Memory blindness.

I want to talk about something that has happened to me every single deployment. 

It’s not something I’m proud of but its still a thing that happens time and time again so I’m hoping that it is therefore, normal and healthy. And sane. 

It happens when they’ve been gone for a good chunk of time. 2-3 months maybe. The longer they’ve been gone the worse it is.

Im going about my day to day fabulousness and I’m generally coping and looking pretty fly whilst doing so.

It hits me.

The crippling, genuine fear that I’ve actually forgotten what Popeye looks like and/or sounds like. 

It’s happened. 

I’ve gone memory blind.


“Omg omg omg I am the worst wife/girlfriend/life partner ever.” 

I blush and get a hot and cold panicky feeling in the bottom of my tummy. 

Suddenly I pelt my poor deployment beaten brain with such questions as:

What does his nose look like?!

What are the shade of his eyes?!

Does he have Gaston from beauty and the beast type chin or a Rick from TWD type chin?!

Does he like ketchup or mayonnaise?

Exactly how tall is he?!

WHO IS POPEYE?!?!?!!!!!!!” 


Sure sure I could just whip my phone out and look at a picture. But that would be cheating. So instead I go for the self torture route. Of course. Very healthy. Very British. 

I test myself. I quiz myself and berate myself for every question my memory can’t answer perfectly and instantly. 

“What are the shape of his lips?

How do I hold hands?

What does kissing feel like?!?!” 

These last two tie me up in knots as I freak out over whether I will remember how to snog on homecoming day. 

Visions of teeth crashing together or accidentally giving him a Glaswegian Kiss sail into my merciless mind as I struggle to remember the slant of his eyebrows.

Cursing my memory to the depths of Hades- I give in and open up Facebook to see Popeyes smiling face. I let myself have a little cry and resolve to study every freckle and hair, every quirk and crease until they are tattooed on my memory. 

And as for the kissing and hand holding I will just have to wing it on the day and hope that he’s feeling as beyond nervous as I am to see each other face to face again.

Besides if I do accidentally nut him in the face it will be one hell of an ice breaker, right? 

Muchos love,



Google obsession

Google Obsession. TELL ME WE ALL HAVE IT!

Tell me I’m not the only one who, the second the ship disappears over the horizon, whips out their phone and starts googling “HMS Pinafore” or what ever in the hopes of a news article or, the greatest internet search prize of all, a YouTube video of life onboard. 

If you find a video whilst they’re deployed you watch it repeatedly, pausing on pretty much every sailors face, incase it’s your Popeye. Which it usually isn’t. You almost convince yourself it’s him at 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Then again at 7 minutes 23 seconds. And kiss the screen. Or paw at it like a cat with a new toy. Or stare at it trying to memorise everything you’ve seen in that shot, so you can conjure it up again as and when necessary.  I have done this then realised said trophy video was shot before Popeye joined the ship. Awkward. 

I do this mostly when it’s late at night, I’ve snuggled into bed and, rather than relishing my recently acquired space, I spend a good five minutes rubbing my leg in small half circles on “his side” of the bed whilst willing my phone to bleep with an email. 

If you find a news article whilst they’re deployed you (obviously) repost it on your ships family and friends Facebook page, your Facebook page and tag your sailor in it so it’s on his Facebook page. So everyone knows how awesome your Popeye is, and to make goddamn sure no-one forgets him or where he is and what he is doing. Which, no matter what, is very action man-ey, selfless and uber kuul. Even if it’s just delivering sandbags to help with the flooding in Romsey. 

That done, you get comfy and read and re read anything and everything to do with the ship. I even have been known to read Argentinian news using an online translator thing when Popeye was in the Falklands. It was either that or learn Spanish. Which I seriously considered. The other option, which, to me seemed ludicrous, farcical even, was to not obsess about where the ship was. This was and will always be, such a non-option, I didn’t even consider it. 

The urge to google is at times so strong I will turn on in private browsing so any friends or family who happen to see my search history won’t think I’m a nutter. I’m (apparently) happy for them to assume I have no search history due to porn, but not it seems for them to know my dirty little google obsession. 

Why do I do this? Do other people do it? It almost becomes a ritual for me, especially during a long deployment. Check emails, check Facebook, check twitter, press refresh on hotmail, press refresh on the google window I’ve got open in safari, play candy crush, go to sleep, press refresh on hotmail, sigh, really go to sleep.


