When it snows, ain’t it thrillin’, though your nose gets a chillin’

I promised you a second update before the annual Bagnall message to the world, and here it is.  I always try to keep my promises.

It seems an age since I updated you about Ezra, for some reason he has received short shrift on the pages of Baggie and Lucy over the last few months, mainly due to the changes affecting his sisters.  Let me put that right.

As you may recall he has been walking since the end of August and so, as you can imagine, he is into everything.  He has worked out that if he moves his little step-up that he can grasp things out of his usual reach.  In that respect he is like Amélie in that he will acquire things.  His favourites tend to be kitchen utensils; it is not usual to find sieves, saucepans and the potato masher ‘hidden’ around the house.  However, it is not just kitchen utensils that he will swipe, I quite often find a variety of items (especially for some reason, mine) deposited around the house.  There are not enough places, that are completely out of his reach, it is amazing how far he can stretch when he puts his mind to it.

He is usually quite laid-back and relatively mellow, although he occasionally has his  moments.  Nothing like the terrible twos, but if he is determined to do something (or not to do something) then he is a ball of furious energy.  Thankfully, it is still quite rare although he has had to have timeout in his cot a couple of times.  He can also be disarmed by offering to read him a book.  His vocabulary is increasing daily and he seems to say a new word every day or so, but ‘book’ was one of his first words and certainly one of his favourites.

You can quite often find Ezra, sitting on the chair in his room ‘reading’ a book.  If he wants you to read a book he will point for you to sit down, he will pick up a book and then back up towards you, inviting you to pick him up, put him on your lap and read the book.  He knows what he wants and certainly has a way to make you do his willing.  This can work to your advantage though for if he is upset or on the verge of an episode, you can disarm him, if you are quick enough, if you offer to read him a book.  He will waddle off and fetch a book forgetting about whatever it was that was upsetting him two seconds earlier.  Never underestimate the distraction technique.

Reading books is probably helping to contribute to his vocabulary increase.  He knows his animals and the noises they make, especially when they have appeared in one of his books.  It is leading to some confusion though, for every bird is a duck and of course they ‘quack’, except, of course cockerels that ‘Cock-a-doodle-do!’  I will explain the Avian family tree when he is a little older.  His favourite book, however, is not about animals as such, although does have a cat, a dog, a frog and a green bird: Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson.  If you have not read it, I thoroughly recommend it; a classic!

Ezra, however, has missed out on a few events this past week or so.  Both girls have had their ‘nativity’ (or possibly more accurately: Christmas) plays.  Both had ‘named’ parts but far from starring roles.  Amélie was the 3rd Inn-Keeper’s wife while Éowyn was Narrator 16.

Amélie is still at pre-school so there is no need for them to remember lines but they did learn a lot of songs and the actions to those songs.  Amélie being one of the oldest of the class, was certainly one of the most vocal and also lead the actions.  Being a pre-school at a Catholic school this was the ‘traditional’ nativity story, the story of Jesus’ birth, hence the 3rd Inn-Keeper, who may have had no rooms to let but wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to make a little bit extra and capitalised on the situation by selling space in a stable to a heavily pregnant woman.  The true meaning of Christmas.

The pre-school were allowed to use the main school hall and as such there were plenty of seats for all the parents (and some grand-parents) indeed Nanny and Granddad managed to squeeze in with Mommy and Daddy to see their grand-daughter.

Éowyn’s play on the other hand was more secular, the story of Ralph The Reindeer.  ‘Ralph?’ I hear you cry.  Yes, Ralph the green-nosed freelance reindeer that steps in one Christmas when Rudolph has a cold.  It was very enjoyable and with nigh on 180 pupils across the two years  a serious amount of choreography had gone on to ensure that every child felt part of the production and at some point during the play was on stage.  Relatively, there were very few speaking parts so although Éowyn was Narrator 16 the five lines that she had been give was a significant percentage of the script.  Éowyn’s play had two performances to ensure that all parents had an opportunity to see their children, with Lucinda at work on the Thursday and Daddy looking after Amélie and Ezra, Nanny and Granddad went to the first performance while Mommy and Daddy waited until the Friday to see their eldest child’s performance.  We were all very impressed with her.  She pronounced her lines very clearly and although a little on the fast side – you could definitely tell what she was saying.

The other event that Ezra missed out on this last week, Daddy missed out on too, was the annual visit to the Pantomime.  Ezra because he is a little too young (so he stopped with Nanny) and Daddy because, surprise, surprise, he was at work at the weekend.  Last year Lucinda and Granddad took the girls to see ‘Puss In Boots’ performed by the Riverside Players at the Memorial Hall in Old Windsor.  Apart from Amélie being terrified of the baddie they thoroughly enjoyed it, so this year Lucinda decided to take them again.  This year’s pantomime was ‘Sleeping Beauty’.  Again Amélie spent the first acts cowering into Lucinda, scared of the pantomime baddie, asking if they could go home.  Éowyn on the other hand loved it and was enthralled by the story.

