For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Have Faith, Have Fun

I think this is going to be the longest blog I’ve written up to now. But there’s so much to tell.
Well, where do I start?
The church’s decision to chuck us out - because that’s what it boils down to - has started an immense surge of powerful energy. So many fabulous and wonderful things have happened in these past few days and there’s such a tremendous amount of support coming our way from all different directions, I just can’t stop smiling and grinning.
I almost - almost - feel guilty when friends phone up, genuinely concerned after reading my previous blog or having heard the news in other ways. So it’s time to let everybody know that we are fine, absolutely fine!!
First of all, in spite of the initial little and very understandable hiccup that first night, the family did pull together and we pledged a vow that we were going to put everything we had into finding the perfect place for all of us.
The support of my family, and especially my sister and soulmate M, is essential for me. She helps me believe in my own powers and strength, and in her own very special way she helps me stay in touch with the Guides on my Path.
The last thing I did before I went to sleep that night was post an email on the FOC list. By the next morning I had so many positive responses with practical and heartfelt support, it brought tears to my eyes. I really made me feel that I belong here.
It was only later that day that I realised that the idea of going back to Holland had only crossed my mind briefly, but never developed into an option. Now that’s special, because until recently I’ve had my doubts about whether or not to go back, especially since AL announced that she was. But it’s quite clear, to all of us, that we’re meant to be here and we do honestly want to stay here.

So on goes the story.
On Friday I phoned JC, our contact person in the estate agent’s, to thank her for taking the trouble to forewarn us about the notice. She did not have to do that, it was her personal decision. We’ve got to know her over the past couple of years and she’s a really nice person. I explained that we would do everything we could to be out of here asap, but that I couldn’t guarantee that it would be before the 27th of June, as the church wants. If we haven’t got a suitable place by then, we’ll let it go to court to see if we can get some extra time. I can’t see that being a major problem.
JC said that the whole thing had really troubled her and that she’d been trying to think if she knew any good houses for us. She’d thought of this one house where she’d been a while back, halfway Carlisle and Penrith, that in her mind would be ideal for us, only there was somebody in it. But then she came back into the office and she found this letter in her in-box, telling her that this very house would come empty soon and would she go and value it and then try and find new tenants for it!! She was practically breathless and couldn’t believe such a coincidence and I told her I’d stopped believing in coincidence a long, long time ago...
JC gave me the details on the house and said it needed rewiring and some structural work before it would be available. Also, she had no idea what the rent was going to be, but she would let us know as soon as she’d been there. And she would definitely recommend us as tenants to the owner...
Owen and Ken were away in Kielder and AL was still on campus, or I would have jumped in the car to go and see, of course. As it was, we (minus Owen) went to pick AL up from campus yesterday (Saturday) and the idea was to drive past the house - it’s reasonably close to campus - and just have a look at the outside and the area.
But when we got there - off the main road, onto a narrow country lane, onto a single track - we saw a couple of cars and vans on the yard of this absolutely lovely looking house. It was obvious that people were moving out. Ken and I looked at each other and the two of us got out the car. Ken went ahead and boldly asked if we’d come to the right house and yes, we had. My usually so (outwardly) unemotional husband then went on and told these people in a few words about our situation, that we’d heard this house was coming up for rent and that we’d just come to have a look where it was.
An ever so nice elderly lady came forward, introduced herself as the present tenant and invited us to come and have a look inside. I ran back to the car to get the girls while Ken chatted to her.

I cannot really describe the feeling that hit me when I saw the house, but I knew one thing: This has our name written all over it. To begin with the two blossoming trees (!!) in the garden. A huge garden, by the way, big enough to have the trampoline and a polytunnel, with enough space left to put up a few tents. It’s fenced all the way around, so the dogs can run free in it. At not even a hundred yards from the house runs the river Petteril and on the side of the house there’s another stream that comes out into the Petteril. There’s even the remains of an old privy alongside that stream, but I’m not sure if Owen would use that as the basis for a hut ;).
The house itself is spacious, with a large and sunny living room, a small study, a good sized kitchen, a big pantry and even a small cellar, three huge bedrooms and a smaller one upstairs, an upstairs bathroom with bath, washbasin and toilet. Then the lady showed us a bit that was added on the house for her husband when he became disabled. It was a utility room behind the kitchen with a door leading to a beautiful modern bathroom, with a real and very good shower!!
That was my one definite condition for a new house: a proper shower in good working order.
I’d already figured out that we could have one fitted in the bathroom upstairs, but this is so much better!
The house has Calor Gas for central heating, cooking and hot water. We will maybe miss the pleasant warmth of our Rayburn, but certainly not the smell and dust of coal all through the house. And gas is just so much more environmental friendly than oil and coal.

