The pox, the summer and a trip to Nanny Fran’s

Our trip to the Lake District may have heralded the start of the summer vacation for the Baguettes but August is a long month and all three were not due to return to school until September.  So, with Ezra peaking in terms of his chicken pox going to places with lots of other children would have just been bad manners therefore he was quarantined at Bagnall Manor.  Nevertheless, just because Ezra had the pox it shouldn’t mean that Éowyn and Amélie should miss out.  Lucinda saw that the local leisure centre had a week’s worth of trampolining lessons.  That would be ideal for the girls.  They both enjoy trampolining and Amélie used to attend trampolining lessons weekly before she started school, so to break the monotony for the girls they were signed up for the classes.

The trampolining lesson lasted an hour and Lucinda thought that would be good exercise for them and hopefully would wear them out as well as a way of breaking up the day.  An hour’s worth of trampoline with children taking turns would have certainly been good exercise however an hour’s trampolining lesson when the only children to turn up were Éowyn and Amélie was fantastic exercise.  It was the equivalent of a private lesson for a fraction of the price.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves and thus were happy to go back every day that week.

Another week down and all of Ezra’s chicken pox spots had scabbed over and therefore was no longer infectious, that should have been a time for celebration that at long last the Baguettes can hit the town.  Unfortunately, despite having chicken pox previously, albeit an extremely mild case, Amélie succumbed to the disease, and arguably more seriously than Ezra.  Poor Amélie, she did look forlorn as she settled into the sofa, with a towel wrapped around her naked frame because her clothes were rubbing the spots.  Another week or so of quarantine for the Baguettes.  Poor Baguettes, but poor Lucinda too!  I could escape as work was extremely busy gearing up for the Olympics; the start of the Premier League season and the countless other things that are happening, Lucinda had to stay indoors, (or in the garden) on what was turning out to be an OK summer.  Where Lucinda was hoping to take the Baguettes on day trips it was replacing with refereeing arguments and telling Amélie not to scratch.

It was during this period that we decided (well Lucinda decided) that we would decorate the girls bedroom.  We invited the girls to tell us what they would like and they both decided on an underwater theme with mermaids.  Lucinda wanted to separate the girls clothes (they had been up to this point sharing a wardrobe) to prevent arguments over which dress belonged to whom and who was wearing which top.  An order was put in for wardrobes and chest of drawers from our favourite Swedish furniture store and Lucinda bought paint for the walls, ceiling and woodwork.

While Amélie was still infectious (and Ezra came down with slapped cheek – yes it is a disease) the girls’ room was emptied and they camped out with Ezra.  I was preparing for the impending season and Lucinda was refereeing, being nursemaid and painting their bedroom.

It was in this mælstrom of emotions and infections (and an absent father) that Éowyn became upset. Lucinda asked her what the problem was and she said that she was missing her friends and wanted to go back to school.  Six weeks of holiday is a long time when you are only 7 and especially when you can’t see your friends because your siblings are unclean!

Ezra, too, was no immune to this emotion and for a boy who is usually adverse to kisses and cuddles became, for a week or two at least, more affectionate.  He is usually very good at going to bed, indeed he often asks to go to bed, but during this period he would lie down and you would tuck him in as usual.  Then five minutes later he would creep out of his bed and ask for another goodnight kiss or simply say that he ‘needs more cuddles’.  How can you possibly refuse?

The second weekend of the season saw an opportunity for me to have a couple of days off work.  This coincided with Nanny Fran offering to look after the Baguettes in West Bromwich.  This gave us the perfect opportunity to finish the girl’s bedroom. So while the Baguettes were being spoilt (in a nice way) by Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz with trips to Funky Monkey’s, the cinema, Birmingham town centre and Sandwell Valley farm, Lucinda and I were putting up curtain rails and mirrors, building wardrobes and chest of drawers in addition to putting the finishing touches to the decoration including the mermaid stickers.  Have a look at the photos below to see the final masterpiece, before the toys moved back in and the girls had even stepped foot inside.

It was hard work and not exactly the relaxing weekend we were hoping for (I am working the next five!) but we could not have done it without Nanny Fran collecting the Baguettes and bringing them back allowing us to concentrate on the task in hand.  The hard work was worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears (I lied about the tears) when the girls came home.  We made them close their eyes before they entered the room but when they opened them (it was like a poor man’s episode of D.I.Y. S.O.S.) and their little eyes lit up and they gave us big cuddles I’m not sure who was happier, them or us.

