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Forces sweethearts

Is someone winding me up?

55 replies

vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 13:37

Okay - so a friend told me the other night that there is a course for future CO's wives to go on to learn how to be a CO's wife whatever that means Wink

I thought this sounded very strange so asked whether it's the type of thing about etiqette (how to say hello to the queen or whatever).

She said CO's wives should already know that anyway! I thought perhaps she's winding me up but she insisted that some of her friends are going on the course - some to have a giggle but others because they felt they should take it seriously.

So it right and if so, where's the course and what do they teach you exactly?

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mlrmummy1 · 10/06/2011 13:57

I have never heard of it....!

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goinggetstough · 10/06/2011 15:14

Me neither. Unless it is for a particular Regiment?

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MrsSnaplegs · 10/06/2011 15:16

Never heard of one! Thing someone may be winding you upWink

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mpsw · 10/06/2011 15:28

It has to be a wind up!

But do let us know what her friends report back! I cannot imagine what could possibly be covered - the only useful thing I wish I'd been taught at some point is how to recognise ranks of close Allies by plumage.

Anyone any ideas for what should be on it?

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TalcAndTurnips · 10/06/2011 18:35

Love a duck, that sounds hilarious! If there is one, you must go on it just for the crack and report back.

I do accept, however, that the role of the army CO's wife is usually totally different to that of the RN version. RN ones are usually pretty invisible, there being no garrison, or CO's house for instance. They can participate as much or as little as they choose; some have been legendary as being more of the CO than their spouse, some just turn up for the odd dinner...

Hmm, mpsw, what should be on the course?

Going by old episodes of Soldier Soldier, there should be an advanced diploma in Looking Wholesome and Being Very Worthy (and in one story line, IIRC, having a torrid affair with a young officer 15 years your juniorConfused )

Labrador Topiary

Intermediate Hand Shaking, Polite Kissing and Name Remembering

Module 2 in Looking as if You Give a Flying Toss at Boring Functions

Mass Catering

and, for the RN CO's wife, an additional workshop on Ladder ClImbing/Descending in Evening Clobber whilst Retaining Your Dignity.

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 19:19

Love it talc !!!

I would love to be a fly on the wall but there's no way I'd be going.

Let's just say I'm not great at cooking (average but defo not mass catering), people have to take me as they find me, I live in my jeans and my nails have been bitten to the quick!

I actually haven't got a clue what half the acronyms are and my kids go to state school....oh and we don't have a dog and I don't own pearls or a twin set Wink.

As for the course content......

-How to hear what the person to your left is actually saying whilst the corps band play something nobody's heard of all the way through dinner!!!

-Advanced exam for recognising the perfect downstairs loo handwash and making sure they co-ordinate with the tealights

  • Boring lecture about the war followed by afternoon tea practical on how to make the perfect Victoria Sponge


  • flower arranging for the perfect hallway console table
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TalcAndTurnips · 10/06/2011 19:49

I think you hit the nail on the head, there, vintage - just present yourself the way you are. "Hi, this is me - I may not conform to your pre-conceived idea of a CO's wife, but I'm intelligent, articulate, friendly and warm; judge away as you see fit."

Much better to be confidently yourself, than to nervously be something you're not. Embrace any quirks and eccentricities - people will love you all the more for it. It's got me through the last xx years! I do not conform in any shape or form to the norm of an officer's wife (whatever that may be!) - but by being open, conversational and interested in other people (a bit of gentle flattery goes a long way) I think I've got away with it so far...

I much prefer real, interesting, funny people who don't mind admitting their deficiencies - you can see through the posers straight away!

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 20:29

You could definitely say I'm quirky - although I actually quite like being quirky.

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TalcAndTurnips · 10/06/2011 21:31

Glad to hear it. Embrace your inner weirdo.

Now we will all look forward to hearing all your tales from the CO's house; every society you are pressed to join - all the sycophants you'll have to endure; rank-on-handbag-wearing types... Seriously, though, I bet you'll have a blast.

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mpsw · 10/06/2011 22:17

Other topics for the course:

  • how to shut up occasionally in committee meetings
  • the roles and functions of the PMC and SLIM and why you don't need to try to run the Mess
  • what all the welfare organisations do, and why you'll never know better even if your local SSAFA rep is a twerp
  • Pimms - why it really, really matters
  • how not to take it personally, but yes they really do want you to go so the real party can begin
  • how to persuade your spouse that he mustn't be 5 minutes early for everything now: you're arrival time is now 5 minutes after the stated time (exactly 5 minutes, if this freedom makes him nervous)
  • how to embrace the Padre
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todaysnewname · 10/06/2011 22:27

I'll own up!

