A belated end to the Summer holidays

A second update (bisected by the obligatory ‘First day back at school’ post) to try to make amends for the dearth of updates over the summer.  This is the follow-up to The Pox, The Summer and a Trip to Nanny Fran’s which covered much of the six week holiday and fills in the gaps at the end of that break to allow me to show off the photos that somehow we have managed to take on the precious few days I had actually managed to be off with the Baguettes over the Summer.  This was meant to have been posted a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately with a long continuous stint at work this has been further belated to the third week of term, I am hoping that the 30 photos at the bottom will allow you to forgive me!

With a position that requires working at the weekend, it means that my ‘weekend’ moves to mid-week.  When the Baguettes are at school, that is a problem, however during the school holidays it matters not and indeed is a little bit of a godsend when planning days out.  So with two days off in a row (a rarity at this time of the year for me, especially so soon after a weekend off – I am being spoilt) we decided to take full advantage.

We woke on the first of those days to a cloudless blue sky.  Lucinda was working so her ward joined us on a trip to Bushy Park, near Hampton Court.  It appeared to be a very popular choice and we were extremely fortunate to find a car parking space.  Indeed, when we left there was almost a fight over our space.  Nevertheless we parked up and took a short walk across the park to the children’s play area.  Factor 50 had been duly applied and so we were good to spend time under the August sun.

The children’s play area in Bushy park is well equipped with the usual slides and swings but also has a hug sandpit.  Two adults with four children should be fine but the excitement of the such a large play area with so many different things to distract the attention, it took all our effort to shepherd them in pairs, two each.  They thoroughly enjoyed themselves playing on the various equipment, swings, slides and climbing frames. We took our picnic in the shade of a wall and while they all ate their picnic fittle we could see the other parents and childminders having the same battles with their wards as we had just had.  As they had all eaten well and had been relatively well-behaved it was only right and proper that we had an ice cream.  So we wandered into the park itself and spent a fortune at the local Mr Whippy Ice cream van.  Again, searching for shade we sat down under a large oak tree in an attempt to give the children enough time to eat them before they melted in the heat.

As Brits we should know that one should not rely on the British weather, even in the Summer.  The next day we decided that we would head to the seaside and meet up with Lucinda’s Uncle David and Auntie Sally in Middleton on Sea.  As we know we should not rely on the weather, equally we are not put off by it and so undaunted we headed South.  Uncle David and Auntie Sally live a short walk from the beach and with some uncertainty over the weather after a drink and the obligatory biscuits we headed to the beach.  The tide was in and it was amazing how little of the beach was left, just a ten or so metres of pebbles.  Nevertheless it did not stop us taking full advantage before heading back to Uncle David and Auntie Sally’s house for a spot of home-made lunch.

Despite signs to the contrary the weather brightened up in the afternoon so after lunch we headed back to the beach.  In the couple of hours that we were away the tide had gone out and revealed a couple of hundred metres of sand.  It was amazing the difference and the Baguettes took full advantage of the wet sand.  Indeed it was only for the promise of cakes and drinks that they would leave the beach for Uncle David and Auntie Sally’s beach hut.  It was only as we sat outside their beach hut eating Fondant Fancies and drinking tea (how very British!) that we realised the time.  It was definitely time to head back home if we were going to get back at a reasonable hour.  The day had just flown by and so we tidied and headed back to Uncle David and Auntie Sally’s to load the Baguettes back into the car.  We had a fantastic time and promised not to leave it as long next time.  We keep saying that to people, hopefully we can keep the promise.

The neighbour’s extension is nearly done.  They were hoping to have it done by the beginning of September and Cath’s 40th birthday.  Unfortunately, that deadline was missed however it did not stop the birthday celebrations and they had a fantastic party in their back garden to which we were invited.  We have also joined in the construction party with the erection of a Tiki Hut.  Officially it is a thatched wooden gazebo but the best description is a Tiki Hut.  We ordered it back in May, ostensibly for the Summer, so we are a tad disappointed that it finally got installed at the beginning of September.  Nevertheless it is an investment for the kids to play in and for us to entertain so it will get plenty of use, even in the winter.

We had a slight drama for a week or so when Lucinda was without her phone after throwing it down the toilet.  It wasn’t out of any form of frustration but one of those one in a thousand slips.  She had seen that one of the Baguettes had left the toilet lid up and went to close it, slightly lost her balance as she entered the bathroom and somehow threw her phone in the air.  It flew, in seemingly slow motion, and landed straight down the bowl.  Luckily the toilet water was clean but it did not stop it killing her phone.  A trip to the Genius Bar, a claim on our mobile phone insurance and a £50 excess and she has a new phone.

