For the last two years I have been haunted by a house. On at least three facebook groups I belong to a house which has been for sale has kept appearing. I’ve clicked on the for sale link many times and looked at the countless pictures of the property online. I think I first found it because it has been rebuilt with natural materials – cob and clay, recycled glass bottles and hand carved wood. Another time I clicked because the pictures of the bath – freestanding with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside – caught my eye. We all know I love a bath. Last year after Scarlett and I returned from our brief trip to Northern Ireland I looked at it again and showed it to Ady because, it happens to be a house in Ireland. I never really looked at it with an intention of buying it, Ireland was never on our list of places we considered living but something about that house kept calling me.
In August when we were firming up our plans for coming off Rum over the winter the house turned up again. This time it was being advertised for sale or rent. At the time we were considering house sitting or short term rental options along with other possibilities so I got in touch with the seller. The monthly rent was fairly affordable but they were looking for at least 6 months worth of lease which definitely didn’t work for us. We had a few online exchanges but it felt like it wasn’t going to work out so we left it. In December when we decided that Somerset and Sussex were not giving us quite what we were wanting from our time away from Rum we got back in touch and discovered that actually our short term renting ideal would now also suit the owner of the house. We pondered for a day or two – as ever this was a rather impetuous and impulsive idea, not entirely thought out and rather whimsical. But it felt right. I sat in the bath in Somerset having just finished reading a particularly moving novel about life being just too short and grabbing all the opportunities that show themselves to you. And that was that. We signed a lease, paid the deposit and organised the travel plans.
I’d be lying if I said it has all fallen smoothly into place. It has been expensive, time consuming, not without all sorts of angst and hiccups and logistical problems. As with so many of the decisions we have made, OK, I have made, there have been moments where in retrospect if I’d known then what I know now I may have made different choices but surely that is what life is all about? Taking the risk, learning from the lessons and knowing that the rollercoaster always has a longer queue than the monorail for a reason!
So here we are. In County Mayo for 3 months. We’re staying in rebuilt barn with a peat-fuelled range and a clay oven providing the heating, hot water and cooking. I’m learning how to bake bread and cook meals at low temperatures. We’re on about 5 acres of farmland so Bonnie the dog and Kira the cat are free to roam once more after weeks and weeks of being cooped up inside (Kira) and walked on the lead (Bonnie). We have electricity, a washing machine and freezer (although the freezer is outside in a separate building, not quite so far away as the freezer on Rum) and a bath.
We’re getting used to euros and kilometres.
We’re making a list of things to do / see / experience while we’re here. Today we went to Galway, watched a street performer, mooched around the shops, headed to Galway bay and saw the west coast. We’re having lots of walks, talking lots about next steps (we’ll be back on Rum for the spring and summer at least), getting back into studying (Davies and I), playing cards (Ady and Scarlett), getting the crochet hook back out (me), flexing the camera button in a different location (Ady) and enjoying being in something rather more stable and secure than the caravan when the January wind and rain rages outside.