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