Let me tell you a story

After a poor showing in May I am determined to keep this website on track and so an update begins, the first of two this week, so pop by later this week for more tales from the Bagnalls!

Our holiday in Kent seems a long distant memory as I write this.  Back to work and back into the mælstrom that is Wimbledon.  Yes, the Tennis Championship not the place (although it is the place – but I think you know what I mean!).  Thus the break away from work has been completely wiped out by the lead up to, and the start of the tournament.  This meant 11 days in a row including Father’s Day, and long days too!  So I have seen very little of either Éowyn or Amélie during daylight.  However, both have had a number of sleepless nights and so a good night’s sleep has become an elusive guest at our house.  Éowyn has had a wheezy cough which has prevented her from falling (and staying) asleep, while Amélie has been teething.  At least there has been fruit from this and Amélie has her first tooth.  One of the bottom front teeth has poked it’s way through the gumline and you can feel a couple of the others are not far behind.  It must be incredibly painful but hopefully the others will follow smartly and she (and us) can get back to a proper sleep pattern.

One of the troubles of working so many days in a row is that I only get to see the children early in a morning (if I am lucky) and just before bed.  This is usually when they are not at their best (if I am honest after a hard day’s work then neither am I).  Éowyn picks up on this and will use this weakness to push the boundaries.  It is not fun when you get back home and have to employ the use of the naughty step (although we are renaming it the ‘thinking step’ to avoid negative connotations).  It can be quiet amusing sometimes though when she has done something naughty and you are explaining that it is naughty.  She will stand there before you crying and you are trying to get her to understand what she did was wrong, or get an apology out of her but stubbornly refusing to admit that she has been naughty.  So you ask her if she wants to take time to think about it on the naughty (thinking) step and through the sobs she says, ‘Yes please.‘  A very polite way of accepting punishment. 

In fairness to her, she will sit on the step for her two minutes (one minute per year of her age – thanks Super Nanny) and will always apologise and then return to her delightful nature afterwards.  It is almost that she needs that time for reflection.

Occasionally she will use her imagination to come up with an excuse for her behaviour.  An example happening the other evening.  I had just got her out of the bath and was getting her ready for bed.  I was trying to put her nappy on and she was not having any of it.  ‘I don’t want my nappy on.‘ she said.  I explained that it was fine not to have a nappy on to go to bed, but if she wanted a wee in the middle of the night that she would have to get out of bed and use the potty.  ‘Let me tell you a story.‘  she begun.  ‘One day I went to bed without a nappy,‘ she continued, ‘and I needed a wee in the middle of the night, and I went to use the potty and a big dinosaur came and ate me up.‘  I managed not to laugh, but her story had the effect that she convinced herself that she needed her nappy on.  Fantastic imagination though, and we will have to nurture that.

Her imagination is manifesting itself in other ways too.  She has, what a lot of people have when they are young, an imaginary (or invisible) friend or what is technically know as a quasi-corporeal companion.  His name is Sam and he can manifest himself in a variety of colours (not skin tones – actual colours) and a wide range of sizes (from being able to sit comfortably on her thumb, to bigger than Daddy!).  Sam even came with us on holiday to Kent and had a bedroom all to himself.  She will go weeks without mentioning him and he hasn’t yet come to dinner and we haven’t had to set out a place for him (indeed he didn’t travel with us in the car to Kent but was there – maybe he turned himself very small and travelled on Éowyn’s thumb!) as some children insist.  Being of an inquisitive mind (and a bit of a Fortean and generally interested in Forteana) I am quite interested in this kind of behaviour and try to gently prise information out of Éowyn about Sam.  I will share my findings with you.

I am also missing Amélie’s developments in locomotion.  She is not exactly crawling but she is moving.  In fact I think she may be some form of quantum locked being (like the weeping angels from Doctor Who) for whenever you look at her she stops moving (not quite turns to stone) but blink and she is halfway across the room!  This movement is still in reverse though.  It is as if she doesn’t have a forward gear, a sort of inverse bubble car or as the old joke goes an Italian tank!

Nanny Fran saw a vast difference in Amélie when she (and Auntie Liz and Auntie Mary) popped over on Saturday.  It has been a while since we went to Nanny Fran’s and so Amélie has developed (and put on weight – she is happily following the 50th centile now) so much in that time.  In addition to the movement, and tooth she is happily stringing consonants together.  She mumbles quite happily to herself and it even sounds like she is saying, ‘dadadadadadadadada‘ sometimes, however more often than not it is closer to ‘bababababababababababa‘.  I doubt it will take her too longer to be as talkative as her older sister.  She is also taking more weight on her legs and will stand for a little while (with you holding her for balance) so maybe she is going to forego the crawling stage and head straight to bipedal locomotion!

