A week off at the end of January

Time to squeeze an update in before the end of January?  I think so, especially when I have the excuse that for the last 9 days I have been at home having taken the last of my 2014 leave entitlement.  An F.A. Cup weekend meant that their was no Premier League action and thus it was a perfect time, from a work point of view, to take a break.

So what has 2015 brought to the Bagnall household so far?  The biggest, most important, euphoria inducing event is the fact that our central heating works!  As regular readers may recall one of the problems with our house is that the heating has never truly worked and thus the house has always felt cold.  This was a complete shock to us coming from a  mid-terrace house, with cavity walls and a very efficient heating system.  We called in an expert last winter who said that our system was full of gunk and recommended a power flush.  This he did, cleared out a ton of gunk and although not perfect our house was at least, if not warm not cold.  We thought that was the best it was going to be and thought no more of it over the warm summer months.

The first cold snap of this winter proved that the power flush had not done the job, for although the upstairs of the house was warm, you could see you breath downstairs.  We booked another heating engineer to come round and in the meantime we purloined as many electric heaters as we could to keep the chill out, ignoring the effect on our energy bills!  Chris (the heating engineer was due to come round the week before Christmas but an emergency meant that he had to cancel and instead made us his priority for the first week of 2015.

Without boring you with the minutiae of our heating system, effectively our heating system suffered a coronary.  The fifteen years of gunk had collected in three separate sections of pipework preventing the hot water for reaching our downstairs ring of radiators.  Fortunately, no damage had been done to the boiler, or the pump and after some pipe replacement, cleaning of the system and a few minor adjustments to the design of the system, the house was warm.  The pipes were so full of gunk that there was no clear path through the pipe for the water to flow, no wonder the radiators were cold.  Thankfully, that can fade into the midst of memory and we can now walk around the house without fear of frostbite.

As I have mentioned, and the title alludes, I have had the best part of a week and a half away from work.  Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Lucinda, who was doing her usual hours and the girls who were both at school.  Therefore, we have not been away or done anything overly exciting.  Nevertheless it has been nice being the house husband and spending some time with the family, especially Ezra, who has enjoyed the bulk of my time.  It has also been nice to not only drop the girls off at school, which I do every morning, but to pick them up from school, which I rarely get a chance to do.

We also took the opportunity to have a catch up with Éowyn’s teacher.  As you know Éowyn (and Amélie) moved schools in November and thus we managed to miss parent’s evening (not that the teacher would have been able to tell us much at that point!).  Therefore we asked if we could have a quick catch up after school one evening and this week suited both us and her very well.  She told us that Éowyn has settled in very well and has made some good friends.  Although she is clever, she has a tendency to talk too much and in doing so loses concentration and makes silly mistakes, which is something they are trying to work on as she is also disrupting the children she is talking to.  So we have had a chat with Éowyn to try to curb that side of her personality, but it is something that we can’t do very easily as we are not there, the onus must be with the teaching staff who may have to split her little group up.  Something that happened at her previous school when Éowyn and her best friend were being too loud in class.

The week off, was also well-timed for Granddad.  Lucinda’s dad had ruptured a tendon in his shoulder at the end of last year and has been in terrible pain with it for months.  Fortunately, his operation was scheduled in the middle of my week off so I was able to take him to the hospital.  The operation was bigger than expected and although only a week has passed, John is still in a lot of pain.  However, he has a follow-up appointment on Saturday so should know whether the operation has been a success and whether the pain is to be expected.

The week off was also an opportunity to investigate whether it was possible, and whether I wanted, to have laser surgery to correct my vision.  I am slightly short-sighted but suffer from astigmatism in my left eye.  So took the opportunity to make an appointment and see what the experts say, and probably more importantly how much it would cost.  I never got as far as the second part for during my appointment they discovered that the cornea on the lower part of my left eye is too thin to safely perform laser surgery.  Therefore, it is back to the opticians for me!

As part of my time off I had one of those rare events: a weekend off.  Despite the cold January weather we decided to take full advantage and go on an adventure and visit somewhere new.  We decided on Bocketts Farm and headed down to Leatherhead.  Bocketts Farm is a working farm with play areas to entertain the children.  All three found things to entertain them.  There were trampolines, a soft play area little pedal tractors, all before we managed to see any animals.

Highlights of the day included watching the pig race, getting up close with the small animals in the petting zoo area.  The girls were happy to stroke the rabbit and guinea pigs but weren’t as keen on the thought of stroking the chicken.  However, the apprehension soon faded when the chicken was brought round and they happily stroked her too.  Even Ezra stroked all the animals.

Those highlights were put into the shade by the biggest highlight of the day, for the girls at least, a pony ride.  When they realised that there was the opportunity to ride a pony they both asked if they could queue up.  Well considering the meaning of Éowyn’s name, how could I refuse?  Both of them thoroughly enjoyed it, but thankfully neither have asked for a pony.  Hopefully, that is the way it will stay.  Take the opportunity when presented but not bankrupt daddy by wanting one of your own!

I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Bocketts Farms, especially when it gets a bit warmer as there are plenty of things to do to keep the kids entertained.  We will be going back.

So after some time with the family it is back to work and back to the usual regime.  The first photos of 2015 are on my Flickr pages and see you all in February.

Peace and Love