While I was engaged to Him people would often discuss living on ‘The married patch.”
In mind’s eye I envisaged communal living around a patch of grass where we washer women would toil and suckle our young, whilst The Uniforms went off to fight brave battles.
Oh wait, that is what it actually is.
“The Married Patch” Definition: Housing provided by the military for serving personnel and their families.
Generally there will be a patch of grass. It will be someones back garden. We tend to sit around drinking wine on it of an evening, as opposed to toiling.
Two weeks before Him and I said “I do.” we found out;
a) Which married patch we would be living on. One that was closing down.
b) My boss had accepted my immediate resignation.
c) Oh … And that I was pregnant.
He moved our few possessions into our soon to be married quarter whilst I served out my final days in London and then I made the train journey to view our future abode.
Our quarter was pine clad.
On the inside.
The day after our Chelsea town hall wedding we caught the train out of sticky, smoggy, beautiful London, back to the little town that would now be home for a while. As the carriages grumbled away from the platform I rested my head on the window and watched wistfully as the twinkly, grey high rise buildings were whisked out of view, along with what had been my life (a bit dramatic, but very hormonal) and replaced by rolling fields dotted with sheep and cows, the sky a cloudless, sharper blue, the trees being nuzzled by the mid afternoon breeze. I then went to sit in the toilet for the remainder of the journey to enjoy being pregnant.
That night He packed his bags, slipped into a taxi with our best man and departed on a first class flight to Singapore. Effectively he went on honeymoon with his best friend.
And that, folks, is how life as a real military housewife began for me.
He hadn’t done a runner, although in his defence, since being married I had spent awfully long periods of time spread eagled on the bathroom floor and not in the fun, crazy, newly wed kind of way. He had jetted off to Asia for a three week operation. Poor lamb.
On departure he had faithfully promised me that our new bed would be delivered the next day. This was a lie.
Look, I am fully aware that the majority of women who fall pregnant are to be found somewhere on the scale of morning sickness, but oh sweet jesus I swear I had never felt so awful in my life and that includes lengthy, tedious board meetings the day after a mid-week military hangover. With no bed, in a new house, in a strange town, with no drivers license or job and not being able to keep a morsel of food down I set up camp on the sofa. T-shirt, no bra. Tracksuit bottoms, His. Hair, didn’t care. I lay there for a week drifting in and out of morose consciousness. I wanted to die. Or so I thought.
The neighbours called the Police.
I had never met the neighbours.
The police knocked on our front door and shouted, “Police, Open up!” They did this twice before I realised the voices were not coming from the television.
Wearily I rolled off of the sofa and prised open the door to two dashing young police officers, both of whom recoiled at the sight of my sweat dried t-shirt clinging to my huge, swollen breasts and the rim of the toilet seat imprinted on my forehead. The neighbours (“A FEW OF THEM!” I hysterically screeched down the phone to Him later that day) had called the police due to not having seen Him or me since the day we had moved in. Totally a married patch kind of thing to do and kudos for looking out for me, but …
“I’m pregnant,” I belched, covering my mouth with my hand and closed the door.
Then…Then I wanted to die.
Over the course of my pregnancy the bed arrived and He continued to fly to exotic destinations for important work that involved keeping our country safe and also to eat soft cheeses and drink cold beers whilst I hid from the never ending English summer heat that eventually faded into the mildest of winters. I would lie in the dark of our bedroom wondering what the hell I had done. This was not the glamorous life I had predicted. Where were the drunken musings? The long weekends drowning in vats of vino in France up to our armpits in cheese? There were no sing-a-longs, no parties, no playing dress up, no lady of leisure, no hunky men parading around me in combats. This was all a little bit lonely and a little bit shit. Also I was craving salami.
Before I could be crowned Queen Whingebag of Martyrdom in Self Pity Kingdom I gave birth to Baby. My heart burst. Not literally. That would have had its own issues. My vagina, now that burst, that is not a lie. But as they handed the bundle over to us for the first time the most powerful of electric jolts surged through my chest and prickled the tips of my fingers and toes. the euphoric love I felt was immediate and intense. I felt utterly complete.
And also happy that I could now enjoy a selection of cold, cured meats.
Life was rosy. It was early spring and we fell into the calm chaos that is first time parenthood. Days and nights drifted into one another as we established our new relationships with each other and gently settled into our new reality in our swiss chalet of a house that had become home.
It was at this point that we had to move again.
Top Tip of the Week: When entering a house on the married patch remove your shoes immediately. In most circumstances upon moving out of your quarter to wherever your next posting is, you will pay for the cleaning of the house in preparation for the next family’s arrival. They charge by the square metre for carpet cleaning.
Carpets are often Bread Crust Beige or Winter Nipple Blush in colour. Because that’s practical. Said no military house wife ever.
Until next time xoxo