(Football) Season’s greetings

You wait seven weeks and then there are two updates in a week.  Yes the football seasons are well underway and work has already started to slip into a pattern.  It is nice to know that the hard work put in over the summer have borne fruit quite quickly and workflows and procedures seem to be working.  There is one more hurdle to jump, one more client to incorporate into the system and then hopefully I can ease off the weekends and start to see the family more.  Don’t hold your breath!

This update however takes us back to before I lost my weekends to the behemoth that is IMG.  Lucinda’s friend Lisca decided to celebrate her birthday inviting a select group of friends for a spa weekend.  So Lucinda took advantage and headed off to the country while I stayed at home with the kids.  I was looking forward to spending time with the kids but it appeared that my body decided to rebel and use the opportunity to lower its guard and let the infection that it was fighting have the upper hand for the weekend.  So, probably before Lucinda had even checked in, I was running a temperature of nigh on 40˚C while every muscle ached.

The kids were playing nicely together so I lay on the settee to try and regain some strength.  Éowyn saw that I was ill and asked if she could put on a DVD and curl up on the settee with me.  So, she chose a film (Brave) put it in the player, handed me the remote controls and curled up on the settee with me.  Amélie, wondering where Éowyn was came into the lounge and curled up on the settee too.  Then the Bagnall sandwich was complete with Ezra squeezing himself in the group hug.  There we stayed watching Brave (the first time for me!) the four of us curled up on the settee.  It was delightful.

The following day we had arranged to go to the cinema with the cousins.  Ezra was duly packed off to Nanny and Granddad’s and Éowyn, Amélie and I went to watch Muppets Most Wanted.  The girls are a big fan of The Muppets (indeed Éowyn’s first trip to the cinema was to see The Muppets) and know all the songs from the first film, so it was an easy choice.  Neither of the girls were as captivated as they were with the first film (and in fairness neither was I, and I’m a big Muppets fan) however Éowyn has begun to do a very good Russian accent, in the style of Constantine (the world’s most evil frog).

A fortnight later was our 7th Wedding Anniversary and how did we celebrate this momentous occasion? Lucinda was working, then we had friends round for a barbeque before I, and two friends, went to the cinema to watch the simulcast of the last night of the Monty Python Live (Mostly) stage show.  It is a good job that I have an understanding Wife, and perhaps, in part it is why we got married.  The show was the first time in 30 years that all the (living) Pythons were together on stage and they kept us all happy by performing all the favourites, with a bit of new material thrown in for good measure.

The favour was returned a couple of weeks later with Daddy spending a Friday night in while Lucinda and Lisca once again went out on the town for a kid-free night.  We had told the girls that Lisca was going to stay the night and would be in the spare room and so not to go in there in the morning.  This is the room that Éowyn and Raine spent the night when Raine came for a sleep over.  Something must have clicked in Amélie’s head and equated Lisca’s stay with a sleep over.  Now as Éowyn had the chance to sleep in the spare room with her friend, the cogs started turning in her head and Amélie decided that this was her opportunity.  As I put the girls to bed, Éowyn duly climbing into the top bunk while Amélie disappeared; I found her snuggling into the spare bed.  I asked her what she was doing.  ‘I’m going to have a sleepover with Lisca,’ was her reply.  I don’t think that Lisca would have been very pleased to have come home after a few fizzy drinks to have found Amélie starfishing in her bed.

July also saw the harvest of the first of our crops (16 potatoes from the first plant!).  Indeed for the past month we have kept ourselves in potatoes and beans.  I have always thought about the idea of having a veg patch and so this year was firstly an experiment to seeing if we were any good at growing food and whether we could dedicate the time and effort into looking after the plot.  Secondly, it was to introduce the girls to where food comes from and by encouraging them to be involved in the growing process to get them to eat more veg.  Any produce was therefore a bonus.  Nevertheless we have been fortunate and have had a bountiful harvest of potatoes and beans.  It is surprising how much better vegetables grown by your own fair hand, taste; indeed our potatoes are full of flavour.  The girls get quite excited when I go to the veg patch to dig up some potatoes and insist on coming with me armed with a bag.  I think the girls enjoy it because of the unknown.  When you stick your fork in and lift the plant up, you never know how many potatoes you are going to get or how big they are.  It is like a poor man’s Christmas day.

It is the gift that keeps on giving; we still have beans and potatoes to harvest and now the tomatoes are beginning to ripen.  We thought that our three raspberry bushes were not going to fruit this year, however it looks like we might get a late harvest, which I am quite excited about.  Unfortunately we have had a bit of a disaster with the sole remaining pumpkin plant.  The leaves developed a white growth and within a couple of days all the leaves had died before we had a chance to try and cure the infection.  The vine itself still seems to be alive and the pumpkin is ripening so we may be lucky, we will have to wait and see.

