Holly House Update, Week 1 Relocation

Holly House Update, Week 1 Relocation

What a crazy week it’s been. We are finally emerging from the other side of the relocation process and I think our feet are touching the ground again. And we can finally start to think in some kind of order a little bit more.

I think I was rather naive about the whole process of moving from one side of the country to the other with 6 children in tow. The whole experience left me very emotional and quite shell shocked once we were thrown into the middle of it. We chose to keep costs down and move ourselves. We hired a big van for a few days and, having no childcare, our only option was to pack everything up with a baby and a toddler around our ankles, as well as the other four children inclusive of two gnarly teenagers.

Organisational skills are not really my strong point so what started off as boxes being well packed and labelled for each room with a contents listing, quickly turned into a ‘just chuck it in a box’ scenario with an intention to sort it out at the other end. That eventually turned into a carnage of ‘just throw it in a bag’. It really was chaos and I’m sure we’ve packed stuff away which will never see the light of day again. But, we made it. And we’ve located the boxes that contain ‘school shoes’ and the box that contains ‘pants’, so all will be ok, we’re winning.

It was all a bit of a haze for the first few days as we just put our heads down and rode the process. We had no rhyme or reason other than a knowledge that we needed to get from A to B with everyone’s sanity intact.

Along with moving things into the rental property to ensure a normal day-to-day routine for the children we also had to make a habitable area within the church to enable me to reside in whilst I project manage (albeit on the most basic of forms as, with no electric or water, I shall be relying on popping back to the rental property for creature comforts and facilities). We are still working on the logistics of that one as it’s early days.

As an outcome of official searches, we were led to believe that the church had water facilities. Unfortunately, when we contacted the water board to turn on the mains water we discovered that the water had not only been disconnected but the pipework removed too. A costly error at this stage and something we had no way of knowing having relied on competent searches that we were presented with to denote there was water. It did come as quite a blow after we had partaken on a year’s process to buy the church and we are now embarking on an additional process to rectify the error which was beyond our control. No doubt the first of many hurdles. 

Two days into the relocation process saw us diving head-first into an emotional rollercoaster that we didn’t expect. A combination no doubt of tiredness and the unknown. I think I spent a good 24 hours with emotions that ranged from relief that we’d relocated to sheer horror and questioning ourselves if we had done the right thing. Literally, our lives changed overnight and the contrast was extreme. We’d gone from living in a relatively small house where you could barely whisper without hearing each other, children sharing bedrooms and one large open-plan lounge/kitchen living area to a rental property consisting of three floors, a bedroom for everyone and still not receiving an answer to shouts from the top of your voice. The space aspect of it, although wonderful, was very strange and overwhelming. But we are rapidly getting used to it. As much as I cried on a loop having doubts about whether we were doing the right thing, I maintained telling myself it was logical to feel that way. 

The rental property itself is a beautiful adventure: a Grade II listed building which has a view of the tower of our future Holly House home from the window. 

The smaller children visited their new schools and are very excited to be starting next week. Even Boo, age 3, shall be starting nursery. This was again a shock to the system and a huge realisation that she is now firmly a little girl and no longer a baby. I had put off potty training due to the relocation and after learning she would be attending nursery so soon we have had to face potty training in the midst of relocation too. It’s proving a little tricky but we are optimistic we can get that one done before next week. The teenagers are yet to get school spaces due to over-subscriptions but we’re working on that one.

Four days into the relocation and we finally went to the beach. And everything seemed to fall into place. All the reasoning came back to us and any doubts we had dispersed. We love the beach and it always sets us back on track and learning that it is just 11 minutes away from our door reminded us exactly why we are doing what we are doing. 

Take a peek at the special Very Hungry Caterpillar Picnic we had.

We had a meeting with our architect and building control to further discuss our plans and hopes for our build and are now clearer on what we can and can’t do. The process of drawing up our plans to submit is now fully on the way and we should have our initial drawings for Holly House over the next few weeks. In the meantime it’s a case of making ourselves comfortable and settled for our new lives here and working out what we can do within Holly House at this stage apart from just absorbing her beauty in all its entirety.

Today saw a small celebration as we had initial meetings with the Conservation Officer and Ecologist and we’ve been given the go-ahead to start the mucking out of The Tower stairwell where the pigeon guano is 4-5 inches deep in places.

It’s confirmed that there are bats in the main body of the church but it’s not likely to be permanent roosts. This is fabulous news at this stage. We embark on extensive bat surveys and studies within the next four weeks which will start the process of monitoring activity and locating their habitats. This will enable us to establish what we need to do to minimise any disturbance and ensure we can live alongside them in harmony. It will be a costly but essential process as they are a protected species.

We learned that there was a peregrine falcon residing in the top of the tower too.

We’ve had the OK to lower the bells and we’ve initial approval (pending submitting listed building consent) to start on the removal of the pews.

So all in all it’s been a whirlwind of a week with some incredible high and some questionable lows. But the only way now is forward…

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