Marching Out Is Not Very Eco-Friendly!

In my head I would like to live more sustainably and more responsibly. I would like to reduce my carbon footprint and live a more ecological life but the reality is that I have my own, branded hole in the ozone layer that is not getting any smaller. I find it really tough to be an eco-warrior because the convenience of modern living and a shortage of time lures me to the dark side and I give in most times and take the easy non-eco friendly route! I am so weak!! *Self loathe, self loathe*

Yesterday, Hagar and I were cleaning our quarter to ‘March Out standards’ so that Hagar can hand it back to Defence Estates (DE) next week. It sounds very grandiose and regimented but the reality is it is fairly tedious and dull. It can also be Russian roulette as to how easily you can ‘pass’ the march out without incurring the cost of damage and error, or the nause of having to return to improve the clean because you have failed to reach the dizzy heights of March Out cleanliness. It really depends on the personality of the person who is attending the ‘March Out’ and how vigilant they are in passing the quarter. My very first March Out was inspected by a woman who was bit like an unfriendly, lemon sucking version of Kim from the TV show How Clean Is Your House, who, equipped with white gloves, ran her fingers inside the window seals, then failed me because they were dirty and the garage had a leaf in it. Grrrrrr! Witch!

Over the years and having done several I am now more aware of what is expected, how to achieve it and also whether my naivety is being taken advantage of by a jobsworth, with an over inflated sense of power. In the past I have thrown cash at the problem and paid someone else to do it but as we are trying to save money we decided to do this clean ourselves. Time is fairly tight as always and so we had to clean as efficiently, quickly and effectively as possible therefore the only solution was to pour bleach on the problem because they need to be as sparkly clean as feasibly possible. Bleach destroys the environment. It’s like soooo bad! *say in voice of Vicky Pollard*

But nothing is more annoying than having to pay DE with their typical 800% mark up on anything they have to do themselves. Example – two March Out’s ago they charged us £70 to get 3 yale keys cut because we didn’t return the full set of three!

So yesterday, I bleached, scrubbed and vacuumed. The worst job is the oven so with the help of some industrial oven cleaner I degreased the oven. I am not sure that they will even pass the oven and we may end up having to pay the £80 to get it professionally cleaned. The thing that riles me a little bit is that the quarter was not in the greatest nick when we arrived so I will be mightily pissed off if we have to pay to get the carpets steam cleaned as they were pretty shabby from the outset.

I am still feeling guilty about the bleach but needs must. We still have a bit more to do but fingers crossed it makes the grade.

Now I am living in a house with a sceptic tank and so we can’t use any bleach based products because it upsets the balance of the tank by destroying the bacteria in it. I might approach Ecover and see if they fancy sending me some free products so that I can promote their bleach free products. When I worked for the yachtsman, Mike Golding he was sponsored by Ecover and I was lucky enough to have a tour of the factory where they made the products. Ecover built the world’s first “ecological factory” in Malle (Belgium). The factory is made entirely from recycled and recyclable materials and recycles waste water which is returned for use in the factory using a windmill pump. The grass-covered roof has insulating properties which saves energy and supports a wildlife garden. The roof was included by the architects as a functional piece of the designs. The factory also included grass banks and reed beds around the factory to help it merge into the countryside.

I do use their products already but I wouldn’t be confident they would be the industrial strength needed to make the March Out grade. I am a long way from reducing my carbon footprint. Even with ecological aspirations I still have to earn a living by conventional methods which involves a lot driving and traveling. I am not giving it all up to live the Good Life – it’s more living in the country, thinking about doing some gardening, maybe getting a dog and chickens – and I might plant some vegetables eventually. Still thinking about how to turn over the land – buying two pigs aka weaners is still the firm favourite but I am not sure this will happen this year.

If I think my hole in the ozone is bad. Hagar’s is even badder!! (Yes, I know badder is not really a word!) He’s flies a Chinook – godammit they are burning up the ozone at 225 revolutions per minute. The Padre told me a funny story. In a bid to become more ecologically aware the RAF fellas at High Wycombe have purchased a fleet of Toyota Prius in order to reduce their carbon footprint. *Shakes head, walks off smirking* I don’t know ….I think I have heard it all now.


  1. We’ve always treated our septic tanks with total disrespect and haven’t had any problems. The one in France hadn’t been emptied for at least 10 years – and still hasn’t been. I used to religiously put Eparcyl down it every months until I forgot. It was nearly 5 months until I noticed but it hadn’t started to smell so I just left it. It had nothing put in it for 4 years and was fine. When we moved here I specifically requested a house that didn’t have a septic tank. ‘Oh no’ said the agent when we looked at River Cottage ‘it’s on mains drainage’. A noxious odour started to eminate from a drain cover by the back door so we called the agent. ‘Oh that will be the septic tank. It probably need emptying’ Damn and blast! We are the only ones in our row of cottages to still be on a septic tank. The guy who came to empty it said that bleach was fine but an oxygen based one was better and not to worry about it too much. Maybe we just have very well balanced internal flora or something.

  2. £80 for 3 yale keys? I know a guy who’d do all 3 for under £20! Shame How Clean Is Your House is no longer running… you vould have called in Kim and Aggie and let them do it for you. I’d love to see them facing off with the Military if their cleaning proved not to be up to scratch.

  3. My ozone hole isn’t too big since I only got a driving licence at 33 when I was here and nine months preggers with no 2 because the public transport here is terrible. And I drive a Honda Fit which is okay I suppose. But living in USA means we fly to Europe or somewhere at least once a year so that means my hole is big in that sense. That sounded rude and I didn’t mean to be for once.

  4. Thank God I no longer have to survive the dreaded march out. Husband and I only did it ourselves once, it was enough: after that we paid someone else to do it, if the quarter failed it was their problem. We just walked away. The trouble with a house of your own, where you no longer move every year or so is that you don’t get a completely clean house regularly (ever) and you don’t clear out your stuff. Both the dust and the clutter are getting thicker after seven years – the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.

  5. Hi, just found your blog today!

    Living in our first MQ and I’ve heard so many bad march out stories so I guess we’ll be getting a bill when we move out until we learn how it goes! Wouldn’t mind but our house was more dirty when we moved in than it is now!

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