My parents visited today with one of my sisters. We had lunch at Wagamamas, went to Starbucks for coffee. My dad wandered into the churchyard of St Andrews church, the oldest church in Newcastle; it's where I took the first two of these photos the other week. I've never been in before but as we were looking for the door, the caretaker appeared. He offered us a look round and we accepted.
It's a beautiful church, and it's a shame it's not better known. He is fantastic; he knows the history of the place back to front and is incredibly enthusiastic about sharing what he knows. He took my dad and I up to the bell tower; we were disappointed, though, to discover that it's automated now since the Scottish attacked and damaged the tower. He showed us bones in the churchyard that were disturbed when a trench was dug to put in some floodlighting; apparently more are exposed every time it rains. If you're ever in Newcastle and need something to do to fill a wet afternoon, I'd highly recommend letting the caretaker show you round.
It was fab seeing my family. I forget sometimes how much I miss them - especially my sister N. She lives a long, long way away and I don't get to see her very often. She hadn't been up here nearly two years.
My dad confused me mightily by offering to write off the £5k I owe him and my mum (they lent me the cash at 0% to put down as the deposit on our house and pay off my credit card). Now if someone offered me five thousand pounds, I would bite their hand off, because I would be able to pay off my dad and have a clean slate. It would mean that in just a few months we could replace our (decrepit) boiler, the doors that the people who lived here before punched holes in, decorate our bedroom, rather than waiting for aeons.
It would mean we could save up and start thinking about having kids.
But I borrowed £6k, so I've hardly paid back any of what I owe; because of payment holidays so we could do a couple of things that desperately needed doing in the house we've barely made a dent in the debt. Technically, we've added to it; they gave us money to redo our bathroom when it was about to fall through the floorboards thanks to wet rot. I've been concentrating on paying off my student loan first anyway; that charges interest. Although I was going to make at least one more months' payment after we paid off the amount in lieu of interest.
My first reaction is 'no, i'll never learn my lesson if you let me off'. But I know that's ridiculous; I've learned my lesson already. I look after my money these days. I rarely overspend and never overspend money I can't pay back within a month or two. But I really do want to pay this off. I didn't want to borrow the money in the first place; D pointed out in the end that I was going to hurt them if I didn't accept their help, and I know we never could have afforded this place without it (trouble as this place has turned out to be). They have done so much for me over the years and I want to do something for them. Even if all I can do is to pay off this one debt, after all the others they have written off for me with a smile.
I love my parents more than I can say.
Sometimes I can't tell people how much I love them so they really understand. I say to D sometimes 'no I really love you' and he smiles and says he knows. But I wonder how anyone really can appreciate the depths of love unless it's been tested.
My parents have done so much for me and all I can do in return is to tell them I love them and say thank you.
I wish I could see them more often. But the debt repayments mean there isn't much spare cash for train tickets.
Either way, we're paid up by summer next year. It's not long. I hope I can last til then.