And then the was the "Mess Guests" item on the monthly Mess bill. Only a select number of officers were supposedly able to charge the costs of "hospitality" to MG, usually CO, 2i/c, PMC, Adjutant (it varied from Mess to Mess.) However, it was common for those rarified creatures to charge the costs of their own hooch to MG when hosting a guest.And also because membership of the Offrs or Sgts mess is obligatory even if you never step foot inside the place. Not so Jnrs who "use" messing facilities and the NAAFI. The half-way house is the Cpl's Club which is usually just a separate area of the cookhouse and NAAFI to avoid feeding time at the zoo.
Which brings me to the other difference. Mess balls, cocktail parties and dinners. I lost count of the amount of times I'd end up having to subsidise the social habits of the middle-aged pads and their wives by having the costs of a ball or a dinner I didn't want to attend added to my mess bill whether I was there or not. Oh, and mess related secondary duties as "Silvers Member" having to waste your time counting out and then back in the knives, forks, spoons and candelabras after each event. The highlight of those shit dits being made a member of the "Wines Committee" by a joker of a PMC who knew I never touched the stuff. In reality all he wanted was a designated driver who could stay sober enough to stay on the road while he and his mates went on wine drinking jollies in the name of "buying" the shite in France. It never occurred to him that he didn't need to dick me for this, he could have just asked nicely and I might have done him a favour anyway in return for letting me off paying a fortune for the shit parties I never attended.