Gumboots and Pearls

I was floored today by BBC Surrey’s Nick Wallis. (The interview is 2 hours 39 minutes 29 seconds into his show. This link will expire in 7 days) He rendered me unable to respond lucidly because I hadn’t anticipated his question.

He asked me if any of Hagar’s superiors read the blog and then later on jokingly said that I could be responsible for destroying his career. At the time I was so surprised by this question that I didn’t feel like I answered it very well at all.

So retrospectively here is my answer:

Yes, Hagar’s boss reads my blog. He said that if he was asked he would never publicly admit it. He said it takes him through a range of emotions from hilarious laughter to toe curling cringing.

I have been in touch with the MOD digital comms team, they have checked out the blog and have agreed to support it as long as I remain friendly. They are in the process of designing me a special badge and they will be putting a link on The Defence Social Media Hub. Hopefully this will go live fairly soon.

Part of the reason I started this blog is that I am fairly representative of the wife community. Most wives swear and drink – how else would we manage! Many wives have vocational careers an juggle them in the face of a dynamic existence. You need to be a robust, independent individual to schlepp around the place, living in box and making it a home, managing your work, life, career, kids, family, his family and a vast array of other things on the go all at the same time.

As for whether my vulgar and obnoxious blog will ruin his career, I should really hope not. Hagar is a decorated operational pilot, who proves himself on the battlefield, through leadership, management and his skills as an aviator. The distance between the squadron and the domestic community is much further than many might think. The modern military, I hope, is more professional and less draconian and those old school days of wifely repression are not in play. I am not going to lie and say that it has not been without it’s moments in the past. PERSEC and OPSEC (personal security and operational security) are important to consider and I try to be empathetic to this when I post. I have discussed it with the MOD as well but Household Diva 6 in the USA lays the notion on the line better then anyone.

Maybe I should read ‘Gumboots and Pearls’ and get back in my box. I have to say it’s fairly unlikely though I just seem to be allergic to doing as I am told. It must be the free spirit in me. I think it’s the free spirit in me that enjoys being married to the military. There is a lot to be said for having your husband leave you alone for a few weeks at a time, it means I can go roaming and catch up with the friends he doesn’t know. Sometimes it’s not all bad. They don’t just go to war, practising to go to war means away time too. Sometimes they are away practising. There is a lot of away.

I was hoping the Nick would ask me about how we cope when our husbands are away. I wanted to talk about the milly community, but somehow I ended up talking about Hagar and the book which I am banned from promoting (whoops-sorry!!!) We millies are a stoical, lively, fun loving, gregarious community and I want this blog to dispel that myth that we are twin set, pearl necklaces (ahem!), chocolate laborador owning, Laura Ashley frock wearing, Sloanes because we are not!! When is it allowed to be about us?!!


  1. Don`t you dare get back in that box!I`d rather have one of you than a million chocolate labradors in Laura Ashley frocks! Your interviewer was obviously a mysoginistic serial monogamistic committment-phobe with Oedipus issues thrown in for good measure(I know the type so well, trust me!).

    Viva La Free Spirit.

    Anne x

    1. Thanks Anne. To be honest – there was no chance of getting back in the box – what would I do in it? There is so much more fun to be had out of it.

      ‘mysoginistic serial monogamistic committment-phobe with Oedipus issues’ – yes, I think he was but he’s a nice one not a bullying one. They are more dangerous because they think they are not really!!

  2. A lot of wives have spoilt their hubby’s career, not so much by what they did or said, but rather by the perception of the receiving person. What you say to one person would be water off a duck’s back while to another it could be shocking. Life is like that and we can’t live our lives trying to please everyone.

    Be yourself!!

    If on the other hand Hagar wants to be Chief of the Air Staff one day, then perhaps you had better wind your neck in a bit. 🙂


  3. Thanks Auld Yin – Hagar f*cks up my career by dragging me around the country and impregnating me with his children and then f*cking off and leaving me to look after them and him.

    I don’t think he’s got a chance of being Chief of the Air Staff – he’s too old! Which is a relief because I am not actually capable of winding my neck. It’s impossible so I guess I’ll have to make all the cash and he can just spend his days playing with his big toys!

  4. “I guess I’ll have to make all the cash and he can just spend his days playing with his big toys!”

