Sunday, 19 April 2009

Welcome to "Cornerstones"

Mum & Dad 1955 My parents went into ministry back in the 1940's - and never owned a home of their own.  Here they are in 1955...

Although they lived in Church Manses until Dad's retirement, after that it was not so easy. My Mum's real concern was that we too would find ourselves at 65 with no place to call our own home. 99.99% of the time, I love being a Pastor's wife - but I admit that just occasionally, usually around 4 in the morning, I have lain awake wondering "What if something happens to Bob...?" or "Where will we live in 2020?" and I knew each time I had these doubts, that the Lord would provide, but I found it hard sometimes to trust as much as I should. It got worse when I hit 50, and lots of my contemporaries were celebrating paying off their mortgages.

And then there was a global recession. And house prices fell significantly - and at the turn of the year, we realised that we might just about manage a deposit and a 10 year mortgage, on a small bungalow somewhere. Bob suggested Norfolk [lots of family and friends there - great for holidays etc] and so unbelievably it has happened! Last Wednesday we became the proud owners of  "Cornerstones" - a bungalow in the village of Swanton Morley in Norfolk. [actually, we don't own it, only about 28% of it, the Halifax technically own the rest...]

It has certainly been a Steep Learning Curve as they say. The word 'mortgage' is linked to something French about 'payment unto death'!!

Whilst we didn't inherit a house from our parents, we have certainly acquired a lot of furniture along the way, and so last Wednesday we hired and loaded a van...


My Old Man said "Follow the Van, and don't dilly dally on the way.

Off went the van with me 'ome packed in it, I followed on with me Ol' Cock Linnet ...


Actually I followed in the car with sewing machine, laptop and dog! It all went remarkably smoothly [thanks to Joy, our wonderful conveyancing solicitor, Rob our mortgage adviser and Nick at the Estate Agents, who were all very patient with this pair of novice first time buyers]

When we got the keys, we moved in and spent three days sorting and cleaning and getting things straight-ish. My brother Adrian - the best brother a girl could have - took Thursday off work and spent the day helping us. He worked incredibly hard on the garden. Here are a few moving pictures.


An essential Tea break











There are always so many cardboard boxes to crush and recycle


Those blue Sainsburys Boxes are very useful


First night, mattress on the floor


And a kettle boiling on the camping stove

But after that things got easier


Radio 4, a Laptop and a sewing machine all up and running - feels more like home now! [but no Internet yet]

And curtain tracks up, and the bed put together properly


A much more civilised bedroom!


Bob cut the grass at the back, whilst Adrian strimmed at the front [note the proper protective gear]


And once we had power for the electric kettle, friends and family [generously bearing cards and gifts] called round for tea and donuts.


Here is Sarah with an improvised plate to catch the sugar! And here is the little red rose she gave us as a housewarming gift.


Charlie the Dog seemed to adjust to the new location



Philip the plumber came and sorted out the heating boiler


I found little corner to sit and sew! The chair was another housewarming gift.


Bob finally sat down and relaxed a bit! My Aunt in Romford thoughtfully sent the curtains you can see behind him - and they fit the window perfectly. In fact I had enough curtaining in my stash to do every other window!

We still don't have a proper cooker, but Marion and Christine have kindly fed us some excellent meals during the week.

I did make a trip into Dereham for a few bits and pieces [like curtain tape] and found a fabulous little woolshop. However the millstone [sorry, mortgage] was playing on my mind, and I was careful to avoid profligate spending.

We have already met the neighbours in five of the other bungalows in the close - and by the time we got to church this morning in Dereham, a number of people were asking if the rumours were true,were we really moving to Norfolk?

We've been utterly overwhelmed by people's kindness, and their genuine pleasure that we have somewhere.

But just to make it very clear - retirement isn't till 2020! Until then, Cornerstones is our 'holiday home' where we plan to rest and recuperate. It has a roof, and an inside toilet and a proper bed. This makes it 100% better than summer holidays in a small damp tent!

Bob and I are both still slightly in shock about the whole thing and unable to believe it's really happened. It is entirely by the Grace of God. We still have lots of work to do here in Leicestershire, so for a few more years, "Cornerstones" will just be an occasional retreat. But once it is fully equipped, we hope to make it available for other friends who need a holiday break in a peaceful spot. Someone at church this morning suggested we set up a website with booking details. Maybe, in a few months...

So that is what we have been doing this week. Now you know!


Welcome to Cornerstones, friends! Hope you can visit it in reality one day.

I am not going to bore everyone stupid with any more details. The Easter Holiday is just about finished now - and the temporary excitement is over.

Back to work now, building the Kingdom of God here in Kirby Muxloe!


  1. It is so good to see the pictures of the moving day, I knew you would get there eventually. Congratulations on your purchase. I'm sure you will have many many years of happy memories to make in your new home.

  2. Congratulations on your very own home! That is exciting! Your photos look great! Enjoy and God bless!

  3. yay, I finally have something to inherit! :) Congratulations you guys - well deserved! xx

  4. Congratulations! How marvelous to have a vacation home for now and a home to retire to later. Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership! Oh, the Lord, he do provide.


  5. Congrats on your OWN home! How exciting for you! Lovely house and garden by the way too! :)

  6. Oh wow! It is so so lovely - and I'm really pleased that your concerns re housing later have fluttered away in the breeze :)
    Oh & it's not boring so please - more 'photos/news - lol!
    Honestly I am so thrilled for you!

  7. Enjoy! RBMHS do a great job but are very stretched for resources, so in a bizarre way you are helping others too!

  8. Oh congratulations Ang! It looks lovely and I am sure you will be very happy there.

  9. Thanks everybody for your kind comments - I am sure the excitement will wear off soon.
    Steph - remember what happened to the child in Luke 15;12 - do not expect your inheritance too quickly!

  10. Yey, it looks just lovely! A great investment indeed!

    Hope you will make many happy memories there; a nice nest for the future too.


  11. I know I'm a bit late, but congratulations! I hope that you and Bob will enjoy your new holiday home/retirement place.

  12. That's explained it all very nicely! If there's a donut eating Sarah in the area, it must be a good place to live...


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