Decisions decisions… The great mayo or salsa debate

Why is it that just before home coming I lose the capacity to make decisions? During deployment I can make decisions like a power hungry Cold War dictator. But during those last few weeks I’m less effective than Nick Clegg wanting to pass a new policy.

Last deployment I was able to organise moving house, I found a new one, bought it (without Popeye seeing it), moved in, grew and birthed a human AND organised building a new bathroom and all the stuff to go in it.

All of these things involved a LOT of decisions and choices. Big decisions, big choices. I was able to do these things swiftly and decisively, confident in my ability to choose, and choose right .

However a month before deployment ended I was minding my own business, daydreaming about homecoming and I had a meltdown at the drive through. Completely lost it. And all because they asked me if I wanted mayo or salsa on my chicken burger.

For a good few seconds my mind went completely blank. What had they just asked me? Oh, a choice! A simple choice! Then… “Oh my God, what do I want??? Mayo? Salsa? Ok, I definitely want salsa. No. I want mayonnaise. WHY IS THIS SO HARD????

IMG_1645-0 With people starting to beep their car horns behind me, and Sweet Pea kicking off in her car seat, I garbled in an anxious ridden tone “I don’t know! Surprise me!” And sped off to the pay window with red cheeks and a pounding heart.

I lose the ability “to decide” in those fabled last four weeks. WHY is this? Popeye is not in anyway Mr Controlling, if anything, infact (and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this) I am the powerhouse in our marriage that gets things done and organised. He’s more of a laid back ideas man.

Maybe in the early stages of deployment it’s just knowing that when he’s away I have no other option than to decide. Theres no choice. The bucks stops here, squarely at me. At this early stage of deployment the idea of him actually being here has taken on a “Stars In Their Eyes” mystical quality that doesn’t seem all that realistic. Homecoming really is a day dream.

Then suddenly, four weeks to go, shit! Get outta the way Mathew Kelly, clear that fog from the fog machine, he’s actually going to be here, to help me!

Crap! I’m going to have to factor in his opinion! His preferences! I’m going to have to start playing as a team player! No more Olive-The-Dictator, time for a UN resolution and swiftly.

This realisation puts my head in a spin. Basically I think my brain stalls.

I temporarily suspend any “decisions”. Big or small. Or even McDonalds miniature happy meal sized ones. My brain just can’t handle it, knowing that the cavalry is just on the top of the hill. Or at least on the sea surrounding the same continent.

This realisation of help, support and opinion being so near yet so far makes stuff like mayo or salsa become a HUMONGOUS decision, towering above my head, staring down at me like a drill sergeant from some 80s military film, “which one is it soldier? You must decide, NOW!”

And yes, I guess I must. I must decide the little things, or go hungry. But the big things, like getting the car serviced (or not), booking a holiday, painting the baby’s room or getting the driveway paved can all wait. Because at this point I can’t plough ahead knowing that this dictatorship is about to become a democracy. And who the hell has salsa anyway?

Muchos love X

Christmas Bingo.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… My arse.

This is a post dedicated to all you ladies who have involuntarily become the Grinch this winter.

Yep, the navy has once again, messed up your festive plans and you’re feeling about as festive as, well, you’re not feeling festive at all.

So in a bid to raise a smile this Yuletide, I’ve come up with Navy Wife Bingo, Christmas Edition.

Let me know if you get some or all of these!


Annoying “home for Christmas” advert on TV makes you want to throw your shoe at the TV.

Annoying “home for Christmas” advert then makes you cry, whilst hugging the other shoe.

Relatives make super helpful not patronising at all comments such as “are you sure you’re still married to Popeye? We haven’t seen you together since your wedding! ” Mega lolz.

You open your fridge and it’s empty. Apart from wine. So you pour yourself a drink, shut the fridge and open it again, in the hope that full Christmas lunch with all the trimmings will appear. You sigh, and reach for the bottle.

You get the Christmas decorations down, either by yourself (brave) or with a relative. You spend a week staring at the box with a look of loathing before deciding a) sod Christmas, hate Christmas, hate happiness. Or b) I will put them up then make a scarf out of tinsel and cry.

