Amélie’s Third Birthday

The fourth quarter is upon us, the nights are drawing in and the girls have completed their first month at school.  In the last write up Éowyn was enjoying school while Amélie was in tears and begging us not to take her to nursery.  So is that still the case?

Éowyn is still enjoying school and has got use to the fact that it is five days a week.  It has not, however, been completely plain sailing since the beginning of September.  There were a few days when Éowyn became upset and said that she didn’t want to go to school.  Sensing that something had happened at school, Lucinda asked her what the matter was and had anyone upset her.  Lucinda’s fears of something from school were soon allayed, it was something much closer to home: me.  To be exact the lack of me.  It has been a very busy period at work and I have spent long hours away from home.  Although for Éowyn’s (and Amélie’s) first week or so at school I’d managed to trim the hours a little (a dark weekend helped – a dark weekend is a weekend with no Premier League football) the hours had begun to creep back.  With Éowyn spending every weekday at school, and me working into the evening and at weekends, the girls were only seeing me in the morning.  Not exactly what one might call quality time as it is all about shepherding them through breakfast, getting dressed for school and eventually out the door and into the car.

That was a wake up call and although it is difficult I have to strike the correct work/life balance and make the time I do spend with the girls special.  With that in mind I asked Éowyn if there was something that she wanted to do with Daddy when she got out of school.  Her first choice was to go the cinema – result!  Unfortunately there were no suitable films showing at our local picturehouse (Vue Cinema, Staines).  So it was the back up plan:  baking some cakes.  Therefore, armed with ingredients and a large mixing bowl we entered the kitchen and did not leave until we had made some fairy cakes.  A simple gesture but it seems to have worked wonders; she is much happier.  I can not rest on my laurels however and it was serious kick in the butt.  With an imminent house move in the mix it is going to be a very stressful time for all the family and we can’t take our eye off the effects it is having on the children.

Amélie on the other hand, has gone from hating school and crying whenever we dropped her off to running into school.  We are not entirely convinced that she is loving it but she knows that she has to go and is quite happy to go.  There are still the questions about whether we are taking her to school but at least there are no tears when we tell her that she is going.  Definitely a big step forward and just in time for her birthday.

Yes, the big news of the inter-write-up period is the news that Amélie has turned 3!  Saturday saw our middle child’s third birthday.  Unfortunately weekends are my busy days and so although I could push back the time I started I still had to go into work so I was unable to spend the whole day with her, which was upsetting.  I was there when she opened her presents however, and was tasked with the job of extracting the toys from the packaging – not the easiest of tasks especially when you are trying not to damage the toys or indeed your own fingers!  So although I wasn’t there for the bulk of the day I don’t think that she missed me too much as she had the distraction of a small family party around Nanny and Granddad’s with her cousins Lauren and Maddie.  She was still awake when I got home from work (a little late – but it was her birthday!) and was full of excitement with the presents that I hadn’t seen and the fact that she had been playing with her cousins.

It was her second birthday party.  The week before she had had a pirate themed birthday party around Nanny Fran’s with Nanny Fran’s other adopted grandchildren.  Lucinda and I were not at the party however for we were taking advantage of Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz leaving our brood with them while we were approximately 60 miles away.  One of my university friends Neil was marrying (I think the official term is entering a civil partnership – but I prefer marrying) his partner Paul and therefore when we received the invite to their big day, Nanny Fran’s services were booked.   We had a great time, catching up with my university pals which was good as I rarely get to catch up with them, even the ones that live quite close.  Unfortunately again the pull of work was strong and we had to leave early the next morning – before we had managed to say goodbye to them – the joys of working in television!  I drove back to Nanny Fran’s, dropped Lucinda off and headed straight to work.  Lucinda then drove back later with the girls.

Although it was Amélie’s birthday last Saturday, Sunday saw a third birthday party in just over a week, but not a third one for Amélie, but an early one for Éowyn.  As regular readers of this website may recall Éowyn was the last of our NCT class to be born and the group of us that still keep in touch try to organise a joint birthday party for them some midway point between the beginning of September and Éowyn’s birthday on the 17th October.  As fate will have it, this is usually around Amélie’s birthday, so I am sure that in her mind it is also for her.  This year the venue chosen was Alice Holt.  Run by the Forestry commission, Alice Holt is a few miles south of Farnham and excellent venue for the kids with plenty to do.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were full of stories of the giant woodpeckers and owls in the habitat trail.  Again the call of work meant that I wasn’t able to go, but not only were the girls full of praise for the woodland so was Lucinda, so when work calms down and we have a fine day I think a trip to Alice Holt is in order.

With all work and not a lot of play when my friend Andy saw an offer for a half-day’s Owl and Eagle experience at the Birds of Prey Centre in Old Warden I jumped at the chance to do something for me!  This was our second time, we took advantage of a similar offer last year, and again thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  It is great to be so close to such beautiful creatures and the only disappointment was that it wasn’t a full day’s experience.  There are plenty of photos on our Flickr site including the moment that a moody female Bald Eagle decided to give Andy a little nibble.  Well, he probably deserved it!

So before I leave you, just a quick note to say that the house move plods on but it now looks like all of our finances are in place and we could be exchanging before the next write up.  That probably means there will not be a write up until November! (I am joking!)

Enjoy the photos and keep your fingers crossed for a smooth house move.

