Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 14 May 2018


I see it is a long time since I last posted, I'm rather sorry to say that when I have felt the urge to post I have not been near my computer, and when I have had the time or the proximity I have not had the urge! Possibly more self discipline is needed!

Since spring has definitely now sprung, I find that it is a little easier to lose a little of the weight I have been hoping to shift, work is much more plentiful and I can wear shorts while doing it. All round I am feeling a lot more positive about life the universe and everything. ~ Indeed as I have been known to observe I have no problems that can't be solved with money!

Yesterday I had a rather wonderful if rare experience, I met for the first time a long standing friend!   The wonderful world of blogging is a truly international one, many of my Blogging buddies are from other Countries, Australia, New Zealand, and of course the U.S.A.   This week one of my friends from the States is visiting the UK and we managed to meet up yesterday in central London.

The Banqueting House exterior
Mostly we walked around, talking about London and how it differs from the States, how different is to live in these different places, all mixed in with a bit of feminism and military history ~ we are a diverse bunch aren't we! Sophie wanted to visit Westminster Abbey, but being a Sunday it was closed to tourists. We did have a bit of a wander around outside and a look at the Palace of Westminster, then wandered up Whitehall.

And the inside!
To my shame I had never been inside the Banqueting House, so we stopped there to have a look round, what a stunning place! Well worth the entry fee. This is the only remaining part of the great Tudor and Stuart Palace of Whitehall, and of course the site of the execution of Charles I. I was aware of the execution and of the stunning Rubens' ceiling paintings. I don't think I was aware that this is the first Palladian building in the UK and the template for all those that came afterwards.

I feel that like so many other Londoners I never go into these places because they are just there, they are always there and just part of the furniture. Likewise I haven't been inside Westminster Abbey, or St Paul's at any point on the last 40 years unless I have been playing there.

We did manage a pub lunch in the St Stephen's Tavern and then later a quickie in "Half Way to Heaven", the first time I have been inside this popular Gay / Drag pub in day light!

It's always nice to meet friends, even ones I hadn't met before, Sophie is a lovely, charming lady, exuding all those positive characteristics that American can, I hope that this will not be the only time we meet.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

My Office Today

I suspect that a search of my blog over the last couple of years would find that the most used phrase would be "I'm really busy at the moment" t happens so often that I can only assume that I must like being busy. I could plead that the weather plays it's role, but I could say no! Being busy is not always a bad thing, being self employed it does suggest that at the end of the month I might end up with enough money to live, and as a musician I am so bad at practising that the more playing out I do the better.

It's so nice to be working now, with the sun out, and some proper warmth everything is growing, and it's hard to keep up, never mind catch up.   It is at time like this that I am reminded why I do what I do for work. Having gone through a pretty long and miserable winter, to come out the other side, feel the warmth of the sun on my body get my hand dirty and just enjoy the exuberance of gardens in spring, make sit all worth it. At the moment I am just enjoying all the jobs, even sweeping up, anything that takes my outdoors uses a few muscles and gets into the sunshine.

It only feels like a few days ago that I was complaining that it was never going to get warm again, I was fed up with being cold and having to wear so many layers, I looked i n my wardrobe and was incredulous that I had ever warn shorts at all.   Now I am wearing them once again, making as much of that potential vitamin E as I can!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Fresh Starts

It's been a busy old weekend, already and it's only just lunch time on Sunday!  Yesterday afternoon I went up to town for a meeting held at Bloomsbury Baptist Church by Two:23 ~ A Christian LGBT+ Network, it was quite inspiring and very informative. This is a group who as well as ministering to LGBT+ Christians, is working to make the wider Church more inclusive and bridge the divide that sometimes appears between the Church and some peoples identities.

One of the notices was about Christian at Pride they will be walking at Pride in London again this year, I rather hope that I will be able to persuade at least a few of them to join us at our own Croydon Pride Fest I really want us to represent the fullest diversity of our community.

I am inspired by the work this group does, even as I long for it not to be needed, but one of the best bits was meeting a friend from my Orchestra there, he was on his first visit and was glad of a friendly face. It is quite intimidating to go to any group for the first time, I know, I have been doing that quite a lot in my own search for a Church.

