Back in August, we moved into our new home. We had hardly any furniture, a surprisingly big garden and we couldn’t believe how blessed we were to have found this house. But, with my old flat in Manchester empty and on the market, we still had 2 mortgages to pay, and a car that was surely on its last miles. I was facing starting work at a new school, with the challenges of being full time with a maximum teaching timetable. Ben was starting a new nursery, full time. In addition, we were further away from our families and didn’t have any friends nearby. We tried to prepare ourselves for a tough few months.
As I’ve blogged about before, our first couple of months were crazily busy, mostly with family commitments. Throughout November and December, we’ve were able to spend some quality weekends in our new home, and to finally purchase some furniture. We’re slowly getting to know the village and – very slowly – making connections.
The centre of Whalley is a 10 minute walk away, which is great. A library, a park, lots of lovely coffee shops, a florist, a hardware shop, an old Abbey and even a monthly farmers market – not to forget the wine shop and some lovely pubs (or so Tim tells me). The village really drew us to this area, and we’re really enjoying having all this loveliness in our doorstep. We’ve also enjoyed taking visitors, like Becca in the photo below, and her husband Jon Man, who took the photo, to the Whalley Wine Shop.
We’ve also found a church in Clitheroe. We’re getting involved in St James. It’s a year since we left Ivy in Manchester, and it’s great to be able to commit to a church community. Churches are sometimes, paradoxically, quite difficult to get into – it isn’t always obvious how you move from ‘visitor’ to ‘regular,’ and from ‘regular’ to ‘part of the community.’ When you have a toddler, we can spend much of the service involved in distraction techniques, so when the service ends, even if he’s been in the creche, you want to get out of there asap. It takes a real effort to spend some time having coffee and trying to have a chat. Mid-week small groups are definitely the way forward, although it was great to be part of the choir and to attend church on Christmas morning all together.
Our first Christmas in our new home was excellent, with my parents and Ben’s godparents and their little boy coming to visit. We were so glad of the extra space – rooms for people to sleep in, (just about) enough chairs for everyone to sit in. It was really good to cook Christmas dinner ourselves – Tim took responsibility for the potatoes.
We had a few days away for New Year, heading to Betws-y-coed in Wales for a few days with some friends. Tim’s parents had Ben to stay for a couple of nights, which was fantastic – we had a really fun time, and it was lovely to have some proper grown up time.
So now we’re back in Lancashire to settle in to 2015. I’m praying it’ll be a peaceful year, one of really establishing ourselves where we live. We’re hoping the flat will have sold and completed in a few weeks, and we’re coping with one car. I’m hoping to rediscover a bit of work-life balance by limiting myself to stopping work at 9pm each night (a New Years Resolution), and hopefully to blogging a lot more. While these “catch-up” posts are useful for looking back on what we’ve done and where we’ve come from, it’s not what I really want from the blog, so that’s something to work on. I’d love to hear what you’d like from the blog (if you read it), so please comment below, and a Happy New Year to you all.