusive (eliminates the worry of finding child-friendly meals).  Tenerife seemed to be a good bet for weather and had the attaction of Loro Parque as well as being the third largest volcano in the world.  Both girls were extremely well-behaved throughout the holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘plane ride, the food and the pools.  Éowyn discovered her burgeoning love of photography (behind the lens, she has fallen out of love with being the object of the photo) and the horrors of a camel ride while Amélie was content to take the experience in her stride.

Éowyn also discovered the joys of the cinema.  She has been a film fan for a long time but going to the cinema is very different, especially when you are three years old.  Her first film was The Muppets and she thoroughly enjoyed it, so I bought the soundtrack (on CD – I am still 20th Century when it comes to music) and it hasn’t been out of my car stereo since.  Both of the girls request the album before I am even in the car and they know all the words to all the songs.  The film therefore had to be bought (on Blu-Ray) and has been watched a number of times.  It is a good job that I am a big Muppets fan and I think that it is something that the youth of today have definitely missed out on and I can not wait for the sequel.

The biggest lesson from 2012 however was all about the preciousness and fragility of life.  The beginning of the year saw the passing of a number of friends and family members and without wishing to put one life over another possibly the most significant to me were my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Roy and my Nan’s brother, my Great Uncle Albert.  And although we are sad at their passing the circle of life continues and in June we were delighted to find out that Lucinda had fallen pregnant for the third time.  However our joy was somewhat tempered by the blood results at the 12 week scan, which indicated a high risk of chromosomal abnormalities. Both being of the mind that we needed to know we opted for Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) to know for certain.  Fortune looked upon us and the results came back that we were expecting a healthy baby boy.  Both of us feel that this now makes our little family complete.

Then in early October a second reminder was sent our way with Lucinda suffering from Appendicitis.  She has put the initial pains down to pregnancy twinges but as the day continued the pain got worse.  A trip to A&E confirmed the worse and Lucinda was rushed into theatre for an appendectomy.  It was a close thing with the swollen appendix about to burst (it was already weeping) but she is now fully recovered (apart from a small scar) and it is but a memory and we will not dwell on the statistics regarding pregnant women, unborn children and burst appendicies.

And to end the year Nanny Fran has retired; therefore it is our mission to keep her as busy as possible and with 3 grandchildren she will not have time to put her feet up.  As both Lucinda and I came from three child families and so for us it seems quite natural to have three children.  However in the modern world that doesn’t seem to be the norm.  Indeed, holidays, family tickets and even cars do not seem to have been created with three children in mind.  The biggest of those problems is the fact that modern cars have not been made wide enough to fit three car seats across.  When we were growing up that wasn’t a problem as there were no car seats.  Indeed there were no rear seat belts!  However the modern age dictates that a child should be in a child’s car seat (which it right and proper) however to fit three car seats into a car one has to opt for the seven seater, the MPV.  At least should we opt for the Ford S-Max (which is our current favourite) then we can take Nanny Fran with us on our excursions!

It seems a bit of a moot question to inquire as to what we are looking forward to in 2013.  A new car, a new house (if we can possibly find what we are looking for in our price range) or a change in work premises (yes, after 10 years in the current building we are moving from the surburban idyll that is Chiswick to the leafy business park that is Stockley Park)?

Obviously these are all totally eclipsed by the fact that we are expecting our third child and it is to be a son.  With two kids already under our belt we are not entirely newbies to this parenting business but they have been girls.  By all accounts the leap from two to three is not as big as either the jump from one to two or indeed zero to one but as Éowyn and Amélie have taught us, no two children are the same.  Indeed Éowyn and Amélie are like chalk and cheese in some respects.  So where will the latest edition sit?  Or will he take the Bagnall children into a third direction.  Whatever, as long as the little one is healthy, it will be a fun journey and give me even more reason to update you all via this medium (and, more likely, yet another reason why I will not have time to) and to fill the servers of this corner of the internet with more photos of the growing family.

It will also be a momentous year for our other children.  Not only will they have to cope with another child vying for their parents’ (and grandparents’) attention and eventually playing with their toys and upsetting their games but they will have to move in together so that their little brother can have his own room.  At the moment Éowyn and Amélie have separate bedrooms but as we live in a three bedroom house the sisters will have to move in together.  Eventually they will be in the bunk beds that we have bought but until Amélie is a little older we will just move their current beds into the same room.  Therefore there will be a whole learning curve of compromise that they will have to go through.

In addition, Éowyn will be going to school.  Not pre-school, but actual full time education.  We are obviously anxious that we have chosen the right school and that she will enjoy it.  She will be going from being one of the oldest (and tallest) at her pre-school to being much further down the pecking order in a much bigger environment.  Although she can be a little on the shy side I am sure that she will take it in her stride.  Hopefully the fact that she will be in a more structured learning environment will be good for her.

When we know what school Éowyn has been accepted for, then it will determine which pre-school we will send Amélie to.  We have delayed sending Amélie to pre-school only because we don’t want to end up causing ourselves issues with the girls being at completely different sites across the Staines-Upon-Thames (!) area.  Hopefully it will not be long until we know the answer.

With a new baby, probably a new car, a new work environment and maybe a new house it is already gearing up to be a busy year.  A year that will see visits from two bright comets.  The first, Panstarrs will grace the skies around my birthday (and possibly my son’s birth) and the second will perhaps be the brightest comet of our generation, if not the century.  Comet Ison is heading our way and should be visible to the naked eye for the last few months of 2013 and at its peak should be brighter than a full moon.

So as portents adorn the heavens and Lucinda and I complete 4 decades on this planet – don’t tell anyone – (I don’t think those two events are related) I leave you a little bit of trivia with which you can impress your friends.  2013 is the first year since 1987 where all four digits are different from each other.  Do with that what you will.

And finally I hope that 2013 brings you love and wisdom; the strength to follow your dreams and to learn from your mistakes and the wonder of a child to appreciate the beauty of this World.

Peace and Love


PS: The photo below was taken on our Christmas trip to Chessington World of Adventures, at the Sealife Centre there, it was Yuletide so excuse the reindeer antlers!

The Bagnalls at the end of 2012
The Bagnalls at the end of 2012