The pumpkin probably suffered due to the heavy rain that we have recently had.  Indeed Bank Holiday Monday saw a month of rain only a couple days after the lowest August temperature recorded in the UK (a shade above -2°C in Northern Ireland) and the news that a glacier has begun to form in Scotland (despite this article from 7 months previous stating that they will not return in our lifetime).  So we many feel that we are hurtling in Autumn, and the return to school but it wasn’t like that at the beginning of the month.

Indeed we were more worried about sun cream than wellies when we spend the day at Bushy Park.  We headed there with our N.C.T. gang and enjoyed a traditional day at the park, playing football, frisbee and soft ball all based around a picnic.  The day was made more exciting by an invasion of the Bushy Park resident deer.  First it was the Red Deer that actually kept a discreet distance but not so their smaller relatives.  We sat amazed on the picnic blanket as a couple of fallow deer wandered over and unafraid stuck their noses into our bags to see if there was anything of interest.  I had to stand up and usher them away, only for them to head to an unoccupied picnic blanket and helped themselves to the food that had left behind.  (See our Flickr pages for photos).  So if any of you decide to take a trip to London’s second largest Royal park watch out for cervine thieves, it was definitely a first for the Bagnalls.

Another first for the Bagnall was Amélie’s first visit to the haridressers.  Amélie’s  hair has never grown as quickly  Éowyn’s but has recently become a little wild, so we thought it was time for her to go for a haircut.  Lucinda took both girls to our local hairdressers in Stanwell Moor.  Éowyn has been before and only needed a trim of her blond locks.  Amélie, however, needed a bit more work and we were a little worried how she would react.  She nearly fell asleep when she had her hair washed and was as good as gold while they cut her hair until she saw it on the floor.  Then she started to cry and asked them to put it back on.  The hairdresser was very good with her and said that they collect all the hair and put it in a magic box.  Then we you are older and you would like it back you can take it home.  This seemed to placate her and then said that she wanted to get rid of her curls as she didn’t want her curls any more.  So the hairdresser straightened her hair.  Fortunately, the curls have fought back but not before Lucinda took some photos of her without curls.  She looks very different I am sure that you agree, and probably not as cute.

Before I leave you to enjoy the photos let me regale one small amusing anecdote.  Éowyn may suffer, like her father, from an inability to carry a tune she nevertheless, like her father, enjoys to sing.  However her choice of songs seems to be far too influenced by Disney films and her mother’s CD collection.  One of the songs that she likes is 22 by Taylor Swift.  However, she hasn’t quite nailed the lyrics.  For those of you not familiar with the song, it opens with the line  ‘It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters.’  In fairness to our oldest child, she is only five that therefore doesn’t know what a hipster is never mind what they dress like, so Éowyn fills in the unknown word with a more familiar one singing ‘It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hamsters’.  A somewhat different fancy dress shop but would probably work better visually.

A big welcome to the latest member of the greater Badger clan: Letty Louise Woodman the first child for Lucinda’s cousin Kate and her partner Nolan was born on the 17th August 2104.  Interestingly another girl, the 11th of her generation (compared to only 2 boys), there must be something in the water.  She looks a real cutey from the photos and we can’t wait to meet her!

Peace and Love





Manha, manha – Mud!

June has nearly been and gone and still no sign of summer.  Even last week’s Summer Solstice saw no let up in the unseasonably cold and wet weather indeed following the wettest April on record and a wet May this has been the wettest June on record.  Something that I am acutely aware of for last weekend I was camping on the Isle of Wight at the annual music festival.  As you may have seen in the media the heavy rain and tens of thousands of pairs of welly-clad feet churned the camping fields into a veritable mudbath.  Fortunately we avoided the traffic jams caused by the influx of visitors but need not avoid the rain while pitching our tents or the storm (45mph winds and 1 inch (25mm) of rain) that fell on the Saturday night.  So after 3 days of mud even the lure of Bruce Springsteen, The Vaccines, Noel Gallagher and other smaller acts was not enough for us to endure another 24 hours of inclement weather conditions. I was at Glastonbury in 1997 and 1998 so I have been there and done that and have no need to try and prove myself to anyone.  Lucinda and the girls were surprised but very pleased when a muddy, tired, welly-clad daddy walked through the doors just before noon on Sunday afternoon.

