Tales from the Teith – Magnolia no more…


In her new, touching, funny blog, which is exclusive to Scottish Field, Moira Douglas recounts the trials and tribulations of returning to Scotland after years away as an army wife.

12 years, 11 houses, 5 countries, 2 children, 2 dogs, one Action Man. If only I had not watched An Officer and a Gentleman so many times.  In hindsight, it is possible I may just have got a little bit carried away…..

Last Summer, Action Man came back for R & R from Afghanistan. It was really quite glorious.  Oh the reunion. I just cannot tell you. There I was patiently waiting at Preston station in a red dress with heels. You know, Preston, the romance capital of Northern England.  He had a tan and lots of bags that messed up the house. He was a little thin.  We drank lots of wine and I tried to feed him up on healthy Scottish food of the fried variety and Marks and Spencers nibbles.  We went to Scotland for a holiday. The midges were really bad, there may have been some clegs thrown in and I am sure they had teeth. I cried with happiness as we crossed the border.  After Cyprus, Yorkshire, Canada, Folkstone, Shrivenham, the Falkland Islands and Preston, not forgetting the two postings back home in Scotland, we were finally back on Scottish soil. If only my little heart could have spoken. No words, just singing.

We bought a house near the hills, our very own first house. We had been looking for 4 years. It had not been plain sailing.  I had given up.  I then discovered that just when you are on the verge of giving up, the very thing that you have tried so hard to find just appears, as if by magic, when you least expect it. Sometimes, things are just meant to be. We liked it immediately, it was the walls, they are magnolia. I know a lot about magnolia walls.  The British Army love magnolia.  They buy the paint in bulk.

So here I am exactly where I want to be, in Scotland, in a lovely village near the hills and a river that has Herons.  Sometimes I see a Heron flying over my house. It stops me in my tracks and brightens up my day.  I am sure it flies slowly just for me.   Action Man says we can have a pond in our garden, he is so very good at pandering to my whims.  Oyster Catchers have started to make an appearance, early in the mornings, well before I should be waking up.  I love to hear them.  Not sure how long it will last though.


Every morning there are Ducks in my garden.  They just stare at me when I let the dog out and wait patiently for me to throw bread at them.  They have stopped getting on top of each other which is really quite a relief.  Between the ducks and the frogs in the school pond my son has been asking too many questions.  It was turning into breakfast time entertainment.  I managed to spend 2 hours one Saturday morning on Google reading about the breeding habits of birds.  Action Man made me a bacon sandwich and two cups of tea while I did my “research”.  It is really quite fascinating.  Swans mate for life and can die of broken hearts. Ducks on the other hand choose a new partner each Spring.  Action Man has been briefed that he is a Swan….he agreed quickly.  After all, Ducks can end up on Chinese restaurant menus if they are not careful.

Twelve years ago, I was like a Duck, in the mood for breeding.  We have a daughter aged 11 and a son aged 8. Action Man has hinted on a number 3.  I have suggested a new dog.  My breeding days are over.  The pain relief is not strong enough. I now have other priorities.  I planted flower bulbs in a garden that we can now invest time and money in.  No more moss covered lawns.  I also need some paint in bright colours for my magnolia house.  From now on my life is going to be magnolia no more, although magnolia does go with everything and you never get sick of it…..My husband cannot wait to get back in to his shooting and fishing after so many years of no time to follow his passions.  This is the story of a military family as they move from Army quarters and Regimental life to the new adventures of life in civvi street.

PS   I hate shooting, what is with those socks?

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