Tag Archives: moving

Our house

It would seem that we’re about to buy a house! Having met up with a few people at Greenbelt who I assumed would have known, I realised the result of blogging less is that news just doesn’t get out. I had been meaning to write this when we found the house, but ah well, better late than never.

We’d been talking about moving for a while- wanting (or needing in my case) to get out of London, to somewhere with more space, a garden, and where achieving these things wasn’t impossibly expensive. We’d decided Reading would make the most sense- reasonably easy commutes, well located, and I knew it a bit from working there.

So in June we went for a day to have a look around. Not to look at houses, just to look. Except there was this one we’d seen that just looked perfect in the photos- right part of town, well looked after. And I loved the garden! Well, it can’t hurt we thought, just to give us an idea, we’re only looking. There’s bound to be a catch. But there wasn’t. We went from room to room getting more and more excited, and just walked out wondering if it was crazy to go for the first house you see..

Three days later we’d had an offer accepted and done a speedy mortgage application! And suddenly had to find out what all these terms meant. Someone should write a dictionary. The last few months have been a blur of solicitors, paperwork and mortgage related jargon. But finally today the deposit has been paid and now we’re just waiting for the mythical exchange of contracts- this is the point at which we realise why everyone complains about solicitors. We’re currently in  some kind of limbo waiting for the sellers solicitors to get their act together.

The strange thing about this happening so quickly is there’s very little time to think about how big a decision it is, and also not much tome to get used to it. Right now it’s just very exciting!

Quick hello

We don’t have the interweb installed in the new flat until next week so the nearest we can get to the outside web world is wifi in the pub down the road (shame) or internet at work.

But we are alive; we managed to move successfully with no major problems or incidents, made easier by the two places being only half an hour apart rather than 4! We hired movers to get our belongings down the 5 flights of stairs from our old flat (the lift in the block is being replaced, so is out of action for several months!), but even so we finished the day completely shattered, and even after a decent night’s sleep were still fairly out of it the day after as well. We would be getting back to normal now were it not for Chris getting over a horrid cold, and me having caught it from him.. ho hum.

I’ve had the first two days in my new job, which has involved a lot of reading information and finding my way around, although this is a bit easier having been working for them for a while already. Not a lot else to report other than the people are friendly and I think I’ll be ok here.

People have tried to get in touch by phone, and if you’re reading, I’m sorry I’ve not got back to you; I’ve had just enough energy to get through the day at work and then flake out completely. I’ll be back in the land of the living soon, promise!

Endings and beginnings

So life has again moved on at quite a rate since last posting, hence the silence. We now have a place to move to, a nice little two bed flat in Ealing, which is actually not as little as our current place, and has the all important Spare Room, and is only about 5 mins walk from the station which is good for the morning commute! We pick up the keys and start the packing this weekend, and then move next Friday. All exciting, and it’s really good in lots of ways. Just have to get through the upheaval of the packing and moving and all that.

I now have less than a week left in my current job, which I finish officially next Friday but have Thursday and Friday as leave so we can move. I have things to finish off and make sure I’m not leaving too much work for other people, but not in a stressful way and the last week should be quite nice. And then the week after we move I start the new job. With the new flat most likely still in chaos, I start my commute to Reading, getting to know a new office and a new team of people, and doing this permanent job that I’ve been aiming for for ages. Exciting yes, but not a little bit scary too!

Wedding plans are progressing although not in a very concrete way (what with us having to move house imminently!). We’re currently trying to locate the various ‘suppliers’ (people wot do stuff) that we need to get booked earlier, the main issue at the moment being to locate a suitable (ie not costing the earth) Ceilidh band in London somewhere. Which it appears is easier said than done. The exciting development is that designs for the invites look like they might be getting somewhere. These are being done by Chris’ wonderful brother who has his own printing business, and is an absolute star! So we (or I) spent last night playing with images to make our very own mood board (I know, how professional does that sound?!) which I think turned out rather well. The other thing I managed to do was to more or less get the drawing done for the invites- I had wanted something floral, and being quite picky about getting the right kind of flower for the season came up with the idea of a snowdrop, which is in flower at this time of year and therefore fits with the time of the wedding. Chris is happy to go with my ideas on creative matters, while still taking the opportunity of mocking the botanical geek in me (“lots of brides want flowers, you want botanically accurate flowers!”). We liked the idea of having something of our own creation on the design, particularly if the rest is being professionally done. So now we have our very own snowdrop, and I’m quite pleased with it even if I do say so myself 🙂 When it’s a bit more finished I might let you see..

