Good-bye Westport

There are nomadic and settled peoples. As typical householders working from home, we're the latter; except that we move house on a regular basis. In that sense it's as though a nomadic memory from lives past still inserts an influence and preference. Now it's that time again. This latest move was prompted by our Irish landlords. Living in London where their kids attend university, Brexit's new realities now have them want to come home. Existence thus knocked on our door with the familiar whisper. "Pack up and get ye going again."

With the entire island beckoning as long as sufficiently fast Internet is available, Ivette hit up the Irish classifieds for house rentals and found us suitable new digs farther south. We're now trading County Mayo's Clew Bay with Ireland's holy mountain Croagh Patrick and the picturesque town of Westport for the delta of the Shannon river in County Clare and its town of Kilrush. Instead of overlooking Clare Island and the Atlantic behind it as we did in our first Irish residence in Lecanvey, we'll be looking onto the calmer waters of the Shannon estuary. Our new landlord is a teacher. One of his classes is in religion.

Do we enjoy moving? The process of boxing up a big household is a royal pain up the keister so the moving process itself is the antithesis of fun. The result meanwhile is the antithesis of that antithesis. By moving far enough away, we'll have new areas to explore on day trips, new endless stretches of rugged coast to discover along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Burren with its Cliffs of Moher is up to the north, the Dingle peninsula to the south. County Kerry's famous Ring route awaits and we've never yet been to Cork. Castlebar will become Ennis, Sligo turn Tralee, Galway morph to Limerick. That part of moving—discovering new landscapes, learning of new townships, meeting new people—is great fun. Right now, that's still a promise 'round the bend. Boxes are everywhere. What was our home for the past few years is quickly turning into yet another nameless house.

Voilà, the obligatory tie-in with a fine hifi. As a chance assemblage of arbitrary hardware, it's like a house – functional but anonymous. You turn it on like you turn a house key. The door opens, sound comes out. As a carefully curated intensely personalized system integrated ideally with one's room and tastes, it then becomes a home. Like a home's décor needn't please anyone but yourself, so a hifi's sound needn't impress strangers on the Internet. There's simply a big difference between a house and a home; between sound appliances and a finely tuned system. It's when you break down a household with its many little objects, disrupt placements and colors, upset personal significances and memories, remove paintings and books, plants and comfort… it's then that you see how removing them leaves energetic holes. Absences compound. Soon the holes become too many. Now all sense of home implodes. It's been replaced by a train-station feel. Boxes play suitcases. A remaining wall clock reminds you. Soon your train will arrive. You'll be off to never return. One chapter in your life closes. Another opens.

That's also how it is with a finely calibrated hifi. You can take out a little tweak here or there. If you're keenly attuned, it leaves holes. Soon your personal sense of sonic wholeness begins to fade. Of course with a hifi, one can only remove tweaks or upset placement. If one just keeps on subtracting, pretty soon the sound stops altogether. But one can live in a house without ever making it a home. As long as basic utilities figure, walls and floors can be bare, furnishings ultra minimal and generic. No need for a photo or plant, no need for any sense of décor or harmony. In facts, monks in a monastery prefer it that way.

Next week our familiar local man and his van will begin the transfer. Once we're out of all these boxes again, it'll be time to rebuild our sense of décor and harmony until Ivette calls the Feng Shui of the new house in balance and we feel like home again. It'll be our third in Eire. Cyprus the island was about eight time smaller. There's still lots to explore on the emerald isle. Just don't mention the word 'move' again anytime soon. And don't remind me that after three homes, we left Switzerland altogether. If moving big house is an enterprise, changing countries is a really big deal. So let's assume that Ireland will keep us entertained for the duration. With this strange nomadic pattern of our lives, there's simply no telling…