Blackout

“Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, including all who have served in Afghanistan,” President Barack Obama said. “We will draw inspiration from their lives, and continue the work of securing our country and standing up for the values that they embodied.”

RIP 38 lives lost in the US Chinook crash
Saturday 7th August 2011.

I had a gypsies warning that the news was going to break. I knew before the news was released. I knew it wasn’t Hagar. I didn’t have to reconcile the information and establish the facts so I was calm. Then at 10am the electrical power in my house cut out completely.

You see when you are alone, and carrying the burden of responsibility of two people, you can pretty much guarantee that you will have to face some form of calamity, with varying degrees of severity. This particular calamity had been building progressively since just before Hagar departed. The newly installed electric shower on/off button slowly ceased to function, so the only way that you could switch the shower on and off was at the wall. Then, one press too many -‘bang’ the fuse box popped and the power in certain rooms was gone. ‘Ah,’ I think, ‘yes, the shower is f*cked’.

Many men come and officially diagnose it’s f*ckedness, concurring that it is verily f*cked, but not able to rectify the problem until much later than is ideal.

In the no mans land of officially f*cked shower and living in house, the Grenade one night, on the landing, heading for a late night pee, accidentally switches the shower on instead of the loo light. In an instance the house is catapulted into an inky, pitch blackness, where you actually can’t even see the outline of your hand. (I live in a place where the is no cultural lighting – it gets proper dark.) The Grenade starts screeching like an injured wild animal because he is terrified of the dark. I scramble from the downstairs to the upstairs at a great pace to connect with him in the darkness. He promptly jumps on my head like a freaked out cat and engulfs me with vice like grip. Aunty Pat comes out of her room onto the landing and I have to negotiate even more stairs in the blackness to handover The Grenade to her so that I can seek out the torch; which is downstairs in the kitchen, to then resolve the power failure. I go down the stairs on my arse and feel my way into the kitchen, where I find the biggest, heaviest, most phallic torch in the world, which I would never buy but I am now eternally grateful that Hagar did, and then there is light.

A few days later our friends arrive, and Mrs Ladyfriend makes the same mistake, but in the hours of daylight and how we laugh at the chaos of the f*cked shower. We then head off to the pub, get verily, merrily inebriated and the next day I get the gypsies warning about the cab going down.

At 10am the power dies. Everybody runs crazily around the house, shouting ‘powercut, powercut’ accusing Mrs Ladyfriend (who is actually in the same bathroom as the shower, trying to have a hungover poo) of switching on the f*cked shower again. The Menace (aged 3) bangs angrily on the door and provides a tirade of three year old abuse.
“Did you do that to the shower again? Did you do that so that it is not working? What did you do? You turn on the shower again?” she shrieked.

I follow a few minutes later, with a similar but more articulate line of questioning, and Mrs Ladyfriend explains in no uncertain terms that she did not switch the f*cking shower on and could we please leave her to her ablutions.

This poses many dilemmas. Not in the least because we have no power; but all of the fuses are in the on position, which means that this power cut could extend beyond my own property and not be a result of the f*cked shower. I then ring the neighbours and discover they have power. Next, I ring the electricity board and explain to them that we have a power cut and could they please send an engineer out as electricity is our only source of energy. (This means we have no gas! Just in case you weren’t clear.) However, due to the quirks of the residence I need them to send a special engineer because I have a special unit – it’s a CT unit or something like that! And it requires a specialist. The electricity board duly note this and an engineer is raised. This will take an hour.

The hangover is beginning to take hold and we all need hot beverages and breakfast. I remember that we have a gas BBQ and so we get Mr Blokefriend (husband of Mrs Ladyfriend) to boil a kettle (I have a kettle that can be boiled on an Oz pig) make scramble eggs and toast on the BBQ. (BBQ is long way from house, it’s raining and it has nettles growing out from underneath it. Note to self – move BBQ nearer kitchen for future usage). It turns out Mr Blokefriend has never made scramble eggs before and says in Welsh (he is actually Welsh and not just speaking in a Welsh accent for comedy, egg making purposes), lyrical tones, “what do I do with this then? Do I just stir it?”
“Yes,” is my somewhat curt reply, married with a ‘what are you a talking about you crazy fool?’ look.

BBQ toast is very crunchy with charred bits on. The eggs were great. I discovered, under a metal flap that our BBQ has this little gas side ring on it, which I was able to use to boil the milk for the coffee. It was very handy. Later, in the day we were also able to use it for more kettle boiling. We found boiling the kettle on the griddle took ages and then I lifted the flap and there was the gas ring. Would you Adam and Eve it??!!

