It is that time of the month which means a few days ago I was in the grip of pre-menstrual tension.

Here are the things that annoyed me during this period (no pun intended)

1. Being left without cash or any means of accessing it easily. When I asked my husband to leave me some he asked how much I needed. Not wise when PMT is in the building. I wanted to spend because I wanted to access the joys of retail therapy. What was this “need” word all about? I took it as him resenting giving me anything which I now accept was not the case.

2. The way that if my OH or children leave me in whatever strop they are currently in, they get on with their days of work, play, laughter and learning whilst I brood on their moods.

3. When I am trying to talk, my children interrupt me as if what I am saying is of no interest at all. Meanwhile my husband is falling asleep in his chair. T

4. I appear to be the only person who seems capable of taking things up or down stairs when needed.

5. How the vast majority of housework falls on me even though I do not make the majority of the mess. The ridiculous claim from my husband that he does 30-40% of the housework. Unpicking this, he does not define tidying up as housework and believe me there is a whole lot of that in this house and I do it.

6. The little darlings neglecting to flush the loo or put things in bins.

7. How pets are often more trouble than they are worth.

8. How despite doing housework every day, the house remains always in need of more.

9. My OH saying he would book a day off so I could go off and do something for myself and then putting work first and not doing so.

10. My OH telling me I am in a mood. It is a syndrome which is a very different thing to a mood altogether.Of course, now I feel much better but sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if we only really see things clearly when in the grip of pre-menstrual tension.

I am finding that my pre-menstrual tension is getting much worse presumably as I hurtle headlong towards the next joy of the menopause. It does not last as long but it is more explosive than before.

Do you experience pre-menstrual tension? How do you manage it? What gets to you at that time of the month?

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Pre-menstrual Tension And Things That Annoy Me

Punishment for sailors

Today, Dad’s memoirs show how he could be a very naughty sailor and sometimes learned a sailor’s lot was not a happy one.

Life in the RAF Station for a sailor meant that discipline was relaxed. We had no Navy Officers or NCOs to supervise us and we could get away with things that we couldn’t dream of in a Navy ship or base. RAF Officers left us alone as we were something of an anomaly. We were aware that if we committed a breach of the rules the RAF could not punish us but would have to return us to our Navy base for trial and punishment. Naturally if we did anything really serious they would not hesitate to send us back but we knew that minor infringements would be overlooked.

Service dress was a prime example. Although when we sailors set foot outside the camp we had to be absolutely properly dressed, when we were inside the camp we realised we could get away with not being properly dressed. It gave us a kick to know that we could flout the rules without reproach Bear in mind that in the three services in those days only Officers could wear civilian clothing. Other ranks had to wear uniform at all times except when on home leave.

By the time a few weeks had passed we sailors had shed some parts of our uniform and other bits so that eventually I was wearing Navy trousers, hoes and jumper but had divested myself of the jersey, silk collar and hat and had replaced these with a khaki battle dress jacket bearing Royal Navy on each shoulder and with a white silk scarf round my neck.

I remember a few months later on leaving to return to the Navy I had to have my card signed by various departments as part of my leaving routine. I reported to one officer who from behind his desk looked me up and down and asked me if I dressed like that back in the Navy. I looked him straight in the eye and said “Certainly Sir” Obviously he was not fooled but like I said, what could he do about it? When I left the next day, I was the perfectly dressed sailor “pusser” as it was known in the Navy i.e. by the book.

On one occasion a couple of us Navy men did suffer punishment by the RAF. It was evening meal time in the massive eating hall and the RAF food was excellent. It had been fried fish that evening and with two or three RAF colleagues we were yarning around the dining hall after the meal. With cups of coffee (another luxury we did not have in the Navy) we pulled out cigarettes, handed them round and lit up. The RAF men joined in but pointed out that smoking in the eating hall was forbidden. “So what” we said “we’re fireproof”

How wrong we were; along came the Duty Orderly Officer and a RAF Sergeant and told us to extinguish the cigarettes which we did. He then told us that he knew he could not punish us matelots but he could certainly put the RAF men on a charge. We said that was unfair. He said the only alternative was for us matelots to accept his punishment. We succumbed. The punishment was to wash the trays which had cooked in there the evening meal.There were over a thousand personnel at RAF Bassingborun and there were hundreds of greasy, fishy cooking trays, stacked six foot high all round the kitchen. It took us while nearly midnight to complete the job and we stank of fish for days. The Officer had made his point. We did not smoke in the dining hall thereafter.

    What I learned at BritMums Live 2014.

    I was keen to be in room 4 for all the workshops on offer at BritMums Live. I want to become a published writer. I know that video is probably the way forward but have bottled it to date. I know I could do more to understand technical issues.

    I understand the speakers themselves and/or BritMums will be sharing the lessons from the individual workshops but these are the things I picked up that I hope will help me move forwards this year.

    1. It is not unusual to put off writing when you love writing. You must find ways to actually write if you are to be successful. Some ideas will just come to you but others will take more work and people-watching.

    2. You have to approach a literary agent in a business-like manner making it obvious with your first line and a few chapters on why they should take you on. Being different will help. You may need to be flexible and not react aggressively if agents and publishers suggest changes to your first manuscript.

    3. Video is possible however inexperienced you are. You should experiment and see what works best. You can try things out on your family first before taking the leap into letting the general public or your blog readers in on the act. Keep videos short and engaging and don’t forget you can edit them. Be aware of the distracting mess in your background – oh that’s just my rubbish housework standards then! Just as in blogging, you are allowed to be you and to vlog it your way. There is good equipment that can help and there are generous spirits like @nigelcamp who are keen to share their tips.

