Well once again it has been a stupidly long time since I blogged. Sorry about that... Usual resolutions re blogging more often have been made. But don't hold your breath!
The thing that's occupying most of my brain space at the moment is that I'm about to move house! Aaaaaaaaargh, etc. Exactly 2 weeks from today all my worldly goods will be packed up in a van somewhere and I'll be on the cusp of the most mammoth box-unpacking gig imaginable. Well, not quite the most mammoth - my friend's just become a Bishop. Moving into a Bishop-pad involves some serious unpacking!
Anyway it's not just moving house that I'm thinking about - although goodness knows that's stressful enough in its own right, especially when it goes hand-in-hand with moving job/church too. I'm particularly thinking about moving house on your own. And, obviously, as someone who's single, I do an awful lot of things 'on my own'. That's not a complaint, at least not necessarily, but it is certainly an observation.
Because of all the usual work/life/time pressures, I've been trying to squeeze lots of jobs into a too-short time frame. As you do. Saturday afternoon saw me in a mad dash to get to the carpet shop before it closed (after being blocked into my garage by a wedding guest and then getting stuck in football traffic). Consequently I chose carpets for 4 of the new vicarage bedrooms in precisely 8 minutes. I was delighted to find they could fit them within the week. Then on Tuesday I went to buy a new sofa, and again made a surprisingly speedy choice - only to find it'll be 5 weeks before it's delivered. Oops. Apparently I need to have made that purchase a month ago.
The new church have been completely wonderful in helping me to get ready for the move. They have done a quite extraordinary amount of work, and have somehow managed to paint every single wall in the entire vicarage, and to clean it from top to bottom. I'm very grateful. So my reflections on doing a house move as a single person are not particularly about the practical aspects - although if they hadn't been so wonderfully kind and helpful then that would definitely have been a complication to add into the mix.
No, my reflections on it all have been more to do with the emotional side of things. To be honest I've been surprised at how emotional I have found it all. I didn't think I was all that house proud, or all that bothered about the material 'stuff' of life (and it's not long after setting foot in my house that you realise I'm definitely not all that bothered about keeping things clean and tidy!) But as I've pondered everything from paint colours to sofa fabrics to curtain lengths to carpet thicknesses to fridge freezer size I've just found it all a bit overwhelming. There have been So Many decisions to make!
Now, please don't misunderstand me. I realise this comes very firmly into the category of #FirstWorldProblems. Please don't hear me as being ungrateful - I absolutely realise and appreciate just how blessed I am to have a home to live in at all, and especially one so lovely. I am fortunate to be able to make these choices - I know that such choices are a luxury that many cannot afford.
However, my thoughts and reflections here are simply about how it has felt to do all of that stuff on my own. I have a couple of lovely friends who have kindly offered to come and look round with me, and offer advice. But they haven't been able to come yet, and won't now, I guess, until I've moved in. So all of the decisions have fallen to me. Those of you who have ever argued with a partner over a colour scheme or a piece of furniture may by now be yelling "lucky you - I'd love to have the final say on all things decor-related!" And yes, I'm sure there are massive advantages to not having to check with anyone else before deciding on an orange colour scheme for my new bedroom!
I'm really not moaning, I promise. But I am pondering. Pondering how it feels to have to make all of your major life choices alone (you know what I mean when I say alone - God is always my Guide, Advisor, Counsellor and Friend - but, humanly speaking, alone).
In one way, there's huge freedom in it, of course, and that's wonderful. But I realise I also have a fear of getting it wrong - that's mad, isn't it, because what does decorating your house 'wrong' even look like?! I feel like I'm not quite grown up (and that's also a mad thing to feel, when this is the last year my age will begin with a 3!). In the sofa shop the guy was trying to sell me extra cover in case things get spilt on it. He was talking about pets and husbands and children. I had to clamp my mouth closed to stop myself from confessing to not having any of those things (don't get me wrong, I have parishioners who can make a mess, and a penchant for chucking soup on myself - I could do with the insurance cover). I feel like I did as a kid trying to choose which sweets I wanted and it all just being ridiculously overwhelming and wishing someone would just hand me a packet, any packet. Standing in the carpet shop, and the sofa shop, and looking online at curtains, I just really would have liked there to be someone else there to say "what do you think about this one?" (And I know there are friends I could have asked to go with me, but sorry guys, I love you, but it's not the same!)
And gosh, this is all before I've got to the new place and have to work out where to put everything!! Aaaaaaaaargh, etc. all over again! My friend recently moved house and tweeted that she was picking up each ornament and wandering around the house whispering to it, asking it where it wanted to live. It might take a while, but in the absence of another human person to consult with, this is the approach I intend to adopt with all my belongings.
I know they say moving house is high up on the list of the most stressful things you can do. Moving jobs must be up there too, so vicars have a permanent stress-double-whammy going on when we move. Anyway, as so often when I blog, I feel like this is more of a journal-entry-reflection that I happen to have shared with the world (maybe that's all that blogging ever is?!) Thanks for reading, if you've got this far. Maybe share some of your moving house/decor decisions stories with me if you like?
Here's a photo of the new garden. It's beautiful, although I do fear it may never look this good again, as I am a genuinely terrible gardener...