PrintGrin and bare it.  That is what I am doing today as I share my reasons to be cheerful.

1.  We have introduced earlier bedtimes which means we are getting slightly more time together as a couple so we remember who we are.

2. I managed to put something approaching an Egyptian costume together for my son for school at very short notice.  You may think it involved a big girl’s blouse and a scarf from the Eighties but I couldn’t possibly comment.  The genuine pendant and chain from my brother’s holiday in Egypt set it all of nicely.

3. I had Eggs Benedict in town the other day at a lovely café in the square ideal for people-watching.  Also spent some time sitting on a bench and reading the wonderful Judas Scar and you can read my book review.

4.  I attended an appointment about volunteering and think I can be of use to the organisation concerned.  I think I may have babbled on too much, one of the inevitable consequences of spending way too much time on my own.

5. I reached out to someone I thought might have fallen out with me.  It was just my imagination so all is resolved now.

6. Did I mention I am going to France next Friday?  I am looking forward to some proper relaxation with fine food and wine and sunshine.

7. I have written about feminism and hairy legs on the blog this week.  Too often, I don’t end up sharing opinion pieces on the blog and I want to do more of this type of stuff.

8. I am really enjoying Instagram and also looking through old photographs full of magical memories.  I also bared all leg wise on Instagram because I can.

9. A naval historian has kindly offered to check over my Dad’s memoirs in case I am mis-reading the handwriting and getting place names and technical stuff wrong.  Also the association for people involved in Safety and Survival have said they will promote the memoirs.  This is so important to me.  I want to see Dad’s stories getting to the people who will find them of interest.

10. We had a brief meeting in school and are having another to move matters forward about my daughter who has not settled in and is being very verbal about her views of the other staff and pupils.  I am worried but at least we are communicating and trying to move things forward.

11. The children have gone to after-school club this week because I just don’t cope very well in this heat.  I am pleased that my husband understands that and puts in place the things I need.

12. We have finally had my teen son’s options confirmed again after taking action and chasing it up.  He is not getting all the ones he wants but there is still a good balance and I am looking forward to supporting him in the next school year.

13. I have picked up some Ebay bargains just in time for pay day.  These include a folding table and chairs for our tiny kitchen, two leather look chairs and footstools for the lounge and a storage thing for homework and school letters.

14. I have enjoyed more time on Twitter and connecting with bloggers in various ways.

Au revoir and all that!




Do you shave your legs? Have you heard of the Hairy Legs Club?

There is a new social media thing going on where women are posting pictures of their unshaven legs.  Other women are saying they would never do such a disgusting thing.

I am confused.

And then the fun began...

I have shaved my legs probably less than 10 times in my entire life.  From the way people are going on, you would think that I would need to plait my leg hairs or put them in bobbles.  It is a wonder I am not tripping up my long leg hairs as I walk down the street.

On the occasions I have shaved my legs, the motivation has come from trying to please a bloke or trying to avoid judgement from other women.  Since I have never felt the need to ask a bloke to shave his legs, why should I shave mine?  If women judge me harshly merely based on hairs on my legs, I think that is really sad.

If you do shave your legs and get something for you out of doing so great.  If you don’t that is equally fine by me.  It is your body after all.

Part of what bothers me is the language used when this topic is discussed.

The female presenter used the word “brave” about people who leave their legs unshaven.

Brave means ready to face and endure danger or pain.  Shaving can cause pain.  What real pain or danger applies if we don’t shave our legs?  So no I don’t think being hairy is brave.

Brave people for me are those who take on real challenges or keep on keeping on when life throws curveballs their way.

Only 18 per cent of the people joining in the ITV This Morning survey said they would “dare” to not shave.  The word dare is linked to the word courage which involves facing fear.

So what frightens some women into shaving their legs?  Anything? If you know, can you leave a comment so that I can understand.

So now you know if you did not do so before that I am “disgusting” but that must also mean that I am so very brave and daring that I am due some Pride of Britain type award right?

Hairy Legs Club


1. Men won’t fancy you if you have hair on your legs

2. You will never get on in a job or in blogging if you don’t shave

3.  You will never have friends if you don’t shave your legs.

4. People will constantly verbally or physically abuse you for not shaving your legs

5. When we meet, I always look at your legs

Not that brave then after all!









hmsoceanmpl806Today Dad finally joins HMS Ocean aircraft carrier fulfilling his wish to serve at sea.