As mentioned there will be another update by the end of the week as we have had a busy few days on my days ‘off‘ and they deserve a write up to themselves.

Peace and Love


Amélie’s first holiday

I think I have given you a small clue where we have just been.  Yes, the Bagnalls have been away from the moor for a week.  Éowyn’s first holiday was in Devon (the lovely Noss Mayo); Amélie’s first holiday was the other side of the country in Kingsdown, Kent.  We stayed in a triangular (more of that later) lodge in Kingsdown Park.  Self-catered as it is so much easier with the little ones and gives you a little more freedom than a B&B or a hotel.  We had packed for sunny weather (t-shirts, shorts and sandals) but the good weather, the flaming June, that we had been promised failed to materialise (that will trust me to listen to Lucinda, who had read it in the Daily Mail – need I say any more?).  I think we had two days that the sun appeared and one of them was dry.  Nevertheless with true British indomitability, steely determination and downright stubbornness we refused to allow the weather to spoil the holiday and donned shorts and headed out to meet the weather full on.  It is amazing what you can do with a pac-a-mac.

Kingsdown is on the coast just south of Walmer.  If that hasn’t helped you it is South of Deal and North of Dover and if it still hasn’t helped you it is the bit of England that points towards France.  We had no reason to chose it over any other town in Kent (and indeed Kent over any other county) we had just decided to go somewhere different and explore a bit more of our wonderful country.  The triangular lodges looked a novelty and seemed better that a caravan, posh tent or 1950’s holiday camp.  However, after 30 seconds in the lodge you realised why the majority of houses are based on the square (OK. oblong) and hence most rooms are cubes (OK. oblonguloids – not a word? Cuboids then!), because sloping walls greatly reduce the amount of ‘usable‘ floor space and when you are over six feet tall (1.9 metres to be exact) that usable floor space is even less.  I lost count on how many times I banged my head, especially when getting out of bed or sitting on the sofa.  In fairness to the park though, the layout of the lodges was excellent, and if we had had a sunny week I could have imagined Éowyn would have spent a fair amount of time playing on the green between the lodges and perhaps may have even made friends with some of the other children that were in residence.  The staff were excellent and the facilities more than adequate, however both Lucinda and I do not feel that triangular living is for us.

The area of Kent that we stayed has huge historical significance for our country, from Roman invasion sites through to the Second World War; pointing at the Continent as it does it is obviously the first point for entry into our land.  Being in the heart of Cinque Port land however was completely lost on Éowyn who preferred the simpler pleasures of the park’s swings and jumping in muddy puddles.  (Everybody enjoys jumping up and down in muddy puddles!)  Therefore our trip to Walmer Castle, the home (and the place he died) of Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley (The Duke of Wellington) was wasted upon her.  I think we will have to postpone that subscription to English Heritage.

Again the trip to Sandwich was equally boring for her, until we can across a little nature reserve and there were bags of seed that you could buy to feed the ducks.  All of a sudden this was interesting and she didn’t want to leave. 

Meanwhile, Amélie was having a torrid time with her teeth and had hardly slept for two nights.  Her crying kept waking Éowyn so by day three of the holiday, it wasn’t looking good.  We were knackered, had discovered the triangular living was not for us, the weather was appalling, this part of Kent has no analogue transmission of channel 5 (no Peppa Pig in the morning), the digital transmission was so poor that it couldn’t be watched (no CBeebies), and all Éowyn wanted to do was play on the swings, we only had summery clothes and being on diets we couldn’t even pig out on fish and chips or an ice-cream.  It wasn’t looking like the best of holidays.

Then there was a break in the clouds and all seemed well with the world.  We headed over to Whitstable to meet up with my friend Andy and his dad George.  George took us around Whitstable giving us the guided tour and again Éowyn was getting a little bored and then we saw the beach.  The beach at Whitstable is a stony beach that slopes steeply into the sea.  Perfect for picking up stones and throwing them into the sea.  One of the greatest pleasures in life is standing at the water’s edge and throw stones.  Myself, Andy and Éowyn did this for nigh on an hour.  I think Andy and I got bored with this long before Éowyn, though we kept her company.  This was probably the turning point in the holiday.  Amélie slept well that night (therefore so did we) and the sun promised to shine.

