Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A typical Military struggle - Missing home (LONG POST!!)

Well by home I mean my home city!! Every person who is affiliated with the military or even people who move away for work will understand how hard it is to leave a place you love so much. For some its easier, either coming from military back grounds and growing up in it, or coming from little towns where there isn't much going on anyway. For me its been the hardest thing ever because I have been spoilt. And by that I mean spoilt in where I have lived and the location.

Before I moved, I lived in a beautiful little flat in Kingsquare in Bristol that had lovely Georgian windows and was a stone throw away from the city centre, and I mean a 2 minute walk! Everyday I would look out of my window and there would always be something going on. Around the corner of the square is a place called Stokes croft which is the cultural and arts hub of the City, with live music all through the day and night, late night coffee shops, amazing food, and my favourite place Co exist, which is a massive building full of creative space and art studios which is where I spend much of my time. If ever I was bored at 9pm I would walk out wrapped up and head around the corner to Boston Tea party and grab a latte and sit on my laptop or by the window and watch the world go by, or if my now husband Chris was back, then we would go and catch one of the bands playing at the Canteen (downstairs from Coexist) late at night. No need to plan, no need for a car, was literally 2 minutes walk! 
If ever I didn't have as much money I would walk to one of the many amazing art museums that the city has, then carry on museum hopping drinking hot chocolate along the way. This is what I mean by spoilt. Spoilt by the richness of such a beautiful and friendly city. It is often said that people who come to visit never leave, and this is true! People are so excepting and friendly and fun. Every month there is an event called Make Sunday Special, where the whole city center closes and has hundreds of stalls of food, creative events for children, giant painting and bands, and giant chess!! It really is amazing. 

Whilst I have been living here within a military camp, I have struggled. I am lucky however as this is one of the nicest places, people are lovely and I have made some amazing and special friends. We share a bond that people in civvi street don't understand. However though the place has access to major cities and places, it is still very 'out of the way' for my liking. The dog often takes the same walk, you have to drive everywhere, there isn't much to walk to, the village only has limited shops and other than Shrewsbury and Birmingham, the places just don't have all the things I am looking for! I feel also, and this is just a confidence thing, that I don't feel as motivated to make an effort in how I look each day. What is the point when your walking the dog around the houses and field and you work from home. I miss being able to go out to work in my studio, or even being in a place where you want to make and effort and expressing yourself through your dress is appreciated. Again it boils down to the fact I have been spoilt by my city. 

Me being me thrives and NEEDS mental and emotional stimulation. Not just by people by my surroundings. This I guess is obvious by the fact I have moved so many times to new flats and houses in 10 years(all within a 5 mile radius!) and also traveled so much. 

This is the view from my Flat in Stokes croft! I loved it there so much,

This was one of my studios at uni, and had started to migrate to Coexist during that time

Below are some photos of make sunday special event!! As you can see it is amazing!

This is at this years St Pauls Carnival

Enjoying one of the carnivals!

This below is a typical Banksy, Stokescroft and Bristol is the home of Banksy and this particular one was outside our studio window!

I am rambling now! This is something that has gotten me down in recent weeks and so Chris and I sat down to a compromise. Marriage is a compromise and so we needed to formulate a plan that would make all of us happy. First of all we have decided to go back to Bristol every other weekend and when Chris is away I will go down for the whole of the duration. 

We spoke about the options for the future. There is always married unaccompanied which seems to have worked for many people despite them thinking it wouldn't. Its gives the children educational and emotional stability, and sets a foundation for future family life. But I don't know and nor does Chris if we could do the whole 'goodbye on a Sunday' thing again. That was the main reason we brought our wedding forward. And at the time he wasn't injured and was away so much I hardly saw him, so by moving to camp we could be together a little more. The regiment is also very busy the next 2 years, with many exercises and the possibility of another tour, and so far we have again been lucky with Chris being home due to his injury, but that will soon be fixed and we will again be back to him being away ALOT. And I mean a lot so I will be back home a lot more anyway if that is the case. 

Another option is to look at a transfer to a corps where he can get a trade. The Royal Irish have no future posting and will be based in Shropshire for the indefinite future. So we will always believing here. For 15 years more?? I am not sure my mind could take it, I feel my mental health declining! More importantly it is an infantry regiment, there have been many losses and Chris is quite frankly lucky to even be here. After being shot at that much and constant IEDs exploding around him, finding them and them not going off non of us really understands how he got through it. Same with all the people in the regiment. Sadly some of his friends didn't make it, and further more were severely injured. It is unfortunately common place and I am not sure that we can go through the worry again. I can handle him being away a lot, I cant handle the worry of it knowing that they are not back at Bastion or in a safer place, but out in some of the worst places possible. I know it seems like I am going on about this aspect, but only to highlight it as people often say 'oh its not that bad, its ok, he isnt in that much of a dangerous job' when actually the times when he is doing what he trains to do, he is. This is the main reason for a transfer. Its safer, he is home more, and it has more career progression for future. Also we will look at corps that have postings near home and go with that. As he has infantry back ground he will promote a lot quicker. No more 6 month promotion course with no communication!

Or finally we could just stay put. In 5 years he would have done 12 years and once we find out how much the 12 pension is we can decide of to take it and return to civvi street or if its worth sticking out 15 years more then we will.

All in all we have had a weekend of looooooong discussions about it, and I wish I could just be as excepting about it all like other wives are. Yes we have more security here, cheaper housing, and the ability to be there for the children more than splash out on expensive childcare. I am sure in time we will come up with a plan and I shall keep an update, but for now we are happy just commuting to our familes every other weekend! At least until they get sick of us!!

For now I leave you with a few more home snaps!!

Below is some of my fave shops!! Mostly in around Clifton village and also the Park Street! And mostly I love the vintage shops!

we even have our own Mexican shop!

Enjoying Boston Tea party! I did all my uni work there, my dissertation and spent many hours chatting and meeting people there! often for hours on end!

and trips out to Bath!

This is round one of my old flats in Clifton village and it is beautiful and this lane leads towards the city and the city museum

Chris is OBSESSED with Only Fools and Horses and Bristol is the location of Nelson Mandela house where it was filmed!! So he had to visit!

And the garages!!

Sharing a happy time by the Clifton Suspension Bridge. I spent a lot of time there, thinking up my goals and dreams!

A little indoor/outdoor nautical theme cafe in St Nicolas Market!

View looking up to my flat!! Mine is one of the windows up there!!

And here is a lady giving out free hugs outside Boston Tea party in Clifton, this was when all the city riots happened, people kept there spirits up!

This is the little studio space inside the flat where i worked and make many many things!

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