In the meantime, the children, 2 x theirs, and 2 x mine run around the house slowly discovering which entertainment devices are powered by electricity. It’s a revelation for them but eventually they resort to more Lord of the Flies, feral behaviour and run crazily around the garden like little mentalists.

Eventually, the electricity board engineer arrives, and of course, he is not the right one because despite my brief that they needed a special one they send a normal one. Having dismantled the kitchen to access the behemoth. He then takes one look at the meter and says ‘I am not qualified on this, you need a specialist.’
I think, ‘no shit Sherlock!’

Anyhoo, turns out there is only three of them specialists in the country. Then the negotiation begins because it’s really about who is responsible for fixing the fault – them or me. Plus I need to get the power on before darkness falls because I don’t have enough illuminating devices to get The Grenade through the night without him sitting on my head like a freaked out cat, clutching me with a vice like grip. I need a contingency that means should we have no power and the darkness falls then we need to be somewhere else. (Contingency in place – we would head to Mrs Ladyfriend and Mr Blokefriend’s house an hour and half drive away should power not be restored. Not ideal but beggars can’t be choosers in a crisis.)

The non-specialist then starts phoning around to see if he can speak with one of the three specialists to get some tips to diagnose and discover who has to pay for the repair. As you can imagine these specialists are as elusive as the Scarlett Pimpernel.

In the interim, I line up an electrician to come in and take over the baton should the electricity board determine that the responsibility is mine. During this process I learn more about the functionality of an electrical meter than I ever wanted to know. This takes literally hours. Eventually, we (and I say ‘we’ because I was instrumental in the fault diagnosis) discover the fault (someone had bridged this mahoosive fuse – biggest mother f*cking fuse you have ever seen in your life) and establish the responsibility is mine. I then step up my electrician, who is going to take another hour or so to arrive.

I write on facebook status:

A Modern Military Mother is powerless

The children at this point are now beginning to experience severe electricity withdrawal and simply cannot understand why the promised swimming trip has been cancelled, the internet, the TV, the ipad, the ipod, (not to self – must be more vigilant in charging electrical devices for child entertainment in the event of future power failures. Please note it is difficult to entertain and supervise children when resolving crises especially when Aunty Pat is away shopping in nearby city and not at home during power failure) etc, is not working, despite our very calm, lucid and rational explanations. Their world quite literally is falling apart. They cannot quite fathom why the adults are not gripping this situation and resolving the problem. (By the way, Mr Blokefriend has headed off to the local pub to watch the rugby.)

Eventually, the electrician arrives and Mrs Ladyfriend’s eldest son feels that he must take matters into his own hands to get this problem fixed. As the electrician steps into the hall he is greeted by an 8 year old’s perspective on how we find ourselves without power for such a sustained length of time. I am feeling quite jaded at this point, but after 15 minutes decide that it is time to release the electrician from the 8 year old’s version of events and gently send the 8 year old back into the jungle so that he can continue the mass genocide of the stuffed animals that is occurring on the set of The Lord of the Flies.

The electrician then proceeds to be starstruck by the awesomeness of the meter and I yet again find myself engaged in further chat about the meter and it’s wonderment. Anyway, without boring you with the detail – he does a bit of jiggery pokery and moves some fuses and the power is restored!
“Hurrah!”

Mr Blokefriend returns from the pub. Wales lost to England. He says, “the story about the crash is on the news”.

Time passes…..eventually, I catch up with my facebook. Following my status is a friend sending kisses, another says “I have been thinking of you all day’ and there are kind words and thoughts from folk who know that Hagar is Afghanistan. The electrical black out meant that I had no access to the news as it rolled out.

Today my status reads;

“yesterday’s power cut was a gift – was in news black out – like a comfort blanket. RIP those tragically killed and great vigilance to those who fly in the ghostly trails of their vortex…..but the battle continues on”

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Op Minimise

All quiet on the Western Front. Hagar’s epistles are sparse and in-frequent.

Hagar writes:

“Just a quick note to say if it ever goes quiet from my end, it is usually because we have to minimise (ie stop) any e-mails or phone calls from here as a result of a death. As you will have seen on the news today a UK serviceman was unfortunately killed so all comms are stopped to allow the next of kin to find out first! Anyway, please don’t worry is my point.