The next day we visited more friends of ours that live in Kent.  Ed and Marisol and their daughter Frieda who we met at N.C.T. classes when we were expecting Éowyn.  They have since moved to Cranbrook in deepest darkest Kent and so we rarely see them.  Since we were on holiday in the county it was too good an opportunity to miss.  We spent the day at their house and were the first guests to sample a meal cooked in their new kitchen.  We were honoured.  Considering the girls barely know each other, they, on the whole, played nicely together.  Although there was a little bit of possessiveness over toys.  All to be expected.  We took a short walk from their house (in between torrential downpours) to a nearby field to feed some horses.  I was a little amazed well Éowyn took to feeding the huge (to her) beasts.  Just living up to her name I suppose.

Our final day in Kent was met with more rain.  In fact it didn’t stop all day, oblivious to the fact that the news was about drought in the South East of England and the fact that is had snowed on the tallest mountain in Wales  (Snowdon).  We were at a loss to think of something to do and had decided to go to Canterbury.  However, after chatting to the receptionist at the holiday park we opted to follow her suggestion of Wingham Wildlife Park and despite the horrendous weather it was probably the best day out (for Éowyn at least).  More than a petting zoo/ farm but not quite a grown up zoo it is an excellent place to visit and I would recommend it to any one.  There are free roaming ducks, chickens, guinea fowl, peacocks and wallabies.  Walk-in cages with Ring-Tailed Lemurs and Cotton Eared Marmosets.  They even have two baby tiger cubs, very cute as well as being the only place in Kent that has penguins (Humboldt’s to be exact).  Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would consider going again, hopefully with better weather as many of the animals were sheltering from the rain as much as we were.

I will bore you no longer and leave you with a larger than normal selection of photos.

Peace and Love


Flaming June! We have movement!

Apologies for the language in the title but it is doubly apt, both in terms of the weather we have been promised for this month and the fact that it is June!  May flew by so quickly and as you regular readers will have noticed I only managed one update all month.  Very remiss of me, you will be going off and reading other websites if I am not careful!

As you will know May is quite a busy month at work with the end of many of the sporting seasons that we cover. Not saying that June and July are empty but let’s just say that the freelancers are picking at bare bones during those months at mediahouse.  This we hopefully allow me to spend a little more time with the family and take precious days off to take advantage of the weather (and the Merlin passes!).

With all this time between updates no doubt you will be expecting a plethora of anecdotes (is that the collective noun for a group of anecdotes?) and a gallery of photos (again?) unfortunately you may be a little disappointed.  I have been a busy boy!

The biggest news of the last few weeks is that Amélie has begun to move.  I hesitate to use the word crawl, she kind of creeps.  Not in a commando elbow over elbow kind of creep more by sheer willpower and energy-sapping full body motions.  But it is movement.  Like her big sister this initial movement has primarily been in reverse.  It is that Goofus bird syndrome all over again.  Amélie however is still not rolling over on her own accord.  I think it is because she has learned that if we put her on her back and she cries loud enough, we will either roll her over or pick her up, or Éowyn will go over to her and see what the matter is and entertain her.  Éowyn is very good like that.  She seems to know exactly what to say or do to make Amélie laugh.  Amélie will quite often have complete giggling fits when her big sister makes strange noises, or pulls silly faces at her,  and Éowyn seems to revel in the adulation from her little fan.  Thus I don’t believe it to be laziness, the lack of desire or the inability to roll but merely an extreme manifestation of tool use; where other members of her family are the tools!

Amélie has had a bit of a torrid time of late with her teeth.  Not that any have come through yet but she is definitely feeling the pain of teething.  Her little cheeks are red, she is dribbling and anything that is within reach is stuffed into her mouth and given a good chew.  If you put yourself in their little booties, it must be an awful pain and not knowing what it is must make it worse.  Although it is something that we have all been through and it hasn’t affected us that badly.  However teething certainly affects the parents.  With Amélie is so much pain she finds it hard to sleep.  Understandable.  However that in turn means that Mommy and Daddy aren’t allowed to sleep either.  Three days of sleep depravation is difficult.  We had forgotten how difficult it was.  I don’t think that it is helped by the fact that we now also have Éowyn (in a nice way).  For when Éowyn was going through the same at least we only had to care for her.  Now we need to be fully compos mentis with her during the day after we have been up all night with Amélie.  Also I was on shift work so it wasn’t a case of no sleep but I only need to get through one more day at work.  Now it is no sleep for three day and I still have 4 more days at work!

Éowyn is using the slight perceived weakness and the fact that Amélie is seemingly getting more attention to push the boundaries again.  She knows the pattern of how we ask her to do things.  Nicely at first, then more firmly, then more firmly then a three second count to punishment (naughty step, quiet time, telly off, etc).  She is now waiting until 2 of that countdown before even moving to do what we have asked her to do, when previously it was rare that we would even begin to count.  She is a little minx and it can be very frustrating on less than 3 hours sleep. 

She has also has begun to bite.  We were warned about this but other friends that about the age of 2 ½ years that kids find that they can hurt each other with biting.  Well, Éowyn has discovered that too!  However I think that may have been cured.  She had bit Lucinda a couple of times but had not bitten me.  Not until the other night.  She bit me on the arm and it hurt (in fact it drew blood!).  In a mixture of pain and anger I shouted quite loud (louder than I normally shout, although still relatively calm) at Éowyn  and told her that she was naughty.  Unfortunately not only did my voice come out louder than usual, it also came out deeper than usual (and for those of you than know me that could be quite scary).  It did scare Éowyn and she was quite frightened to come to me for a while.  In fact I had to sit with her and give her a cuddle to make her feel a little less scared.  I did explain that the reason Daddy shouted at her was because she had bit him and that it was naughty to bite and that she was not to bite anyone again.  It seems that although it wasn’t the method that I would have chosen it has worked, for she has not bitten since.

Apart from the biting, Éowyn has been a joy (as always).  She picked up a cardboard roll (from the centre of the toilet roll) out of the recycling bin the other day, put it to her eye and said ‘Ah-arr Captain!‘ in her best pirate voice.  We then had to be pirates for the rest of the night.  Not that I am complaining, it was great fun.  I have also introduced her to the delights of my favourite show when I was a child, The Muppet Show.  I have a number of Muppet Show DVDs and so we sat a watched one together (to try and wean her off CBeebies and Toy Story 3).  I wasn’t sure that she enjoyed it, although she did sit there and watch it.  The next day, however, she said, ‘Daddy, can we watch Kermit the Frog again.‘  That’s my girl!

Continuing the pirate theme we took her to Legoland (those Merlin passes are wonderful things) to see the Pirate show they put on (which as an aside is very well coreographed and well worth watching if you are there).  We explored a little more of the park that we hadn’t visited last time (although again we had chose half-term and it was quite packed), but because of the number of people we didn’t get to go on many things.  However she completely surprised us by asking to go on a ride on her own.  It was one of those ride where a swing is suspending on a carousel.  We explained that if she went on it, that she wouldn’t be able to get off until the ride stopped.  She was happy with that.  She we sat her in a swing on the inside of the ride (so it didn’t go as fast) and was delighted to see how much she enjoyed it.  In fact she was swinging the seat from back to front to try and make it go faster.  No fear!

Before we visited Legoland we had decided to measure Éowyn, to find out how tall she was.  So we got her to stand against the wall and we made a little mark with a pencil on the wall and measured it to the floor.  She is 98cm tall (just over 3 foot 2 ½inches in old money) which for a 2 ½ year old is quite tall.  Unfortunately we didn’t factor in the barrier this broke.  So while Lucinda was on the phone to her Mom and Éowyn was desparately vying for her attention a little light must have go off in her head.  She picked up the very pencil we had used to mark her height and went over to the same piece of wall and drew all over it.  I suppose we deserved that one!  Fortunately in light of the kitchen upgrade we had already decided that we were going to redecorate the remaining downstairs living areas and so that has just cemented that decision.  Thanks Éowyn!

We have some sad news in the past week, Lucinda’s parents West Highland Terrier Harvey was put to sleep.  He was an old dog that had lived a good life but he was in a lot of pain and there was nothing that the vets could do.  It doesn’t make the decision any easier and it doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear knowing it was the right thing to do, especially for Lucinda’s dad.  We have tried to explain to Éowyn but she is a little too young to understand and with probably just forget that he isn’t there any more, which will be a shame as she would quite often lie on the floor next to Harvey.  He will be sadly missed.

I will leave you with a few photos and a promise not to leave it so long before the next update.

Peace and love