Somewhere, sometime ago, I seem to recall being at a management training type day, or a mindfulness seminar or reading something, somewhere, which encouraged people to ‘scream’ and I mean properly scream as a way of letting go of your emotions.


Panorama at Droskyn Point

Well today was the day for me.

After giving up work from a job I loved to deal with the aftermath of losing my Mum some 18 months ago now, I wonder how I ever had time to work.  I seem to have filled my time with worthwhile stuff, running the Beaver Group, getting to grips with house administration, dealing with the defence of a forthcoming court hearing, looking to future businesses or ourselves as my husband faces the reality of leaving the RAF, as well as supporting a new business venture, part-time work for my previous employer, as well as most recently taking on the Team Manager role for youth badminton so my daughter can continue to play at county level.  And it was this latter role that was the catalyst inducing me to scream.  The few hours a week I thought it would be have definitely been more time consuming.  And dealing with the expectations of the parents has been challenging.  And the messing about with team transport over the past few days for this weekend’s match was thrown into turmoil once more by a late notice email from a parent changing the goalposts, which meant all my previous work had been nugatory.

The email came on top of a poor night’s sleep, where I had vividly dreamt that my late Mum had ‘faked’ her own death.  No-one else in the dream, which included most family members, seemed at all perturbed by this revelation, and in fact I’m not sure these dream characters even acknowledged this new fact.  Perhaps it was only to me that my Mum revealed this crazy admission?  Whatever, it meant I woke up ‘out of sorts’.

So having seen the email pop onto my phone after I’d done the school drop off, I drove home from the school run, upset, tired, cross, and frustrated as the waste of time of the efforts of the previous few day – in truth I was also grief stricken.  I decided to head to the beach so find a solitary spot where I could scream.  Droskyn Point seemed appropriate and I carefully made my way down the slippery steps.  I didn’t want to fall and ‘scream’ for real.  And I was aware of other people enjoying the view and I didn’t want to induce any panic, should I be overheard.  Luckily it was a blowy day, and I was stood by a still rockpool with a small waterfall and the waves a few meters away crashing on the rocks.  The contrast between the turmoil of the sea and the barely rippling rock pool felt like my insides – which was going to win?

My first scream was pathetic.  A shriek more than anything.  I was scared. Scared of letting go. Scared of being heard.  Scared of where it would take me.  I had spent the last 4 years protecting my voice (for radio) and now I was going to potentially damage it.  But I knew I needed to get rid of the anger, the emotion, the stress.

The second scream was more purposeful, and then it just came, like the waves crashing on the rocks, the noise, the emotion, the tears, the anger, the grief.  And I was a snivelling, snotty wreck, for a few minutes, physically rocking myself back and forth, beside the rock pool, wiping my nose on my gloves as I had no tissues.  And as the water gently trickled out of the rockpool, so did my anger, and my stress and my grief and a stillness returned.

My best friend reckons I need bereavement counselling, and I’ve not had time for that.  For the moment, a short screaming session has done the trick – and now I need to wash those gloves.


IMG_8538It’s Mothering Sunday weekend.  For a long time, I’ve organised to be away with my girlfriends on a yoga retreat.  Luxury.  It’s just what the doctor ordered, only I very rarely go to the doctor if I can help it because that’s for sick people and I know how to look after myself.  Only I don’t.  And its been a slow mental journey involving some counselling and healing to realise that self-care is not a luxury, or an indulgence, but an absolute necessity.

So I’ve sorted out all the kids activities, and lifts to various concerts, performances, music lessons and sporting events.  I’ve stocked the fridge.  I’ve washed the clothes they’ll need for school the following week.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a fantastic husband who is more than willing to play his part but frustrates the hell out of me for having to write down every minute of the weekend timetable.