Peace and Love



The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Unbelievably we are in June, not that you can tell from the weather.  However the British people are not easily dishearted and thus the unseasonably cold weather and persistent rain did not put a dampener on the Diamond Jubilee celebrations however  Lucinda and I feel like we need to apologise to the Queen about the weather.  Now I am not saying that we are rain gods (although it does feel like that sometimes) but on our return from holiday it looked like summer had arrived so we decided to buy a gas powered barbecue.  A purchase that has been long overdue unfortunately since it has taken residence at chez Bagnall it has done nothing but rain.  So, to the people of the UK we would like to apologise for the fact that the jetstream has moved south bringing the autumnal, nay wintry weather with it.

It may seem like a long time ago but the week started off with temperatures in the mid 20’s which was a good way to acclimatise after our holiday in Tenerife.  Nestled between returning from holiday and returning to work I managed to tick off one from my to-do list: a day’s falconry.  I have always fancied the idea of falconry (perhaps it was something to do with watching Kes when I was younger) but have never managed to organise a date.  Then a couple of weeks prior to my holiday a ridiculously cheap offer via groupon appeared in my e-mail inbox.  It was too good an offer to miss, so myself and Andy booked ourselves up for our trip up the A1(m).

The Birds of Prey centre at Old Warden Park near Biggleswade was the venue of our experience.  We started the day with an introduction to a couple of chicks yet to fledge, a tawny owl and a Turkmenistan eagle owl, the latter of which decided that it would try and undo my shoe laces.  So while the falconer, Graham, begun the introduction to all things raptorial I had a ball of feathers sitting on my foot picking at my shoe laces with a beak evolved to rip rabbits apart.  Frustratingly (for the owl) I had double tied my shoe laces and he couldn’t undo them so begun nibbling my leg (I was wearing shorts).  Not sure what to do and not wishing to annoy him I just ignored him and hoped that he didn’t try to eat my leg.

I wasn’t the only one of the group to have a closer than expected encounter.  After being introduced to a number of adult owl species we were taken to the visit the eagles.  Obviously these are the superstars of the raptor world and we were allowed to handle and 4 year old bald eagle.  Still classed as immature (they do not get the iconic white head until the age of seven) he was nevertheless fully grown.  Andy volunteered to hold him first and gingerly held him at arm’s length.  ‘Don’t stroke him,‘ Graham explained, ‘For he will bite your finger, but you can hold him closer to your face for he will not peck your face.‘  So Andy brought the eagle closer to his face and without warning the eagle plucked at his beard.  ‘That one is nesting.‘  Epilated by an eagle.

After the introduction we were allowed to fly a number of species.  A barn owl, an Turkmenistan eagle owl and a Harris Hawk all of which were brilliant but they paled into insignificance when we flew the final bird: the bald eagle we were introduced to earlier.  The sight of a bald eagle flying across a field to you is a magnificent and awe-inspiring vision and you thank the deity of your choice that you are not a rabbit and something that will stay with me for the rest of my days.  It is a day I would wholeheartedly recommend and feel free to view the very many photos I took that day on our flickr site.

That was the first Monday back from our holiday and it was Éowyn’s first day back at school.  Unfortunately it was not such a good day for our first born, the teachers called Lucinda’s dad (who was picking her up for us) into the class to say that she had been particularly naughty striking three different children during the course of the day.  So we needed to have a serious talk to her.  We are not sure why she did it and even if we did there there obviously would be no justification for it.  We can only assume that she was struggling to acclimatise to being back to school after being on holiday but we explained to her that it was wrong and then attempted to get her to relate to how the other children felt and how she wouldn’t like it if it happened to her.  It must have sunk it because for the remaining days of the term she was apparently a delight at school.  However, there were only two more school days left for her before the half term holiday begun.  She is back to school this week so we will see how well she behaves next week.

Obviously the big news of the last week or so has been the Diamond Jubilee of our current monarch Queen Elizabeth II.  I can vaguely recall the Silver Jubilee and obviously it has only been a decade since the Golden Jubilee but this is only the second ever diamond jubilee of a UK monarch (the other being that of Queen Victoria) so a very special event.  The British weather decided that it wasn’t special enough to bestow a typical June day moreover one more befitting February, the month she actually ascended to the throne.  Although extremely fitting for an anniversary of the coronation for the weather was also unseasonably cold and wet on that date too!

Two public holidays were granted to the UK public turning the first weekend of June into a four day weekend.  However with Lucinda being a shift worker she was actually working on those days and with the wintry weather myself and the girls contented ourselves to watching the flotilla on the television.  Apparently there were 10,000 street parties over the weekend however Stanwell Moor did not join in with a street party but held a tea party at the village hall.  Unfortunately it did not have the atmosphere one would hope for such an event.  However there was a competition to guess where the Queen has lost her crown and one had to pick a postcode for where it could be.  We duly entered and thought nothing more about it.  We stayed about 40 minutes or so then headed back home when we received a phone call, we had won the top prize a big cuddly dog.  We headed back and collected the prize so it wasn’t such a bad party after all!  And something that worth more than a lottery win according to Éowyn for when I expressed disappointment that we had not won the lottery she said ‘But at least we won the doggy!‘  Wise words!

Éowyn and Amélie are becoming closer with Amélie idolising her older sister, following her about and copying her actions.  I think that Éowyn quiet likes this most of the time however as with all of us, it can get annoying.  Amélie was following Éowyn around the other day constantly shouting ‘ÉowynÉowynÉowynÉowyn!’  Suddenly Éowyn snapped and hid in her room shouting ‘Amélie you are winding me potty!‘  It has rapidly become our favourite phrase and obviously a mixture of ‘winding me up‘ and ‘driving me potty!

I will leave you there and trust that you all enjoyed the Jubilee celebrations for it is likely that we will not see another.

Peace and Love