I joined ship in Marsaclok via a Jacob’s ladder from the ship’s boat.  Like everyone else my gear was hoisted aboard in a wire net by the ship’s crew.  First of all I had to find out where I was meant to live whilst aboard.  I followed the others along the decks and down ladders until we reached the 805 Squadron mess deck.  This located, I had to go back to the flight deck to collect my gear which consisted of my large kitbag, hammock, tool box and quite unofficially a suitcase containing all that I had bought to eventually take home with me.  This mainly consisted of tinned food which could be bought in Malta at that time whilst people in England were that on wartime rations.

Sam Turner was already aboard and I joined him on the mess deck for a pot of tea, a fag and a natter.  The mess deck was right in the fore part of the ship, two decks below the flight deck.  It occupied the full width of the ship about 40 feet wide at that point and was roughly square except that it occupied three sides of a structure that housed the ammunition conveyor mechanism to the deck above where the ship’s anti-aircraft guns were located.

A rough drawing shows the layout.

It must be borne in mind that wherever there was access through compartments or between decks via ladders there was a sealable hatch which meant that the door or hatch cover when closed was capable of being fastened by a series of handles around the edge which could be operated from either side.  Ship safety meant that some hatches were closed all the time so that to pass from one compartment to another one had to unfasten the door handles and refasten them after you.

A warship consists of a number of watertight compartments so that when at sea all hatches between decks and between one compartment and the next were left closed in this manner.  A bulkhead is an integral metal wall across the ship’s hull extending from floor to ceiling (deck to deck head in naval parlance) and the watertight doors provide the only way to pass from compartment to compartment.

Within our Squadron’s compartment (mess deck) were two rows of tables and benches, three on each side i.e. one port and one starboard.  Each table with a bench on either side was about 12 feet long and 3 feet wide.  Each table had a mess number and accommodated 10-12 men.  Here one lived; mealtimes you sat 5 or 6 on each side of the table.  Here you wrote letters, kept your clothes clean and pressed, smoked, talked or read.  When it came time to sleep hammocks had to be strung from rails across the deck head above.  A bank of small lockers was where you kept your belongings such as they were.

The F word as in Feminism seems to cause some women so much angst and I struggle to work out why.   I became aware of the word in the mid-to-late Eighties.  It seemed to involve women getting or fighting for a positive deal and as a big fan of fair play, I was ready to sign myself up to the cause.

I did not burn my bra but I hated it then and now.  I was apparently seen by some as sexually confident when hanging loose but the truth was I have sloping shoulders and just got bored of keep pulling up the straps.  I did join a women’s group at college and eventually became Women’s Officer to ensure that women’s views were heard by the college authorities (women were very much in the minority at my college).

There was a session on women’s voices in media at BritMums Live.  Helen from Actually Mummy, one of the speakers wrote a blog post about it.  She explained how the following tweet gave her confidence to share her vision.


Women can be intelligent even when wearing tiaras.

— Claire Evans (@claireyfairey) June 20, 2014

Absolutely.  Women can be intelligent whatever they are wearing or not wearing for that matter.  Equally, some women may not be intelligent and/or may struggle to express their wants and needs particularly with those in power – employers, landlords, benefit agencies, the police and other organisations.  In the domestic arena, some will find it tough to get a fair deal in the home.  And some will die.

As an advice worker, I saw so many vulnerable women up against the authorities and who had made rash decisions “because I love/d him”   Any yes, I have seen the bruises and the emotional damage to female victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Feminism should never be merely a dinner party conversation or a specialism in a career.  That is a further abuse to those who are suffering. There are vital changes to be made if we are truly to feel proud of the society in which we live.

I do feel we should challenge men who act badly as women, men and as a society at a whole.  If I quote statistics on matters such as crime that make some men (and women) feel uncomfortable, if I think it is for the greater good I will keep on doing so.

I do think that if women are to be understood and heard, it would be helpful to see more of them in politics, business and the media.  I also feel think those women who have made that journey could do a lot for themselves and others by offering mentoring to others.

Blogging and social media give women the opportunity to have their say on topics that matter to them.  We can learn from each other too and it strikes me that sharing not only our story but those of others can be such a powerful force for change.  Which certainly makes me want to press those share buttons more often now that I have thought it through. Let’s share our truths and then those who do have power can make the right choices for a fairer world from an informed position.

Working together and supportively for a better world knowing that women are a valuable part of that world – now that’s what I call feminism.

Agree or disagree? – leave a comment and then I can start to understand your voice too.











Mum Muddling Through

Today. Dad describes H.M.S. Ocean history.


Thus I have outlined the general picture of the operation of a squadron and as I say I joined 805 when it was ashore at Hal Far.  After a few days we were to embark on HMS Ocean.

