Farewell Army Quarters

I was pondering today whether I miss living in SFA (Army married quarters) and came to the conclusion that although I miss some things, I really don't miss others!

I DO miss some of the social events. The Army community is skilled in going from 'fancy a barbie?' to mobilising the whole street in a matter of minutes and there is no denying that it is comforting being surrounded by trained killers Great for security!) and wives who have so many shared experiences. The other big plus is that it's so cheap. Our last house - four big bedrooms, study, big garden, garage etc. cost us less than £300 a month - I kid you not!

What I don't miss is magnolia paint, the lack of diversity (herded together by rank - I only ever met other Colonel's wives of my age), no children (away at boarding school or adult by the time their father's have achieved the age necessary to achieve the rank), no old people, HAVING to go to events at which wearing a ball-gown was a must (before you think 'that's disingenuous - try dashing home from work to get trussed up to spend a dull evening with people you wouldn't choose to be with) an unnatural number of old Etonians.....

But the thing that I found hardest (other than the lack of en suite bathrooms and the fact that doing anything with a garden was pointless because you'd always be moved on before you saw it grow) was the lack of privacy. There was no anonimity, at all, ever. One particular wife would lie in wait (she didn't work) and literally pounce when I drew up from work EVERY DAY. If we didn't open our curtains by 9.00 a.m someone would come round to 'make sure you are alright'. If someone in the close had a row, we'd all know the details. For some it spelled 'community', for me, it felt cloying.

I know women who have lived 'behind the wire' for ALL of their adult lives. They've never mowed their own lawn, painted their own bedroom, packed to move or made any friends beyond their fellow Army wives. There is a conspiracy of silence about 'stepping off' (leaving the Army), as if saying it would make it real, and oh how they feared the civvy life on the other side of the fence. Me? I'm loving it - but then we carefully planned our exit. We had lovingly maintained our friendships outside the Army, Mr. S had an exciting job lined up and we moved to our own home in the town where I had worked for two years, just a few miles away from where we grew up and where our friends and family are. Apart from being able to exercise our taste in our home and Mr. S going to work in any colour he likes, rather than khaki, remarkably little changed but now our front door is ours!

  Wills & Kate's wedding day. The 'patch' party.

Waving swords around....

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