All is well, morale is high and looking forward to any mail coming my way! It takes around a week or so to arrive out here, depends on flights.

Anyway, happy to hear all is well in UK, apart from the rain, but hopefully the sun will come out for the whole of August!”

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, I am running around like a blue arsed fly. (I love that expression – what does it mean? Flies fly not run – anyhoo.) Thankfully, it is the school holidays so I don’t have to muster The Grenade. I am working full time on a freelance contract, actually in an office (I normally work from home) until the end of July so I am up and out before the house stirs. My aunty is staying with me to help out with the kids while I work. It’s such a luxury. I am so very lucky. She had the audacity to pop home for a few days last week and I literally thought my right arm had been removed. I even had to look after my own children!!!

There is no rest for the wicked whilst Hagar is away. The workload doubles. I am looking at the rain with horror and watching the grass grow and grow. I was wondering if I should put a notice up in the pub – to see if anyone fancied doing their bit for the war effort by coming over to mow my lawn! And ‘no’ that is not a euphemism for trim my beaver, or come around and give me a good seeing too – I ACTUALLY want someone to cut the grass!

On the whole, I don’t know how to stop. I have to keep living at 100 mph, which invariably involves consuming vast quantities of alcohol and staying up until the early hours, then digging in the next day, washing down tonnes of ibruprofen and taking the kids swimming. I have joined a club with a pool so that we can swim whenever we want. It has an outdoor pool and we can go everyday. This is my holiday. The pool is so warm that the pool temperature is often warmer than the air temperature. The kids are hardier than me they can stay for hours and hours while my lips turn blue.

Then I still have my business to run and deals to wheel. I am in the process setting up the next quarter. It is full hope and excitement with some great contracts being finalised. I can’t tell you because I would have to kill you. All will become clear in time.

All of this is played out with the backdrop of News International-gate which I am still utterly gripped by. I see people dropping off the story now but my hunger for it hasn’t changed. It is so significant – it will change the face of the next election. Will Cameron survive? Today, was a big day – the first mysterious death. The saga unravels like a Jeffrey Archer novel. I can’t wait for the film. This is as big as Nixon and Watergate, for sure.

Did I mention that my kids don’t sleep – they are never asleep before 10.30pm. Every night, even when you get them up early. It’s a constant source of endurance that you have to experience to believe. I am an insomniac too and don’t need much sleep but I am older and I need more than them. They are young versions of me sent to test me. Onwards and upwards. Sleep when you are dead. That’s what I say.

War Is A Risky Business

In three years, my direct contact with death, through war, now tolls at three.

Dong:

A young JTAC (Joint Terminal Air Controller – ie. Please drop that bomb here) I was introduced to by Hagar in the pub one night. We chatted a bit. I knew what a JTAC did because I had written about it in Immediate Response. He deployed to Afghanistan. Not long after he was killed. I was shocked by the news of his death. The instant extinguishing of life. Here today and then gone just like that.

Dong:

The journalist Rupert Hamer, from The Mirror. I had been speaking to him quite regularly up until he was embedded in Afghanistan. We were both interested in whether a peaceful resolution could be achieved. Again, his death hit me hard. I barely knew him but he struck me as journalist who was looking for more than just a story that would sell papers. He had integrity. Maybe this is hard for many in the military to fathom but I was introduced to him by a serviceman because he trusted him. I was deeply saddened by his death.

Dong:

Tim Hetherington. His death, a week today, and I still can’t quite get my head around it. I can’t imagine how his closest friends, loved ones and family are reconciling it. I feel like we have been robbed of a someone incredible. I know it was his time. It’s just that no-one was ready for him to go. War is a risky business and the business of war creates attrition. It can happen to you. We must never forget that. Everyone who knew him will mourn the loss and the gap that now exists in their lives. Death is a wound that heals but it leaves scars. His death has wounded many. For some it cuts deep and others it’s just a scratch. I will seize the creative freedom to which he aspired. We can but keep putting one foot in front of the other, and some must decide, once again, if they can walk in the Valley of Death. Unfortunately, there will always be wars for the intrepid to venture into.