Once again I apologise for this post arriving nearly a month later that I expected it to, but the start of the Premier League season, and the unexpected arrival of UHD has meant that I have had precious few days off.  I now have nearly a week off so expect a couple of posts over the next week or so.  If you cast you memory back to the antepenultimate post you may remember that we decorated the girl’s bedroom while they were at Nanny Fran’s, you can see some of the photos of the fruits of our labour below.  The girls still love their room, even if the promise of keeping it tidy has long been forgotten.  There are lots of other photos of our recent activities on Flickr if you are bored, but for now…

Peace and Love


(Football) Season’s greetings

You wait seven weeks and then there are two updates in a week.  Yes the football seasons are well underway and work has already started to slip into a pattern.  It is nice to know that the hard work put in over the summer have borne fruit quite quickly and workflows and procedures seem to be working.  There is one more hurdle to jump, one more client to incorporate into the system and then hopefully I can ease off the weekends and start to see the family more.  Don’t hold your breath!

This update however takes us back to before I lost my weekends to the behemoth that is IMG.  Lucinda’s friend Lisca decided to celebrate her birthday inviting a select group of friends for a spa weekend.  So Lucinda took advantage and headed off to the country while I stayed at home with the kids.  I was looking forward to spending time with the kids but it appeared that my body decided to rebel and use the opportunity to lower its guard and let the infection that it was fighting have the upper hand for the weekend.  So, probably before Lucinda had even checked in, I was running a temperature of nigh on 40˚C while every muscle ached.

The kids were playing nicely together so I lay on the settee to try and regain some strength.  Éowyn saw that I was ill and asked if she could put on a DVD and curl up on the settee with me.  So, she chose a film (Brave) put it in the player, handed me the remote controls and curled up on the settee with me.  Amélie, wondering where Éowyn was came into the lounge and curled up on the settee too.  Then the Bagnall sandwich was complete with Ezra squeezing himself in the group hug.  There we stayed watching Brave (the first time for me!) the four of us curled up on the settee.  It was delightful.

The following day we had arranged to go to the cinema with the cousins.  Ezra was duly packed off to Nanny and Granddad’s and Éowyn, Amélie and I went to watch Muppets Most Wanted.  The girls are a big fan of The Muppets (indeed Éowyn’s first trip to the cinema was to see The Muppets) and know all the songs from the first film, so it was an easy choice.  Neither of the girls were as captivated as they were with the first film (and in fairness neither was I, and I’m a big Muppets fan) however Éowyn has begun to do a very good Russian accent, in the style of Constantine (the world’s most evil frog).

A fortnight later was our 7th Wedding Anniversary and how did we celebrate this momentous occasion? Lucinda was working, then we had friends round for a barbeque before I, and two friends, went to the cinema to watch the simulcast of the last night of the Monty Python Live (Mostly) stage show.  It is a good job that I have an understanding Wife, and perhaps, in part it is why we got married.  The show was the first time in 30 years that all the (living) Pythons were together on stage and they kept us all happy by performing all the favourites, with a bit of new material thrown in for good measure.

The favour was returned a couple of weeks later with Daddy spending a Friday night in while Lucinda and Lisca once again went out on the town for a kid-free night.  We had told the girls that Lisca was going to stay the night and would be in the spare room and so not to go in there in the morning.  This is the room that Éowyn and Raine spent the night when Raine came for a sleep over.  Something must have clicked in Amélie’s head and equated Lisca’s stay with a sleep over.  Now as Éowyn had the chance to sleep in the spare room with her friend, the cogs started turning in her head and Amélie decided that this was her opportunity.  As I put the girls to bed, Éowyn duly climbing into the top bunk while Amélie disappeared; I found her snuggling into the spare bed.  I asked her what she was doing.  ‘I’m going to have a sleepover with Lisca,’ was her reply.  I don’t think that Lisca would have been very pleased to have come home after a few fizzy drinks to have found Amélie starfishing in her bed.

