Easter eggs and a trip to the Seaside

Once again I feel that I have to apologise for the lack of updates through 2014.  At this point last year you would have had 17 updates, this is only this year’s 8th!  In fairness, last year was busier than usual mainly due to the birth of Ezra but you have to admit I am normally more prolific than I have been this year.  I have always said that this is a window into our world and it is more important for life to get in the way of this website than vice versa.  There have been plenty of jobs to do around the house and garden, it has been the traditional end of the season business and there has been something that has been overhanging the family (or not overhanging the family – a little joke that you may understand when you read about it) over the last six weeks but more about that in the next update.  Ah well, there are the excuses on with the update!

So what has been going on the in the Bagnall household?

Easter has come and gone since the last update and with it school holidays.  Yes, Easter marks the end of the second term and a fortnight break from school for both of the girls.  This came at an opportune time for Éowyn as she was beginning to get a little tired and was in need of the break.  It is hard enough as an adult doing a full week of work, week after week without a break (I know I have not used an of this year’s annual leave as yet!), it must be ten times as hard for a five year old.  Unfortunately we could not take full advantage of this hiatus from school because Easter is also a traditionally busy time in the football calendar and thus it is difficult for me to take time off work.  (It has to be said that the busy points in my work calendar:  Christmas, Easter and August unfortunately coincide with the term breaks and thus school holidays, that’s what you get for being the Head of Operations of the World’s largest independent sports production companies!).

A week off work was therefore out of the question but a tip to the seaside was still in order.  The weather hadn’t truly warmed up but nevertheless this has not stopped the Bagnalls in the past and it certainly isn’t going to stop the Bagnalls in the future.  So the S-Max was packed, a DVD loaded to keep the girls entertained and we headed to one of Lucinda’s favourite places, in probably her favourite county:  Hengistbury Head in Dorset.

We arrived in good time and parked the car at Mudeford Key before heading across Christchurch harbor on the ferry to Hengistbury Head.  Our arrival coincided with a heavy downpour and unfortunately we were on the open top ferry when it hit.  As you can see from the photo below there was nothing we could do except grin and bear it.

It was no surprise then that we didn’t head straight to the beach, but rather the cover of the beach café and lunch.  The rain clouds blew away while we were indoors and we headed to the beach; if not in bright sunshine at least it was more ‘cloudy with occasional breaks for the sun to peak through’.

The girls love playing on the beach (as I am sure that most kids do) and they do not feel the cold as much as adults.  While Lucinda and I barely took our coats off they wanted to strip off (thankfully managed to dissuade them from that!) and paddle in the sea.  Despite Daddy trying to convince them that the sea would be cold (it has barely had chance to warm up since the winter) it wasn’t until they had run in that they believed their Daddy.

Despite the weather, fun was had by all and three very tired kids reluctantly were convinced to return to the car for the journey home.   Éowyn and Amélie both protested the return but both (indeed Ezra too) were asleep before we made it to the M27 and the journey home.

The Easter holidays also saw a visit from Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.  Nanny Fran’s birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year (a day that both Lucinda and I were working!) and so she came down on Good Friday to stay for the weekend.  Her visit wasn’t just to get her present and deliver Easter Eggs.; it was to finally take advantage of last year’s present a ride over London in a helicopter.  This was, if memory serves me correctly, the third time that she had tried to take to the skies.  The previous two times the weather had put pay to the experience. This time however it was successful and she had a great time viewing the sites of our Capital City from an unusual vantage point.

Before we let her take to the skies though both she and Auntie Liz had to be roped into an Easter egg hunt.  You may recall that a couple of years ago Lucinda and I organized an Easter Egg Hunt around Lucinda’s parents’ garden for our friends children, unfortunately without having weekends off and not quite the time to prepare that remains the first and only time (so far) that we have managed to organize such a big event, however that doesn’t mean that Éowyn, Amélie and Ezra should miss out.  Therefore, while we were talking to Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz, Lucinda nipped outside and hid Easter Eggs around the garden for the girls to find.

With Éowyn paired up with Nanny Fran and Amélie with Auntie Liz they headed into the garden armed with Easter baskets.  All but one of the eggs were found (I am sure the local foxes will have found it by now) and divided evenly – you have to be fair!  These were then added to their, not too unreasonable, hoard of eggs and other assorted chocolates.  I would like to know whose idea it was to associate Easter with chocolate; I don’t recall Jesus telling us all to eat chocolate in memory of his resurrection.

As you may have guessed from the above, the Easter term break also saw Lucinda’s return to work.  Not great timing on our part but she has had nearly 14 months off and you can’t put off the inevitable.  As avid readers and friends will know this return was going to be more emotional than her previous returns as the end of April saw Air Canada cease ground control of their flights at Heathrow Airport, responsibilities now undertaken by ASIG a general handling company.  Therefore Lucinda returned for her half a dozen or so last shifts for Air Canada.

