Choosing a removals firm

Photograph of a cardboard box, taped closed

Today I telephoned round three different removals firms. Two that St Andrews had recommended (Pickfords Corporate and Crown Worldwide) and one that we had used for our move from Inverness in 2003 (White and Company). White and Co. were immediately able to arrange a visit to assess what needs moving; they are coming next Thursday, thanks for asking. Pickfords and Crown will get back to me.

For the first time in my working life I am moving to a job where my employer-to-be is offering to pay removals expenses. We’ve been asked to obtain three quotations, and St Andrews will pay for the cheapest. (Thank you.)

The first time we moved, from Edinburgh to Inverness in 1999, I hired a van and Jane and I moved all our worldly belongings (a rocking chair, four bookcases, a bed, six guitars, and lots of boxes of books and music) up the A9 ourselves, before returning to Edinburgh to get married.

Moving from Inverness back to Edinburgh three years ago we employed White and Co. to move us. They were excellent, which is why we’ve asked them for a quotation again. I packed, they moved, Jane was in Edinburgh for a week beforehand painting and carpetting the house — ably assisted by friends and family — like our lives depended on it. We’d accumulated a lot more by then: a sofa and chair, another bed, a desk and filing cabinet, and a whole lot more. Certainly more music and books, and probably a few more computers, too!

And now, here we are again, poised to move north and east to Fife, to Cellardyke. Probably with a lot more stuff.

Where do we begin? I’m off to make a list…

Comments disabled due to the amount of comment spam I’m getting from removals firms.

A strange Lent

Two silver jigsaw pieces, unconnected

This has felt like quite a strange Lent so far.

Usually Lent — that six weeks’ period between Ash Wednesday and Easter in the Christian calendar — I find a healthy time of prayerful withdrawl, a time of listening to God and myself, and trying to line the two up in my daily life and bit more faithfully. Most years I see (and feel) it as a bit of an oasis.

But this year is different. This year I feel quite unnerved, unsettled and for the first time in ages (probably since Dad’s death) very weepy much of the time. It feels as though some of the pieces of my life are slowly being rearranged.

It was only the other day when I gave myself the permission and space to think about it more deeply that I recognised that much of this is rooted in our up-and-coming move. It feels like a grief, in many ways.

In many ways I’m grieving and beginning to let go. This is my last Lent (for now) as a full-time, stipendiary priest, for example. And each time I go about things that I currently take for granted as part of my everyday life, I’m beginning to realise the significance of those events as markers in my personal and professional life; that was one fewer time that I presided at the Sunday eucharist, for example; or preached, or visited, or…

This is my second Church job in a row that I’ve been leaving at Easter. It’s at the same time both an appropriate moment and also a strange time to be leaving a Church appointment. The message of Easter is about new life, new hope, new possibilities, and about death of an old way of life. So in that respect it seems right.

But the resurrection of Jesus at Easter is also not the end of the story, there is still quite a bit to come, and (hopefully) we in the Church are still carrying on the story of Jesus today. So it feels odd to be leaving just as Jesus is returning with something new, and dynamic, and exciting. To be leaving at Easter feels oddly as though Jesus returns in glory and says, “… are you still here?! Off you go now!” It feels like leaving a film just as it’s getting exciting. “Aww… But I want to see what happens next!”

Lent is, as I’ve said, traditionally about examining our lives in the light of Jesus’s life and what God is calling us to be today. So this Lent for me is about saying goodbye to an old way of life not just in terms of my spiritual life, but also in terms of my job, and status (stipendiary priest), and life-style.

Which is not to say that I’m regretting that I’m moving. I’m really excited about this move. I’m really excited about starting at St Andrews on Monday 1 May. I’m really excited about this new post (Assistant Information Architect/Web Manager) and all that it will involve. I’m really excited about where God is calling me.

And it also not to say that I feel that I’m leaving the Church. I’m not. I will still be — and will always be (I think I must have been ontologically changed at ordination!) — a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church. But as I’ve blogged before, I believe that society has changed so much that the Church needs to get “out there” again and live and work and witness and pray in the ‘marketplace’. Jesus sent his disciples out, he didn’t instruct them to find security in buildings.

It’s been a hard lesson to learn, in some ways, and I’m nervous about it. But that’s the nature of new beginnings. That’s the nature of new life, new hope, new possibilities. I just have to keep my eyes on Jesus, that’s all — and that’s not changed. Maybe this Lent will prove to be more significant and more enlightening than I suspect or can see right now.