I have been on this course Shock. The RAF runs a course for spouses of future bosses and it's a voluntary course. There was a bloke on mine. We all did it so we could be better placed to help DH/P in command.

The course covers what various bodies do eg SSAFA, RAFA, Airplay, Widows Association, Padres, Housing etc.. as well as a talk by a current bosses wife for a glimpse into her world.

There were no flower arranging/baking/napkin folding demos!!

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jcscot · 10/06/2011 22:41

Advanced bladder control for really long winter parades.

How to neck three glasses of gurkha-made gluhwien without getting tipsy after the above-mentioned parade.

How to kiss cheeks while wearing a really big hat.

How not to laugh at the Queen of Malaysia's hair. (Long story)

Army curtains and how to survive them.

How to feed twenty hungry subbies on three tins of tomato soup and half a loaf of bread.

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McDreamy · 10/06/2011 22:42

Yes it's true!

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notyummy · 10/06/2011 22:47

This course was running at Shriv whilst DH was there. I got the impression it was aimed (in RAF speak) at Gp Capt and Air Cdre spouses....and he is not quite there yet Wink.

At the risk of promoting inter-service rivalry I was more than a little amazed to learn via a friend of mine that Army Lt Cols who have got a command get a driver and a gardener (or at least did 2 months ago). Is this the same in the Navy?? And surely it will stop in the Defence review? It is not the case for the equivalent post in the RAF.

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 23:03

Yes, 'tis true notyummy about the driver (it's a defo with the command dh will have but not sure for others) - can't say the same about the gardener though, although there will be a housekeeper but with much watered down hours since the 'cuts'.

You lot make me giggle - I would love to know how to feed 20 subbies on the above!!! I was planning on jacket pots and chilli Grin.

Right - so course not obligatory then (phew) -I'll just stick to making it all up as I go along.

However, mpsw, I have no idea what PMC and SLIM stands for ....oh yes, actually is PMC, president of the mess committee? Don't know SLIM though.

todaysnewname I'm actually secretly really good at napkin folding as I used to be a waitress in a restaurant that prided itself on the art of napkin folding Grin.

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 23:03

notyummy your dh is still there - so do you mean it's still running?

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TalcAndTurnips · 10/06/2011 23:05

notyummy - wtf? Driver? Gardener?

Personal steward whilst on board.

That's about it.

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 23:13

You know - like Honeysuckle weeks in Foyles War Grin.

It's a bit of a piss take though when he picks you up from the house and drives you 200m to the mess and then spends his saturday night waiting to drive you the 200 m home again.

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notyummy · 10/06/2011 23:18

Yes, believe course is still on (as in it is still being run occasionally.)

Glad to hear that the Navy are also missing out Grin. can't believe such a waste of money has got through the system in these times of austerity. Still, next round of defence cuts in autumn- could be drivers and stewards fir the chop then!

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mpsw · 10/06/2011 23:19

SLIM is "Senior Living In Member" - DH also once lived somewhere where there was a SLID (dog).

COs get drivers depending on where they are and what they do - it's not a given (though any head of MT pool worth his salt will keep the CO on the road even where there is no designated driver). DH had one who doubled as his bodyguard on one operational tour - that was a terrifying thought! - and who also shared his tent.

No batmen! I think DH would envy the personal steward.

And we never had a gardener.

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TalcAndTurnips · 10/06/2011 23:21

Shit a brick, whenever he had to go anywhere, DH drove himself - in our car! (OK - he had a nice ship to drive about, but not quite the same thing Grin )

Evening dos - we got taxis - at our expense.

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stopthebus · 10/06/2011 23:21

SLIM - Senior Living In Member

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 23:22

yes - DH also lived in a Mess with a SLID - great big smelly SLID at that!!!

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vintageteacups · 10/06/2011 23:24

I'm not saying I agree with the driver thing Talc.

DH insists that it's necessary (working whilst en route)

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notyummy · 10/06/2011 23:24

I like the idea of the SLID! When i lived in a mess one of the other girls had rabbits- SLIR?!

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