Change is sometimes good and sometimes beneficial.  Time will tell if this change is good, but it has certainly been beneficial with Air Canada offering V.S.P. (redundancy for want of a better phrase – which Lucinda took) and ASIG requiring a large influx of staff trained in Air Canada procedures (which Lucinda obviously is – if a little rusty).  Thus redundancy was taken and a new job at ASIG applied for and got.  A little Brucie Bonus that doesn’t happen very often in life and thus one that should certainly be taken advantage of when the opportunity arises.  It neatly concludes where 2013 left off, with new house, car, child etc.

So with Lucinda returning to work and with me in full time employment we are in need of an alternative child care facility when grandparents are in need of a rest and when we can’t manage between ourselves through holidays and shift swaps.  This makes it difficult to arrange child care.  Most nurseries and child minders want a set number of hours a week and set days, then they can plan other children around the slots in availability that they have.  This is understandable but very frustrating from our point of view.  However, a friend of ours uses a child minder literally around the corner from us, someone who only wants a few extra days a month.  An ideal scenario.

After meeting her we took Ezra around for a one hour taster session to see how he got on.  He was fine, thoroughly enjoyed himself and so we were happy to book some dates with her.

Lucinda’s shifts tend to be earlies.  This can be anything from a 0500 start!  This means a few things.  Lucinda needs to go to bed not long after the kids in order to get a decent amount of sleep.  Lucinda has to get up about 0345 (at the latest) in order to get ready and out for work.  This means that I have to rise a little earlier in order to get myself and three kids washes, dressed and fed. Bags packed and out the door ready for three different drop-off points before heading to do a full day’s shift at work. Indeed I feel like I have done a full day’s shift before I get there.  It doesn’t help with the little inter-sibling squabbling that tends to happen and when your youngest starts to cry and try and hold on to you when you drop him off at the child minders for the first time.  By all accounts he soon settled down and was fine for the rest of the day (and in that respect was no different to Éowyn or Amélie on their first days too!) but when your enduring image is of your little one in floods of tears reaching out to you it doesn’t set the day up very well.

Ezra is still tending on the lazy side (Lucinda would disagree).  He crawls at lightning speed and is on his feet whenever there is something to support him but he still is not interested in walking.   If you encourage him to take a few steps he immediately sits down.  Legs are for standing so that your arms can stretch to reach whatever it is that you are not allowed to have.  They are also useful for climbing.  He has been able to climb the stairs for a while but now his little mind has worked out that if there is something shiny out of reach that climbing may just help.  He started off by pushing his walker or Lego table towards the settee and using it as a ladder to climb higher.   Now anything that gives him a little extra lift is fair game.  Indeed Lucinda left him in his high chair momentarily to find upon her return Ezra sitting on the kitchen table.  He had seen the biscuit barrel on the table and thought to himself while there is no one around I’ll have a couple of those.  For that is exactly how Lucinda found him, sitting crossed legged on the table with two malted milk biscuits!

That is a bit of an epic but there a few more stories I would like to regale so pop by in the next few days for another snippet (or two) on our world.  In the meantime enjoy some of the photos of the past month or so.

Love and Peace


We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Olivia Lynn Eccles to the world,the first child of my 2nd cousin Charlotte and her husband Paul.  Congratulations to them both.

Post Olympic glow

It is only a short few hours before the Paralympics hopefully picks up from where the Olympics left off.  The whole of the UK still bathes in a post Olympic glow and not all down to the fact that it was our most successful games of the modern era (29 gold medals beaten only by our haul in the 1908 Olympics – also held in London) but the spirit that was generated by the whole event.  Even the football stars are trying to use the country’s love of all things Olympian to try and raise its, sometimes, tarnished reputation.  As a West Bromwich Albion fan I am very content that after 2 games of this season we are still undefeated.  Olympics or no Olympics that makes for some very happy Yam-Yams!

It is August, the football seasons have arrived and as usual i am manically busy at work.  Any regular readers to this blog and anyone that works with me will realise that August is a time when I get very little time for anything and so updates to the cyberworld are usually few and far between and days with my family are precious.  However, two days off around the August Bank Holiday, Amélie asleep, Éowyn playing in her room and Lucinda shopping I thought I would try and take the opportunity and give a little update on the life in the Bagnall household.

As mentioned in the previous update after 3 years, Jo our childminder has given us notice and on the 21st August 2012 she looked after the girls for the last time.  It is quite sad and it makes child care difficult as we have no true alternative, there may be lots of trips to Nanny and Granddad and Lucinda and myself taking days off work when possible.  The joys of ‘family-orientated policies’ of this and previous governments.  Nevertheless we will find a way, it will just require more advanced planning on our behalf.