That was last weekend and obviously there has not been many updates this month so what else has been happening in June 2012? With the poor weather it has not been the best of months to galavant through the English countryside and indeed use our Merlin passes.  However, we are a stolid bunch with regards to the weather, being English you have to, and it did not prevent us from having a barbecue around Nanny and Granddad’s to celebrate Auntie Cristina’s 40th birthday.  We even dressed warmly and ate outside (thankfully it stayed relatively dry).

Éowyn returned to pre-school the next day with a lot of encouragement from Lucinda and me to be good.  Thankfully she has heeded this and so far this term we have had glowing reports about her behaviour.  I think because she is relatively clever, but also relatively big that she is used to getting her own way and gets frustrated when she doesn’t.  All part of growing up but still not good as a parent when you get called in because of her behaviour.  With this in mind we have enrolled her in gymnastics classes at Spelthorne gym.  Éowyn is very flexible (she will idly stuck her toes for instance) and forever pretending she is a gymnast and so we thought it would be good discipline couple with good exercise.  We asked Éowyn if she wanted to go to gymnastics and she became very animated and excited about the prospect.  The first time she went Lucinda was running late and so there was no time for Éowyn to think about what she was going to do and happily went in and thoroughly enjoyed it.  In fact all week she was excited about going again, however the next week they arrived in good time and Éowyn became nervous and didn’t want to go in and Lucinda had to end up pushing her through the door.  It seems very cruel but it was what she needed and again she thoroughly enjoyed herself and so currently our eldest is a fully paid up member of British Gymnastics.

On the weekend between Cris’s birthday barbecue and the Isle of Wight music festival we paid a visit to West Bromwich and Nanny Fran’s. Éowyn has been asking lots of questions lately about my Dad (Granddad Vic).  For those of you that don’t now my Dad died in 1987 (25 years ago!) and so not only did Éowyn never meet him neither did Lucinda, since he passed away 20 years before we were married!  Obviously Éowyn realises that Lucinda has a mum and dad and I have a mum but where is my Dad, so we have been explaining it to her as best as we can.  So part of the journey was hopefully going to go to Dad’s grave and show her where he was buried and being Father’s day it seemed apt.  Unfortunately the weather was so poor that we never managed to go, hopefully next time.

Nevertheless a good time was had at Nanny Fran’s even though it was another flying visit.  It has been a little while since Nanny Fran had seen Amélie and at the moment Amélie is going through one of those rapid development stages and so kept Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz amused for the entire weekend.  Her vocabulary is growing, almost daily and she is now stringing words together to make sentences.  Usually surrounding food, things like: ‘My daddy, breakfast please.‘ which is her usual greeting in a morning.  Both girls love their families and they gt to see a lot of Lucinda’s side because we all live relatively close but because they don’t see Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz that often they do get very excited when they pop up to West Bromwich.  That is not the usual reaction West Bromwich gets from people in Surrey.

As you may remember Éowyn first cinema visit was in February to see the Muppets movie (a particular favourite of Daddy’s too).  This month saw the release of the film on Blu Ray and DVD and so it needed to be bought.  Since we have bought it, I think Éowyn has watched it half a dozen times at least.  It has definitely stuck in her brain because she will quite often burst into verses of Manha Manha, very amusing.  There is another song that Éowyn has become fond of singing and that is ‘You are my Sunshine.’  It may be that she has inherited her father’s love of music but unfortunately at the moment it seems as if she has also inherited my singing voicing.  Poor girl at least she has her gymnastics!

In addition to a lack of major days out, there is a dearth of photos since the last write up too, hence most of the below photos are from Cristina’s birthday party.  We will try harder for the next write up.

Peace and Love


The fourth Sunday of Lent

It seems a while since I last afforded you an update, this is in contrast with my regularity so far this year.  For this I apologise but bear with me, I have a lot to fit in.

As you may guess from the title, the update starts with Mother’s Day (Mothering Sunday as it always used to be known).  Mother’s Day (in the UK) is always the fourth Sunday of Lent.  And as we all know Lent is the period of preparation that starts 40 days before Easter.  Now what you may not know is that Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox.  As there was a full moon just before the Vernal Equinox this year Easter (and hence Mother’s Day) was nearly as late as it can be and so Mother’s Day coincidenced with the first weekend in April.  See you learn something everytime you pop by here.