Turn on the TV or radio to listen to some jolly Christmas carols to cheer yourself up. After a belter of “a partridge in a pear tree” and “silent night” you put on the Pogues, fairy tale of New York, because it’s your favourite one. But end up singing it fiercely at the top of your lungs, standing up, swaying side to side refusing to let the tears spill over your cheeks. The dog goes upstairs to hide.

You make a den on the sofa and don’t move from it until until Christmas Day. There are blankets and duvets and glasses, cups, bowls scattered about, the TV times is dog eared and listings are circled in biro, and by now there’s a bum imprint in the sofa cushion and your outline is traceable in Quality Street wrappers.

On Christmas Day you become the Festive Phone Ninja. Your phone, possibly with holiday themed ringtone is glued to your hand. You make a trip outside. This is a big deal and you blink in the crisp December sunlight.

Happy couples walking past you holding hands become public enemy number 1. They should not be so bloody happy. Idiots. I hope they break up.

I want to be holding hands walking around with Popeye. Not them. I hate happiness. Stupid Christmas. Stupid couples. They couldn’t do a deployment anyway.

You make it to your Christmas lunch destination. There’s a tiny nagging voice in your head saying that they’ve only invited you out of pity. You ignore it and pull out your biggest ear to ear smile. Everything is going to be fabulous. Just freakin fantastic. So you smile and nod when they do the Dreaded Head Tilt and and the inevitable “heard from Popeye yet? Where is he at the moment?”. You suffer the sympathy and jokes stoically. Just pass the Buck’s Fizz please.

After you’ve eaten, you’ve got the silly cracker hat on and have had your fortune told with a magic fish, you pause for a moment.

This is ok. Dare you think it, you’re actually enjoying yourself.

Is this allowed? Is this alright? I thought I was supposed to be miserable?

Hmm…. I’ll have a second helping of trifle and watch Elf with the family and wait it out for a bit….

I am enjoying myself!!!! Cripes! How did this happen?

Before you know it you’re sitting in front of the TV watching the Christmas special of Downton laughing with your loved ones.

And that’s it, it’s all over, done and dusted. You survived.

It’s done. Finished, and it wasn’t actually half bad.

Trust me, the thought of Christmas alone and the build up to it alone is so much worse than the reality. Go on, embrace the experience, it’s just one day of the deployment after all, just one day. And as much as it sucks, once it’s done you do feel a weird sense of pride and accomplishment. A strength and calmness and an appreciation for family and loved ones both near and far that you wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for the bloody navy.

Happy Christmas girls. You’re doing great.


The H word

Homecoming. That date written in your diary then crossed out and written again a few days later because it got put back at some point over the last six or seven months.

Homecoming. The one day of your year where you experience ALL The emotional states known to mankind within a 24 hours period.

Homecoming, where you don’t know if your going to throw up, cry, shit yourself or have some weird pseudo orgasm.

Yep, it’s a tricky day alright. But I’d argue that for me, at least, homecoming starts about 2 days before I’m standing dockside listening to that bloody brass band.

H Minus 48 hours.

I am buffed, waxed, trimmed, polished to within an inch of my life, upon completion of this almost ritualistic Navy Wife MOT I return home feeling, sexy, glamorous and fresh. A little bit like Beyoncé crossed with Mary Poppins.

Sitting down on the sofa I nervously check my emails, again, and again. (No, none from Popeye in the last five minutes Olive!)Time to put another squeaky, high pitched, excited Facebook status up!

That done, a strange bubbling feeling begins to fizzle in my middle, my foot starts twitching, I jump up, walk to the kitchen and notice some washing up on the side. (At this point it has become a tradition in the Oyl household for me to listen to this song on repeat, very loudly.)

The cleaning binge begins.

Washing up leads to cleaning the sink, leads to cleaning the kitchen, leads to mopping the floor, leads to hoovering downstairs, which goes onto hoovering upstairs, that leads to dusting upstairs (the whole time my heart is thumping with adrenaline and I’m so wired I go to the loo for a wee like a zillion times).

After dusting, with sweat dripping down my freshly exfoliated face, things start to get really weird. These are all true things I have done two days before The Big H.

Cleaned ALL the windows. Inside and out.

De frosted the freezer, then cleaned the kitchen again because I’ve got melted ice water everywhere.

Washed, dried, and styled the dog.

Re cleaned the whole house as it smells of wet dog.

Pulled out the cooker (dangerous) and cleaned underneath and behind it.

Tidied the inside of all the cupboards in the house.