Nanny and Granddad have spent the majority of the Summer with at least one, and on a number of occasions with all of their grandchildren playing at their house.  Although this must be a nightmare (in a nice way) for them – and they are truly knackered at the end of the day – it is fabulous for the girls for they get to spend a lot of time with their older cousins who genuinely enjoy playing with the two little ones, even if they can be a little bit of a handful at times.  I am sure that Nanny and Granddad enjoy it too and running after them all sure keeps them young and fit sometimes I am not sure how they do it I can be knackered after looking after just Éowyn and Amélie for the day.

Amélie has been worrying us a little of late.  As anyone with kids will recognise (and I am sure ours are no different to any others), kids tend to go through growth spurts.  That is, their growth pattern is not a constant rate but moreover a series of rapid growth spurts followed by a filling out.  It is almost as though they bulk out, then stretch and then bulk out again.  Amélie has just gone through one of these stages but during her growth spurt she seemed to lose and inordinate amount of weight and we were worried that there was something else.  It is something that we will speak to the dietician when we next see her, for we went to see the doctor and the doctor assured us that there was nothing seriously wrong but admitted that it was a specialist question and that she did not feel qualified enought to advise.  I think that is fair enough and since there was nothing seriously wrong and now that her growth spurt has ended she has begun to bulk out once again.

However, we have once again become really strict on removing all Cow’s Milk Protein from her diet to ensure that her intolerance wasn’t having any effect on the weight loss.  Obviously she doesn’t get any dairy products per se but Cow’s Milk Protein is used in many foods that one would never realise, such as flavoured crisps.  In our processed food world milk proteins can find their way into many foods and with one child that loves dairy food, inevitably there will be times when Amélie eats something meant for Éowyn.  Now Cow’s Milk Protein intolerance does not mean that she will go into shock or come out in hives, but it does cause her pain and discomfort and, without painting too graphic a picture, doesn’t make her nappies very pleasant.  A case in point was the other day when Amélie ate a yoghurt intended for ÉowynÉowyn who is acutely aware that Amélie shouldn’t have any dairy, got upset because a) Amélie had eaten her yoghurt and b) Amélie shouldn’t have yoghurt (except her own Soya yoghurts).  All was fine until the night when Amélie woke up screaming and I went into her and she hugged me tight saying ‘Daddy, it hurts.‘  Unfortunately there is nothing you can do except comfort her.  At least when we see the dietician we can categorically say that she still has the intolerance.

Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz came to stop with Auntie Mary for Bank Holiday weekend, unfortunately I was working on that Saturday and Sunday so Lucinda took Éowyn and Amélie to visit their Aunties and Nanny.  Although they were both very happy to see their Black Country relatives Éowyn was a little disappointed that her new best friend, Louise, wasn’t there.  It was while they were there that Amélie first used her new phrase.  She has been bouncing on the mini trampoline that Auntie Mary has and had fallen over.  Everyone laughed and she stood up, pointed her finger at them, stamped her feet and said: ‘It’s not funny!‘ Cue howls of laughter.  This has quickly become her new catchphrase and she keeps using it to the delight of everyone that hears it.

Although Éowyn’s new best friend, Louise, wasn’t at Auntie Mary’s, she does have a new best friend that she quite regularly sees.  You may recall that last year Éowyn had an imaginary friend called Sam that came with us on holiday to Kent.  He was quite a special friend as he could be small enough to fit on your thumb or be bigger than daddy depending on the day.  He spent around a month in her life and then nothing more was said.  A couple of months ago she acquired a new imaginary friend (or quasi-corporeal companion to give them their technical name) a brother (in her words) called Dizzy.  She and Dizzy spend a lot of time together and he often tells her things that they should be doing and apparently they go on lots of adventures together.  She hasn’t really described Dizzy too much and I haven’t pushed it too much as his appearances were very scant but now they are becoming more regular and she speaks of him several times a day I will delve a little more and see what I can find out about Dizzy.

Apologies for the lower than usual number of photos but as I am the photographer in the family (although a number of the photos below were taken by Éowyn and she seems to be following in Daddy’s footsteps) and I haven’t spent much time with the family then I do not have the breadth of photos to call upon.  Will try harder for next time.

Peace and Love



The Olympics are here!

So after 7 years of preparation the London Olympics are here, and aren’t we doing well?  16 Gold Medals and still counting! Unfortunately throughout the build up to tournament I was a little nonplussed by it all, I didn’t apply for tickets and to be honest was thinking more about the impact it was going to have on me at work and its impact on being able to get to work.  Both fears have been somewhat allayed in this first week.  The traffic is incredibly quiet (even for August – i.e. school holidays) and apart from some long shifts at work it hasn’t been too bad!  And now I really wish I had some tickets, even just to the Olympic Park.  The girls are a little young to appreciate it but at least they would be able to tell their children that they were there!

