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


Put it on the fridge!

Back at work and boy did I hit the ground running?  A first working week of 70 hours meant that I spent very little time at home awake.  This obviously put the onus back onto Lucinda to be primary carer for the girls.  Amélie is too young to understand but Éowyn subconsciously senses weakness added to her own sense of change.  This leads her to misbehave not in a malicious way but misbehaving nevertheless.  This culminated in an incident on Saturday while Lucinda was in the kitchen washing up, she came back into the lounge to find that Éowyn had poured her bottle of  juice onto each of the seats of our sofa.  When I came home Lucinda made Éowyn tell me what she had done.  Éowyn duly told me that she had poured juice on the sofa.  So I asked her why she had done it and she replied, “So when Mommy and Daddy sit down they will get wet bums.”Part of me admired her honesty, her foresight and general japery and that part of me wanted to laugh, but I held it together to explain to her that it was naughty.  “Yes Daddy it is naughty, Éowyn sorry.” How thankful am I that we bought brown leather, it seems to be a most forgiving sofa material.

Éowyn is a thoughtful child though, especially when it comes to her little sister.  Sunday, Lucinda and the girls were invited around her parents for Sunday lunch (I was at work) with Lucinda’s aunties (Lucinda’s mum’s sisters).  While they were eating lunch Éowyn asked if she could leave the table and play with her puzzles in the front room.  She was told that because Amélie was sleeping that she should bring them back to the table and be very quiet when she was in the front room collecting them so as not to wake Amélie. This she duly did but then whenever anyone spoke at the table she would shh them and say “Be quiet, Amélie’s sleeping.”

She also doesn’t like Amélie to be missed out and includes her when she can.  Éowyn was cleaning her teeth the other night.  “Mommy’s toothbrush, Daddy’s toothbrush, Éowyn’s toothbrush,” pointing to each of our toothbrushes in turn. “Where’s Amélie’s toothbrush?” Lucinda explained that Amélie hasn’t got any teeth yet, so she hasn’t got a toothbrush.  Éowyn replied: “Well go to the shops and get them.” Lucinda asked to confirm whether Éowyn wanted her to go to the shops and get a toothbrush for Amélie and Éowyn answered, “No Mommy, teeth!” It is amazing what you can get at the shops these days!

As I mentioned in last week’s update, we were expecting a telephone call from the paediatrician concerning Amélie. Lucinda had prepared a list of examples and questions for the paediatrician in case this was no going to go any further.  At the appointed time the paediatrician called and Lucinda was going to launch into her soliloquy when the paediatrician just said, we have looked at Amélie’s notes and we would like to see her Monday morning.  Lucinda was a little deflated because she had been prepared to justify why they should she her and the wind had been taken out of her sails.  We still don’t know why they had to call to say that and why they could not just have sent an appointment through the post.

So Monday morning we dropped Éowyn off at Playbox (although subdued she wandered off into the classroom without tears or clinging to my leg) and headed to Ashford hospital for our appointment.  Amélie was weighed (she is now 6.0kg (13lbs 4oz) which is dead on the 25th centile) and although she has put weight on she is still not quite following a centile curve.  However this does not seem to be concerning any of the medical staff, as she is putting on weight.

The paediatrician looked at Amélie’s notes and examined her.  She has asked us to return to the GP to reassess the quantities of Domperidone and Ranitidine in light of her weight gain.  She listened to her chest and believes the noisy breathing/ wheezing to be all upper respiratory rather than a problem with her lungs and chest, which is a relief.  She has requested an ultrasound to be taken while she is feeding (we are still waiting for the appointment) and a urine sample.  How do you get a urine sample for a 4 month old baby girl?  With great difficulty, I can tell you!  Our first attempt involved holding her over a bowl while we fed her.  We did this for about an hour with no success, then she threw up in the bowl.  Lucinda moved her to her lap while we retrieved the bowl and Amélie duly urinated on her leg!

As you may know we have started to feed Amélie solids.  However she is not taking to it as Éowyn did.  Then again if her reflux is such then perhaps it is painful, but she doesn’t seem to be too worried.  As I mentioned last time Amélie was not showing interest in food as Éowyn did, so perhaps that is part of the problem too.  We are only weaning because of the reflux and on the advice of the dietician, and the hope that she will be satisfied for longer than the 3 hour alarm call that she currently operates on.

This week we received the photos from the photoshoot and they look wonderful.  We just have to decide on where best to hang the frames.  Lucinda and I were chatting about it and without trying to sound too big-headed many of the photos that I take are just as nice (probably because I can get better reactions out of my children!) but we have never printed them out.  I have over 30,000 photos sitting on my computer but hardly any on the walls or in photoframes.  This is why this site and my Flickr account are good outlets because it allows me to at least display them for others to see.  Perhaps I should begin printing some out?