I'm hoping that search may now be over, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to make that level of commitment yet and join, but this morning I visited West Croydon Baptist Church again.   If anything I felt even more welcomed and included than I did last week. As a life long Anglican (even if for a large part of that life I had no real faith) it feels very strange to be going to a Baptist Church, but that may be where God is taking me now, He has often forced me out of my comfort zone, indeed that is when He has worked most in my life!

I feel a new chapter in my Christian walk, and therefore my life, is just beginning, I don't know what that will bring, but I do know it won't be boring!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Spring Harvest time

I feel as though I keep writing about spring springing, and all that that entails. Of course for me the main thing is work really starts to get going again, even though I personally seem to be having a great deal of difficulty getting going.  

Looking at the weather forecast for the next week makes me realise that I may after all be able to wear my shorts and singlets again, as long as I lose enough weight to get into them OK. That of course brings on one of the problems most women are familiar with at this time of year; ~ Yes it's THAT time again.

Of course for some of us it is worse than for others, when I first started my transition shaving was a major commitment, not just my face but my legs, arms and body all needed pretty much daily attention.   These days after just over two years of HRT and even longer trying electrolysis it's not quite so bad.

With electrolysis most of my face is now pretty much clear my neck still has to be finished.   As for the rest the hormones seem to be doing their work and the general growth has slowed down.

I am very pleased to observe that these days my razors are lasting a lot longer. I have bought myself an epilator to see if that works for me, it is way too early to have reached any conclusions on that score, but I do know it hurts ~ the things we go through for our art!

On a totally different note, the more observant of you may have noticed that I have made a couple of changes to my links bar on the left of the screen, I have included a link to Trans Unite an on line facility to find a National or local Trans support or campaigning group.   I do hope that all my Trans readers are getting some support, if you're not please do, as this is far too tough to go through alone.

I have also promoted Croydon Pride up the list we're doing some great work, so pop over take a look at our site and sign up for the News Letter.

Friday, 13 April 2018

There's Something in the Air

The other day I wrote here about how I felt that Spring had Sprung! Since then the weather has not been great, a bit wet, a bit dull, a bit cold, all in all a bit sh£t! But the coming of spring isn't just about the weather and starting to cut grass.

There is also the impending Pride campaigns!

At the weekend I was part of shooting some publicity for Pride in London it was great fun, if a little surreal, we had a chance to be interviewed and give our opinions as to why we felt Pride is important to us, and had a few photos taken, of course there is an embargo on all the details, but the picture I'm sharing here was tweeted by Pride in London so I am assuming that this one at least is now in the public domain.

Indeed for me being in the public domain is very much what Pride is about, certainly that's why it's important to me. It's important to me as a Trans woman that all the time there are people who feel that our identity is a suitable subject for debate; all the time we don't get equal access to health care; all the time that we don't get equal access to employment, and housing then it is important that we have a public, joyful celebration of who and what we are, coupled with a protest that we are still not being treated equally.

The Chair of Croydon Pride at the
LGBT+ History month launch
That's why I am involved in Croydon Pride, we had our first Trustees meeting of the year last night, we reaffirmed that although Pride Fest on the 14th July will still be our biggest event of the year, we will be working for LGBT+ people in Croydon and the surrounding area all year round. We will be holding additional events, we will be facilitating other groups, we will be visible ~ so just like a dog's not just for Christmas, we're not just for one party in the summer.

We are very keen that we are fully inclusive, that we represent the full diversity of the LGBT+ community here in Croydon, as trustees we represent as much of the LGBT+ alphabet spaghetti as it's possible for four people to do, but we are conscious that we could do better. We are only just starting our third year, so far all our events have been successes, but we are not going to sit back, self satisfied and think we have it cracked. We need help, we need to communicate with the community, it's how to do that which is challenging.

So, can I ask you all please to go visit our website, sign up for our news letter, and tell us what you think, and what you want from us.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Love, Simon

Last night I was taken to the cinema by a friend I hadn't met before. I know that sounds a bit odd, but in the age of social media it is increasingly possible.   It was really nice to meet in person, and it was a great film. Love Simon is a main stream film, with an important underlying message for it's audience.

I am so pleased to have been asked, but I am also so pleased that in these days it is now possible for a big Hollywood studio to make a mainstream Rom Com to be shown in high street cinemas about young, gay men.   The central theme is about coming out, but it is still very much a Rom Com.  I enjoyed the film, even if it did make me cry a couple of times.   Sure every one in the film is good looking and well off, everyone drives "nice" cars and lives in "nice", big houses, ~ yes it's a Hollywood film!