    You’re learning – slowly but surely. 🙂

  5. The fact that people like this see your career only in relation to his and how yours might affect his and not the other way around, and lets face it, when you’re on your own for weeks on end trying to juggle and manage everything alone, his does affect yours, is unbelievably frustrating. Would drive me nuts.

    1. Yes, well it’s only important if you can’t see the bigger picture, which I can, and if you give a sh*t, which I don’t. It has driven me nuts and I have given a sh*t until I realised that I needed to focus on what I wanted and not let other people’s opinions get in the way. In my heart I am a good, kind person. I know this and that is enough.

  6. Well how times have changed !!! Would have loved to have come across you as a pads wife when I was serving ! Def not Laura Ashley and pearls xx Lovely to meet you Saturday and a great blog xx

    1. It was lovely to meet you too. I’d love you to guest as well. I think times have changed mainly because so many women work now, they are not as bored as they used to be. Thanks for stopping by. xx

  7. Gumboots and Pearls. Jeez, I remember that book. I wrote an (awful) poem for RAF Wives in response . The padre’s wife said she threw the mag away without reading my masterpiece – on principle. She would have hated your blog. Yay.

    1. Do you still have the poem? I would love to see it! I am going to have to read this book but not until I have read Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. Oh dear – it’s no good upsetting the Padre’s wife now is it. Apparently, we are all God’s children and he’s a fairly forgiving dude so I am sure it’ll all be fine 😉

  8. This is my first visit to your blog and it was really cool to get to hear your voice and listen to you talk about your writing career and other parts of your life. But please, stay away from that box. Laura Ashley and pearls are super lame. I like you just the way you are and I look forward to getting to know you better.

  9. I’d suggest you have a read of “Following the Drum” by Annabel Venning, and then think just how lucky you are in these modern and (more or less) enlightened times 🙂

  10. For someone who doesn’t half go on about being different – laying into a sterotype is frightfully old hat!

    I’m an officer’s wife, I wear pearl earrings, on occasion I might push the boat out and even wear a pearl necklace, I own a black labrador, I have an upper class accent, I’m also a trained chef, I’m a company director, I write children’s books and I could go on about how fabulous I am but then that would be dull……

    I don’t ever pass judgment on anyone based on what they wear whether it’s gumboots, pearls or last night’s supper, I don’t assume that because someone supports their husband and chooses not to work that they are bored and I dislike intensely the snobs that pervade every patch trying desparately to be “different”. People by the very nature of the beast are all different and you with your “observations on life” should’ve worked this out.

    I usually enjoy reading your musings but lately you’ve become boring, the same thread runs through every blog. “Look at me, I’m so interesting, I fight the system, I refused to be cowed, I’m struggling against the mess oppressors” One gets the impression that you feel hard done by, that life with Hagar is a trial, a tribulation and that all who come into contact with you should be grateful for your presence.

    1. Are you sure you read the post properly? Thanks for taking the time to comment. I wasn’t attacking a stereotype. I am sorry if you felt I was – we are not all the same and I am not the stereotype. There’s nothing wrong with the stereotype – it’s just not who I am. I can’t help that either. Am I fighting the system? I think I support the system.

  11. Hi Henrietta

    I think we’ve moved away from the original thread a little. I do agree with you on some points – inverted snobs are as boring as, er…non inverted ones.

    My objection to Gum Boots and Pearls is the authors’ attitude towards other ranks’ wives. For instance, a reminder not to buy anything from the thrift shop in case it previously belonged to a soldier’s wife. For an officer not to fraternise with a non-commissioned officer is understandable but for his wife to wear his rank on her own sleeve and then, efectively, snub another women simply because of her husband’s position, is very sad.

    However this book was written in the 90’s. Times have changed but only through the ‘musings’ of women committed to a fairer world for all of us – especially for those in cultures where women have no voice at all and suffer terribly.

    1. I am going to have to read this pesky book. I am meeting up with Annie Jones to discuss cultural changes from the domestic frontline. I am not a snob. I have no reason to be so I have very humble beginnings and I am state educated but I have pure blood aristocrats as friends and pure blood proletariat too. I had a perception of the milly wife and it was the stereotype but I was wrong about what is the nature of people who live in military quarters. I was enchanted by an eclectic mix of women and men who have pulled me out of my lowest moments and also given me some of my highest too.

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