It is interesting how Amélie is fearless when it comes to things like roller coasters and scaling climbing frames, yet is terrified of pantomime baddies, yet Éowyn is the opposite.  She may not be a fan of adrenalin fuelled fears yet is not afraid of more psychologically orientated fears that you would find in films or, in this case, pantomimes.

Amélie hasn’t been the only one cowering behind Mommy’s skirts this week.  Lucinda took the kids to the local garden centre, Vermeulens, in Stanwell Moor.  Like many garden centres at this time of the year, business is a little slow so they encourage the customers through the door with a Santa grotto and a chance to visit Santa.  Lucinda thought as Daddy was at work that it would be nice to take them to visit Santa.  Fearing that the queues would be out of the door she didn’t build their hopes up too much.  She was completely surprised, however, that it was the exact opposite.  It seems that word hadn’t reached the good people of Staines that their local garden centre had a grotto and there was not a soul waiting for Santa.  The girls loved it and were more than happy to regale their list of toys that they would like, and apparently they are currently on the ‘nice’ list.  Ezra, however, wasn’t so enamoured with Old Saint Nick.  He cowered in fear but was still given a present and told he was a good boy.  I trust he will grow out of it by next year!

The other great Bagnall Christmas tradition has also been performed, namely the creation of handmade Christmas Baubles at Genevieve’s Gallery in Englefield Green.  This is the seventh year that we have been there to make at least one Christmas Bauble for our tree and one for Nanny Fran’s tree.  They have always been a hand-print of each child and then annotated by Lucinda.  That slightly changed last year as Éowyn’s hands have grown too large to decorate a bauble.  So last year Éowyn was given free rein to make her own designs.  Nanny Fran’s was an original Éowyn but she came up with a great idea for our tree: namely making a Mommy and Daddy bauble.  This year, due to time constraints she was only able to add one more to the family, namely herself.  Next year she will have to do one each to represent Amélie and Ezra.

Éowyn seems to be enjoying school a little more, maybe her first school disco helped, or maybe she is just settling down and making friends.  Hopefully, with a break for Christmas and then returning after all the excitement it will just become part of the routine.  I will take my leave of you here and as usual, ten sad points for you if you can recognise the Christmas ditty that the title of the update comes from.  No prizes, just the smug pleasure of knowing the answer and for me, the smug pleasure of knowing that you will be humming it all day!

Peace and Love


P.S. Four years ago our precocious first-born, Éowyn, demanded that we went to the shops to buy Toy Story 4, and it took a while to convince her that they had only made 3!  Well the bods at Pixar (John Lasseter et al) have listened to their audience and Toy Story 4 is in the planning stage (you can read about it here).  Personally, I am not sure that this is a good thing, the last movie ended the trilogy perfectly – indeed it is one of the best trilogies in film history with not a weak film among them – and to revisit that story feels wrong.  However my fears maybe allayed when the film is released (16th June 2017), and I can guarantee that there will be a least one family of five that will be going to the cinema to see it.


Gallery to be update but it starts off like this…

Reluctant Landlords

I am spoiling you this week.  You have just had a special for Amélie’s first day at nursery, and now a second in a week.  Even disregarding the bonus write-up it is has not been quite as long between ‘actual’ write-ups as one would usually expect.  Not that it has become any less busy this past fortnight but my workdays have not been quite as long so I can squeeze in a little time for you dear readers.  The stress at work is still quite high bedding in a new season, coupled with a new technical facility, coupled with new clients and a new delivery system and all the associated issues blending these together.  At home, the stress is different but equally as high, with our blighted home and attempting to purchase a new home coupled with raising three children under the age of five.  How Lucinda and I are both so young looking, I’ll never know!

The children are not helping during this stressful time, Amélie especially.  With Éowyn not at pre-school (and not yet at school proper) the girls are spending a lot of time together, winding each other up in only the way sisters can.  Amélie as you may recall is a little bit of thief and, in the past, has earned the name ‘Swiper’.  However, she has been relatively good of late.  Therefore, last Thursday when Lucinda and I were getting ready to head to our first wedding of the season (Jon and Taryn – congratulations guys) and Lucinda couldn’t find her purse, Amélie was least in our minds.

Lucinda looked in every bag and everywhere else that she may have put it and came, quite reasonably to the conclusion that it must have fallen out of her bag the previous night after she had paid for her groceries at the supermarket.  She called the supermarket, it hadn’t been handed in and so to add to the stress that we are under, Lucinda began to cancel all of her credit and debit cards that were in that purse while I drove to Braxted Park in Essex for the Dodds’ wedding (photos here).  Fortunately nothing had been added to (or taken from) the cards, so they hadn’t been used nefariously, which was good; however as most of them are joint cards it meant that my mine were also compromised and so had to be cancelled too, which was bad.

Nevertheless, we put it out of our minds and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the wedding with the Baguettes (our nickname for the little Bagnalls) safely in the care of Nanny Fran.  Nanny Fran had thankfully driven down from West Bromwich the day before to look after her grandchildren while we celebrated in Essex.  It was an excellent wedding, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves ‘East of London’, and we wish the Dodd’s all the best for their future lives together.