Lucinda has a very strong artistic streak, and I like to think I have at least a soupçon of artistic talent so it is no surprise that Éowyn seems to be using art as a medium for her imagination.  Drawing, painting, sculpture (O.K. Playdoh) all are part of her répertoire.  However, Lucinda started something with a chance comment.  Éowyn had sat down at her table and drawn a picture.  She gave it to Lucinda and Lucinda said “That’s very good, let’s put it on the fridge.” Well that just opened the floodgates.  A barrage of drawings followed (some of them consisting of only three lines) all with the cry of “Put it on the fridge, Mommy!” We need a bigger fridge!

As you may, or may not, remember a friend of mine, Eilidh Cairns, while cycling to work was involved in an accident with a lorry and passed away a short time later (please read here for my tribute to her).  This weekend marks the second anniversary of that day and since then Eilidh’s mum, Heather, has been working with her local M.E.P. to try and get a E.U. declaration signed to get H.G.V.’s fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spots making the roads a safer place for cyclists (and the general public).  They need your assistance so please pop by to or click on this flyer and see how you are able to help.  Thank you.

Peace and Love


Rest well Chicken

This is a very difficult piece to write, but I feel that I must.  On Thursday 5th February 2009 riding her bike to work, a friend and colleague Eilidh Cairns was involved in an accident and passed away a short time later.

Eilidh was full of life, and lived her short life to the full.  She was very comfortable with who she was and made no excuse for that and we all loved her for it.

Her passing has hit all that knew her very hard, and that is right and proper and no words that you can say can take that hurt and grief away and nor should it.  Denial, Anger, Depression are all part of the process before Acceptance can help you to heal.

Some people entrust in religion at such times to help them, and others do not have such a crutch.  My belief is that when you are in a relationship with someone, whether that is friend, relative or lover that you exchange a piece of your hearts and entrust the other with its care.  Between those pieces a thread joins you.  The stronger the friendship; the deeper the love, the larger the piece and the thicker and brighter the thread. When that person is taken from you, the thread is broken and you feel the pain of that part of your heart that you have given; however what you must remember is that you still have part of their heart and you are honour-bound to look after it and do what is right by it.

So when you have partied too hard and dragged yourself into work; when you have woken early because it has snowed and a smile creeps across your face, and everyday in everything you do, doff your cap, tip a wink and take Eilidh Cairns with you.

Sleep well Chicken

Eilidh Jake Cairns
Eilidh Jake Cairns

Update 1:

A memorial bike ride, commemorating Eilidh and to draw attention to cycling safety in London took place on Saturday 7th March.  Hundreds of her friends, family and members of cycling forums traced her route to Notting Hill.  There are some photos here, it made the local ITV news here and a very touching video tribute can be found here.

Sleep well Chicken.

Update 2:

It has been over three months since Eilidh’s accident and we are no closer to knowing exactly what happened that morning.  To try and jog people’s memories Eilidh’s friends and family handed out leaflets appealing for witnesses and have produced a short video to be broadcast.  This twofold: to ask if you saw anything on the morning of Thursday 5th February 2009, however insignificant you think it may be, to contact the police to help piece together the jigsaw of what happened and secondly to raise awareness of the safety of cyclists and prevent accidents like this from happening.

So please if you saw anything on the morning of Thursday 5th February 2009, the week of the heavy snow, please watch this video and contact the witness line on 020 7388 6806.

Update 3:

Eilidh’s memory has been honoured with a  ghostbike, the first city approved ghost cycle in London.  Ghostbikes are small and sombre memorials for cyclists who are killed or hit on a street. A bike frame is painted white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise ordinary street.

Update 4:

Eilidh’s mum, Heather, has been working with her local M.E.P. to try and get a E.U. declaration signed to get H.G.V.’s fitted with sensors and cameras to remove their blind spot.  They need your assistance so please pop by to and see how you are able to help.

Update 5:

It has been over three years since Eilidh’s death but not only is cyclists’ safety still an issue (only yesterday a cyclist was knocked down and killed by an official Olympics bus) but the driver involved in Eilidh’s accident has still been affecting other’s lives.  Yesterday however he was sentenced over the death of Ms Nora Gutmann whom he ran down in June 2011 on a light controlled pedestrian crossing and falsifying the data from his tachograph of the lorry his was driving.  This is not the forum for a detailed write up of the details of the sentence but if you are interested please click here.