There were a couple of moments that I felt were just to unrealistic, and maybe too soppy, but then I'm a 60 year old, who's been through the mill a bit. The younger girls and boys in the cinema were actually cheering and clapping the romantic developments, so I think that means that it works!

  • It's good to meet and go out with real people.
  • Coming out is now a mainstream issue.
  • Young people do care.
  • I enjoyed it, go and see it, take your kids, let your kids go with their friends.
  • If going to watch this, don't wear mascara

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Still looking

After what feels like a very busy week, but in fact only included three full days of work, last night I slept for about twelve hours. I would love to say that this morning I have woken up feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, I would like to!

A local landmark
Last Sunday I visited my local Methodist Church, they are a very friendly community, with a strong Bible centered faith, and exuberant worship. I did not feel entirely comfortable with some of the worship and I didn't feel that the church communality truly reflected the diversity of the local population ~ still it was nice to be in a different minority for once! More to the point I did not get that feeling that this was the faith community I should be joining. Maybe I am asking too much, but the last two Churches I joined and for the Church my Mother joined in Cardiff I did have that feeling of coming home, that I (or my Mother) were in the place God wanted us to be.

Today I intend to join with West Croydon Baptist Church for their morning worship. This should be an interesting experience as they occupy something of a landmark building, which I have known as long as I can remember as "Spurgeon's Tabernacle". I had always assumed that like Spurgeon's College (where I used to deliver the newspapers) the eponymous Charity and the South London Metropolitan Tabernacle this Church was founded by the famous local preacher Charles Spurgeon, however the other day it was suggested to me that this particular Church was founded by one of his sons.

While all very interesting ,much more interesting will be to see what sort of a Church it is and what sort of people make it up. I have looked at their website and am quite hopeful. I really do feel that I should be able to worship in the community in which I am placed, and that means being able to walk to Church in the morning.

Interestingly for the many people who I come across who will question how I reconcile being trans and a Christian, who wonder how any Church will accept me, my gender identity has not been an issue at any of the Churches I have visited so far. I do not flatter myself that this is because I totally pass I believe it is because the vast majority of Christians are accepting, even those who cannot bring themselves to be affirming.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

BOING! or My Office Today

This week it does finally feel as though spring has sprung, I am sure that this is a great relieve to everyone, for us gardeners it means that we can go outside and get on with the seasonal work we were expecting to be doing last month.  

I have pruned a lot of roses, but by no means all of them. I have a lot of gardens where I am still do a first cut of grass, and many where I have not yet managed to cut back all of the dead growth of the herbaceous plants.    I try to keep up with garden work all year round but I do have some customers who simply want me to stop during the winter, which always leads to frantic catching up in spring.

Of course in a year like this when spring comes late then that means a very few very busy weeks, and since this looks like it will be the first of those few very busy weeks, it does seem a shame that it is going to be a short one, I may even end up working on Saturday to make up for it.   However busy I may be it is a joy to be able to get out in the sun and cut some grass!

Of course the joys are not limited to the work, at this time of year some of the joys can be a little less obvious than other, but none the less valuable for that!

Having said all that about being busy, normal life still goes on as well, and since for me normal life is anything except normal, I will now be losing at least half a day as I'm off to an electrolysis session this morning.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Happy Easter

After spending yesterday being visible today I will be celebrating Easter, this is not just another holiday, a chance to get drunk as there's no work tomorrow, this is something really worth celebrating for Christians today is the day when we particularly remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Although it was through the death of Jesus on Good Friday that we are forgiven it is through His resurrection of Easter Sunday that we know the sentence is served, it is through His resurrection that we are reconciled to God, that we are allowed into His presence, that we know we are adopted heirs, that we can call Him "Father"

I will be starting my celebrations at West Croydon Methodist Church, after far too long I am still to settle in any one local Church, this is one I have not visited since moving, maybe this will be the one, I pray that God will guide me to the congregation that he wants me to serve, and be served by.

It will be after church that I will be breaking my fast with a friend.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

I Believe; week six

The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting

When we say we believe in the resurrection of the body, are we thinking of our own body, the body of Jesus resurrected after the crucifixion, or maybe the body of the church?

"The resurrection of the flesh", the literal wording of the Apostles' Creed, means that besides our immortal soul, our "mortal body" will also return to life.

