WW1 Cetenary

While World War One actually began on 28th July 1914, today, 4th August 2014, marks the centenary of Britain entering the war. More than 15 million men and women lost their lives as a direct result of the First World War. We owe these men and women a debt of gratitude and the least we can do today is stop and remember their sacrifice and be thankful that they were brave enough to stand and fight for our country and our future.

Tonight at 10pm the Royal British Legion is holding a worldwide event that anyone can take part in. Simply turn off all your lights and light a single candle in honour of those who fought, those who died and those who lived to tell their stories. There will be a candle burning in the Dandelion Patch tonight.

Lest we forget.

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Laters…

With the redundancies in the armed forces and the removal of the troops from Germany, being part of the forces community has meant saying goodbye to several regiments over recent years. Yesterday saw the disbandment of the regiment the hubster was serving with in Germany. Sadly, this has become a regular occurrence within the military in recent years.

The disbandment of this particular regiment though, has struck a chord of sadness in me that I wasn’t expecting. We spent almost six years with them and would have been there until the end if we could have been. It was a huge part of our forces life, with memories both good and bad and so many good friends.  I only wish we could have been there to say our goodbyes with everyone else.

But in this life, it is never really goodbye, only “See you later!” as we all inevitably meet again when we least expect it. That opportunity no longer exists for us as we come to the end of our forces life, but we will be staying in touch with many of our forces friends regardless.

So, with a somewhat heavy heart, I want to wish all of our friends over there, past and present all the luck in the world for their new adventures. Whether staying in Germany or returning to the UK, may you all have happy postings and find friends as wonderful as you!

 

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The washing line is raised, we are in residence.

The last few months have been absolutely chaotic in the Dandelion patch! Moving twice in three months has exhausted us physically, mentally and emotionally. But, we’re finally more or less settled in our last stop before Spain and doing our own heads in trying to make sure at least one of us has a wage coming in before September and that dreaded discharge date.

At the same time as planning our immediate future, we continue to make plans for our escape to Espana! If the weeks since returning from Germany in March have confirmed one thing for us, it’s that we want to get there as soon as possible. Our realistic plan is three years at the most, but we intend to do whatever we can to make it happen sooner. All dependent on the army and how fast things move after the Hubster’s discharge with all the red tape that follows. They don’t make it easy to get away, even after he is out, they will still be in control of our lives for a little bit longer!

In all honesty, if we had to end up somewhere in the UK, I’m glad it was here. The village is beautifully rural, the Dandelions are loving school and being close to their Grandad and the view from our bedroom may not be orange groves and ocean but it’s not a bad second.

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And the countless acres of orchards that our garden backs onto is pretty okay to look at too.

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That niggle is in the back of our minds constantly however, if we don’t make that jump soon, we will end up stuck here (I don’t want to sound “anti-England” it’s just not where we want to be). Dinoboy will be 9 this year and he is our main concern, we simply must get him enveloped in all things Spain before he reaches an age where he may struggle with the move and the language. We are very lucky in that all three Dandelions are very keen to get there too. They have spent enough time there to make that decision for themselves, they love life there as much as the Hubster and I do.

For now though, no matter how much we deny or dislike it, September 21st will be upon us before we know it, so we must concentrate on making this tiny village in Cambridgeshire our temporary home. So, to confirm we are in residence, and for everyone who knows about and appreciates my love of having a piece of line stretched from one side of the garden to the other; here is the obligatory washing line shot. We have arrived!

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Bye bye Magnolia Years!

It’s been a while since I have had chance to sit down and write. Our time here at Cottesmore has been hectic to say the least. Life has been on high speed since we came back from Germany.

First, I got my washing line!

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Then within a few weeks of arriving here we were offered a house in Cambridgeshire with a housing association, in the same village that the Hubster’s dad lives in. We accepted after viewing, and finally tomorrow, we move into our first non military home. The feeling of anticipation, excitement and outright fear is over whelming! We are another stepping stone closer to September and that final day as a forces family, it’s enough to make me want to chew my nails down to my knuckles and hit the bottle in a big way!

Having spent the last few weeks going back and forth, decorating and trying to sort out carpets and fencing for the enormous garden, we are finally on the eve before moving. We are no longer restricted to how we decorate our home. We can paint, wallpaper, put up shelves and hang pictures to our heart’s content. The time has arrived…

…the Magnolia Years are well and truly over!

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Introducing our blank canvas…

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And the field at the back…

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Yes, that little blue dot you can just about make out is the hubster and the garden really does stretch as far as you can see…

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And I also have this beautiful 1970’s style kitchen to deal with. Now I love the vintage look, but this is a bit much!

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My head is in turmoil, not just with the amount of work we have to do on the place, but with the huge change to our lives too. So I can only imagine what is going through the Dandelion’s heads facing their third home in three months! Dinoboy is my main concern, Tinks and Zoom haven’t been able to go to pre school here as we couldn’t get places for them. Dinoboy, however, has settled in and made lots of friends. He now has to go through the whole thing again. They seem absolutely fine on the outside and seem more excited than anything. I know children are very resilient and all the other well meaning things people say. But, as an adult who moved around a lot as a child, I know those feelings of nervousness are there, they may be buried deep, but they are there. I suppose I just have to trust that if they need any reassurance they will come to us. They are after all, Dandelions, they were made for this life!

