Home is where the heart is

We’ve just landed back on French soil after a wonderful week seeing lots of family followed by a week to recuperate in Norfolk after seeing said family.

It was busy but so so good.  Lots of special memories created.  Here are the highlights:

  • Trip to Bruges (only 45 mins away from Lille)
  • Dinner, coffee and lunch with special friends in Canters
  • Meeting our wonderful nephew for the first time (he lives in Japan)
  • Meals, coffees, cups of tea, good wine, games, chats, prayers, walks, songs and so so much fun with mums, dads, sisters, brothers, in-laws, uncles, aunties and cousins
  • Playing Sardines with nephews and nieces
  • Crazy weekend in London for sister-in-law-to-be’s ‘hen don’t’
  • Holiday at ‘Cressy’, Burnham Overy Staithe
  • Time to read
  • Fish and Chips at Wells-next-the Sea
  • Walks to the creek at sunset

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Needless to say we had a wonderful few weeks holiday and didn’t want to leave.

It’s hard to describe the emotions but our lovely house in Mouvaux, Lille isn’t quite home yet.  All our belongings are here but our hearts aren’t quite yet.  “I don’t want to go back” I admitted to Rog in the car as we journeyed home, his reply was a HUGE comfort “neither do I” he said.  Phew, I’m not the only one. We considered pulling up to our wonderful house in Canterbury and telling our friend who now lives there it has all been a mistake and we’d like our home back now thank you very much, out you go buddy. But as neither of us have jobs in the UK anymore we figured we’d just go straight to Folkstone have a KFC and be on our way with our sad little faces and hearts.

Amazingly though as the ‘Tunnel sous la Manche’ pulled out into a darkening, flat, industrial, let’s be honest, rather ugly northern France my heart was glad.  Not an “I’m home” kind of gladness, but a peace nonetheless. “It’s gonna be ok” my heart said. What a relief.



If home is where the heart is we are currently homeless, gypsy-esque, heart-wanderers.  Or, as a friend said to me today I could look at it rather more optimistically and say that my heart is in two places. It’s a bit like those necklaces you had as a kid that you shared with a best friend to remind each other that you were besties forever.  Right now one half is in Canterbury and the other is in Lille.  My heart and home are finding their way through the emotions.  I don’t know if they’ll ever truly settle in Lille but that doesn’t mean it won’t be home and I can’t love it.

The Holy Bit

I guess Jesus must have known a heart/homeless-ness, I mean He left the most beautiful city that ever will exist to come to this funny little planet where He was poor, hated and eventually killed.  Our small move across a little pond seems rather insignificant in comparison.  Thank God that when we put our trust in Him we can have peace, hope and a home for our hearts.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jer 29v11

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Prov 3v5-6


DIY Eaton Style

When someone sat us down and said “hey, you like France, half of you speaks French, do you want to move there and plant a church?” they didn’t also add “any good at DIY?”

Ok so I suppose a bit of DIY, or in its simplest form, flat-pack-assembly, goes hand-in-hand with moving house.  However, add a small factor of having to buy, build, and bemoan missing parts in another language and you’ve got potential for disaster (as well as plenty of gems for a blog).

Let’s be honest, when it comes to any form of DIY or basically anything technical-y, build-y or car-y, Roger and I just aren’t blessed to think that way.  For GCSE Resistant Materials my wonky CD rack gained me a D (I mean how hard is a CD rack to make, and mine was basically just some shelves…hence the D I suppose).  Here are some of our recent DIY/flat-pack adventures:

  • The Banister

This wasn’t so much putting together as pulling apart…my first journey down the stairs on my toosh saw our lime green banister leave the wall as I grabbed it on my way down.  Some may say this was a cunning way of trying to get the landlord to put in a new, less garish coloured, banister.  However, a nice man came and just re-attached it to the wall.  Better luck next time George.

  • The Washing Machine

Thankfully delivered and fully installed.  This consisted of them plugging it in and shoving a tube down an existing tube…I’m sure I could have done that! Ahem.

  • The Oven

Also delivered and put into its prepared hole (the removal of a drawer and kitchen cupboard – we were pretty pleased with ourselves).  Upon delivery we were then told that there was no socket near enough into which it could be plugged into and using an extension cable is illegal.  Pants!  2 weeks later a new friend from the Anglican Church, who also doubles up as an electrician, fitted a new cable which does reach the plug. Oven now in use although the instructions say the cupboard should be lined with some heat-proof adhesive…now hoping cupboard doesn’t melt.

  • The Kitchen Shelving Units

I made these meself…oh yeah!  With the whizzy drill and everything! I thank ya!

  • The Billys

Yes thank you Ikea for coming up with such bizarre names for book shelves although Mim is very proud to tell everyone “I helped buy Billys”.  Four shelving units bought….2 put up correctly.  Nuts!

  • The Beast

The Wardrobe, aka the Beast.  Before we started building we went through all the 30 odd different screws, gizmos, wheely-bobs (technical term given; en français? Les Bobettes-roulants!) and bits to make sure we had everything.  We did not. Back to the shop we go where we were presented with a mahoozive box of gubbins to look through to find our missing fangles. One found, others ordered. Building began. It went pretty well…for a while….then we realised we were missing another didgery.  Back to the shop, box shuffled through and parts found.  Building recommenced. Despite the hugeness of the Beast we put together the main body, tacked on the back and heaved it up ready to put in the shelves.  BUT none of the holes lined up for the shelves to be able to go in straight, we’d put the bloomin middle plank in the wrong way round.  At this point I would like to add that the Hedgehog in our marriage lost it…the Rhino (me) milked it and stayed patronisingly calm much to the Hedgehog’s annoyance.  After a cuppa and a segment of galaxy chocolate (we are on war rations) we worked out how we could get the middle plank turned around causing least amount of damage.

Instructions said it would take 2 people 3 hours to build…Eaton time – 6hrs.  The beast is now fully operational despite 3 screws still on order (?!).

So there you have it.  If you ever need something building, fixing, putting together, don’t call us….please…our marriage depends on it!