Changing perspectives

The newest piece of news is that I have been offered a permanent job with Natural England! Each time I’ve thought I might blog this something has changed, either in real terms or at least in our thinking about it, which has complicated things. I applied for two jobs, one where I am now (East region) which I would do from Cambridge still, and one in the South East where I would work from Reading, and in the end the one we have gone for isn’t the one we started off thinking we wanted. Funny how perspectives change.

I was offered the South East job before Christmas, told them I’d think about it, and then interviewed for the other one. Having really disliked the second interview, to the extent that I wasn’t sure I wanted that job anymore, we began re-evaluating our previous assumptions, looking at the logistics again. It’s interesting when something happens that changes your perspective, you see all the possibilities which you were blind to before. When we’d thought about it previously, we had pre-conceived ideas of what would be the best, and therefore saw all the problems with the other. This one small change allowed us to look more carefully a second time, and see that the South East was possible, indeed in some ways preferable.

What was to start with awkward and annoying (that the first interview was for the job I didn’t think I wanted, so I had to wait for the second interview) was actually quite fortunate. When I returned to work I found out I hadn’t been offered the other job anyway, which was fine, I didn’t want it by then. But if I had been told that beforehand, then the South East would have felt like a second best, even if we later saw the positives in it. Or, if I’d been offered both, then we might have stuck with the East region, and not have seen what we had missed. As it is, I’ve never been less upset by being turned down for a job, I’m looking forward to starting the new one and having some new challenges (my current job has stagnated a bit of late) and to moving into a nicer, larger flat with a spare room for visitors! Not so much looking forward to the actual moving bit though!

I don’t start till early March, so I can finish my current contract, and so we have time to find a new place, pack up everything and move across London. At least this time we’re only going down the road in comparison to the last move! One of the big advantages to this move is that we will stay in London and therefore keep the connection to our church which we have begun to feel at home in, and also where we will be getting married (in fact, we’ll end up closer to the reception venue after we’ve moved, which is handy!). This opens up all sorts of cans of worms in terms about wanting to stay versus wanting to leave, how long we need to stay, when and how we want to move away etc etc. But as I keep being told, we can only worry about so much at a time. This doesn’t stop me worrying, but I can at least try!

PS Responses to comments on the previous post will follow, lots more to think about there!

News

All sorts of other stuff has happened since I last posted, I’ll maybe get around to that some other time. Right now, I have a sermon to write, but I’ve been meaning to post this for about a week..

I’ve spent a fair amount of time hanging about in London since I finished work, partly for the purpose of finding us somewhere to live.. which we now have 😀 😀 😀 After much slogging round the streets of north London wearing myself and the soles of my shoes down, we’ve managed to get ourselves a rather nice little flat in Tufnell Park, in Camden. It would have to be the first one I looked at as well wouldn’t it?! But that aside, its very exciting. Its a lot more spacious than most for the same price range, due to it being an ex-council flat in a not very inspiring large block, but the area is nice, quiet and green, and very close to Hampstead Heath. There were estate agent photos, but I think its been taken off now, but we’ll get some once we’re settled.

Now begins the manic-ness of organising and trying to ship me and all my stuff down the country.. so far we have a van and a merry (or at least willing) group of helpers. This Sunday is my last service in Shrewsbury, so once the sermon-writing is out of the way, the packing shall begin in earnest.

Excitement, madness, occasional panics about practicalities, and just wanting it all to be done, but definately excitement still. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve said ‘one day..’ I don’t think its going to sink in properly till we’re there together surrounded by boxes and realise neither of us is leaving to go home..