 

 

End of part one.

Today we move into our new, temporary home. For the very last time in our lives, home will be where the army sends us.

So the blog will be on pause until we get sorted out and figure out our next move.

Thankyou all for reading part one. Please bear with me, this is a temporary break and I will be back for part two as soon as I can…

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Auf wiedersehen Deutschland!

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I have been asked would I change that we came to Germany if I could, because if we hadn’t come here the hubster would not have been injured. Maybe not, but he would still have gone to Afghanistan at some point and things may have been much worse. Who knows? And really, what is the point in thinking of it in that respect? It can never be changed. We have had a fantastic life in Germany and will truly miss this beautiful country and all it has taught us.

On 12th October 2008 with our trusty SFD and DinoBoy about to turn 3, we arrived in the country that was to become home. Since we met, the hubster and I had always hoped for an overseas posting and our wish had been granted. We both knew that this would be the start of a completely new life for us. One that was much richer in so many ways than the one we’d left behind and one that we welcomed with open arms.

It may have been October but it was still a warm and muggy evening when we arrived at the hotel we were to stay at before marching into our new married quarter a few days later. We wandered around Gutersloh taking in our new surroundings and sampled our first “gyros” (a type of kebab that blows away the sad old donner meat you get in England) and walked the SFD through the nearby park. I think it was the first time we had felt truly happy in our surroundings in such a long time and we knew that Germany was going to be good for us. We shared a feeling of optimism and anticipation.

In January of 2009 I fell pregnant with Miss Tinks and when she was 5 months old we had our happy little accident and found out I was pregnant with Zoom.

We arrived in Germany as three (and the SFD)…

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…and we leave almost six years later as five (and the SFD -older, but still our faithful friend).

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And were not wrong, Germany has been absolutely wonderful to us. We have made lifelong friends and life affirming decisions. The Dandelions have had an idyllic start in life thanks to this country, one that we could not have given them in England.

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And as we cross the bridge that takes us a step closer to the end of the forces chapter of our lives, we will carry with us the lessons Germany has taught us and cherish the memories forever.

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Tschuss!

Things I will miss about Germany…

One week today we leave Germany. And although they have many weird and wonderful traditions, customs and foods, there are many more that I will miss.

In Germany you can find a bakery on every corner, even within some larger department stores. Germans love their baked goods and who can blame them, they are pretty damn good at it?

These bad boys are called Laugenknotten, they are a kind of pretzel type dough, but chewier and not salty and without the crunch. I will admit to a slight addiction and fully intend to eat my body weight in them before we leave.

 

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You have probably read my ravings about the garlic mushrooms you get at the fairs here. Another wonderful German delicacy and try as we might, the hubster and I have not managed to recreate them…yet. Although he does have a German Aunty who I intend to tap up when we get back to England, she tells me she doesn’t know the secret but I feel she may be holding out on me.

 

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Rot Kohl or pickled red cabbage is another food stuff we will miss. It’s entirely different to our version of red cabbage (incidentally, my Nana makes the best English pickled red cabbage in the world!). Rot Kohl is not crunchy and quite sweet tasting rather than the sharpness of our pickles. Over here they heat it and eat it as an accompaniment to meat dishes. It goes fabulously well with a roast beef dinner or sausage and mash. But, we have found, works just as well in a salad.

 

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I could go on, there are the ice cream parlours on the corners that don’t have bakeries, the currywurst stands, the gluhwein at Christmas, the strawberries that are the sweetest I have ever tasted, the gingerbread and apfelkuchen.

But apart from food, the wonderful sense of family the Germans have is something I have never experienced in the UK, I have seen it all over Europe, but never in England. Children are welcome wherever you go here and a noisy or over zealous child is always seen as a pleasure- a child merely being a child, never a nuisance. People stop on the street and tell what beautiful children you have, in England we would find that weird, but there is almost a sense of innocence here that allows it as the norm and no harm or potential weirdness is meant.

To begin with I struggled with no Sunday shopping, I mean what else is there to do on a Sunday but wander aimlessly around B&Q buying things we don’t really need? But I have learned to appreciate the fact that Sundays are meant for spending time with eachother, relaxing and enjoying our time together.

And finally, one word~ Christmas! The entire season is just magical over here. Whether young or old they embrace the festivities and have not given in to the commercialism in the way we seem to have done. There is a feeling of magic in the air from the end of November until well into January. We have encountered some lovely traditions over here that we will carry with us and we shall definitely do our best to keep that Christmas magic alive in our celebrations wherever we live.

With our forces gradually being brought back from Germany over the next few years the chances of a posting here are becoming slim, but to anyone who has never visited this beautiful country, I urge you to put it on your list.

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