Tales from the Teith – Healed by a home…


I have had my own home for 6 whole months. There is no posting talk on the horizon.  None of my friends have been posted away and no new faces have moved in.  My son has his name down on the list for Cubs and I feel confident that by the time a place is available we will still be living at the same address. I feel very contented with my life and my treasured lily bulbs and poppy seeds are growing at the front door.  Last year, my son snapped all the heads off.  He said he could not help it.  He has been warned.  I can screech louder than an Oystercatcher if ruffled.

My years living in Army quarters and private hirings now feel like another life, almost as if I imagined the whole thing.  It is as if that by moving out of the Army patch environment, I have come off a rollercoaster that was full of dramatic highs and deep down lows.

I have not attended a single coffee morning  (I am really missing the cakes) and there is no thrift shop where I can find Boden clothes for £2.  Free Army gyms are a distant memory and my fond memories of a Brandy Sour in the Cyprus Mess going straight onto Action Man’s magic mess tab and a double gin and tonic costing 50p in The Falklands mess come to mind when I now have to pay £4 for a glass of wine in the local pub.

If I want to go on a treadmill I will now have to pay membership fees for a gym that is not walking distance and it might be busy. Gone are the days of the 0800 repairs line which is open to all MOD occupants 24 hrs a day. I mean, for goodness sake, if my boiler breaks I will have to pay for it myself.

Psychologically though, after the first few exciting years of moving around, I was not very good at being a tenant even though I lived in some lovely houses in lovely areas and I met some very interesting people.  To me, it was money down the drain and life felt very temporary and plans could change at the last minute.  All I wanted more than anything else was to put down roots.

Last week my son asked for shelves and I have tentatively mentioned the “Ikea” word to Action Man.  In his eyes, being dragged around a shop provide grounds for divorce.  He does over dramatise things and he really should not complain. If he plays his cards right I will let him choose the flavour of our scented candles and buy him some meatballs at the end.

Exactly this time last year I had a heavy heart.  I had to say goodbye to Action Man for 6 months. The build up was horrendous. It was such a relief when he went. I hid all his shoes away so I had no reminders and I felt completely drained with life. It was time to make the decision on whether or not to send our daughter to boarding school.   My heart leaned more towards a home rather than the boarding school fees and we could not afford to do both.  When it boils down to it the choice every Army wife has to make is either to live with her husband and send her children to boarding school or live with her children and pack her husband off to the mess during the week, like a grown up weekly boarder.

The sailing club, Loch Venochar

The sailing club, Loch Venochar

Admittedly this morning when my daughter hit her brother over the head with a cereal packet because he had threatened to spit in the box and told him she hated him, I wistfully thought of a life without the morning school runs.  Action Man and I spend weekends going to and from rugby, swimming and drama lessons. The planned Summer activities will revolve around the sailing and cricket clubs.  There are the endless requests for tea parties and sleepovers. Last week I drove for a hour to pick up my daughter early from a very wet and wind blown guide camp.

Drowned out Guide Camp at Blanefield.

Drowned out Guide Camp at Blanefield.

So a year on I come “home” every day to my own house and my heart is nearly healed.  Action Man is the missing piece.  He is living in limbo.  He feels like a visitor in his own home, coming only at weekends, living out of a bag.  This may change in about 5 weeks.  He may be home for good. He said something about the Friday fish suppers coming to an end, along with TV dinners and the introduction of stricter bedtime routines.  I sort of ignored him, he quite simply cannot be serious….

Moira Douglas

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