The drama of moving house

On Thursday I moved into my new flat. I went up to my new home town in a big van with all my stuff, with Chris to help and his Dad being wonderful and driving us all the way there and back 🙂 The day itself went incredibly smoothly, we got from Bristol to Swansea on time, filled the van *completely* full, got to the estate agents on time, signed contracts, got keys, unloaded everything into the new flat, and were back home in Bristol in time for dinner. A *lot* of miles of driving, and a lot of carrying and lifting, but we did it.

This, however, was because we’d got the drama out of the way the day before.. Or more accurately I had. One of the advantages of Chris’ year abroad last year is he bought furniture, which at the moment isn’t being used. So the removals started Wednesday evening in Bristol as we loaded a double bed and a table and chairs (all in bits) into the van. Lastly came the mattress. Down two flights of stairs, round corners, almost there. Chris and his dad got the mattress to the last bend in the stairs with no problems. I’m standing at the bottom watching (there’s only so many people you can fit on the stairs with a double mattress..). They manouver it round the last corner, and a picture frame goes with it, and comes tumbling down the stairs towards me. Slow motion like in films. Instinctive reaction is to catch it before it breaks. However, this is not so sensible when the frame disintegrates and you end up catching a fast moving pane of glass. With the edge of your finger.

Pause.

Its ok, I’ve got it. Relief.

Then lots of blood. Shock. Not so much pain. Interesting. Then more shock. Chris is trapped behind the mattress, his dad comes down the stairs leaving him holding it, and sticks my hand over the sink in the kitchen, trying to calm me down. Meanwhile Chris is upstairs yelling at brother to come and hold this NOW!! No not in a minute, now!!! On the advice of the neighbour who’s a GP, we leave for A&E to get it stitched, leaving a note for mum and other brother ‘Sarah’s cut her hand badly, gone to A&E’ (see blood on carpet!!!)

After a couple of hours sitting there holding my hand tightly and upright to stop the bleeding, a very nice young doctor puts a couple of stitches in it (with interesting reactions from me since I’ve never experienced a local anasthetic before..) and we go home. Good way to prepare for moving house.

But I got out of the lifting and carrying. Apparently its a rather extreme measure to go to. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again.

News

Ok, so its been a while, and I’ve been not very good about the positivity in a public blogging sense. The positive things which happened, which at the time I didn’t want to blog about, were in the shape of interviews. But I wasn’t really wanting to make any of this public.

However, I now have actual positive news, in that I got a job! The first interview, which was for a proper real job, the kind that I want, I got it. A job, a real permanent one. Its ecology, using the skills I have, and its paid. I spent a good 20 mins fairly speechless (which I think Chris found fairly amusing) when I got a letter in the post Saturday morning, having had no phone call or anything else. I think its still only just sinking in. But its real.

Its just not *quite* near home. In fact I have to move all the way to England. Which is Scary. With a capital S. I have a home here, its not just where I came to uni, its home. My friends are here, which is easy to say but so much harder to describe, and to replace. This is where my church family is, who have supported me in the various stages of my ‘calling’ to preach. The people and the friendships I have here will be impossible to replace, even in time. I really believe this is a special place, and I know this even more as I prepare to leave. There’s something about this ugly lovely city, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

But now I have to force myself to take those steps towards leaving. I’ve been ringing estate agents, trying to find suitable flats I can afford, trying to to this from a distance, knowing I’ve got one day to see as many places as I can there. Then I have to think about buying cars, learning my way around a new place, getting used to a new job, and hoping I can do it. And so on and so on. And doing all this on my own. I wish it was both of us, but thats not possible just yet. Even though there are many people helping out, and offering to do so, I still have to do all this myself. And I will, I just need to remember that, and remember that I can. Maybe this is an exercise in positivity in itself, even though it seems like the best thing to have happened in a long time.

Overall, this is a good thing. Its what I’ve been waiting for, its a step in the right direction, its good timing in terms of all the rubbish stuff at work. Its just going to take some time to work out the details, and when that starts to happen I’ll feel better. Till then, and probably after aswell, prayers appreciated.

For all those facing change and uncertainty, for those separated from the ones they love, for those feeling lonely and disconnected from their surroundings. God who during this holy week knew loneliness and isolation, place your hand upon them.