“I cross the threshold. I have been here before of course with measuring tape in hand, planning for this moment. And now it has come and I am taking my first step into my new life. At first, inevitably, it is a scene of organized confusion. But then it is done and I look around me. I greet my furniture, a few pictures, my remaining books, and enjoy the new relationships that they now make as I arrange my sitting room and my bedroom. I greet familiar things and ask for their companionship in a new situation; I want to welcome them, and hope that they will soon give the appearance of belonging here. I want this above all to be a place where I shall feel at home, a place that welcomes me as I step through the door, and a place where I can welcome friends, a place of hospitality.

“Just as I had a ritual for saying farewell, now I need one for arriving. To embrace the new asks for courage and flexibility; I want to make a start by seeking a blessing on the place where I shall most probably live for the rest of my life. There is a tradition of chalking on the doorpost the letters C+M+B at the time of arrival, so I make a start by putting Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Christ bless this house. I next turn to the Carmina Gadelica, because here are the prayers and praises of a people who knew so much about the interconnectedness of the material and spiritual as they experienced it in the home and in the hallowing of daily life. I find a very simple blessing:

“ 'Be Christ’s cross on your dwelling,
Be Christ’s cross on your new hearth,
Be Christ’s cross on your new abode,
Upon your new hearth blazing.'

“As I look around me a phrase from a favourite psalm comes to mind: 'the lot marked out for me is my delight' (Psalm 15). Settling in will take time, and I should expect it to be a slow process.”