And finally:

Arranged all the DVDs alphabetically and by genre.


By now it is about 3am and my neighbours are about to complain. So I usually go to bed, cursing my now ruined manicure, blocked pores and bruised knees and wondering how long a burn from bleach takes to heal and can I cover it up with Max Factor…

H minus 24 hours. (think the Jack Bower countdown noise on 24, the TV show, click here!).

It’s time to get practical, I fill the car with petrol, check the tyre pressure, and start to tell everyone I see that Popeye is coming home.


My neighbours, the petrol station man, the check out girl, anyone I see on the dog walk, birds in the trees, inanimate objects…

At some point I do the all important food shop, buying Popeye a new toothbrush fills me with a level of excitement that is hard to contain. I buy all his favourite things and a bottle of champagne too.

I’m just too excited! When I get home, I pace, I jiggle, I tidy and re-tidy.

I get out my “homecoming outfit” and lay it out on the bed, I try it on, I freak out that it looks awful. I try on something else, freak out about that. Try on original outfit and get deodorant marks on it. Burst into tears and call my sister who calms me down and tells me to take off the clothes, put on the pyjamas and get some sleep. Sleep? Pah! The idea of sleeping verges on the ridiculous, as I verge on hysterical. I get maybe two hours then I am AWAKE!



I get to see my husband again! All those months of tears and head tilts and parcels and lonely evenings in and weddings alone and emails and phone calls has come down to this day.

No pressure then!

I am out of the house at the crack of dawn, yet still always manage to get to the dock dangerously close to when the ship gets back. I have no idea where this time goes, but go it does.

Then the brass band starts playing, I find this particularly annoying, don’t ask me why but I feel it makes what is quite a personal moment feel like a parade.

When I see the ship, I get dizzy. My love for the much under appreciated tug boat must be noted now, because for all of the might of a warship, they still rely on the little tug boat to bring them safely home. I’ve always said to Popeye, if I was a ship I’d be a tug boat, small, chunky and sturdy, built to last and 100% dependable.

The ship comes alongside, and there they are! Gorgeous sailors standing in line, no matter what the weather. Then the search begins. Can you spot your sailor? For some reason if another wife finds Popeye first I get annoyed, so I scan frantically.

As a side note, at my first homecoming, after spending 6 months worrying whether I’d recognise Popeye, whether he would still fancy me, and whether he would get off the ship, look me up and down and go “erm, no thanks” and turn tail, I had decided, in my MOT wisdom, to not wear my glasses to homecoming.

Dear readers, I could not find Popeye on deck. Not only could I not find Popeye, but I started waving at a sailor I had guessed was Popeye, but in fact, was not. All the time Popeye can see me, frantically waving at the wrong sailor.

In summary, if you can wear your glasses. Or do as I did and invest in contacts.


You spot them! Then they disappear as they start to come down the gangway.

There they are.

And that’s it. That’s the moment. They are right there in front of you, and then they’re in your arms and you kiss. And time stands still, the world melts away and you drift away from your own body. Your spirit sings.

You’ve done it, they are there. Really there.


Muchos love,


Navy wife word porn

There are a few short phrases that will leave any military spouse weak at the knees, salivating, crouched ready to spring and jump her sailor.

We are a straight forward lot, our needs are simple, and our feelings strong.

Sailors! Take heed! Listen up! Just spout these phrases and your wife will become putty in your hand….

(*Please read this using the voice of the M&S advert lady for full effect.*)

“Comms are up, promise I’ll call later today”.

I’ve got that funny feeling in my tummy!

“I’ve taken Friday off”

Oh yeah! Hubba hubba.

“Weekend duty was cancelled”

Cue Marvin Gaye.

“I’m definitely home for Christmas/your birthday/our anniversary”

Eeeeeek!!! Having to hold myself back here!

“Deployment date is postponed”.

Move over Christian Grey. Popeye is 50 shades of battleship grey sexier than you right now.

“I’ll be coming home early, I’ve got advanced leave”.

It’s like I can hear my clothes saying “the floor! The floor! We should be on the flooooooor!!!”

And then the best, sexiest, most leg shaking, bits tingling words of all…

“Homecoming date has been brought forward”

Holy shit Popeye!

What can I say…you had me at homecoming.



