I find it very interesting that if I don’t update this website for a couple of weeks it becomes very easy to fall out of the habit and I have to struggle to sit before the keyboard and type. However, once I have got back in the habit then a wave of verbosity washes over me and you are treated to write-up after write-up, May has become a very fruitful month on Baggie and Lucy dot com. It helps that we are doing some interesting things and secondly, that I have evenings and weekends off now that the football seasons have drawn to a close. Before you say it, I know that there is still the matter of the Football League play off finals but I can live with that kind of schedule!
So what warrants another write-up before the end of May? Nice weather and Lucinda’s 41st birthday.
Lucinda always likes to go somewhere for her birthday. For many years she would go somewhere exotic, taking advantage of Air Canada or shorter flights into Europe. However, now we are with children that becomes more difficult, it takes such an effort to organise three little ones and squeeze all their paraphernalia into carry-on luggage. In addition, Lucinda’s birthday is mid-May. My job, as many of you know, very much revolves around the Premier League season and unfortunately this tends to end around the same time. This can make going away for a weekend a little difficult, indeed last year the last day of the season was the day after Lucinda’s 40th birthday, although we still managed to take a day trip to the coast. This year was a little different, with the summer break to be dominated by the Men’s Football (Soccer, for some people) World Cup the Premier League season ended a week earlier than usual meaning that Lucinda’s birthday weekend fell on my first weekend off.
Ruling out an exotic weekend left us with a weekend away in the UK. For once the signs for the weather seemed to be good, indeed the weekend saw temperatures top 25°C, so we headed to the south coast to a stretch of coastline we know well. We have made the round trip in a day many times before (most recently in the first week of the Easter holidays) but we wanted to stay overnight and make a weekend of it this time. Fortunately the nextdoor neighbour of Lucinda’s brother owns a chalet in New Milton, just East of Mudeford and Hengistbury Head that we have visited a number of times before; a chalet that was vacant for the weekend. So we booked the night, picked up the keys and headed down on Saturday morning.
New Milton is on the border of Hampshire and Dorset and the chalet in a holiday park at the top of a cliff overlooking the Solent. The chalet had a prime spot with and uninterrupted view of the sea and only a short walk to the clubhouse, playground and swimming pool. A little small and a little tired, but more than adequate for our family of five and because the weather was so nice we were not indoors for any length of time.
We arrived at lunchtime and so after unpacking the car and taking lunch we headed to the beach. It was a steep climb down to the beach (and thus an equally gruelling climb back afterwards) but we soon found a small deserted sandy place (the beach was mainly stones with small sandy areas close to the sea) and made camp. The girls thoroughly enjoyed splashing in the sea (although it was a little cold) and building sandcastles. Ezra wasn’t too keen on the dipping his toes in the sea, was a bit of a shock, I think; give him a few more years.
An ice cream each before heading back up to the chalet and swimming costumes on for the pool. Amélie didn’t want to go swimming so Lucinda and Éowyn went while Amélie and I headed to the playground while Ezra slept his beach adventure off. Amélie had collected rather a large stone on the beach and had carried it all the way back up to the adventure playground. It was her ‘rock baby’ and I had hoped that she would have given up carrying it on the climb back (she did try to offload it to the mother of another family halfway up). She still had it at the adventure playground and indeed took it back to the chalet and tucked it into bed when we returned.
For our evening meal we headed into Christchurch for pizza. Neither Lucinda or I had been to Christchurch and it was swiftly added to our list of places to return. We have been to its namesake on the South Island of New Zealand (prior to the 2011 earthquake that destroyed much of the area) as part of our honeymoon but for some reason we have never been to the original. The girls enjoy their pizzas and even Ezra demolished doughballs, pizza slices and chocolate fudge cake before we took a short stroll around the town and the return journey back to the chalet. After putting the girls to bed we sat up a short time watching the sea and drinking champagne.
Sunday was Lucinda’s actual birthday and we were joined by her parents and niece Lauren. The girls, as usual, were very excited to see their grandparents and cousin. We had spent the morning breakfasting on freshly cooked croissants from the park store and just slowing easing into the day, something we seldom do.
As it was approaching lunchtime (do you have the same feeling that the majority of this write-up is about food?) we headed to the local pub for Sunday Lunch before heading to the beach. It was a glorious day, hotter than the previous day and there was barely any free space on the beach. I was paranoid about keeping the kids topped up with suncream because being fair skinned I know how easy it is to burn and indeed the only person to catch the sun was yours truly: the top of my feet between my sandal straps. The girls made more sandcastles and splashed in the sea. Éowyn collected seaweed (which we brought home to put on the veg patch) but thankfully Amélie didn’t collect any more rock babies!
After a quick stop back at the chalet and the obligatory cup of tea we headed to the swimming pool. Éowyn has a real confidence in the water (when she is wearing her armbands) which she got from our trip to Centreparcs last winter; Amélie, however, not so. I managed to convince her to get into the water but she clung to me like a monkey-limpet (you know that there is such an animal as I coined the phrase last year in the aforementioned Centreparcs write-up!). Her vice-like tetrapodal embrace had not got any less intense. So with Mommy, Granddad and Lauren in the pool keeping an eye on Éowyn and Nanny relaxing by the pool keeping an eye on Ezra, it allowed a rare opportunity for me to spend some time with Amélie in a pool.
I wouldn’t say it was a complete success but we definitely made some serious strides forward. She went from clinging to me for dear life, to floating horizontally with me supporting her belly while she focussed on kicking her legs and doggy paddling. I never managed to completely let go but it was an enormous leap forward for her. Even Éowyn pulling her underwater (because Amélie was winning in a mock swimming race) didn’t completely put her off, especially as I made Éowyn have a time out at the side of the pool while we all carried on having fun. Éowyn doesn’t like losing – like her Daddy!
We returned to the chalet after swimming for another cup of tea and Lucinda’s birthday cake. Then quickly tidy up the chalet and pack the car up (it is amazing how much we had actually brought with us for effectively one night) before heading back home. Although it was a bit of a hectic two days it was well worth making the effort to get out of the big smoke and head down to the coast. The most important aspect was that Lucinda thoroughly enjoyed herself and we managed to do all the things that she had wanted to do for her little birthday sojourn and it was novel that we had glorious sunshine for the two days. That doesn’t happen very often if you are a Bagnall!
Now it has to be said that you have been spoilt with four write-ups in a little over a week, don’t get expecting another by Tuesday! However, now that I am back in the habit and my weekends are free from work there may be a little more regularity to the updates over the summer, and plenty of photos.
Peace and Love