Scanned from Newsweek

My last email with Tim was three weeks ago. I knew that he was going to Libya. Deep down, I knew that he wouldn’t come back. I had stopped looking. He threw himself mind, body and soul into the promotion of Restrepo. We called it Planet Restrepo – he was like a dog with a bone. I watched the short film, Diary that he made and saw a man at a crossroads. I think he should have taken a holiday after Restrepo didn’t win the Oscar and the rollercoaster had drawn to a halt. He needed a break to transition into the next phase. When I learned that he had opted to go to Libya I knew he was a war chaser. It was his crack cocaine. I stopped looking. Just like when Hagar goes to war. I can’t look. Hagar deploys again soon. I hate war. I hate guns, weapons, bombs and destruction. But men need war. Rest in peace Tim. Be vigilant Hagar. To all of you war chasers, in the war business, regardless of how I personally feel, your work is valued and you are loved. Tread lightly.

But onwards and upwards. I can’t hide anymore. Life goes on and we must keep pushing forward while we still breathe.

I am in France opening up our French House – we still have weeks available if you fancy a holiday in France this summer:

Le Petit Pre

Plus I have been invited back to be a Toys R Us Toyologist so more toy reviews, competitions and giveaways coming this summer.

Welcome to Review-land, a new place on the blog where I shall be reviewing all the products that PRs send me. Look out for the latest reviews on the right side of the blog – I have just uploaded some film reviews for your delectation.

Meditation Day

I was contacted by Catherine at the London Meditation Project because she wanted to connect with military spouses. She offered me a free day of meditation in London. I jumped at the chance. I think I have made no secret of my feminist hippy values and I am always open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. I love the exploration of the new. I obviously reserve the right to disagree too.

Catherine posted her meditation day invitation on the forum Rear Party and quite frankly it went down like a pint of cold sick. Nobody signed up. We spoke on the phone and she invited me along to a day for veterans, which passed last Sunday. I dragged Hagar along too. He’s a stressed out bunny right now and he was willing to check it out.

The day was fascinating. I truly loved every second of it. Catherine sent me some questions and so I am going to answer them for you now live on my blog. I want you to know the feedback is honest and fresh. Here goes…

*What drew you personally to want to explore meditation?*

I don’t know. I didn’t know what it was but ultimately, I was looking for some calm and reflection in my life because I am feeling burnt out and raw.

*What needs do you think meditation could help meet for military service people and combat veterans?*

I think we all need to take some time out in our days, in our lives to stop and reflect on why we are who we are. This time for reflection is priceless and yet there seems never be enough room in the day to make it so.

*How was the meditation teaching for you? Was it clear and helpful?*

Yes, strangely it was incredibly helpful although I never felt I was being taught. What I took from it was that in order to meditate you need to stop, sit still, close your eyes, try to count, breathe and not speak. Not speaking was my biggest challenge. I speak too much. Bizarrely, to not speak was very liberating.

*What parts of the day were most important for you? Shrine room time, learning new skills? Open discussion? An environment of trust and openness? Please let us know any details you wish to feed back about any of these things.*

The whole day was important to me. I loved the openness and the trust. I loved the shrine room time and I embraced the news skills. I found meditating hard but yet liberating. What amazed me most was the instructors we met took on a different form to me in the shrine room from the chat that I had in the normality of the room upstairs. They were one thing upstairs and yet in the shrine room they were different people. It’s difficult to explain. The presentation was so contrasting from the military environment. Military personnel dominate a room with their presence. Yet the meditation teachers had very discrete presences out of the shrine room and yet as they shared their skills their confidence and assurance was exuded in a completely passive yet skilled and experienced manner.

*Any comments on the structure of the day*

Military personnel will need a clearer leadership but the structure was perfect.

*Comments on the way the facilitation worked:*

I loved the centre. It was intimate but yet still clinical enough to not be insincere.

*How was the hospitality?! Did you like the place, the food etc. Did you feel comfortable in the place?*

I loved it! The hospitality was brilliant. The food was divine. I feel happy just thinking back on it.

*Would you recommend trying meditation to others in Military Service, and to ex-Servicemen? Is there a gap you perceive in welfare support that this could help to fill?*

I would recommend it to everyone. I think it is important to take some time out of your day to sit and reflect. There is a gap but I think you need to overcome people’s embarrassment about the fact that they don’t understand what it is, that they think it’s bullshit and they are afraid to ask for help.

*How can you envision meditation contributing: as stress management, support in decompression, supporting partners and families to have some space to be together with support to relax and ‘be’ in a different way? A way to offer support for those holding a huge amount of emotional experience and stress – through trauma, injury and loss and/or through sustained intensely demanding conditions… etc.*

I think it would be brilliant way of re-connecting families with their partners after prolonged periods of absence and two very different worlds of experience. It would be an amazing, passive way of bridging the gap and bringing the worlds together in a supportive, shared environment. It would encourage dialogue and also create a community of people who have shared experiences to connect and lean on each other. No doubt the feeling is that it is already in place and they don’t need help. There is a lot of denial. This is the hurdle that needs to be overcome. In order to help the community the community needs to acknowledge there is a problem. I don’t know how you do that. First rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.

