Seven years ago, Juliet and I met online desperately seeking answers! Having just found out that we were moving to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, we were full of questions: what furniture should we take, what would the houses be like, did we need to ship winter coats, should we stock up on anything in case the local shops didn’t sell it…?
Aside from having a marvellous sense of humour, I soon discovered that Juliet is also the master of quotes. My personal favourite was: ‘Stick a fork in me, I’m done”. That pretty much summed up the hot and sweaty summers in Cyprus. Tina came along a year later and I will also never forget my first proper meeting with her as I thought my daughter, who had been playing ball with Tina’s dog in the searing sunshine, had killed said dog from heat exhaustion….
We shared the same horrors of the welcome pack, which detailed such niceties as: what to do in the event of an earthquake and you might find snakes, scorpions, Cyprus widow spiders and processionary caterpillars in your garden, as well as cockroaches in your house! And boy did we find cockroaches! To this day, I still remember many stories about them; including one from Ali, who woke up to use the bathroom and found one of the offenders sat on her toothbrush! Ali, if you are reading this, imagine, if you hadn’t needed a pee that night….or if this was not the first night said cockroach had befriended your toothbrush….!
We shared the same experiences of living on a military base overseas, which was not unlike a colonial lifestyle with plenty of socialising and heat, where pretty much everyone knows everyone and every need is catered for; a cinema, a bowling alley, a school, a doctors, a dentists, a gym, shops, hairdressers, florists etc. We met teachers, midwifes, doctors and dentists on a professional basis in the morning and then found ourselves rubbing shoulders with them on the beach in the afternoon, or in the Mess in the evening; dreading the day we needed a smear test or some other personal trial! We saw and supported our amazing friends who were coping with the worries and physical pressures of being left on their own for months at a time; looking after children by themselves, thousands of miles away from the support of their families, whilst their husbands were serving overseas.
And now, the three of us are back to the rain and normality! Based in Kent, Cornwall and Cambridge we chose to live outside the wire and want to reminisce with and hear from you. Whether it is about Cyprus, being a military wife at home or overseas, adjusting to life in civvy street, coping for months on your own, or something quite unrelated, we want your comments. Whether it’s about the Med, the MoD or just plain mad, we want to hear from you!