Mother’s Day started off a little quiet.  Éowyn (with a little help from me) made Lucinda breakfast in bed and then myself and the girls crept downstairs to allow Lucinda a well deserved lie in.  Later we headed the short distance to Nanny and Grandad’s (the other end of the street) for the afternoon (and Sunday Lunch).  Both of Lucinda’s brothers and their families came and so it was a house full for Lucinda’s mum on Mother’s Day – not exactly relaxing.  However, it was good for everyone to be there (and I think Lucinda’s mum enjoyed it) and we didn’t see the children (Éowyn included) for the entire time we were there as the little group of cousins entertained themselves.  I have said it before but it is great to see how close all the cousins are and how they include Éowyn in their games.

It has been a little eventful for Éowyn over the last couple of weeks, all of them stages of growing up.  Potty training is still going slowly and we had a little set back when she suffered from an acute bout of tummy upset.  I think you all know what I mean.  I think that has knocked her confidence and so no big girl pants at the moment.  We have also converted her cot into a bed.  (For those of you not in the know.  When we moved Éowyn from her moses basket we placed her in a cotbed (a cot that becomes a bed when you take the sides off) that should see her through to about her 5th year.  For months we have been trying to take the side off her bed so that it was more like a big bed, however she has resisted this furiously and got quite upset whenever we did remove it.)  This was mainly due to her trying to retrieve a toy that had fallen out of bed.  The first we heard of her attempting to get out of bed was a loud thud followed by Éowyn crying.  We rushed upstairs to find her on the floor and when we asked her what had happened she told us she was climbing out of bed.  We therefore had no choice and immediately took the side off her bed.  We have replaced it with a bed guard (so she is not totally exposed) but apart from a couple of half-hearted groans she has taken the change in her stride although she hasn’t yet fully taken advantage of the fact that she can get in and out of bed. We are, however, prepared for this and have fitted a child gate at her bedroom door so that she can’t sneak out of her bedroom at night.

We have also had to recently introduce the naughty step.  Éowyn is not by nature a naughty child but we have had to introduce the punishment because of the seriousness of her actions.  She has begun to open the front door and run off.  The reasons for the escapement are numerous:  ‘Just looking for some Bees, Daddy.‘ ‘I’m going fishing.‘ ‘There was a cat and I want to stroke it.‘  She has always enjoyed opening the door for guests (both arrivals and departures) and we have no problem with this as it gives her a sense of control, but obviously just opening the door and running off needs to be nipped in the bud.  Hence the use of the naughty step.

Éowyn has also turned composer.  She followed Lucinda into the kitchen and asked her for some crisps.  Lucinda said that she had already had a packet of crisps that day so she could not have another packet.  ‘But I need them.‘  she said.  Lucinda again said that she couldn’t have them. ‘But I love crisps.‘ she reiterated.  Again Lucinda denied the request.  So Éowyn walked off to her keyboard and begun playing the keys singing: ‘I love crisps, I love crisps, I love crisps in yellow packets‘.  Genius!  Unfortunately we didn’t film it otherwise it may have become a bigger hit than Friday by Rebecca Black.  We have recently been trying to educate Éowyn with music in an attempt to wean her off the television. Her current favourites seem to be The Beach Boys, The Monkees and Wham! (Wake me up before you go go, is her current favourite).  So maybe we are nuturing a talent, one that neither Lucinda nor I have.

We do, of course have a second daughter.  Amélie is now enjoying her food (well she is a Bagnall!).  It was a little bit of a battle at first (which is understandable) but now she is loving the different flavours and textures and the extra intake means that she is down to four bottles of Neocate a day.  She is also still sleeping through the night (no teething episodes lately – and still no teeth) which is bliss.  However she is still a little lazy.  She occasionally rolls, and has got herself into the crawling stance once but it is not regular and neither is she sitting.  We will probably reminisce about these halycon days when she does start crawling and getting into things.

It is fortunate that she is not crawling at the moment since we are having our kitchen ripped out and replaced.  There is a thin film of plaster dust that is coating everything and we are living out of one room and washing the cutley and crockery in the bathroom sink.  It is not the most pleasant way to live but it is only for a couple of weeks and we are quite excited about having a new kitchen with an oven that works evenly.

Hopefully it will all be sorted by the Easter weekend and the swarm of Bank Holidays (if that is indeed the collective noun for a group of Bank Holidays) that are coming up with a late Easter, May bank holiday and a Royal Wedding.  Fingers crossed the weather will stay fine and it will make the tidying up much more pleasant giving us the chance to air the house and we can send Éowyn to play in her new wendy house (photo below).  For with Bank Holidays and Teacher Training Days it will be six weeks between school days for Éowyn when she returns on the 6th May!

Meanwhile enjoy the photos and look out for the milestone update next time.

Peace and Love