Mommy's birthday

Another month has nearly passed and Lucinda is a year older (on paper – she hasn’t really aged a year in the past fortnight!) and the UK has seen its summer.  It has been a busy couple of weeks!

Life is settling back down to a slight slice of normality at least for a couple of weeks or so.  Work is in a lull at the moment before the great upheaval that is about to happen with new channels and upgrades to HD and tapeless workflows.  We are still in our recruitment drive but not at the same frenetic pace as it was.  This means that I am able to leave on time and see Éowyn and Lucinda every evening (except when I am updating this website!) which is worth a fortune.

To celebrate Lucinda’s birthday we headed to Brighton for a day by the seaside.  The weather was especially kind (and only got better through the week!) as we left the confines of the M25 but as we got to Brighton (and the god of traffic jams ensnared us in its metallic web on a number of occasions) we were upset to discover that the South Coast of Britain was not enjoying the same warm weather and bright sunshine that the Capital, a mere 70 miles  away, was promising.  Nevertheless we are hardy folk and happy strolled around in our shorts and T-shirts.  Fortunately we had been blessed with enough foresight to bring a warm set of clothes for Éowyn which we duly wrapped her in.  The sun-tan lotion on the other hand stayed firmly at the bottom of the bag.

Since the weather wasn’t great and the traffic had delayed our arrival, we headed straight for Harry Ramsden’s for some good ol’ Fish and Chips via a quick paddle in the sea.  Then we headed to the Sea Life Centre to show Éowyn the fish.  She really enjoyed herself and particularly enjoyed touching the creatures that they bring to the children.  I am not sure that the starfish enjoyed itself as much though for after she gently stroked it and it didn’t do a lot she gave it a real poke in the middle.  We quickly moved on.

The journey back was tedious too and we were glad to be back home.  A day trip to Brighton is so much more exhausting with a toddler and next year we’ll have two!

After a lovely day with my wife and firstborn I was back at work and then the usual thing happened, that I was off at the weekend and Lucinda was working.  Therefore I was primary carer.  It was great fun though.  The weather was fantastic (peaking at 30°C) and so we could (with hat and suntan lotion) keep popping outside.  I cleaned off and re-inflated the paddling pool and we splashed in there during the relative cool of the morning, retiring to the house during the hot part of the day to play Play-Doh and drawing.

Éowyn is in a really fun stage where she is learning at a fantastic pace and is really picking up words (we have to watch what we say!) and stringing them together.  So it is fun to teach her new things like the colour of her pens and names of animals.  She likes to sing along to her nursery rhymes and do the actions.  Her particular favourites are “The wheels on the bus”, “Wind the bobbin up” (as if kids today know what a ‘bobbin’ is) and “Twinkle, twinkle little star”.  She is very good at the actions and loudly joins in with the “All day long” bit at the end of “The wheels on the bus”.

The weather has been fantastic, if a little too hot for me (mainly due to the lack of any air movement) but it has brought out bigger badder insects for the new decade.  We have had a number of wasps enter the house.  When I say wasps I mean more like flying rodents (with stings).  They are huge and have to be despatched quickly, for I don’t want them stinging Éowyn.  If the wasps are the front line, the sneaky night invaders are the mosquitoes.  The intense buzzing noise just as you are about to drop off to sleep must be one of the most irritating noises in the world.  A rolled up magazine quickly takes them down, hopefully before they have filled their stomachs with your blood.  This is a battle that is quite common in the village, especially since we live quite close to a stream, there is a little lake on our northern boundaries and we back on to the King George VI reservoir.  However the invaders for 2010 are bigger and smarter.  They must be close to an inch long and have stripes like a tiger, they get short shrift from my rolled up magazine though.  So be careful out there.

Before I leave you to enjoy the photos just a couple of special mentions.  The first is to Nanny Fran, who is recovering after having an operation on Monday to repair a ruptured patella tendon.  She was in and out quite quickly (no beds for an overnight stay!) but will take a couple of months to be back to match fitness.  And the second is to our friends Kirsty and Nick who have had their second child Jessica Valentine today (26th May 2010).  Congratulations from the Bagnalls!

Please enjoy the photos

Peace and love


Where did those three months go?