And with an hour to go to departure time, I think about packing what I’ll need for the weekend.  It’s a yoga retreat and dance event.  It’s casual with friends I no longer need to impress; I need comfy clothes and a book.  I open my T-shirt drawer and have an epiphany moment.

clothingNeatly folded, I look down and  realise you can tell my whole life history and make a judgement on who I am by the contents of my T-shirt drawer.  There’s a khaki green military T-shirt which evokes memories of my combat gear in Kosovo serving with the helicopter force doing humanitarian aid and peacekeeping duties.  It’s nestled alongside a lime green Extreme Surf Triathlon garment which might indicate my awesome fitness, but in fact was given to all the parent marshal helpers of the Surf Life Saving Club after the annual fundraising event that keeps my children safe on the beach by teaching them life skills and water safety. I find an azure blue Eden Project leaf printed, that my Mum bought me for my birthday just before she died – and I wore a lot of azure blue colour at the time.  There’s a grey baggy one with nautical flags that throws back to a fantastic holiday with my husband, before children! A black T-shirt with song lyrics from an artist I’m currently mentoringto release his new album, plus a vest with the song lyrics from my favourite song of one of my favourite bands! And finally there was a i-Scout T-shirt which reflects my volunteering as a Beaver Scout Leader.img_8505-2.jpg
There’s one missing, a purple maroon bamboo textile, soft and adorned with turtles, bought by a very good friend that I adore.

And then I realised that my T-shirt drawer tells my life history, my interests, my children, where I’ve been and who I am.  It charts the highs and lows, the people who are important in my life, past and present, my hobbies, interests and values.

So, maybe if you want to find a little bit more about that new friend – check out their T- shirt drawer.  And next time you are deciding what to pack for a Yoga retreat with your mates, have a think.  What does your T-shirt drawer say about you?


Source: Women – we are responsible the next generation of men & women

Happy International Women’s Day.

It’s 17 years into the new millennium and yesterday I was saddened by the story of a British backpacker’s ordeal at the hands of a former boyfriend.  I find it hard to even type the word rape. I know there are bad people the world over, but why are they bad?  I considered backpacking on my gap year in the late 1980s but ultimately didn’t have the funds or the bottle to do it.  If my almost teenager daughter wanted to go backpacking in her gap year, would I let her?  My friends let their son travel South America with his mates but would they allow their daughter? I’m not so sure.

Yesterday, Chris Evans was talking about the book Sapiens : A brief history of Humankind – and the précis was that in the beginning we spent all out time hunting and gathering and chewing raw food (5 hours a day of chewing) – then we discovered fire and could cook food, making it more digestible – needing less chewing and giving us more time.  Ultimately humans have evolved so that we need less time to satisfy primal needs (hunger, thirst etc) giving us more time to do stuff, but we end up fighting as we are bored.  I wish I had more time to read the book myself.

Evolution of society and technology gives us more time on our hands which we then fill with ‘stuff’ – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  But then we don’t use that extra time for anything purposeful.  In fact, fighting takes over.  I thought we were supposed to be HumanKIND as Yuval Noah Harari titled his book.

So here’s my thoughts on International Women’s Day.

Women, we are responsible. If we have children, or are teachers, or we get to influence young people, we need to raise them to be respectful of others. Men of women. Women of men.  Rape should not happen.

If you are a parent and have a son, teach him to be respectful of women – like this amazing man is doing for his sons.  He treats his ex-wife, the mother of his sons, so that they learn by his example.  If you have a daughter, teach her to respect herself and not to accept disrespectful treatment by men.

Children are sponges.  They can be influenced overtly, and subtly.  This video on books for children reinforces all sorts of stereotypes and having read some of ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls‘ that my daughter was given as birthday present I cannot commend it highly enough (and it was a kickstarter project success).  Let’s raise our girls to be strong women.

And as a Beaver Scout Leader, who’s also been a pilot, and intelligence officer, a radio presenter, now a music manager, and most importantly a mother and a wife, I’m going to teach our kids that the time we now have at our disposal we should use to live the ‘promise’ we make “To be Kind and Helpful” and that includes to ourselves.


A few weekends ago, I had a 14 hour day with a bunch of kids in a minibus, with another parent.