Once the excitement of a newly decorated room had worn off the girls and Ezra were fit to busting to tell us all about the stories of their adventures with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.  Éowyn and Amélie thoroughly enjoyed the shopping trip to Birmingham (getting used to shopping trips a little too young!) while Ezra was most happy about the trip to Funky Monkey’s and meeting a Stormtrooper at the Disney store.  Unfortunately, Éowyn is now too big to go to Funky Monkey’s (too tall, even though she is still in the age bracket) so Auntie Liz took her to the cinema to watch Swallows and Amazons (set in the Lake District and we had seen some of the locations on our holiday, including the secret harbour on Coniston water).  It didn’t quite go to plan as Éowyn got freaked out by some of the trailers before the film had even begun and although Auntie Liz managed to persuade her to wait until the film began by five minutes in she was so freaked out they had to leave.  This is from someone who was happy to sit through Star Wars: The Force Awakens, surely far more scary than Swallows and Amazons.  My only thought is the fact that Star Wars is obviously fantasy while Swallows and Amazons is set in a familiar world and so she was unable to separate the fact from fiction.

A couple of days after her return from West Bromwich Éowyn was crying about something completely different.  As mentioned earlier at the beginning of the holiday she was upset because she was missing her school friends and wanted to go back to school.  This time she got herself upset because she didn’t want to go back to school because she was enjoying being off too much.  You can’t please some people!

Enjoy the photos and stand by for more updates in the next few days as I try to make amends for a dearth of updates over the last few months.

Peace and Love


Are you sure it is only six weeks?

August is always a lean month on Baggie and Lucy dot com mainly due to the start of the football seasons, which keeps me busy at work and the fact that, along with millions of other parents, the kids are to be entertained.  Thus there is little time left for tinkering on computers and little time to keep you abreast of the trials and tribulations of the Bagnall family.

So with Éowyn heading back to school (Amélie has a few more days!), what has happened since the Bagnalls returned from Flookburgh and the Lake District?  Six weeks is a long time so forgive me if there are omissions.

In an attempt to break the holiday up and prevent the girls from getting too bored we signed them up for a couple of courses.  Neither of our girls are very strong swimmers, something that we want to rectify, so the first of the courses we signed them up for was swimming.  Not that Éowyn really needed any encouragement but her best friend (from her previous school) Aaliyah was also signed up for the week.  Thus the added incentive was that after every lesson she got to play with Aaliyah, a whole week of playing with her best friend!

It seems that the girls have inherited my swimming ability.  It appears that I am denser than fresh water.  In swimming pools (not the sea) my resting suspension is about 6 inches (15cm) below the surface of the water.  Therefore to prevent drowning I need to keep swimming, hence I have never been a strong swimmer and it appears than neither of my girls have a natural affinity to water.  Nevertheless it is an important skill to have and so once they are settled back at school we will be signing them up for more swimming lessons.

The second course, only Éowyn could attend for Amélie wasn’t old enough, and again attended with her best friend Aaliyah.  Cheerleading isn’t the first course that one would naturally think of as a one week session but we thought that Éowyn would enjoy it.  The idea of combining gymnastics with teamwork appealed to us as something that would also be good for Éowyn.

The culmination of the week’s work was a performance at the Rainbow Nursery summer fair in Lyne.  Fortunately, the weather held off and so the field didn’t turn into a swamp.  The girls’ performance was the first of many acts, which was nice as they didn’t get too nervous.  Éowyn and Aaliyah were the youngest of the troupe and so didn’t do many of the over-complicated moves.  Nevertheless Éowyn’s forward roll was executed to perfection and was steadfast as the base of the human pyramid.

Éowyn wasn’t over-enamoured with cheerleading, which surprised us somewhat, but it is possibly due to the fact that it was such a quick course: four days, all leading up to a performance.  Therefore there was no time to develop the skills that she was lacking.  If you could do a cartwheel, you did one in the performance.  If you couldn’t, you didn’t.  There was no time to teach them how to do a cartwheel, and I think that was endemic throughout the skills.  In fairness, it was a taster session and thus wasn’t designed to develop skills but to use the strengths they already have but unfortunately it may just have put her off.  We will see.

As alluded to above, August has not been the greatest of months weather-wise, in the UK at least.  Temperatures below average, sunshine (and thus my electrical output) below average, rainfall: the fifth wettest August on record. Despite the Bagnalls usual stoicism in the face of such inclemencies even we decided not to incur the wrath of Indra (insert rain deity of your choice) that frequently and risk too many far-flung days out.

Lucinda took Amélie and Ezra to Legoland (Éowyn was having a play date).  Fortunately, the rain deity of the day was looking upon the Bagnalls with kind eyes and it was one of the warmer days.  Unfortunately, this meant two things: a) Legoland was packed and 75 minutes was not an unusual queue time and b) the wasps were out in numbers.  Amélie currently has a real phobia around any kind of flying insect – to the point of hysterics if there is a fly in the house.  Obviously, we can’t let that continue and are trying to help her overcome this problem, although with wasps she probably has a point!

Unusually for me in August, I managed to secure 5 days off in row.  Unfortunately the weather was awful so we concentrated on jobs around the house and visiting friends in the local area.  Nevertheless we decided that we would have at least one big day out.  Initially, we thought that we would head to the seaside, however unsure that the weather would hold we decided to head to Frensham ponds.

Frensham Common and ponds cover about 1000 acres lying between Farnham and Hindhead.  The common is heathland with two large ponds known as Frensham Great and Little Ponds, and great for wildlife watchers.  But we headed there for its sandy beach and to bathe in the Great Pond.  Angling and Sailing are also available for member of those clubs but there is a special area for swimming.  Unfortunately, the weather was more Autumnal rather than Augustal (if there is such a word).  Indeed shorts were a very bad idea as I sat freezing on the sand.  Even paddling in the pond was out because there was a bloom of blue-green algae which meant that the pond was closed to the public.  However, we made the best of the weather eating our picnic and building sandcastles and reflected that we were glad that we hadn’t headed to the seaside!

The flipside of 5 days off was that I managed to sign myself up for 9 days in a row.  Therefore Lucinda decided to take the kids to visit Nanny Fran in West Bromwich.  Although it was a flying visit (they were only there for two days) they all enjoyed themselves as they usually do in West Bromwich.  I, however, was not having as much fun.  I got home on the Tuesday night and decided to have a Chinese takeaway for tea.  Now whether it was the Chinese takeaway (fingers point at the Prawns on Toast) or whether I picked up a bug I spent most of the night with my head down the toilet.  Now, I now I need to lose a few extra pounds but that wasn’t the way I intended to do it.  Unfortunately I had an important meeting the next day and so after a couple of hours of sleep I dragged myself into work, had the meeting then headed home.  In a deluge.  The rain was coming down so fast that the drains couldn’t cope and the car park at work and our street had inches of standing water. I got home crawled into bed and fell asleep until Lucinda returned home with the kids in blazing sunshine.  For a split second I thought I had been asleep for days such was the difference in weather conditions.

The summer has also been a time for changes in the house.  We have decorated our bedroom and en suite and Ezra’s bedroom.  We have moved a couple of radiators around which has enabled us to change the furniture around in the house making the lounge more cozy and exposing the wall where we are going to have a chimney and wood burner installed.  For if the summer is anything to go by we could be in for a cold and snowy winter and so the extra warmth from a wood burner would be most welcome.

The summer has also seen Ezra growing up.  His speech is coming along and he is saying a new word nearly everyday.  Although some of his phrases are rather strange.  One that he spontaneously came out with was ‘I don’t like mayonnaise‘.  Not sure why he said it, as we were not offering him any mayonnaise, so we laughed.  This only agitated him further and started to get irate shouting ‘I don’t like mayonnaise!‘  I think we have the message!

This week is an important week in the girls lives.  Éowyn will enter year two and the large campus of her school while Amélie will start full-time education.  Both will be worthy of their own entries so stay tuned.

In preparation for Amélie’s first day, her teacher miss Snow came for a home visit.  Amélie was very excited and showed her some of her favourite toys and more importantly her new school shoes.  Miss Snow said that she thinks she has seen all of her new pupils school shoes.  Must be something very important to all of the new starters.

With those teasers I will leave you there and keep an eye for those updates as well as the Flickr pages as there will be new photos uploaded in the next few days.

Peace and Love



The Book Fall

Coinciding with the quiet period at work, I am trying to make amends regarding the paucity of updates on this web site so far this year.  I have always been acutely aware that the website will always play second fiddle (well fourth or fifth fiddle, or second oboe; whatever the orchestral hierarchical equivalent is) to family life and actually creating the memories in the first place.  Nevertheless, I am also acutely aware that many of you enjoy reading about our family life which makes the effort of these updates a little easier.

The end of the academic year is looming into view, so as Éowyn leaves year 1 and Amélie says goodbye to pre-school there are all the end of year activities to enjoy.  The most important of these was the Hollywood Première screening of the film that Éowyn’s after school drama club have been working on for the past term.

Magna Carta Arts Centre in Staines presented the first showing of ‘The Book Fall’ and myself and Éowyn had tickets for the showing; poor Mommy elected to stay behind and look after Amélie and Ezra.  The Sense Theatre had sent out a letter encouraging parents and pupils alike to dress up to try to bring a sense of glamour to the proceedings.  They had laid a red carpet and there was popcorn.  Unfortunately not everyone took it in that spirit.  I was only one of three dads that I could see in a suit and the only one wearing a tie.  The majority of the children had dressed up though, which was nice to see.

The premise of the film is that a school teacher challenges her pupils to read as many books as they can over the summer holiday, a prize given to the pupil that reads the most books.  There are two groups of pupils the swotty, nerdy types who are challenging each other as to how many books they will read, and the non-swotty types who think that reading is boring.  To try to convince the non-swotty types that reading books is fun, the swotty pupils read to the non-scotty pupils and as they begin to read so those sections of the books are acted out by other children.  The books that were filmed were children classics, modern books like Mr Stink to the real classic like The Hobbit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 5 Children and It, Oliver Twist and, the book that Éowyn was in, Naughty Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton.

