It doesn’t take long for a week off and a holiday in Turkey to fade in the memory as normality and the daily grind come back into view. The girls returned to school the next day, while I had an extra day off before heading back to the land of Sports Television. A land of Sports Television over a summer with none of the additional quadrennial events that tend to fill in the gaps between football seasons. Therefore, my working pattern over the summer resembles some form of normality with free weekends to spend with the family.
Not one to miss these opportunities Lucinda has booked up our weekends for the summer so that we can make the most of them. The first weekend off saw the family Bagnall head down the road to Windsor. To the Legoland Windsor resort, to be specific. Legoland is an ideal destination for the Baguettes since most of the rides and attractions are geared towards their age range. In addition it is about 9 miles from home, so takes next to no time (depending on traffic) to get there. It was with this in mind that we decided to use this year’s Tesco vouchers to buy an annual pass to Legoland. This allows us to ‘pop in’ whenever we like and not feel obliged to spend a whole day with tired children so that we don’t feel like we have not got our money’s worth.
We certainly got our money’s worth on our first visit though. We were there from just after the park opened until late afternoon. We were limited on rides though since the Baguettes are still of an age (or height) where they require an adult on the ride with them. When you have three children that poses some problems. However, Legoland have this sussed a little with ‘parent swap’. Effectively, either the parent stays on the ride and swaps children with the other parent, or alternatively the parents and the children swap to save double queueing. It works and with Ezra still a little too young to go on some of the rides it was very handy.
There were still a number of rides that we could go on as a family however and so we took full advantage of those even if the queues were a tad long at times but that is the problem of going places at weekends when the weather is nice.
June has been quite a pleasant month, weatherwise. The overall the temperatures have been below what one would expect for the summer month, but there has been little rain (in the South East of the UK at least). This is both beneficial and a hindrance to the Bagnall household. The sunshine is great, not just generally (who doesn’t like the sunshine) but also for our electricity generation. Having bright, sunny days when the days are longest is a definite bonus, despite the ever growing threat of the pigeons that have decided to nest under our panels.
I have always thought of pigeons as rather dumb birds, which is completely undeserved, they have passed many cognitive tests, but the ones nesting on our roof have demonstrated the exception that proves the rule. Obviously, they have demonstrated some form of intelligence by nesting under our photovoltaic cells, as it offers protection from the elements, and some warmth from the cells themselves. Nevertheless they have not yet worked out that laying ovoid eggs on a sloping roof is not necessarily a good idea and we have found many broken on the patio and driveway. More disgustingly that is not all that we have found splatted on our patio and driveway. So if anyone has a hawk that they would like to exercise over our house I would be very grateful.
The flip side of bright sunny days is the lack of rain, as our water butts can testify. I am happy for our lawn to change from green to brown however the vegetable patch is another matter. Our vegetables will not flourish without a daily watering and so we are having to resort to water from the tap. Even the thunderstorms of last night (110,000 lightning strikes in one night) haven’t replenished the water butts. What I wouldn’t give for a heavy downpour (sorry to all of you who are enjoying the weather) or a couple of days of rainy weather. I would have expected the heatwave (if you can call two hot days in row a heatwave, more a heatsplash) to have triggered more thunderstorms over chez Bagnall, apart from the night before’s mega-storm, as it is being labelled, nothing, just uncomfortable nights of sleep and the knowledge that the baguettes have seen the hottest UK day in their lives.
Since the football season has finished, Lucinda has been filling my weekends up. The first one saw us in Turkey, on holiday so that doesn’t really count. Then I was back at work for European Qualfiers! I thought that the football season had ended.
The following weekend saw Lucinda’s ex flat mate, Emma, celebrate her 40th birthday. She had reserved a room at a pub in Chiswick on the River Thames. This is where living next door to a baby-sitter and just a short walk from Staines train station comes in handy. A direct train from Staines to Kew Bridge and a five minute walk saw us at the pub. a good time was had by all and return by train although requires some time discipline is far cheaper than a taxi. I think Amélie must have missed us because at 0330 she crept into our bed, I think primarily to ensure that we hadn’t left for the weekend.
Then Lucinda took advantage of not only the fact that I was off at the weekend but also having holiday entitlement to use up and went away on Friday returning Sunday lunchtime. Not just Sunday but Father’s day but more of that later. I took the Friday off and took the girls to school, then it was a boys’ day for Ezra and dad. Nothing too exciting but it was nice to spend some time with him alone. Friday night is usually movie night but this had already been cancelled so after dinner, the Baguettes and I cuddled up on the sofa and watched Despicable Me 2.
I think the kids were aware of the lack of Mum, and although they weren’t particularly upset about it, it must have played on their minds. For at about 0200 I felt a little presence creep into bed. It was Ezra. Although Ezra has been sleeping in his bed, as opposed to his cot, for many months now he hasn’t really worked out that he could get out when he wanted to. The drive this night must have helped him realise and he found his way to Daddy. So while I was giving him a cuddle, before preparing myself to pick him up and put him back in his own bed, in wanders Amélie. So another child to comfort before finally getting back to sleep.
Before Lucinda had left on the Friday morning she has given Éowyn my Fathers’ day present and got her to write the card in preparation for not being there on the Sunday morning. Therefore as I put them to bed on the Saturday night, and remembering the night before I told them that as it was Fathers’ day that daddy would appreciate a lie in and no nighttime visitors. At 0700 É0wyn and Amélie come in with a card and presents and asked if it was too early. How can you refuse that?
With the approaching end of the academic year and the conclusion of after school clubs it means two things. The first is the perennial Sports Days. Éowyn’s school has adopted the new Sports Day standard where there are no individual races as such, it is all relay based races and you are competing for your house. Éowyn’s house won, so she was over the moon.
Amélie’s was probably even less competitive and every child received a medal – real plastic gold! Nevertheless Amélie was very proud of her medal, and rightly so.
Éowyn’s after school drama class is coming to an end and that means only one thing – shooting has begun. Last week Éowyn filmed the first of her scenes for the film that Sense Theatre are producing. There will be a quick turnaround in post production as the premiere is on Sunday 12th July and there are still scenes to shoot. Éowyn said it was a little daunting with the lights and the camera lens in view and it took her a little while to relax and deliver her lines. For anyone that has been in front of the lens I am sure that you can relate.
I can’t wait to see the finished film. Tickets have been bought for the premiere and the dvd has been pre-ordered. You never know it could be the start of a promising career.
Before I leave you, this month’s funny word comes from Amélie. Referring to her brother and sisters madly running around and came in complaining that they were acting like Lunar-pigs. I think she meant Lunatics but Lunar-pigs or should that be Lunapigs sounds so much better!
Peace and Love