Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Angels in Human Form

Have I told you how God answers prayers? We may not have always gotten what we wanted, but we have gotten what we needed. We were fairly settled in Hitchin, with comfortable lives, comfortable jobs and a sense of safety.

 Then this.

 A chance to start over, to simplify our lives, to give up comfortable things and try something new, to expand our borders, literally and figuratively.

In another country--far, far away.

But to do this we needed a few things. I wrote in my prayer journal we needed:

1. A way to pay for the move without incurring huge debts

2. A way to get through the “hungry gap” of when old pay checks end and new (considerably lesser) ones begin

 What could we do, but pray? And help arrived,

John Lewis Gift Voucher
Our schools gave us nearly £100 of John Lewis vouchers (think posh gift certificates my American peeps) which we used to stock up on dry food like rice and lentils and beans and pasta at Waitrose to help us keep our food costs low for the first few months.

My amazing, generous Mum sent us some money to help ease the transition. So we asked for local removal companies to give us estimates as to how much it would cost to pack all our stuff and drive it to Wales.

Their estimates were eye watering to say the least. The cheapest was £1800.

Seriously, £1800. That is a helluva lot of dosh.

We were trying to count our blessings and say “well Mum’s generous gift will nearly pay for half.” But in our hearts we were worried. How would we come up with the rest of it?

Then it happened. Out of the blue.

 Our friend from Quaker Meeting Hannah approached me and said she and her partner Nick were shocked at the high cost of removal and offered to take the day off from their high powered jobs and drive the removal van for us.

 I was dumbstruck. I kept saying, “You do know we are going all the way to Wales, don’t you?”

She did.

I kept saying, “How will we pack and unpack the van? Won’t we need big burly men to do all the heavy lifting?”

 But the Heroic Hannah had an answer for everything. She contacted some blokes she knew who had a man with a van service and booked them in to actually load the van, after all that’s the trickiest part--getting all the stuff in the van.

And so it was. We rented a removal van for around £100 (think U-HAUL to my American peeps) and Hannah and Nick would drive it to Wales for us, then unpack and drive it back in the same day.


On the morning that Spiderman took the train to Wales, I was left to supervise the removal guys and ride in the removal van. They arrived promptly and cast a worried eye over all of our stuff. There were boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes (mostly books and framed art and food) and he was a bit worried it might not actually fit in the removal van.

It was squeaky bum time for me as I tried to triage anything I thought we could live without. But in the end the fantastic guys got every last bit into the van. He said it was due to many years of playing TETRIS. I would believe it. God bless video games.


It took a full three hours to pack which cost us £120 and then we were off like a herd of turtles. I paid for petrol (£120 total) and we drove for five and half hours to Wales.

It took slightly longer than we anticipated as the van was super heavy and Wales is mostly uphill. We listened to the pounding rhythms of Iron Maiden to keep us going--it worked. Their songs last for ages so you really felt you were getting somewhere.

We followed the Nippon Express for a long time. Hannah says they saw it again on the way home.


We stopped for food (about £50) and a wee break (a short break and a pee-pee break) and finally arrived in Wales around 6pm. Then the super fit and strong Hannah and Nick and Spiderman unloaded all the heavy stuff into the flat and I did the lighter, smaller stuff.

By 7:30 it was all done. With grateful hearts we sent them on their way to drive all the way back to England and return the van by 8am the next day so we could get our deposit back.

She texted me around midnight to say they were safely home.

Oh did I also mention she gave us her old Nokia phone and bought us a SIM card so we could keep in touch on the moving day? We have never owned a mobile phone (CEL phone) but it was a lifesaver for the first few weeks until we got our landline sorted.

That woman thinks of everything.

So that is how prayer were answered. This was something we thought would never happen, it was way too much to ask someone to do--and then some people offered.

When you totted it all up--the cost of boxes and bubble wrap, the van hire, the petrol and food --it came just under the amount that my Mum sent.

We are blessed, make no mistake. Here we are hot and tired, but joyful outside our new house.

yes, our house is pink!


Then, the next day after we had finally slept, we woke to find there were a few problems with the flat.

 There was no hot water. Yikes.

But again we were blessed. We have the most amazing landlords—a pair of genuinely funny brothers who were over here like a shot and tinkered around with the boiler and called the gas company and got it sorted within 24 hours.

Then, as an act of kindness I will never forget, Soong offered us a free meal in the Chinese restaurant he owns because he saw a jar of peanut butter with a spoon in it that we had been eating from in the kitchen.
 Can I just say it was the most delicious meal I have ever tasted. We were hot, tired and still had a mountain of boxes to go and there was food—real delicious good—and a lovely restaurant to sit down in and rest. Plus extras to take home.

 It nourished us in more ways than one.

Stay tuned for the excting saga of the wonky house!


  1. Beautiful story. My first picture of the house. Happy mom.

  2. You look so happy! Hope the spiderd have settled in as well as you both. Good things come to good people xxx

  3. God provides...And you guys make it happen!

  4. Aww Heather, kind words, thank you! It was a pleasure and a privilege but I miss you and deeply regret moving you so far away. Come back. I'll hire a van. Xx

  5. I just noticed that there's a bottle brush bush in the picture of you and T. It's just to the right of you, right behind the wall. Your sweet blessed angel, Annie Bell, had a bottle brush in her front yard near the porch. It was her favorite plant. So think of her every time you see it.