July also saw the harvest of the first of our crops (16 potatoes from the first plant!).  Indeed for the past month we have kept ourselves in potatoes and beans.  I have always thought about the idea of having a veg patch and so this year was firstly an experiment to seeing if we were any good at growing food and whether we could dedicate the time and effort into looking after the plot.  Secondly, it was to introduce the girls to where food comes from and by encouraging them to be involved in the growing process to get them to eat more veg.  Any produce was therefore a bonus.  Nevertheless we have been fortunate and have had a bountiful harvest of potatoes and beans.  It is surprising how much better vegetables grown by your own fair hand, taste; indeed our potatoes are full of flavour.  The girls get quite excited when I go to the veg patch to dig up some potatoes and insist on coming with me armed with a bag.  I think the girls enjoy it because of the unknown.  When you stick your fork in and lift the plant up, you never know how many potatoes you are going to get or how big they are.  It is like a poor man’s Christmas day.

It is the gift that keeps on giving; we still have beans and potatoes to harvest and now the tomatoes are beginning to ripen.  We thought that our three raspberry bushes were not going to fruit this year, however it looks like we might get a late harvest, which I am quite excited about.  Unfortunately we have had a bit of a disaster with the sole remaining pumpkin plant.  The leaves developed a white growth and within a couple of days all the leaves had died before we had a chance to try and cure the infection.  The vine itself still seems to be alive and the pumpkin is ripening so we may be lucky, we will have to wait and see.

The pumpkin probably suffered due to the heavy rain that we have recently had.  Indeed Bank Holiday Monday saw a month of rain only a couple days after the lowest August temperature recorded in the UK (a shade above -2°C in Northern Ireland) and the news that a glacier has begun to form in Scotland (despite this article from 7 months previous stating that they will not return in our lifetime).  So we many feel that we are hurtling in Autumn, and the return to school but it wasn’t like that at the beginning of the month.

Indeed we were more worried about sun cream than wellies when we spend the day at Bushy Park.  We headed there with our N.C.T. gang and enjoyed a traditional day at the park, playing football, frisbee and soft ball all based around a picnic.  The day was made more exciting by an invasion of the Bushy Park resident deer.  First it was the Red Deer that actually kept a discreet distance but not so their smaller relatives.  We sat amazed on the picnic blanket as a couple of fallow deer wandered over and unafraid stuck their noses into our bags to see if there was anything of interest.  I had to stand up and usher them away, only for them to head to an unoccupied picnic blanket and helped themselves to the food that had left behind.  (See our Flickr pages for photos).  So if any of you decide to take a trip to London’s second largest Royal park watch out for cervine thieves, it was definitely a first for the Bagnalls.

Another first for the Bagnall was Amélie’s first visit to the haridressers.  Amélie’s  hair has never grown as quickly  Éowyn’s but has recently become a little wild, so we thought it was time for her to go for a haircut.  Lucinda took both girls to our local hairdressers in Stanwell Moor.  Éowyn has been before and only needed a trim of her blond locks.  Amélie, however, needed a bit more work and we were a little worried how she would react.  She nearly fell asleep when she had her hair washed and was as good as gold while they cut her hair until she saw it on the floor.  Then she started to cry and asked them to put it back on.  The hairdresser was very good with her and said that they collect all the hair and put it in a magic box.  Then we you are older and you would like it back you can take it home.  This seemed to placate her and then said that she wanted to get rid of her curls as she didn’t want her curls any more.  So the hairdresser straightened her hair.  Fortunately, the curls have fought back but not before Lucinda took some photos of her without curls.  She looks very different I am sure that you agree, and probably not as cute.

Before I leave you to enjoy the photos let me regale one small amusing anecdote.  Éowyn may suffer, like her father, from an inability to carry a tune she nevertheless, like her father, enjoys to sing.  However her choice of songs seems to be far too influenced by Disney films and her mother’s CD collection.  One of the songs that she likes is 22 by Taylor Swift.  However, she hasn’t quite nailed the lyrics.  For those of you not familiar with the song, it opens with the line  ‘It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters.’  In fairness to our oldest child, she is only five that therefore doesn’t know what a hipster is never mind what they dress like, so Éowyn fills in the unknown word with a more familiar one singing ‘It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hamsters’.  A somewhat different fancy dress shop but would probably work better visually.

A big welcome to the latest member of the greater Badger clan: Letty Louise Woodman the first child for Lucinda’s cousin Kate and her partner Nolan was born on the 17th August 2104.  Interestingly another girl, the 11th of her generation (compared to only 2 boys), there must be something in the water.  She looks a real cutey from the photos and we can’t wait to meet her!

Peace and Love