I am not sure how many schools were involved in total but it was a nice idea.  Each group of children could concentrate on a small section of the film which acted as a stand alone play within the overall narrative.  Considering the time constraints, the lack of budget and the fact that it was probably the first time that the majority of the children, had ever acted yet alone acted in front of a video camera I think we have to praise Sense Theatre.  Unfortunately with so many children the 2 hour running time only allowed most children a couple of lines and, if I am being honest, at times it was quite painful.  Nevertheless the children were very excited to see themselves on the big screen and Éowyn’s eyes lit up when she saw herself.

Now I can understand that 2 hours is a lot of film to watch especially when you are only there to see perhaps 20 seconds, the 20 seconds that your child is on-screen, however it is the height of bad manners to whoop and holler while your child is on-screen and then disturb everyone as you leave immediately your child’s last lines have been uttered.  This wasn’t just a select few, out of an audience of close to 250 less than 25 remained at the end.  However, if any of you are desperate to see the complete film we purchased the DVD.  I don’t think that I’ll be sitting through the entirety again, although if Éowyn ever becomes a famous actress it will be come part of the archive video footage.

With the end of the academic year looming into view there is one eye on the next.  To prepare for the next step in their educational progress both girls had an opportunity to spend a morning in their new classes.  For Éowyn, that is a new teacher at a new site but with the same classmates; for Amélie however it is full-time education, at a new school with a completely new set of classmates.  Amélie’s teacher, Miss Snow, seems very friendly but her biggest challenge will be to make new friends.  Fortunately our friend’s girl, Natalie, will not only be at the same school but in the same class.  Therefore Amélie will have one friend in the class.

Unusually Amélie was upset the night before, so we sat down to talk to her thinking that the thought of going to the big school was disturbing her.  It developed that it wasn’t the thought of going to big school per se that was upsetting her but the fact that she wanted to take a packed lunch.  She takes a packed lunch to nursery but every child in full-time education up to the age of 7 is entitled to free school meals in the UK.  Therefore, Amélie (and Éowyn) will both enjoy free school meals this coming school year.

We convinced her to try her school dinner and we would then think about it for when she goes to school in September.  To her credit she happily went to school the next morning.  When we picked her up that afternoon we asked her what she thought of her new school.  She was full of praise saying it was the best day ever and that the best thing was the school dinner which was sausage and mash.  One less thing to worry about!

Sometimes fate gives opportunities at exactly the right time.  Last week was Natalie’s birthday and she had a party at Spelthorne gym.  Since Natalie goes to the nursery at Amélie’s new school many of the pupils and Natalie’s friends will be in her class.  Therefore, it was a good opportunity for Amélie to get to know some of her new classmates, as well as have fun at Spelthorne gym (and it is fun) and celebrate Natalie’s birthday.  It was good to sit and observe Amélie and from watching our second daughter I don’t think that she will have any problems making friends.

The end of school party at Éowyn’s school was slightly unusual, for they had invited Festival Circus to put on a show (3 showings of the same show!) in a big top on the school playing field.  I took the day off work and took the girls while Lucinda stayed behind looking after Ezra and her child-minding ward.  The show was excellent , not completely polished but that was part of the charm. The girls were enthralled and both had different favourites: Éowyn the gymnastic displays on the ropes and Amélie the girl who could simultaneously hula 10 hula hoops.

Lucinda is now on the P.T.A. and as soon as her working day was over she headed over to the school (we had already returned to look after Ezra) to help sell refreshments and tidy up.  The early indications are that it was roaring success and all had a good time.  Hopefully this is the start of turning the school around at least in terms of uniting the P.T.A. and staff into a common goal.

It seems that this write up is all about the girls so it is only fair to regale a couple of stories of our son.  He is on the whole very well-behaved but he does have a couple of cheeky habits.  One is jumping on mommy and daddy’s bed, a game he calls 4,5,6.  Not sure what happened to 1,2,3 but he stands at one end of the bed and shouts 4,5,6 before launching himself forward.  Not something that we want to encourage but it is quite amusing.

He other little quirk that he has at the moment is the nicknames that he has given the girls.  Éowyn he calls ‘A’ (pronounced as the capital – Ay), which is understandable as that is the first syllable of her name.  Therefore if Éowyn is called ‘A’ what do you think Amélie’s nickname is?  ‘Bay’.  So it is ‘Goodnight Ay, goodnight Bay‘ before he totters off to bed.

I will bid you adieu and leave you with the photos, there are plenty of the circus on our Flickr pages if you are interested.

Peace and love