It is always good when there is a major sporting tournament on because part of my work responsibility is ensuring that the television signals from those tournaments are arriving back at base in an acceptable way.  That means I get to watch an awful lot of sport on television.  It is my job!  And whereas most people have to chose which one of the many Olympic channels that the BBC are making available to the general public (on satellite and through their website) I can watch all of them at the same time.  The beauty of a monitor stack!  And what do I do when I go home?  Switch the television on and watch some more!

The week leading up to the Opening Ceremony was the best week (weatherwise) of the year so far with temperatures peaking over 30°C.  However it was not to last and by the time the Opening Ceremony began we were back to 20°C and the chance of a shower.  We are used to it by now, aren’t we? And three days of summer is better than none at all!   The sudden increase in temperature and return to norm was accompanied in the Bagnall household with all of us succumbing to a summer cold, this made the girls a little miserable and they both keep waking up in through the night.  Thus a disturbed week of sleep followed by some long days at work left both Lucinda and me exhausted.

Lucinda was so exhausted that she missed the Opening Ceremony and opted for an early night instead (she was working at 0500 the next morning, in fairness).  I watched it at work arriving home a little after 0200, so we were passing ships in the night.  The talk before the Olympics was how London would compete with Beijing’s Opening Ceremony.  For the first 20minutes or so I was worried, and perhaps a little embarrassed, it was all a little too twee.  Then the Lord of the Rings motif began and with more than a nod to The Black Country (O.K. it was the Industrial Revolution) complete with Olympic rings of ‘Molten Metal’.  The James Bond/Queen sketch was genius and Mr Bean dreaming of Chariots of Fire very amusing.  Overall is was fantastic, at times bewildering but definitely an Opening Ceremony to be proud of.

However you do not read this website to find out what is happening in the Olympics (Team GB doing really well) you read this website to find out what is happening in the world of the Bagnalls (or at least to look at the photos!).  So what have we been up to?  Obviously August is probably the busiest month for both Lucinda’s job and mine so holiday is not an option so we have to take advantage on days off to do things.  So when I managed to get 3 days off in a row we filled them with a couple of trips.

The first was to visit my sister Mary and her new flat.  She is still in Woking but has moved out of a large shared house into a top floor flat with one of her friends, Louise.  We decided to be nosy and this enclave of the Bagnall family visited en masse.  Éowyn loves to see her Aunties, probably because she gets so much attention and this time was no different.  Children do not have that same sense of personal space that adults have and Éowyn quickly explored Mary’s flat.  Then it was time for a game of hide and seek.  Mary got bored more quickly than Éowyn, then Louise decided to take over.  We then didn’t see either again.  Louise kept Éowyn thoroughly entertained (or was that the other way round?).  Indeed on the way home Éowyn if we could visit Auntie Mary the next day.  I asked if she enjoyed seeing her auntie. ‘Yes,‘ she replied, ‘but I want to play with Louise.‘  Someone has a new best friend.

Then we headed out on a bit more of a journey, to Cranbrook in Kent, to pay our annual visit to friends of our that we met on our N.C.T. course.   Ed and Marisol moved to Cranbrook not long after they had their daughter Frieda and so we do not see them that often.  Frieda and Éowyn were the only girls that were born in our class so since Frieda has moved Éowyn had to grow up playing with boys.  Considering that Éowyn and Frieda hardly know each other, their initial cageyness soon gave way to sororal closeness and were playing in Frieda’s room hiding from Amélie, something I think Amélie will have to get used to.  It was a long day trip but great to see Ed and Marisol and were very happy they could see us especially considering the fact that Marisol is due to give birth any day now.  We wish them all the best.

The biggest news to affect the Bagnall family though is that Jo, our childminder for the last 3 years has given us notice.  We can fully understand why, we only give her around 8 days a month and that means that she can not take on other children who would give her more days work a month and in this economic clime then everyone needs to maximise their income but it is quite sad.  Both Éowyn and Amélie love Jo and going to her house.  Jo does so much with them and educates as well as entertains them so they are going to miss going as much as we are going to miss them going.  It puts us in a difficult position for since we only need a few days a month it is almost impossible to find a childminder or nursery that will take children on a shift pattern (as opposed to fixed days) and that is why Jo was a godsend when our paths crossed (with thanks to Nanny Vera).  Nevertheless we wish Jo well and thank her for three years of hard work looking after our brood.

The next few weeks are join to be very busy for me and so there may be a gap before the next update but before I leave you a quick update on one of the saddest stories that this website has bought you.  In February 2009 a friend and work colleague Eilidh Cairns was knocked off her bike and killed by a lorry while on her way to work.  The incident was put down to a tragic accident and the driver was free to continue driving.  However the Cairns family have not been the only family who have been affected by his actions and this week saw him in court once again for causing death by dangerous driving.  This, however is not the forum for this but if you are interested please click here for a more detailed write up.

Peace and love