A new chapter: leaving the RAF

Next year I will be swapping military life for civilian life.  After fifteen years of a nomadic lifestyle; with one or both of us moving around the country, or world, every few years, we will be settling down in the same place; living together.  That sounds perfectly normal for many people, but when living apart has become your normality, it can also sound perfectly odd!   If I am honest, even though we chose this,  when we first got the news I mostly felt a sense of sadness and nostalgia for the lifestyle we will be leaving behind.  Fast forward several weeks and this news is mostly welcome now; but I am still not entering into it without trepidation:

How will we adjust?  A husband coming home every evening is not something I am all that familiar with: the closest we came to that was in Cyprus, but even then he would have the odd week or two elsewhere.  For the past year we have barely seen each other: living apart during the week and then four months complete separation.  We will have to be mindful of each others needs for space and different routines…

Will my husband be happy doing a normal 9 to 5 job; without all the excitement of the military?  How will he cope without his jollies –  sorry – I meant adventurous training!

And will our children remember their amazing experiences?

  •  Sitting in on a Red Arrows briefing, watching their annual practice from Cyprus’s clifftops and sitting on the wing of their plane, surrounded by the pilots.
  • Going to family days at RAF bases and clambering on board military helicopters and fast jet planes, or watching awe-inspiring displays by the Chinook helicopter.

    Awesome air display

    Awesome air display

  • Laughing with their friends at being momentarily knocked to the ground by a low-flying Eurofighter’s noise and downdraft during a flypast.
  • Living overseas and experiencing different schooling and cultural differences.
  • Watching father Christmas arrive on a helicopter or a khaki-coloured fire engine.
  • Watching the RAF sniffer dogs in action at family days: sniffing out the drugs that a willing child has had planted on them.
  • And the indescribable excitement of seeing daddy after weeks or months away.

Aside from all the amazing experiences and opportunities the military has given us, perhaps the thing we will miss most of all is the people and the amazing community spirit.

But now the children will have a dad at their birthday parties, a hopefully less-stressed mother who isn’t having to think about and do everything by herself, a dad there for bedtime; rather than a talking head on Facetime.  And a dad making it to parents’ evening and actually knowing who their teachers are, as well as being able to pick them up from school from time to time.

It’s exciting, yet daunting.  Swapping the exciting, living-on-edge, independent lifestyle for the safe, routine and dare I say it, sometimes mundane.  But at long last we can decide where he works and where to live.  Ultimately this decision was about the children and for the children; to give them a stable upbringing, like the one they have craved since we chose to live off base nearly five years ago.  It is a new chapter and we are certainly used to those.  If the past fifteen years have taught us anything, it is to embrace change, nothing is set in stone and to go with the flow.

A totally shallow thought to end with and one which I suspect will have a whole blog post of its own in the coming weeks: what will I do with all my evening dresses and high heels, they certainly don’t have a place in this new chapter!

Stem Cell Research – what do you know?

Stem Cell Research – what do you know?

Today on Pirate FM, at work, I talked about Stem Cell research.

My brother Martin before he died

Just before Martin died from AML

I know that harvesting blood cord can help The UK Stem Cell Foundation with its research – did you know that?

And whilst it does cost money to privately bank cord blood, it can also be donated – but only in 8 x UK hospitals.

I was gutted I couldn’t do anything to save my brother and it has shaped my future, and that of my family.  Will it change yours?

Find out more.




Harvest Festival

Live Simply so others may simply live Mahatma Gandhi

Live Simply so others may simply live
Mahatma Gandhi

Today at the Harvest Festival service in church, the shocking statistic of 22,000 kids dying every day from poverty concentrates the mind.  And here’s the phrase that stood out for me:

“Live simply, so that others may simply live.” Mahatma Gandhi

Curate in a tent - Rev Caspar Bush - spends a week in a tent

Curate in a tent – Rev Caspar Bush – spends a week in a tent

Having taken the obligatory items for the food bank collection to the service, and with the vicar undertaking a week of hardship in a Shelterbox tent to highlight the good work done by the Helston based charity and RELEASE international supporting those persecuted for their Christian faith, I felt rather churlish for our lack of effort.

I had tidied out the cupboards to find the food bank items – tomato sauce, pesto jar, jelly, chicken soup.  But really, with the freezer full of food and plenty to keep us going, we really are beyond lucky.

So the family challenge this week is to use up everything in the fridge, the cupboards and not waste anything and can we do it for less than £20.  Can we do it? Well it will take some effort but we’ll give it a go.