Last year, when we moved to Bunbeg, we were pretty happy about it for a number of reasons. Top of the list was the fact that the apartment in Bunbeg was clean, dry, and well constructed, unlike the apartment we were moving from. The condition of that one was the reason we were moving in the first place. We both would have preferred to stay in Dungloe, but there was nothing available there.
Aside from that, the area was beautiful. The beach was behind us down the hill, less than a 10-minute walk away. When walking to the library, we could take one lane that gave us a view of Mt Errigal looming up at the end of the road. We were curious to see what it would be like to live in a place where Irish is spoken as the language of choice by many people. We had high hopes. Both of us hoped that we wouldn't be moving for a while.
Sadly, it didn't take long--just a couple weeks--for us to realize that we would be looking for a place to move to once our lease was nearing its end. After a couple months, we started counting them down to the day we could start actively looking. We'd agreed that we would be willing to pay double rent for up to a couple of months if a good place came up. As the year went on, the housing market for both renters and buyers got tighter and tighter. I resigned myself to the possibility of staying there. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but I reminded myself that it was a clean, safe home and while I had problems with it and the location, these were pretty mild compared to what so many other people were experiencing. I made the best of the situation and counted my blessings. I also did what I could to get ready in case a new place did come up. I read books I'd gotten from charity shops and elsewhere, some of which I'd been carrying around for a few years. As I finished them, I donated them. This was much easier than donating 7 boxes last year after they'd built up during lockdown when everything was closed! I used up a lot of my scrap yarn. I had a lot of it--leftovers from projects made with yarn people had given me through the years. I'd had some of it since 2015! It wasn't anything a charity shop would want, so I wove squares and made kumihimo braids for a couple of larger projects. I figured it would be easier to pack squares and braids, tucking a few at a time here and there than it would be to haul a bag stuffed with balls of scrap yarn.
This focus on doing what I could at the time and accepting the situation was good for me. My agitation eased and I felt calm and at peace. And then one night Bill got an email alert about this property and we wasted no time in contacting the letting agent. And here we are.
I've decided that things would have to go seriously wrong for me to want to move again next year. I am tired of moving. But I also know from past experience that things can and do go wrong. I wait and see how things will unfold. It's been two weeks today that we handed over the keys and left Bunbeg. So far, there has been nothing like the issues that made us know we didn't want to stay in Bunbeg shortly after our arrival there. And what were those issues?
The first red flag was the furniture. It was new and apparently sent from Dublin. We got a hint of how concerned the landlord was about it on the day we started moving in. He came and introduced himself and rushed in with arm covers for the couch and love seat. I made sure to cover the rest of these pieces, too. I was always nervous about dripping tea or something on these things. Besides that, the furniture was clearly chosen for appearance and not for comfort. Both of us ended up with pain and various issues because of the furniture. It hurt to sit on the couch. But it was grey and yellow and fit the colour scheme, which was why it was chosen. Thankfully the bed was comfortable, so there was some relief there.
There was also a horrible rug that was grey, yellow, and cream. That thing was a dust magnet and I hated it. We got a stiff broom to clean it with as there is no hoover (vacuum cleaner) in the place. I would clean up the dust balls from the rug and by the time I put the broom away, more had started to settle in. How I loathed that rug!
The apartment is over a bakery/cafe. We always woke up to the smell of baking, which was quite nice. However, there were issues. When we moved in, there were a couple of tables outside. When the cafe closed, the chairs would be brought inside. A few days later, the first weekend we were there, someone came and started building a deck. All through the holiday weekend we heard the banging and sawing and all the rest of it right under our windows. Once it was built, they put several tables on the deck, including a picnic table. Now there was a hang-out spot for kids, teens, and young adults. I do not enjoy being around children and I enjoy it even less when they are right under my window screaming, throwing things at one another, kicking the soccer ball against the side of the deck over and over again, and leaving their trash around (including a dead bird). Once Bill stuck his head out the window and asked a kid to kick the ball somewhere else. The next morning when we went out, we found that an ice cream had been shoved into the mail slot. We wondered whether one of them would throw a rock at the window at some point. Things were not as bad in winter, because it rained a lot and windows were closed. Also, the tourists went home. At least some of these kids were from Northern Ireland and not local (I could tell from the number plates of the cars that dropped them off).
As they added more tables to the deck, and spring arrived, more people would sit out there both when the cafe was open and when it was closed. It could get loud--more sound layered on top of the already loud noise from the traffic whizzing by. I was often awakened early by the delivery trucks that would idle loudly outside my bedroom window.
There was no town or village centre, so nothing impeded the boy racers and others who used the road as a speedway. That was the most rural place we've lived in Ireland and it was also the loudest. Listening to quiet music was pretty impossible in summer--we simply couldn't hear it. Even with headphones on, the traffic and human noise would be heard as an accompaniment.
And both the apartment and the location were simply inconvenient. There was no freezer or oven. Everything was spread out and simple things like getting groceries or going to the library required planning and carrying heavy loads. Between that and the furniture, I learned to live with some pain all the time.
I am still getting used to not having to do those things. Even though this is a small town (population 800-ish), there are three grocery options of different types within a couple minute walk. In addition, Thursday is market day and veg man sets up his stall. The fishmonger comes and sets up his table. The butcher comes in his van, which is a wee mobile shop. There is a town centre, so we will be able to be a part of a community. The cars don't speed by and we can listen to the river flowing over the rocks or hear our music. The furniture is comfortable.
Neither of us cared for living in Bunbeg. One day, on the bus home from Dungloe, I heard a duet by Elton John playing on the radio. In it, he sang, 'Some things look better, baby, just passing through.' That became my Bunbeg theme song. It would have been a great place for us to visit for a few days.
I should say that the landlord was great. The 'structural' problems we had in the place were minor and he fixed them quickly. He's a nice guy and we liked him. It just wasn't the place for us. That said, it was an experience--or as a friend said, 'It's all part of life's rich tapestry.' As we move forward into new experiences in this new place, I think that's a good thing to keep in mind!