Landlords - as hinted we have had a little hassle in this department. Our old landlords have decided that we are not going to get ANY of our deposit back because they have had to spend too much getting the house back to rentable standard. We asked for a break down of the costs and lets just say, there are a quite a few things we would contend. That said he is a lawyer and as the ‘upgrade’ is now done and it would be our word against theirs, I don’t think we really stand much chance! Looking at the inventory of the condition of certain things when we moved in we would contend that we were to blame (beyond reasonable wear and tear over almost 4 years) for excessive damage. A number of things we would not take great issue with except for to say that they did not give us a CHANCE to get the house & carpets to a standard we would have liked to hand them back in. They were literally moving in as we were moving out - which we felt was a bit much really. They even had the nerve to put down £40 in ‘cleaning substances’!! The most we are left with is the ability to right a letter in our defense and see what comes of it, which I suspect will not be much :(
Weekend in Lakes - A week after our move was half term. The three eldest were booked out to Energi Kids Retreat (a Christian youth camp organised at Quinta Hall) and 4 & 5 arranged to be spending a couple of days at their cousins’ in Birmingham (while their eldest was also away). Just leaving the two smallest home with us. As my Mum also spends her holidays with us we decided to cease the opportunity to only leave her with two and escaped for a couple of nights away in The Lakes. We stayed at a stunning B&B called Ella’s Crag, nestled on the lower slopes of Causey Pike. I would highly recommend it :D Our original plan had been to do some serious climbing and a half day of Gill walking, but the exhaustion that sets in with a house move meant that neither of us really wanted that after all, so we had to think what we could do that we might not otherwise do with kids in tow. We decided to give sailing a go! It wasn’t the cheapest option by any means, but we had a three hour ‘starter’ tuition session and we loved every minute of it. I enjoyed keeping it at a leisurely pace and an even keel, Paul preferred to give some lean and speed!! definitely something that, if i was rich enough, I would like to get into.
Conference - the last week of May usually sees us at the Elim annual conference in Prestatyn. This year all but Natty were well occupied with children’s clubs. If nothing else conference is a good fun break that leaves us almost kid-free for best part of a week - that is refreshing in itself ;D Spiritually - no thunderbolts this year, but for me a quite knowledge of the presence of God at work in my life. It was good :D
Car - Our wonderful bus has done a fair few miles just lately. I think Paul counted almost 1000 in one week of to-and-fro’ing with the kids to various camps and things in May. Not long before it had needed a new alternator, and this week that alternator needed replacing (thankfully under warranty) then not two days later the starter motor gave up the ghost! Now it seems fine again - just in time for summer expeditions :D
Oven - When we moved into this amazing new house, with it’s brand new fitted kitchen, one of the first things we discovered was that the oven shorted out the whole house!! So for the first three weeks we cooked on the hob. No big problem as we do a lot anyway, but it is nice to have the oven working now. It needed a replacement thermostat.
Toilet Training - can’t call it potty training because he isn’t using one! I knew Nat was ready, but didn’t expect him to suss it in just one day! The first day he had his nappy off full time he was totally dry - and CLEAN! I was more than a little stunned, he is more than a little proud of himself, and rightly so!! :D Now I just need to get him in trousers ready for tomorrow (Sunday) so we can go to church nappy-free. So far today he has wet two pairs. What is it about fabric on bums that confuses them so much? Commando works so well, but I haven’t given him a full week (silly me), and I need him decent tomorrow - looks like I might be carrying a lot of spares!
Sad Goodbyes - As Regents College (the Elim College where Paul trained) prepares to move from here down to Malvern, we are having to say a few sad and some very sad goodbyes. Amongst those moving is my (and the children’s) very close friend Helen. She had a barbeque last Sunday and invited everyone to come and buy bits of their furniture, as they are seriously down sizing. The money is to be donated to an African orphanage we have connections with. As I looked around there were so many people there that I knew (and a fair few that I didn’t) and it was glaringly apparent what a huge hole the departure of this family will leave in the life of our local community. It is weird too, to think that physically speaking we have already moved out of that immediate community, but are still part of it in many ways. I am not looking forward to saying this “goodbye”. I am not good at them at the best of times, and this will be one of the worst! They move on July 3rd :( There are others leaving too who it will be hard to see go - our church is going to feel this quite sorely (we will be losing some pretty key people), but it will provide some opportunities for still others to step up to the mark :D
Another sort of ‘goodbye’ will be in the middle of July. my Mum retires from the school in two weeks time and will departing for the south on July 17th. As yet she has not replaced her car so I am not sure when we will next see her after that. Although in some ways I am relieved that this weekly thing is over (although it doesn’t seem nearly so difficult in this much bigger space), I know that I will miss her and the kids will miss her a lot, alot. I hope she gets a car reasonably soon and then it won’t seem so bad! Of course we can always take the tent down and camp at the local camp site in Gosport (Kingfisher) if we want to go and see her, but there is rarely any such thing as free accommodation for us lot!