*Do you have any suggestions for form, location etc of future courses, days and residential retreats?*

I think you need to take this to the community. The community will not go out and seek help because of the denial. They will not come to you.

*Your own words, thoughts and experience on this will help us no end.*

I am one person in a sea of many. I think this project is inspired and I hope that you have the success that you seek. The military is tightly, coiled spring who cannot look beyond science. This will help if they let you in. Somehow you have to work out how to unlock them. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. Hagar and I talked all the way home. Today, I have decided to create a meditation room in my house. A place dedicated to silent reflection. I left the day feeling very calm and strong. I don’t want to lose that. It was amazing to meet you all. It was incredible to think that I sat still for 3 x 30 minutes and didn’t speak and barely moved. For me, a person of many words and a complete fidget pants it was a hugely challenging experience. But in the words of the Dalai Lama – “Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”

If you want to know more about Catherine and her inspired idea to bring meditation to the military then email her:

Catherine Powell
catherine@londonmeditationproject.org

She would love to hear from you. She wants to help and she had done a lot of work with US military, who are a little more evolved in their openness. Catherine genuinely cares. Don’t be frightened, I promise you can trust her. She is a white light and she is lovely.

Pokey or Pish?

The top toff in the country is the Queen – she is the original posh. In order to really be posh you have to be an aristocrat with royal blood coursing through your veins. Without so much as a splash of the royal sanguin within your arteries, like it, or lump it, you are of pikey stock.

At sometime this year (I don’t know the date) there will be the ultimate pikey ascension as Kate Middleton marries Prince William and enters the UK no 1 family posh. I wondered whether we could create a new hybrid of type – maybe she could be called pish, an amalgamation of pikey and posh. But then Hagar pointed out to me that ‘pish’ was Scottish slang for ‘not so good’ so I then thought maybe we could call this new hybrid ‘pokeys’ which seemed much more genteel.

Obviously, the Queen of Pikey, ironically called Posh Spice, I read, has started courting Kate Middleton with her latest collection of clothing. No doubt, angling for an invite to the wedding of the year. I am sure that Elton and David will put in a good word and the Queen of Pikes can be joining them in the pew as the Princess of Pokes makes the first step towards the emergence of the hybrid.

Ultimately, I think being pikey is cooler than being posh. Guy Ritchie with his mockney slang was a posh bloke in disguise as a pikey because pikeys definitely have more fun then posh folk. I think you get away with more as a pikey. Ignorance is bliss. Maybe that’s why I am still torn between my pikey roots and my posh pursuits.

The other day I was talking to someone who is much posher than me and it would appear that bona fide posh people (not the fake Becky Sharp’s like me) are actually rebelling against their own poshness. It would appear that pikey is cooler. At Eton (one of the top posh schools) there is an emergence of a culture, being dubbed as ‘StrEtonian’ (read Streetonian) where the uber posh are speaking like they were born of the gutter. So there we have it – even the posh want to be pikey – maybe they would be happy to be pokeys. I wonder if we could make pokey cool so that I can enjoy posh pursuits and still be cool. Is it even possible to be posh and cool? The dilemma continues!!

Rainforests – The Burning Issue

“If we lose the battle against tropical deforestation, we lose the battle against climate change. Please join me in trying to save the rainforests – for the sake of our children and grandchildren.”

The Prince of Wales

Humans are like termites. We are marching along stripping the planet of it’s natural resources and destroying it. We do it knowingly and lazily. When it’s too late and we are drowning, or frying, we’ll say ‘damn, we should have stopped but who knew that it would get this tough?’

The majority of us are lazy, selfish and greedy. We have forgotten how to give and we only know how to take. We have become insular and inward looking. We are fighting each other about who is right and who is wrong. How to live. Who to be. Being right is the most important thing, whilst all around us we are eroding our planet and destroying our host. We are ignoring it because it’s simpler to to do the easy thing and live our selfish lives and not do the right thing.