Ezra, however was not quite as well behaved as he usually is and gave Nanny Fran a little trouble.  Ezra doesn’t normally take bottled milk but I have managed to give him a bottle on a couple of occasions when Lucinda has been out but he wasn’t going to have it from Nanny Fran.  Éowyn however was full of good advice for her Nanny.  When Ezra was fussing and refusing the bottle, Éowyn calmly said, ‘Nanny, there is no other way, you are going to have to get your boobs out.‘  Nanny Fran explained that only a mommy can feed a baby to which Éowyn replied, ‘But you are a mommy.‘  There is no denying the logic from our eldest.  Poor Nanny Fran.

Ezra is no longer solely relying on milk but taking solids and thoroughly enjoying them.  Indeed, he is not content until every scrap of food has been scraped from the bowl.  Definitely a Bagnall!  He probably needs the extra food for he no longer sits or lies still but is moving around the house quite well.  He isn’t crawling as such, although gets himself into the crawl position (and sometimes ‘the plank’), but as mentioned in a previous update tends to ninja roll across the floor and then moves backwards until a wall or a piece of furniture stops his progress.  I don’t think it will be long before he is chasing his big sisters around the house.

I will use that as a segue into our big story of the last few months:

As regular readers will know we have found a house that we love and have had our offer accepted.  We had found buyers and we had accepted their offer.  Mortgages had been arranged and the chain was complete, it seems that everything was going well.  That was mid-July.  Two days later BAA announced their proposals for a possible expansion of Heathrow airport, namely the building of the third runway.  One of those proposals involves the complete destruction of our village, Stanwell Moor.  Even though this is but one proposal, regarding one airport, it has effectively blighted our sale and our buyers pulled out specifically citing those proposals as a risk they are not willing to take.  I can completely sympathise with their decision, but what does that mean for us?

We had two options:

  1. Pull out of our sale knowing that it would be unlikely that we would be able to move until the proposals are confirmed
  2. See if we could keep our current home and still buy

We had already consigned ourselves to moving and once we had made that decision, no matter how much we love our current home and Stanwell Moor, there was not going to be any turning back.  So option 2 was pursued.  After a heavy discussion and consulting a financial adviser, we had an option: rent our current house and become reluctant landlords.  So that is what we are doing, the mortgage applications are in and soon we will be in a frightening amount of debt, but we will have a home that is big enough to accommodate our growing family, let’s hope that we can get tenants or it is going to be a very short experiment!

Money is going to be tight and so knowing where your purse is quite important.  Lucinda was still wondering where her purse had gone the day after the wedding.  It hadn’t been handed in at the supermarket, it hadn’t fallen out of her bag in the car and it seemingly wasn’t in the house.  She was sure she had brought it home but the evidence seemed to point to the contrary.  None of the cards had been used so it appears it hadn’t been stolen.  The girls have a wooden kitchen that is positioned just inside our dining room.  Lucinda, tidying up some of the girl’s toy foods, opened one of the cupboards in their kitchen to put them away only to see her purse stuffed at the back.  Glad she had found it but obviously wanted to know what had happened.  Sensing the fingerprints of Swiper, Lucinda asked Amélie if she had moved Mommy’s purse.

No Mommy, it was Éowyn.‘  Lucinda disbelieving the incumbent thief asked if it was truly Éowyn.  ‘No Mommy, it was the fairies.‘  It is hard to be cross with her and the only thing you can say is that Amélie really needs to work on her lies.  Therefore, although it was annoying that Lucinda had cancelled her cards at least her purse had been found and thus so had all the other accoutrements that are found in a lady’s purse, of which one does not speak.

Tuesday was Amélie’s second day and first full day at nursery.  This wasn’t quite as smooth as the previous Thursday.  All morning Amélie was saying that she didn’t want to go to school and got herself quite upset.  Lucinda was getting emotional herself and was close to not letting her go.  Time for Daddy to be the baddie.  It was always the plan that I would take her, so not showing any emotion I tried to distract her, giving her a special assignment that she had to tell me the names of three people from school when I picked her up.  This stopped her crying and the Muppets soundtrack in the car on the way to Tiny Tots cheered her up and she quite happily held my hand and walked to school.  However as she stepped into the classroom the tears started again.  The staff were great and picked her up and just encouraged her to move from the door and go and play.

She was a little upset when we picked her up but the staff said that she had been fine during the day and even had got a sticker for sitting nicely and listening (wish she would do that at home!).  It is going to take her a while to settle in, as it did with Éowyn but I doubt it will take very long, we just have to be strong as parents, that means you Lucinda!

I have actually just had a couple of days off work (the first two days in a row for a month or so) and so with Éowyn starting school later this week (standby for another special) I have had an opportunity to spend some quality time with the family.  Therefore there hasn’t been the usual choice of photos but I will leave you with some knowing that it will not be long before you are back here for the second special and third update in a week.  I am spoiling you aren’t I?

A quick mention (forgotten in the rush of the previous update) for Lucinda’s mum and dad on celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on the 17th August (the first day of the Premier League season – so someone was missing).  Congratulations and I truly hope that in 2057 Lucinda and I will be celebrating our golden anniversary.

Peace and love