We all have friends who fit into different groups/circles. Neighbours, school pals, work colleagues, family etc. Apart from family the one group that I am very close to is my Watch Ashore friends.
I am lucky that I have family living nearby and always enjoyed plenty of support. No one in the family or any of my friends was married to anyone in the Merchant Navy.
After being married a few years and moving to a new house one of the neighbours invited me to come along to the Watch Ashore. To be honest I was coping fine and didn’t want to mix with anyone who felt sorry for themselves etc. Eventually I ran out of excuses not to go and when I did what I found was a great group of women various ages and backgrounds who had a very similar life to my own. Very much their own person, half full glass and not half empty glass type of people. Like everything in life they are some you can relate to better than others but everyone was open and friendly.
I think the need for that type of group is still very relevant today. With our hectic fast paced lifestyles, it is good to stop and take time for yourself, socialising with someone who knows the ups and downs of life married to a seafarer. Social media is very relevant in today’s world but it can’t replace the good old coffee and chat, friendly hug or just the sympathetic ear of someone who just “gets it”
When my children were small and all their friends were going to “daddy’s work Christmas party” they didn’t feel left out because our local watch ashore always organised a children’s Christmas party and it became a highlight of their year. Santa always made an appearance and everyone was delighted with their gift.
Another thing that I enjoy is our AGM weekends. We have had some great weekends with plenty of laughter, shopping, sightseeing and generally enjoying each others’ company. As they say “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” same can be said for our weekends!