And so here we stand in April.  Where has the year gone?  For most of the year Lucinda and myself (and Éowyn of course) have been keeping a big secret from all and thankfully the weekend of Mother’s day we were able to share that with you all.  Judging by the speed of the last three months it will not be long before our family of three becomes a family of four.  With such momentous news it was only right and fitting that it was a separate entry and should hog the front page for a couple of weeks. Therefore this update will cover nearly a month and so there are bound to be many omissions, but hey, you’re only here for the photos!  Right?

So what has been happening in the Bagnall household over the last month?  Obviously the Mothering Sunday weekend and following week was dominated by the news that Lucinda is pregnant, this included a flying visit to West Bromwich to let my Mom and sisters know and a meal with Lucinda’s parents to let them know.  Obviously all are delighted, our main concern will be Éowyn.  She will be going from the centre of attention and the apple of Daddy’s eye to sharing that limelight with a sibling.  Éowyn already shows signs of jealously if Daddy is showing attention to others, and woe be tide that Mommy and Daddy have a cuddle: the tears start and she demands to join in for a group hug.  I think that it will be a bit of a juggling act and new skills to be learnt when the new bubba comes along.

Éowyn has already begun to push the boundaries.  She is seemingly entering the terrible twos six months too early.  In some ways it can be quite funny to watch, when she looks around for something to throw and then launches herself on the floor kicking and screaming.  But when you are trying to do something, or go somewhere, or just get her to do something it can be extremely frustrated.  Months of watching Super Nanny on telly somehow still doesn’t prepare you for the tantrums.  In all fairness her tantrums tend to be short lived and she is as good as gold before and afterwards.  Hopefully this phase is over by September and there will be little or no troubles when the new arrival comes along.  I really am clutching to straws there, aren’t I?

As it has been nearly 7 weeks since a detailed update it is quite hard to remember all that we have done (visited a farm, bought new shoes, lots of time around Nanny and Granddad’s, playing with cousins, fun at the childminder’s, fun at home and skyping Nanny Fran).  Hopefully it will not take me 7 weeks before the next update.  By then we will have a new government (we presume) and the airline industry will have gone bankrupt due to the unpronounceably named Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.  It is a timely reminder from Mother Nature that however powerful we think we are as a species how she can affect so much and cause so much disruption with what is, in essence, a very minor geological hiccup.  Living so close to Heathrow airport (still the busiest airport in terms of international traffic) the effect of a total ban on traffic in UK airspace is dramatic.  The village seems eerily quiet and the skies are not punctured by large aircraft heading for exotic locations.  The sky is clear blue (it has been particularly fine April weather the past week) without the merest hint of a contrail (or chemtrail should you believe the conspiracy theorists).  However, I think that when they return we will really notice the noise levels, the smell of aviation fuel and the great big iron birds in the sky.

While the big iron birds have been conspicuous by their absence the bird life in our little corner of the land has been very noticeable.  The number of species around here is fantastic for an amateur bird watcher like myself.  One in particular has taken a liking to our garden.  As we all know spring is the time when birds nest.  Maybe you have nesting birds in your garden, but I think we are quite fortunate with the species that has decided that it will raise its family 10 feet from our back door.  A mallard had decided that our borders make an ideal nesting ground.  Unfortunately we didn’t notice her at first and we scared her off the nest, which gave us the chance to have a look in at the dozen or so eggs in her down lined bowl on the ground.  We have been very careful since and Lucinda (probably empathising with impending motherhood) has been on duck-watch ever since.  Hopefully most of the eggs will be viable and we should soon see a team of little ducklings.  Duck is probably Éowyn’s favourite bird mainly due to the fact that it is the one bird that she can recognise.

I don’t think that I am going to waffle on too much, but by way of appeasement I have uploaded more than the usual number of photos for your enjoyment and hopefully you will not have to wait quite as long for the next instalment.  A quick mention goes to West Bromwich Albion who will be plying their trade in the English Premier League next season, well done boys, the new bubba will be born supporting a top flight side (Oh yes it will, it has no choice!).

Peace and Love


Welcome to 2010

I suppose you could say that is a little late, but what’s two weeks between friends!  Christmas is over and it is back to the business of getting ‘back to normal’ for although Christmas does not mean a break from work for either Lucinda or myself, our jobs are different over the festive period due to the fact that the majority of office based jobs and schools are on a break and it does make the journey into work a lot easier as the traffic is considerably lighter.

I can not go further without mentioning the weather.  The coldest start to a January in my lifetime, with snow falling in some part of the UK every day for the last 4 weeks and a return to the kind of winters I remember as a child.  My inner child has been delighted.  Unfortunately as a country we are not prepared for this kind of weather event and many parts of the country grind to a halt to the bewilderment of those from countries that would consider our snowfall ‘a dusting’.  Disappointingly the temperature is set to rise over the next few days and so the snow that is lingering in the sheltered corners of gardens will no doubt disappear, however the long range forecast is for a return to the colder weather.  A little more snow in my corner of the world would be gratefully received.  Not too much mind you, just enough to make everywhere look pretty.  Thank you.

For the first time in a while neither Lucinda or I saw the New Year (decade) in.  I had been working all day and Lucinda had to get up at 0400 on New Year’s day to work at the airport.  So the thought of staying up just to watch the arbitrary turn of a man made concept seemed to lack appeal.  It is not as if it has any basis on any observations (like the ancients’ notion of basing the year on solstices and equinoxes), for our society one measures a circle, beginning anywhere.  Seemingly the reason that the beginning of January marked the turn of the year is lost in the midsts of time (unless anyone can tell me otherwise) although it possibly dates from 153BC and the Roman Late Republic (and hence it’s spread throughout Europe).  Interestingly 1st January was not adopted as New Year’s Day in England until 1752 with the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, until then we celebrated New Year’s Day on 25th March (the Feast of the Annunciation).  See that was Quite Interesting.

Therefore New Year’s day morning it was just Éowyn and me, but she was very kind to her old father and stayed asleep until 7.30, much to Lucinda’s disgust as she had been up with our little one the previous few nights and had been made to get up early on her days off.  How times have changed that we think that 7.30 is a lay in!  We were kindly invited to Lucinda’s brother’s for New Year’s Day afternoon along with Lucinda’s parents and Uncle Bill and Auntie Sally.  After an initial few minutes of shyness, Éowyn was soon enjoying herself with her cousins and chasing their cat around trying to stroke her.

So although New Year’s Eve was a a non-event, the 2nd January was very different.  My good friend Sanjiv’s brother, Jay, was getting married to his long term girlfriend Emma at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane opposite Hyde Park in London.  It was a black tie affair and with the grandeur of the setting it all added to make  it a fabulous wedding and we felt privileged to have been invited.  There had obviously been a lot of work behind the scenes to make all the little details (and the big ones) seamlessly meld together.  It was great to meet up with Sanjiv and with Si and Stef to whose wedding we’ll be going to in the summer.  To take full advantage of the day we decided to stay the night at the hotel so that we didn’t have the worry of trying to get back home.  This obviously meant that we needed baby sitting cover for the night.  Again, Nanny Fran (and Auntie Liz) came to the rescue.  So a big thank to Mom for looking after Éowyn so soon after Christmas weekend.

With a return to the usual routine comes a return for Éowyn to go to Jo’s (her childminder).  I’m not sure who missed who the most.  Éowyn certainly enjoys herself at Jo’s, and is now quite happy to go and wave us off but I think that Jo genuinely enjoys looking after Éowyn, which is a huge bonus for us.

Éowyn really enjoys interacting with adults and other children.  She especially likes singing and quickly picks up the actions to the songs.  Perhaps that’s why her great-great uncle David and great great auntie Sally bought her a musical instrument collection consisting of a xylophone, tambourine, hand bells and a pair of maracas.  Needless to say she really enjoys that present and makes sure that we all have an instrument to join in.  Recently she has begun to make towers out of her Duplo bricks (like we would for her) and then knock them down.  As they crash to the floor she holds her hands to her month in mock surprise and horror before doing it all again.  But her favourite ‘toys’ are still her books and she will quite often choose one and bring it to you for you to read it to her.

So last week saw the decorations return to their boxes for another year.  Éowyn tried to help (she has recently begun to help to tidy, including put things in the bin – whether they need to go there or not! -and putting her toys away if you ask her nicely) and was quite sweet with one of Lucinda’s many snowman ornaments (see photos below).  And so with the Christmas decorations down (doesn’t it make rooms look bare? – I think that is partly why there is such a dearth of photos from which I could choose for this update) and the snow and ice making way for leaden skies and drizzle the new decade begins and we look forward to the many surprises and opportunities that it brings.  May the road rise up to meet you.  May the wind be always at you back.

Peace and Love