“It’s complicated” -my relationship with time.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship. Not with hubster Popeye, don’t worry, he’s a kitten, but with time. Let me explain this analogy, ahem: Time, it treats me badly again and again, reduces me to tears and g&t’s and yet I always go back to it when it promises me it will never treat me like that again and how much it wants to make me happy.

See? Time+navy+me=abusive relationship! Or at the very least some kind of unhealthy codependent relationship based on love/hate.

When you are doing a deployment countdown you view time as your mortal enemy, and I, at least, spend a large chunk of each day taking it down a peg or two mentally (hang on maybe I’m the abusive one…). I spend a RIDICULOUS amount of time thinking about time (ironic) and how months and weeks are really not all that long. In short, when Popeye is deployed I demean time, I shorten it and patronise it, I beat it into submission until its not too scary.

For example, two months sounds scary, eight weeks, not so much. Also to say he’s still away for two and half months is awful, but if I take time by the gonads and twist, two and a half months magically turns into ten weeks! Tah dah!

You can also do this not just with months and weeks, but also with days. *gets magic wand and magicians hat*. Firstly, this works best when you’re in the ten week countdown. It also works best when you are alone in the house, holding a giant bar of dairy milk, standing in front of your calendar. No one knows why this is, its just physics or something.

Basically you don’t count the day they are coming back, nor do you count the day you are currently on. This means you can easily, at any point, shave two days off of your countdown as and when needed. Viola! Take that countdown! Here’s some more time magic…

You don’t count the day they are back, because omgomgomgtheyarebacktodayimawakeat3amandIwenttobedat2.45.

You can also not count maybe two or three days before they are home because omgomgimsoexcitedandihavetocleanthehouseandwashthedogandthecarandmyselfanddefuzzandbuyfivenewoutfitsandemergencydiet.

Not enough? You can also cut off any days you are meeting up with friends or staying at other peoples houses, or hotels, because then you won’t miss your sailor as much when you go to bed if you are tired and tipsy and also (as every navy wife knows) time passes quicker when you’re busy.

At the beginning of a deployment round up how much time you have done to give yourself an ego and moral boost. So if they’ve been gone for ten days, that turns into a fortnight, which you mentally say as “half a month”. And then abracadabra-10 days = half a month! Which sounds a hell of a lot better than telling yourself “they’ve only been gone a week and a bit”.

A month consists, always, of four weeks, not five, no matter what the calendar (or the bank) says. This way you can say “one month down, five/six/seven to go!” sooner and feel smugger faster. (I know “smugger” is not a word, but I am employing word magic here as well as time magic so there). You can then use this feeling of amazingness to combat the ‘I don’t know how you do it’ well meaning people’s looks with an “aha but I have already almost,kind of, I’m getting there, DONE it biatches!”

Aaand the best thing is, this feeling of wowzers look at me surviving and time passing aren’t I brilliant only gets better as more time passes!

I suggest you continue lengthen time in this way so that you feel freakin awesome until you reach the halfway point when you can start to shorten time again because, hey you’ve done half a deployment now chick and you are feelin pretty fly.

So that’s one side of my relationship with time, the other side is the side when Popeye is home on leave. Suddenly the very fabric of time changes! Three weeks, which was a very short and laughable amount of nothing-time during deployment is now a beautifully long vast insurmountable amount of time that will last forever. Three weeks becomes an eternity that you refuse to see the end of.

That is until time tricks you once again. Because no matter how 100% sure you are that three weeks is, in fact, forever and ever, no matter how much stuff you plan to cram into those weeks, you will wake up one day, usually for me around about day 17-18 and go “oh crap we haven’t done anything apart from stay in bed,walk the dog, watch walking dead and eat subway for two and a half weeks! How did this happen???”

Answer: Time has tricked me, once again.

And so it starts again, the feeling of super-duper-time-on-steroids whizzing past us both, heading terminally towards him going back to that bloody ship again to spirit him away for odd weeks here and there until the next deployment.

It makes me feel like Wiley coyote and the “meep meep” bird. It really does.

One of our strengths is, as navy wives and girlfriends, we can weave a mysterious magic with time. But, as Spider-Man taught me, with great power comes great responsibility. And time will come back around and bite you on the bum the second you start to relax your attention to it.

My advice, never take your eyes off it, it’s a tricky, sneaky thing, which is simultaneously my best friend and my greatest enemy.

Muchos love,

Olive Oyl