Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Early days in the village

So - this is church number one in The Rector2B's benefice of six churches. This is the church we can see when we open the curtains each morning. It is a friendly looking church built of alternating flint and stone layers and dates from the 13th century.  It is surrounded by the ancient graveyard. In the other direction we look across to the village school. The Rector2B tells me that the thatched house opposite the rectory was once the village jail. I don't know where he got that gem from!
We are on chalk land and the fields around us are full of large flints - it is a wonder that the farmers can plough them without damaging the ploughshares - but that's modern technology for you. At the moment The Rector 2B and I are exploring the footpaths and finding the most suitable walks for the dogs. It is so different from the open moor that we had become used to - and before that, the Collie and The Lakeland used to have their daily walk on the beach. Footpath walking is very different to those places but there are so many bridal paths (as well as footpaths) around us, I'm sure we will come to love exploring. There are carpets of snowdrops everywhere and evidence that the field and road banks will be swathed in primroses by Easter. 

Blogging has had to be put aside while we try to unpack the mountain of boxes that remain carefully placed in the wrong rooms (necessary as the builders are still finishing in one bedroom, the utility room, the bathrooms and the garage). We are awaiting the electrician to complete installing lights and a shower so we have managed to escape back to Devon - and we are meeting the builder who will be repairing the leaks in our own house here! We are both frazzled as we would have liked to spend this time getting to know Dorset but we can't leave the dogs with the builders and Tess is too young for long walks or car drives. We have been tested to the limits of our patience at times.

Despite all this - The Rector2B and I have managed to attend the village pantomine and I realised how much I needed to laugh (there were a superb pair of ugly sisters in this performance).This last weekend we went to listen to an excellent Jazz trio - Jonty Fisher's Flyright Trio, also in the village hall. It was a lovely laid back evening and walking distance from home.

Ah - but walking through the village at night time is an adventure in itself - as there is no street lighting. This is a novelty for us - even our village in Devon has street lights! Torches are kept by the back and front door but the joy is to walk out into the darkness and see the luminous stars stretching across the skies. The torches are really only to make any cars aware of our presence.

Word is getting round that we are in situ and The Rector2B's telephone is beginning to ring. He has been persued by a tenacious journalist who wouldn't take no for an answer. Officially - he is not available until after he is licenced on March 7th but I suspect answering the telephone is his escape from sorting out his study (which DOES need doing).

I hope to give you a glimpse of the other 5 churches in this benefice - all intriguing in their own way - but until I get to that last packing box - I may be a little slow in blogging.  

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Up on the roof

This is a view that I will probably never see again - I took the photograph from the roof of the rectory - and I will probably never have the chance to be on the roof again. Having climbed the scaffolding that has been left in place for the weekend, I was able to see our new surroundings form a different perspective!

Friday, 15 February 2013


 The Rector2B and I are so tired - tired of unpacking boxes, moving furniture into the correct rooms, trying to get telephones to work and unwrapping the carefully wrapped breakables. (Note to self : I do not need any more china or glasses - incomplete sets and non matching plates are very fashionable and on no account am I to buy more!) We have been so glad to be able to escape the chaos and return to our rented cottage. The rectory has had a continuous stream of contactors and we have had quite a number of visitors - who didn't stay long as there was nowhere to sit but it was good to see them (The natives are friendly!).
What to do?
Yesterday we arrived at the rectory to find scaffolders erecting the scaffolding to repair the leaking chimney - but the scaffolding was on the wrong chimney. The Rector2B and I discussed whether we should say anything as it has been made clear to us that any instructions to the contractors can only come from The Property Department. What to do?

1. Ring The Property Department and talk to the answer phone.
2. Mention to scaffolders that they might be barking up the wrong chimney.
3. Go indoors quickly and pretend we haven't seen anything.
4. Go indoors and make the scaffolders a cup of tea to slow progress.
5. Let them get on with it - it's nothing to do with us.

In the end we were saved from doing anything as the builders arrived and asked the scaffolders why they had put scaffolding on the wrong chimney. Down it came and up it went on the other chimney - ready to use a little later than expected.

We have left the rented cottage today and moved in officially so we have our first weekend in the house - hopefully without builders (back on Monday). The sun has shone all day. The snowdrops, primroses and daffodils are out in the garden and we are beginning to appreciate our new surroundings (The dogs love it here and would spend all day in the garden if they could).

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The property department.

I'm sitting on the window ledge in our dining room as the house is rapidly being dismantled by the removers. Three huge lorries are blocking the road and are being fed all our furniture as it is emptied from the house. The dogs are taking it all in their stride - after all, this is the third time in three years for two of them. It is also showing us how like her dad, young Tess is. She is unphased by the upheaval. I feel surprisingly calm and detached from it all - I think I have blocked any emotion intentionally. This move was always going to happen - this is the end of the curacy, this is the goal post!
Not only is The Curate taking up his first incumbency but I will have the time to explore new opportunities. I am no longer working as a teacher, I have no links to the area we are going to and   (whatever I might be feeling right now) - I am not too old for a new adventure!

We are moving to a rectory which has builders working in it. In fact it has been quite a battle to get the place anywhere near the state of our other two 'church' houses. This has added immense stress to the whole process - so much so that I declared I was going to live in our own house in South Devon
( but I am here ). The third time of moving in with builders is just not funny. Does everyone have a struggle with property departments? We had such a lovely leaflet from them telling us about the department and with a picture of a lovely new vicarage with solar panels on the roof so I thought we were going to a diocese that was forward looking - and, probably, they are - we have just timed our move badly. Silly discussions about en suite bathrooms that don't exist but would possibly be added - if they are available to be used by all the other bedrooms (therefore not ensuite) . But then we find that these ensuites do not include a WC. I don't even like 'ensuites' - I'd just like a bathroom that is updated from the original one and has enough room to 'swing a cat in' ! ( That saying might confuse some of my foreign readers!) Silly, silly niggles that have caused avoidable stress if only people would realise that this is to be a home and actually pick up the phone and talk to us.

our last frosty view of the moor
The fantastic parishioners have taken it upon themselves to decorate the house and have spent many hours cleaning ( and recleaning after the builders) in order to help us move in. Knowing this has made a huge difference to The Curate ( Rector 2B) and myself. I don't think we would be moving today if it wasn't for them. When we heard that builders were still living in our kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, we booked at cottage near the new house for a few days so that we can take stock of the work and keep three very excitable dogs from helping us unpack.

Today and tomorrow I will remember that I must 'keep calm and carry on' ( and I will also remind The Rector 2B that he must do this too.)

Monday, 4 February 2013

One week to go

I am sitting in our sitting room surrounded by piles of books, cushions and sleeping dogs. At the moment they seem unphased by the chaos that surrounds them. Jed the ten year old collie cross, Jem the sixteen year old lakeland terrier and, our newest addition - Tess, the thirteen week old daughter of Jed, are quite relaxed about the prospect of a move. I wish I was!