well, we've found a flat! it is without a doubt, the biggest stressor that was on the pre-wedding list...getting married, eh - a piece of cake. finding a suitable flat, in the right area, for the right price, in a renter's city like london? the potential for tears was enormous.
the process actually began months ago - what was our vision for how we'd use the space? and then what kind of space would we need to achieve that? ultimately le boy and i wanted a place where we could be hospitable - dinners and lunches (breakfasts even?), a place large enough to host a bible study group and parties - gotta be able to throw a party - a place with the space to host overnight guests or short term visitors.
and then we asked - if we hope to do all of this, what will we need to feel able to do this? two bedrooms, a large dining area, a lounge, a functional kitchen, a garden with space for a dining table and some gardening (!?). and then for being really picky - a particular part of the city, close to our good friends, near a park, within 10 minutes of public transport, easy on the street parking, a dishwasher, a washer (AND DRYER), a ground floor flat, a place we could see ourselves renting for the longer-ish term, a terraced house. yep, we were PICKY. but the picky-ness was initially driven by our desire to be hospitable. and so we took these requests in prayer to god - and we've been praying for a flat with our 'dream' list for months. and wouldn't you know - we found a place with every. last. thing. !!!
so what we'd anticipated to be a nightmare, was actually, a very simple, very blessed process (did i mention that we only looked at ONE flat?).
in our excitement we scheduled a trip to IKEA for a scouting mission. we sat on couches, laid on beds, discussed bookcases and shelving and decided that 930 pm is too late for a family of six with four children under four to be traipsing through the kitchen section (i think it's reasonable to say that babies might be a ways off...). but we've made some decisions about what we'd like to start off with and we've passed the all important IKEA test: can you make it through without fighting? apparently yes - which is basically enough confirmation that i've found my lobster...
for the first time ever i left ikea without actually buying a thing - which must be some kind of record! this is what the sky looked like as we left. we are very blessed indeed.