I trust that you all had a very Merry Christmas and Father Christmas left you all that you wanted. As 2014 draws to a close this will be the last update of the year but expect the next on the first day of the new year which will reflect on the year as a whole. Here I will just concern myself with events in the Bagnall household that have happening in the last few weeks.
Both girls broke up from School the Friday before Christmas, which will give them just over 2 weeks off school. Fortunately the football fixtures (which are usually heavy over the Christmas period) have, due to Christmas falling on a Thursday, meant that the 40 Premier League games that were scheduled over that same period have been spread over only 7 days. This has meant that although I have had to work Boxing Day, and will be working New Year’s Day (in addition to the other 5) I have managed to spend some time with the family.
Lucinda’s shifts have also been a little kind and apart from New Year;s Day and Sunday 28th December I have been off to look after the kids. So we have only had to trouble Nanny and Granddad twice over the Christmas holidays. Not ideal but both of us work in industries that require shift work and have worked in such industries all our working lives, we are kind of used to it.
Needless to say in the days leading up to Christmas the girls were getting more and more excited. We tempered that excitement by involving them in getting the house prepared for Christmas, making room for potential new presents and getting the spare room sorted for the visit of Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz and Auntie Mary.
Yes, this year we decided that we would host Christmas. With Nanny Fran living in West Bromwich and with my work meaning that I always work Boxing Day (the day after Christmas day for non-UK readers – a full round of football fixtures), we never spend Christmas day with my family. As we now have the room to accommodate a dozen or so diners relatively comfortably we took advantage of our new home (and new extending dining table) to invite the family round for Christmas dinner. With Nanny Fran and Aunties Liz and Mary living so far away it made sense that they stopped for a couple of days to take full advantage. Therefore, Nanny Fran and the Aunties came Christmas Eve, returning home Boxing day.
Before, any of that could happen though, the house had to be tidied within an inch of its life to make room not only for three extra guests but also the presents that they would undoubtedly bring with them. That was how the beginning of the week was spent, trying to calm the excitement with tidying.
The girls’ imaginations were probably running overtime though and this is probably what lead to Amélie creeping into our room at 0300 scared because there was a monster in her room. Daddy is volunteered by Mommy to go monster hunting. So I lead Amélie back into her room. I asked her what it looks like and she replies that it looks like a disc with two faces. So we enter the room and I ask her if she can still see it. She says that it is by the window. I walk over there and say quite confidently state that there is no monster. ‘You are not looking properly,‘ she says. So I wave my hands about explaining that if I can do this then there can not be a monster there. Amélie starts to get agitated, ‘You are NOT looking properly!‘ she says. Trying to calm her down I ask her where it is. ‘Right behind you!’ Pregnant pause: ‘Grinning!‘
Now I may be a 6 foot 3 bloke in what I believe to be a monster-free home but I am not ashamed to say that the earnestness in which Amélie say those four words made my hackles raise and adrenalin start pumping through my veins. So I looked around to see what could be causing the shadow that her imagination was turning into a grinning two-faced disc monster. I couldn’t see anything but being as positive as I could be under the circumstances that it was either the moon peaking through the crack in the curtains or the night light (or a combination of the two) was the cause of the denizen of the night, I moved some of the untidied things about, including the main suspect, an errant sock. Amélie confirmed that she could no longer see the monster but was scared that it would come back. So I told her to take her teddy to be as we all know that the reason that children take teddies to bed is that monsters are scared of teddies. Amélie accepted this and was soon snoring. I crept back into our room, keeping an eye out for a two-faced disc monster on the way.
So with the house tidied and only a few threats to phone Santa Claus it was Christmas Eve before we knew it and the first of our visitors arrived. Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz and Auntie Mary arrived before another special visitor. The UK were blessed with the coincidence that the International Space Station’s orbit brought it over during the week or so before Christmas. Alerted to this fact via social media, we decided, along with many parents across the land, to tell the children that it was Santa’s sleigh heading towards the children of Thailand. So at 17:23 we stood in our garden in the freezing cold looking for a bright light to streak across the sky. We were blessed with clear skies and a good viewing angle and sure enough we watched it arc across the sky. Amélie was even convinced that she could see Rudolph’s bright red nose, and Santa waving.
We thank the crew of the International Space Station for impersonating Santa Claus so well, and from now on it will be known as Santa’s International Space Sleigh.
So, after Santa’s appearance it was relatively easy to get the kids into bed ready for his appearance in chez Bagnall.
The girls must have been very good as Santa had left them a well packed stocking each, and Amélie had been left a purple pram for her baby. Santa didn’t factor Amélie waking at 0230 for a wee, noticing the pram and wheeling it in to Mommy and Daddy’s room to show them. We managed to convince her to go back to sleep before Santa had noticed that she was awake and that it would still be there in the morning. Fortunately she did what she was told.
Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz and Auntie Mary must have been good girls too, as there was a little stocking left for each of them too.
Christmas morning was taken up by opening presents, and there was a lot of them. Opening presents and bacon sandwiches. Then it was time for the main event of Christmas, Christmas Dinner. I was the nominated chef of the day cooking for the families Bagnall and Cathrall. I had a little help in the form of the turkey was cooked by Nanny and Granddad, because I wouldn’t have had enough cooker space (it was tight as it was). Nevertheless everything was cooked, nothing got burnt and everyone ate to their hearts (or stomach’s content). In fact I could have probably served another half a dozen people easily. Indeed we are still making our way through the leftovers.
When we suggested that we would cook Christmas dinner we had but one condition: everyone wore a Christmas jumper. I am pleased to report that everyone did and it certainly added to the Christmasiness, unfortunately there was one element missing: snow. It was cold but no snow. Amélie was certainly disappointed and kept asking when it was going to snow. It saved Daddy asking the same question. But despite the lack of snow as Christmases go it was pretty darn good, even without the mantelpiece, roaring log fire, egg-nog and pipe (don’t ask). Not sure if we can do it all again next year, but ask me again in October.
There may not have been any snow in Staines Upon Thames on Christmas day but Nanny Fran was blessed with some on her return to West Bromwich, indeed it was a veritable blizzard during the Boxing day game between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City. We are still waiting for our first fall here. Indeed, it has not snowed since we moved in. A blessing considering the lack of heating on the ground floor (update in future episodes).
All it leaves me to say, is that I trust that you all had a great Christmas and indeed a great 2014 and thank you for reading. I would also like to thank you all for your generosity all three baguettes were very blessed with the gifts they received, now we just have to find space for them all and I look forward to seeing you all in 2015.
Peace and love