First, the ship came into Marsachlok Bay and half the ratings were transferred by boat to the ship.  Sam Turner went with them whilst I remained at Hal Far with the other half.  I had to see that the pilots were equipped with their parachutes.  Meanwhile Ocean had sailed.  The squadron aircraft took off from Hal Far and flew out to and landed on the ship.  The ship then returned to Marachlok and then the other half of the ratings and stores were transferred by boat to the ship.  This entire manoeuvre took place over a period of only a few hours.  When we were aboard, Ocean sailed.

HMS Ocean, a light fleet carrier, was laid down at Alexander Stephen’s yard Govan on the Clyde in November 1942.  Building took 2 years and she was launched in July 1944.  Then followed a fitting out period and sea trials until she was eventually commissioned in August 1945 just as World War 2 ended.

Her full weight was 18 400 tons with a length of 695 feet and a beam of 80 feet.  Her draught was 23 feet with a speed of 25 knots (some 29 mph)  Her main armament of anti aircraft guns was situated in sponsons, give on each side extending just below the level of the flight deck.

The Ocean carried two squadrons of aircraft and at the time of my joining her these consisted of:-

816 Squadron with 12 Fairey Firefly RR1 which is addition to 4 x 20mm cannon in the wings carried 2 x 10001b bombs or 16 x 3 rich rocket projectiles.  These aircraft had a maximum speed of 335 knots but with a cruising speed of 191 knots had an endurance of 6 hours.  The crew consisted of one pilot and one observer.

The other squadron 805 consisted of 12 Seafire FXV11 (the Naval equivalent of the Spitfire) with an all up weight of 3 and a half tons the weapons of which consisted of 2 x 20mm cannon and 4 x 303 Browning machine guns in the wings.  The length of a Seafire was 32 feet wing span 36 feet and height 10 feet.  Top speed 333 knots, cruising speed 290 knots.  Endurance depended on rate of speed but at best would be about 90 minutes.

816 Squadron’s purpose was reconnaissance and attack of sea on land targets.  805’s was air defence of the parent ship.

A few months after she was commissioned HMS Ocean was involved in a historic event when in December 1945 a Vampire Jet piloted by Lt Commander E Brown was the first true jet aircraft to be landed on a ship at sea.  Later in December the ship set sail for the Mediterranean and in the early months of 1946 did trials for night flying and became proficient as the only carrier in the Fleet able to operate around the clock night flying.  After a short period in the Mediterranean she returned to England 892 Hellcat Squadron was replaced by 805 Seafire Squadron under Lt Commander Peter Hutton and the ship set sail again for the Mediterranean.  The ship joined the Mediterranean Fleet in July 1946.

The Ocean with her sister carrier HMS Triumph formed the 20th Carrier Air Group and were the only two Royal Navy carriers in the Mediterranean Fleet in 1946 and 1947.  The Air Admiral was Rear Admiral Denis Boyd who had been skipper of the HMS Illustrious at the battle of Taranto.  He flew his flag in the Triumph and as a consequence it was felt by the crew of our ship that the Triumph got all the soft options.  However there was no animosity between the two and on the few occasions when we were in company there was just a friendly rivalry.  In the Royal Navy, not just in the Mediterranean Fleet, but in every fleet and indeed in every port there was rivalry between ships.  There was pride in one’s ship from the Captain down to the most junior crew member so that everyone strived to do better than any other ship.

Unfortunately when ships were in port and crews met in bars taunts would be exchanged and fortified with drinks, it was frequent for fights to result.  Then along would come a Naval Patrol and those arrested would be returned to the ship to receive the Captain’s punishment.

This did not occur with the two carriers because it was rare for us to work in company.  Often the Triumph was operating in the Western Med whilst we operated in the Eastern Med.

In October 1946 Ocean was in Greek waters when two British destroyers the Volege and the Saumarey were mined in the Corfu channel between Corfu and Albania.  Albania had illegally mined the Channel and Saumarey was struck first and then Volege was struck when going to her aid.  Between the two crews 44 were killed, 31 of whom were never recovered and many others from both crews suffered serious injuries.  Ocean was the nearest ship with substantial medical facilities including a hospital and several surgeons.  She hurried to the scene and took on board many of the injured.  After three days patrolling the area in anticipation of further incidents with the Albanians she was returned to Malta to transfer her casualties to hospital in Malta before resuming normal duties.

In January 1947 Ocean became flagship to Flag Officer Air Mediterranean Vice-Admiral Sir C J Harcourt and spent a further period cruising before returning once more to Malta where I joined her.