We walked around the house - ah, the view on the Lake District and Blencathra in particular !! - and talked to the lady and her family for ages. It turned out she’d lived there for 38 years and her husband had worked for the estate that it’s on. The house came with the job, and she’d been allowed to stay in it after he died just over a year ago. But it was too big for her, she said, so she was moving to a smaller house close to her children, who live locally.
She showed us the minor points of the house, too. Such as the huge cracks in the wall closest to the river, that had badly sagged and needed major structural work to it. That must be what they want to do before they put it up for rent again. And when Carlisle was flooded in 2005 this house was flooded too (not surprising with the river so close) and you can still see that in places. So all in all, it might technically not be a ‘beautiful’ house, but it suits us down to the ground. Maybe the fact that it’s in not such a good state - but still much better than the house we live in now! - will work to our advantage.
Eventhough in our way of thinking it’s close to both Carlisle and Penrith, it’s still off the beaten track and can only be reached by this rather long, single track that might get rough in winter. I’d imagine a family with schoolgoing children would think twice before moving there. And a couple without children would probably not so easily choose that spot either...
Even after the work to the walls has been done it’ll not be an easy house to sell (I don’t think even we would buy it, unless we had an extra 100.000 to spare on renovating) so the risk of having to go through another repossession is fairly small, I’d say.

All that’s between us and living in that house now is money. As I said, we don’t know the rent price yet. The son of the lady who lived there said he’d heard an amount mentioned that was twice as much as the rent we pay now. We couldn’t possibly afford to pay that, but... we might be able to solve that in another way. This household has two able bodied men, who aren’t afraid to do whatever work presents itself. Owen and Ken do lots of jobs on a voluntary basis for the Birds of Prey Centre, for Mr D and for other people. They like to do physical work, be it building, digging, fencing, chopping wood, or shifting heavy material. Labouring. Owen loves working together with his Dad and it’s the best possible outlet for everything that sometimes just doesn’t fit into his body.
The estate this house belongs to is absolutely huge and I’m sure there’s lots of work that needs doing. So first thing tomorrow morning we’re going to phone JC, tell us we went to see the house, fell in love with it and are available with more than just money to negotiate about living there.
If you haven’t got money, use magic and manpower. It’s an excellent combination and we have plenty of it available in our family.

It’s a bit scary to just put this all in writing and blog it. It’s tempting to wait and see IF we’re going to get it and IF we’re going to be able to pay for it, one way or another. But the times in my life when I’ve felt as good about something as I now feel about this house, things have always turned out really, really well for us. Sometimes not exactly in the way I’d envisaged, but always very positive and enriching.
Besides that, I really do believe in miracles and abundance.
They’re there for us to enjoy, if only we have Faith.
Have Faith, have Fun.


Ruth said...

Oh wow - I really hope this all gose well for you. It sounds wonderful:)

thenewstead5 said...

awesome! can't wait to see what happens next... sounds beautiful.

we're just starting to think of moving "up north" (eg to us that means somewhere within Yorkshire!) and we'd have to be renting too..

Ann x

Anonymous said...

I saw your post on FOC but did'nt comment as so many had already good advice. This sounds wonderful, hope it works out for you.

'EF' said...

*phew* I was reading this post with baited breath...I really hope for your sakes that the rent issue can be sorted. Also, there are very few people who would rent a house that needs a lot of structural work doing on it for a high they would be mad to hold out for that and lose months and months of rent.

Open to outcome and all that...but also thinking how perfectly gorgeous the house sounds for you.

Tech said...

Only just come back to read a bit more of your blog after seeing the lovely house photos. Sounds absolutely amazingly right. We're just a bit further down the country in the Dales - we've definitely got stunning beauty in abundance up here eh? :-D