Moving, for the last time…
I sat in the car today and worked it out. Eight times in six years. I have moved Block, room, Mess and house eight times in the last six years. At one stage I had three different ‘homes’ – a shared house in Abingdon, my wife’s house in Pirbright and a room in the block at Ludgershall. I had stuff everywhere. Kit, phone chargers, stereos, clothes, trainers, shoes all over the shop…all over the bloody south of England few Chrissakes!
And now here I am. Almost a civilian, with exactly two months until I am out of the RAF an defending for myself in the real world. But finally I am in the bedroom of my last house. We ain’t bloody moving again! Here in the wilds of darkest Shropshire we are making in our home. The place where we intend to stay forever. A small village, just to the west of Shrewsbury with a fairly decent sized semi detached Edwardian house overlooking the local Churchyard. The bell tower chimes the quarter hours. It’s lovely. It’s quiet, it’s calm, it where we will make our home.
There’s a funny word. It was once wherever I laid my hat. But I grew tired of that. Yes this place is 5 times as expensive as living in a married quarter. But it’s more than five times better. The kitchen needs gutting. The two spare bedrooms need about 15 coats of paint to get rid of the old colours in them. The carpets need ripping out (and the floorboards underneath need sanding back).
But I don’t care. It doesn’t matter, because we have the rest of our lives to get this right. We spent an hour this afternoon moving a sofa from one side of the room to another and back again ‘discussing’ where it would be better going, and then I realised that it didn’t matter, because we are going to gut that room eventually and in doing so will gain more space and anyway, we won’t be keeping that sofa forever! Unlike everywhere that we have lived in the military, now that I am almost a civilian we won’t be constantly moving. We will be staying put. We will build a house…a home around us and change the bloody furniture to fit the house.
One of the things of a military life is the constant moving and the constant ‘making do’ of furniture into locations where it doesn’t really fit. What you buy for one house doesn’t fit the next and certainly won’t fit the third! But now…we are settled. Or at least will be.
I spent this afternoon down at the play-park with my daughter. We walked through the churchyard to get there, down the hill and then after the park, over the bridge and through the wood. We were then in the real countryside. Through fields with sheep, cows and a horse. I Lily ran ahead. My dog ran about the field in mad abandon. The sun gave a us enough warmth to get us to take our coats off. And I felt relaxed. Not just relaxed…really relaxed. I felt the cares of the world around me fall away. I felt stress and stains of service life drip away.
I am sure it’s not going to be a perfect idyl. I am sure we are going to face trials and tribulations along the way. I am certain that life, events and general STUFF will throw a lot at us now we are civilians, (or soon will be). Yeah, there are going to be worries; there already are…money, work (or lack of it), setting myself up in business, doubts about the future, everything that life can throw the way of anyone…but what the hey! We have a house to live in. It might be box hell right now, with not enough wardrobes and stacks of brown cardboard in every room, but bugger it. They are OUR rooms. The stuff won’t be out of place for long and it’ll be fun finding a place for it.
We’ve…I’ve lived in many places, but not many of them have felt like homes. This one does.