    4. You can acquire free pictures to use on your blog and thereby avoid allegations of photo theft.

    5. Self-publishing is much more accessible and affordable than every before. I came away determined to write and publish an e-book and to see where that journey takes me.

    6. You don’t need to be scared of the tech stuff – you just need a kind soul to explain it to you. Some of it is really important. I was not doing quite a lot of it! For me, it is always about the words but I have realised I neglect tech stuff to my peril.

    7. Niche blogging can lead to success. I know this is true and plan a niche blog sometime this year. Having said that, I have managed to find work, readers and awards without having a particular niche apart from the life and times of a moody, middle-aged mum. I think sometimes being you works best and only you have the niche on that one! They say cream rises to the top and I think good content and genuine hearts do too.

    8. I was reminded by Emma Freud that anything is possible if you work hard enough, use your creativity and resourcefulness and sometimes blag it a bit too.

    9. Benjamin Brooks-Dutton described so well how very complex and fascinating journeys of grief can be. I agree that laughter is as much a part of it as the tears. Our lost loved ones must always be our lips.

    10. The bloggers’ keynotes reminded me that life is a series of big ups and deep downs for lots of us. So many work miracles all the time. Let’s celebrate strong characters who keep on keeping on in good times and bad.

    So as ever at BritMums Live, I learned things I did not know, I gained practical tips to move me forwards and I left humbled and that bit better in myself than last year.

    Today my Dad talks about carrying out a scam as a sailor to get leave from the Navy, hitch-hiking and flying home on leave.

    The RAF was more generous in allowing weekend leave than was the Navy and in any case we had a “scam” going on which gave us extra weekends. With the RAF, to leave camp one had to have signed by one’s section Officer a leave card which indicated the time of leaving camp and the time of return. If you wanted an extra weekend one of the RAF men in our section a London Jew named Greenbaum (his rank was a lowly aircraftsman) would expertly sign my leave card with a fictitious name followed by Flight Lieutenant. This got you out of the camp.

    It was a tedious journey in those days to get from Bassingbourn to Yorkshire. All unofficial leave had to be at one’s own expense and I was always short of money. Hitchhiking was the only way but road traffic was very thin on the ground. I had to find my way to the Great North Road (the A1) about 30 miles away by thumbing and then thumb my way 150-160 miles to home. The A1 only was wide enough for two lanes of traffic, one in each direction and having to keep changing cars, it was usually an eight hour journey home and the same back.

    I realized that if I could get to London to where in Edgeware Road the Great North Road started (actually at Marble Arch) I could more easily get a Northbound lorry that with luck would take me as far as Wakefield in one hop about 4 and a half to five hours away.

    The next thing was getting to London but this could be done by cadging a lift on a King’s Flight plane. The various planes left frequently to pick up their VIP passengers at Northolt in West London and so on various occasions I flew as the sole passenger in magnificently furnished aircraft to Northolt, flashed my false pass to the guard on the main gate to Northolt and was easily able to hitch a passing life to Hyde Park onto the Edgeware Road and home.

    Unfortunately the return journey was a more mundane hitch-hike as I could never rely on there being a flight available at Northolt. In any case as VIPs were constantly in and out of Northolt security for entry was quite strict and my false pass may not have stood up to scrutiny.

    My Dad’s first flight was a King’s Flight.

    Today Dad recalls his first flight in a plane which took place when he was a teenage sailor and it was the King’s plane!

    All the aircraft received a lot of attention and maintenance as they had to be constantly available and in spic and span condition. I recall one occasion when the King was to use his personal Dakota one weekend. We, that is our Safety Section, were detailed to polish the aircraft. The Dakota was an unpainted version meaning that the outside consisted of bare aluminium panels. It was our duty to metal polish the entire outside of the aircraft top to bottom, front to back, wings and all so that it looked like a mirror.

    Several of us were hoping to go on weekend leave on the Saturday but couldn’t go until the job was finished. So we started on Friday and continued working all through the night until we finished on Saturday morning to go on leave. The reflection of the early morning Sun on the aluminium panels was blinding. One wondered if the King even noticed.It was in one of these King’s Flight planes, a Dakota, allocated to the United Nations that was the first time I ever flew. We in the Safety Equipment Section learned that one of the Dakotas was to be be test flown after a major service crewed by a pilot and a flight engineer. Three of us Navy men persuaded the pilot to let us go up as passengers and then persuaded the Section Sergeant to turn a blind eye to our absence for a hour or so. In those post-war days there was a lot of breaching of regulations and things happened with a wink and a nod.

    And so we joined the crew of the Dakota which was fitted with about 30 seats. The pilot and engineer were in the flight cabin but left the door to the saloon part open so that we could peer over their shoulder. We were excited as the planes took off and were scrambling to look through the windows on either side to see the homes and fields diminishing as the planed gained height.

    As we flew the pilot or engineer called out various features that could be seen below. The cities of Cambridge, Ely, Ipswich, Norwich. The rivers, roads etc. Suddenly we passengers panicked because as we looked out along starboard wing we saw that the propeller of that engine was stopped. We imagined crashing to earth 10 000 feet below and although we were parachute packers there were no parachutes in the plane. However, the pilot told us not to worry as feathering the propellers one at a time was, of course, part of the test procedure (A Dakota could fly on one engine). After a circular tour of the Fen country we returned safely to ground.

    We were subsequently offered the chance to go with a Lancaster or Liberator to Singapore as a cabin crew member but this would mean a 12 day round trip and leave would have to be taken to do it. I was not prepared to forfeit a two week leave to go.