For me, it’s time to do the right thing. I am going to learn how to live more sustainably, more responsibly. I want to give something back to the earth as the earth has given to me. I am throwing off the shackles of materialism and consumerism. I am saying ‘I am a tree hugger and proud.’ There it’s done now. It’s out there. My name is A Modern Military Mother and I am a pacifist, lentil loving, hippy who is getting back to nature. This is the beginning of a pretty, crazy journey of which I am completely un-qualified and un-skilled to deliver. Please wish me luck.

So I ask you to take some positive action against de-forestation, please, at least, visit RAINFOREST SOS and have a read and see what we are doing to Mother Earth – perhaps think about it and maybe even make a positive contribution to the planet. I think that would be a decent thing to do. Do you think we should live more sustainably? It’s hard though. Especially with my fear of bugs!!!!!

The Cost of a Wife

If I died Hagar couldn’t deploy. He would have to stop flying. We have two kids. He would be responsible for them. My mum died in 1974. I was 2 years old. My dad hadn’t insured her. He had insured himself to the hilt in case of his own death so that she wouldn’t go without but he had under-valued the impact of her role in the advent of her death. We have talked about this since. It wasn’t a malicious act. Maybe it was a reflection of the attitude at the time.

Her death was unexpected. It was sudden and tragic. He was left solely in charge of me. He had to sacrifice his blossoming career to raise me. He was working as a British Rail manager doing some type of operations role at the rail freight terminal in Anglesey, Holyhead. Not far from RAF Valley and not far from where Kate & Wills will be setting up home. (I hope she has more fun there then my mother did!) For a few years he was a single parent.

Not so long ago, I was having a cuppa with a milly wife, whose husband had deployed for six months and she said to me something along the lines of, ‘my other half doesn’t mind if I don’t work because it would cost £24,000 in childcare if I wasn’t around.’ I nearly choked on my brew! And the rest! It was then I started thinking about the cost of my replacement in the advent of my death, or severe disabling, (divorce doesn’t count) in order for Hagar to deploy for 6 months of the year, plus attend the exercises and also do the night flying, to deliver his life to the same standard that he experiences right now, he would require at least:

3 x full time qualified nannies (£30k p.a each)
1 x housekeeper (£275 per week – £13k p.a)
1 x part-time gardener (£2000k p.a)
1 x part-time personal assistant ( £100 per week – £4800 p.a)

Approx £109,000 p.a – which is considerably more than he earns.

(We don’t have the family back up that could step in and help either just in case you were thinking he could palm the kids off to his mother or mine. Mine is dead. His is too old to handle our two kids even now when we are both alive!)

In reality, he couldn’t even afford to hire me at my commercial rates as a freelance consultant. I make an expensive cup of tea. But the hard facts are that even though I am insured, if I was to die Hagar would have to give up flying and could no longer deploy. The taxpayer has invested in well over a £3 million pounds to keep Hagar operational and current so that he can deliver his role at the sharpest end of the pointiest bit of the conflict. Once you are father you have responsibilities to your children that are solely yours and the mothers’ of your children. It shouldn’t be under-estimated the value of the role the supporting parent gives to the service to enable the serving parents to deploy and fight for their country. I can only say what I see in my own home but Hagar loves his job. He wants to deploy and he wants to serve his country. It’s not for me to stop him and I support him without complaining. (I truly do!) But, honestly, I do think the partners are played lip service to, that we are an imbuggerance that has to be tolerated and the role they give is not wholly appreciated or the enormity of it is taken for granted.

Hagar doesn’t even see half the stuff that gets done in our house. In fact, he once made the mistake of arguing that he did 50% of the domestic chores.

‘Interesting!’ I thought.
‘I know’ I said, ‘I have an idea. You write down a list of all the jobs that need to be done and then put a percentage next to it indicating how the jobs are divvied up.’

Hagar was feeling pretty bullish at this point. He was fairly confident that he was going to prove his point and the status quo that he was aiming for would return. But alas, it was not to be so because the reality was when he formed the list and allocated his percentages to all the tasks that we have as a family unit, he omitted at least 50% of the jobs from the list because he didn’t even know that those jobs were being done in the first place!!

At the end of the day, would the tax payer be willing to bear the cost so the widowed father can deploy and they can get their return on investment? Err No! But it’s a crying shame that a woman has to die before her true value is appreciated!

I guess like Joni Mitchell sang in Big Yellow Taxi,
‘Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone.’

My Christmas wish is this, I wish that the world would stop taking women for granted.

NB: Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas so very few men are going to say ‘I agree. Yes, let me do more!’ And the battle continues on…….