The resurrection of the dead has always been a central Christian belief. "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. But, in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor 15:12-14).

In Jesus' time, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead. At the same time, Jesus castigated the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection. "You are wrong. You know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God, for God is the ‘God of the living'" (Mk 12:24-27).

Even more important, Jesus joined the resurrection of the dead to his own person. "I am the Resurrection and the life" (Jn 11:25). He promised resurrection to those who eat his flesh and drink his blood (Jn 6:53-59). He raised people from the dead as a sign of his future Resurrection (even though his was of another order). He proclaimed the "sign of Jonah," that he would be raised after three days in the tomb (Mt 12:39). The apostles became "witnesses to the Resurrection" because "they ate and drank with Jesus after he rose form the dead" (Acts 10:41).

Faith in the Resurrection of the body has always met opposition. "On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the Resurrection of the body" (St. Augustine).

At death, the human body decays. The soul goes to meet God while awaiting reunion with the body. God will definitely grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls. All will rise: "Those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment" (Jn 5:29).

This gift comes from Christ who "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body" (Phil 3:21). "The dead will be raised imperishable, for this mortal nature must put on immortality" (1 Cor 15:35-37). 

So maybe it will not be the actual physical bodies we live in here on earth, but a perfected body, like Adam’s before sin entered the world, a perfected new body to dwell in the perfected new Jerusalem.

 “With these final clauses of the Apostle's Creed, Christian commitment to life from the moment of conception is under-girded and Christian hope in the face of death, even death by violence, is affirmed.

On the one hand, the Creed implies that life in
this body is of everlasting significance and therefore must be tended, guarded and nurtured. It braces us with the reality that no human being is discardable or neglectable. On the other hand, the Creed comforts us with the hope that life goes on beyond the bounds of this world.

Though we may fail to protect life here, that failure is not eternal. There is more life to come. The forgiveness we seek is grounded in the sacrifice of Christ once for all in the past and also in the future he has established where the consequences of even our worst actions will be resolved.

The resurrection of the body
Our belief in the resurrection of the body is very different from the idea that what makes us essentially human is our immortal souls, which continue after the body is discarded. Our gospel shocked the culture of Greek thought that prevailed during the years in which the New Testament was written. The body was understood to be a prison for the soul. The goal of spirituality was to slip the bonds of corrupt, weak flesh through developing the mind or enacting mystic rituals. So, the gospel seemed foolishness to educated Greeks. What kind of God would actually take up residence in a stinking human body? The resurrection of Jesus in his body seemed contrary to everything they believed about spirituality. Even granting that God had come to the world in a body, why would he ever keep that body after death?

In that culture, bodies were often burned after death. There was no need to honour or preserve what had been only a hindrance to true life. By contrast, Jews and Christians tenderly cared for the bodies of those who had died. This was not done with some naïve idea that only an intact, preserved corpse could be resurrected. Rather, it was a matter of honouring the body because we have our lives in an embodied existence. Though these bodies will be healed, vivified and transformed into something more splendid than we can imagine, they will yet be our bodies. We will not be airy spirits floating on clouds with harps. We will be more real, more substantial, than we have ever known.

In a passage that has been crucial to the theology of the resurrection of the body, Paul declared: "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Phil. 3:20-21). We are going to be like Jesus. Jesus was raised and ascended in the same body in which he was crucified. Yes, he has been glorified and outfitted for heaven. But he has not forsaken his body. Because we are going to be like Jesus, we know that our bodies will likewise be transformed and decked out for life in glory.

With his usual clarity, C. S. Lewis writes:

"He goes "to prepare a place for us." This presumably means that He is about to create that whole new Nature which will provide the environment or conditions for His glorified humanity and, in Him, for ours.… It is the picture of a new human nature, and a new Nature in general, being brought into existence. We must, indeed, believe the risen body to be extremely different from the mortal body: but the existence, in that new state, of anything that could in any sense be described as "body" at all involves some sort of spatial relations and in the long run a whole new universe. That is the picture – not of unmaking but of remaking. The old field of space, time, matter, and the senses is to be weeded, dug and sown for a new crop. We may be tired of that old field: God is not”

Gerrit Scott Dawson ,

·        If our bodies are cremated they are totally destroyed, does that mean our bodies cannot be resurrected?

·        Should this effect our attitude to organ donation.?

·        Will I still be deaf in heaven?