The lead-up to this big day out was stressful, and I’ll admit, I was dreading it a little bit.  The weather forecast was not favourable – high winds and stormy conditions are not great for a 550 miles round trip; there were new kids who I didn’t know well and was wondering how they’d cope; and it was a Sunday so a late night back was not going to be a good start to the following week.

However, the weather was kind to us – the storm had blown through overnight and we even needed sunglasses as we set off.  Fellow parent and I had lots of really good chats as we shared the driving along the way.  The kids were happy in the back – no sibling bickering, and not even too many electronics to keep them quiet.

We arrived on time for the badminton match to a brand new sports hall, and lots of people seriously into their sport.  The team had a giant of a kid, who everyone assumed was their best player.  He wasn’t – he was ranked 4th (of 4) but was still considerably better than any of our team.  In fact, our lead player had a meltdown that threw me off-balance as I struggled to motivate our youngsters who had just spent 4 hours in a minibus to be ‘annihilated’.  I don’t like that word, and in fact, I’ve never used that word, but sadly, this kid did and I had to counter it.

You see for me, playing sport is not always about the winning.  I tell all my players to play their best.  To try and win a point, and when they’ve done that – go for another, and then just keep going.  Someday they might win and that’s something to celebrate, but as long as they’ve had fun, not been on an X-Box for hours and they tried their best, I’m happy.

Maybe I set the bar too low?  Maybe I’m not ambitious enough on their behalf? Maybe I’m damaging them by not screaming at them to to do better.  After hours of travel, to not even get a sniff of a win could be classed as embarrassing, or worthless, an annihilation of self respect.

So after another long drive home, where the weather turned foul, and we ended up on a diversion which extended the journey and the parents’ collection time, I felt pretty dejected.  And on the final leg of this expedition, after dropping back the minibus and collecting our car, I asked my daughter ‘was it worth it?’

She didn’t answer immediately, but then said ‘Yes Mummy – and thank you for organising it and taking us’.  ‘But you didn’t even get close to a win’ I said.  ‘No, but it was fun’ she replied.  I asked her if she would do it again, and got another yes.  Now I don’t think she was just saying these things for my benefit, knowing I was tired. And the journey back had not been despondent in the minibus at all.

But it made me realise that kids need to learn resilience, and there’s a strength that comes from not always getting everything your own way.  Being able to still pick up a racket and go on and play, and play your best, when you know you’ve not even got the faintest chance of winning takes real courage, strength of character and resilience.  This is what shapes your character in the future.

So, was it worth it?  Hell yes!


12 Things To Stop Saying To People In Radio.




Welcome to the FROGS Blog and if you can spare 2 minutes, it really is that quick, please can you complete the questionnaire so that your views can be represented at the FROGS AGM next week.  Thank you.

So last minute challenges with regards to submitting my MA Project proposal were as follows:

1.  The more I searched for my online reference links, the more relevant data I found –  from a research respect – lesson – do more earlier.

2.  I didn’t know whether to include the plagiarism statement, and in the end opted not to do so, on the basis that I could upload a signed document later and this was just the MA Project Proposal, not the final contextual review.  Then when I tried to upload it separately, I failed – hmmm – maybe a mistake.

3.  Due to the timescales of the MA project proposal, there is the possibility that a news hook will materialise, and though morbid, the possibility of military children going off the rails or worse case, committing suicide due to mental health problems, would be the perfect hook.

I decide to see if I can progress beyond, my own contacts with regards to finding a child psychologist to speak to who specialises in ‘treating’, if that is the correct verb, children of military parents who might need assistance, following the anxiety experienced due to the absence of a parent.

It appears that the Google search engine was able to offer very little for ‘child psychologist specialising in military children’ and even in the United States there was little information.

The best it could come up with is an interview with author Jeni Hooper, who makes vague reference to another US Professor Martin Seligman working with the US military…

and the minutes from a military charity Service Children’s Support Network conference from November 2011.

It made me realise that this is a valid subject matter that has had little or no previous coverage/media attention.

%d bloggers like this: