RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Living In vs Living Out…

As you will know, as it’s the only thing I have been banging on about for a while now, is that I have moved out the Sergeants’ Mess and into a rented house. I am sharing with a mate who works elsewhere on station.

Both of us are in a similar situation in that we are technically “single” (although both in long term relationships) and have kids from our previous marriages. Living in the Mess makes seeing them – and more importantly them staying over – very difficult…it’s hard to have kids – no matter what their ages – in a building that is not designed for them.

So, anyway, for your benefit, and maybe for mine too, I have decided to list the advantages and disadvantages of living in the Mess…


  • It’s easy for access to work – 10 minutes to walk from the Mess to work and back. Commute? Pah!
  • Every meal is potentially an all you can eat buffet. If you want to be a greedy sod, well, you can. The food is fantastic and there is plenty of it.
  • The accommodation and food bills are very cheap. I was paying about £2 a day for my room and £3.50 a day for my food. Which is a real bargain.
  • The facilities are all provided for you, coffee machine, newspapers, Sky TV with a big TV…in the BAR that is just downstairs…that sells a pint for about £1.20. Again, a bargain.
  • There is a great social feel to the place. And a lot of business gets done there over mealtimes and over a coffee in the ante-room. People bump into each other and discuss issues and come up with answers to them.
  • Meals are all prepared for you – just walk in and chose what you want from the servery. No waiting about, no cooking, just pick it and go and eat it!
  • There is no washing up. In fact the Stewards even clear your table for you are you finish your plate. Nice.
  • It’s easy living. You have your own space in which you can do pretty much what you want to. If you want your own furniture you can get it in, or you can live light and have the Service provided furniture. You never need to worry about a wardrobe as all rooms have built in ones.
  • Some rooms have an en-suite, whilst ALL have a sink in the corner, and the rooms are a fairly decent size to give you some personal space.
  • You never need to worry about anything going wrong – you tell the staff at reception and they send a workman round to fix whatever has gone wrong.

But there are disadvantages:

  • Whilst they say you have your own space – it’s not really a LOT of space, and it’s not really your own. Technically the room can be inspected (although in the Sgts Mess it very rarely is).
  • You don’t have your own shower/bath or toilet. You have to plod down the corridor with a towel wrapped around you and hope that no-one is using the shower.
  • You live communally. This effectively means that you have a public toilet in your “house”. Just imagine…SOME people don’t clean the loo after they have used it…
  • Washing. You have washing machines provided, but well, firstly finding one that is empty to put your stuff in can be difficult, and then there’s the emptying issue. You might have to empty someone else’s stuff before you put your own in – and that might be a girl…and then you might have to handle, well, you know girlie items of clothing…and they are not your partners girlie items…always a potential for embarrassment…
  • Your mealtimes are fixed and pretty much your day revolves around them. If you don’t eat when they are, then the only options you have are to (a) go hungry or (b) have a cold snack from the Spar shop or (c) get unhealthy takeaway.
  • You don’t get to cook or prepare your own food. If you have a specific diet you want to have the Mess can try and help, but only try and can never guarantee that you will get what you want or how you want it.
  • Other people’s noise can get on your wick…the noise from the TV/stereo next door can travel through walls and down corridors.
  • Oh and then there’s Mess functions that go on down stairs as you are trying to sleep…NOT to mention the occasional Karaoke events…
  • Visitors are welcome, but kids in the Mess are tolerated at best, and the whole building is not designed for them. Communal showers and toilets are not child friendly.
  • You have to commute. Even if you move out and live in the local village, there’ll still be a commute which will limit your ability and flexibility. Particularly when it comes to social events; the logistics of living away from base mean that after work beer calls are not as much fun or else are a major deal to sort out getting home from after.

Hmmmm. Lots of advantages, but also lots of disadvantages…but then it’s a bit like life isn’t it? We all have to make choices about what we do and where we live.

The facilities we have where we live also depend on how much we are willing to pay, and the effort we are willing to put in for the payback…In my case right now, the disadvantages well outweigh the advantages and I am thoroughly going to make the most of living out and I can handle a 30 minute commute for the benefits of having my own space and being able to cook what I want, when I want, and the most important thing of all…having more than four walls to look at!


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5 thoughts on “Living In vs Living Out…

  1. this is very intresting life in the RAF on a non pilot staff seems you enjoy your family thats very good i thank you for updates etc on twitter photos of life etc this gives anyone thinking of going in the RAF what lifes like
    food photos are needed we want to see RAF FOOD i think of bbc comedy GET SOME IN he he top show of its day

  2. ALAS! Moggy, it would be bad form to use a camera in the Mess dining room, particularly at mealtimes. It’s not done to have a phone at the dining table, and I would not like a fine in the bar of a bottle of Port…

    But thank you for the nice comments about the content, I will of course be keeping it up as time goes on! (And I remember ‘Get Some In’ too…only just but I remember it…”Fag for the Cpl!”)

  3. Big Brother on said:

    You have forgotten to mention the Mess Bills that seem to get more expensive every month, especially around Christmas time!! Paying for a washing machine that you will never see, let alone use!!

    • Tell me about it. Mine this month was nearly £30…but to avoid the expense of the Xmas Draw tickets on the December/January bills, we now have a scheme where we pay £5 a month every month. That way the Mess guarenteed to get an income before they need to buy prizes AND have a pretty good idea of how much they are gonna get.

      Last year they raised £18,000 before the month of December. Made for some ace prizes. Not that I won any of course…

  4. WELL i understand low pay and high cost of living i have all my stuff on the never never ,,its the only way to keep a standing of living in your lifes don,t ever be ill i say as i am
    still do you see me going down hill and upset ? follow my twitter and find out he he he
    still i think of the folks overseas fighting the war ,just doing there jobs moggys thoughts are wiith them all

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