Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fancy Dress?

As well as writing one  I like to read blogs, one of the things about the blogosphere is that it is truly international.   I read blogs from Canada, USA, Australia, Europe and of course here in the UK.   It does seem that today is one of the days when the UK, well maybe more England, is separated from the rest of the world.   Although interest is growing we still don't generally really "do" Halloween.   Yeh sure a few kids will be out trick or treating and there will be a few parties, but it is as nothing to next weeks celebrations of Guy Faulk's.

Now the bit of Halloween that seems to attract most attention on the blogs I read is the fancy dress aspect, if I understand this right it started out with people dressing up as pixies and other Celtic spirits and has progressed through "Goolies and Ghosties and Long Leggedy Beasties and Things that go Bump in the Night" to pretty much anything you choose.   At least one Australian Blogger does a very good Tinkerbell.

I am sure that a little more than one or two of you have attended work this day as your "Other" self, taking advantage of the license that Halloween gives to dress how you like, to dress how you like.   This year I am hearing something new, I hear girls saying that they will not be doing this as being transgendered is not fancy dress, the clothes are the outward expression of what is going on inside.   This then leaves the problem of what to wear when fancy dress is pretty much expected.   Go as your girl and it is not fancy dress, go as another girl and you risk being too good, go as another bloke and you miss the fun.

A band I sometimes play with had a concert last Saturday playing a selection of music from film and TV, they were all invited (instructed!) to wear fancy dress as characters from film or TV.

I'm not going to be doing fancy dress today, or at an time in the foreseeable future, but if I were I could fancy some serious gender bending, we have a tradition of Pantomine where the "Leading Boy" is always played by a girl, the essentials for the roll are a good pair of legs and being "easy on the eye" this is sort of balanced out by the "Dame" usually played by a male comic as a caricature of an older woman ~ the classic is Widow Twanky in Aladdin but they can be fitted into any of the stories.   My idea for fancy dress would be to go as a leading boy, so I could be a man dressed as a woman dressed as a man, let them pick bits out of that!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tough Gig

Yesterday was once again pretty frenetic with a load of planting to do with two ladies working with me.   I am beginning to think that maybe we should start marketing ourselves as Lady Gardeners, we got all the plants in and cleared up the area and the job is basically complete apart from putting in some stepping stone.   Trouble is the customer wants a very specific stone and I am having major problems sourcing it.   I may end up having to wait till spring (when they start making them again) before I can complete the job.

It all then turned into a bi of a rush to drop off my two helpers, get home get changed and up to town for an LGSO rehearsal.   We have a couple of performances coming up, this rehearsal was specifically for a Movies and Musicals thing we are doing at the Apollo Victoria on the 1st December it looks as though the whole thing may be a bit more intense than I had originally expected.   I shall certainly need to get some practise under y belt before then, some of John Williams' rhythms are very challenging and my register is being challenged in both directions.   It was nice to g and have a beer with some friends afterwards, but this morning it wasn't easy to get up, I think it is a good thing that I actually have an evening at home to recover today.

I understand ticket sales are going well, ad we should have a good audience for what looks like being a great show, not like some I've done over the years, I can definitely feel for Hagar here

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Honey, I'm Home

Well actually I got home last night.   It was nice to spend a couple of days with my Daughter, and some time with my Mother, both are keen to repeat the exercise before too long.   The only trouble is the journey, I know to my American and Australian friends the thought of a 150 mile journey is nothing, but here in the southern UK it is a nightmare.   Not the length of the journey but the nature of it.   The M4 is possibly the worst road I know, it seems to be constantly full to capacity or slightly more, cars drive too close to each other and they all want to travel 5 mph faster than the car in front.   Add into that mix heavy rain and wind and any joy there may be in driving is fully extracted.

Arrived home happy to have spent time with my Mother and Daughter, sad to have left Daughter with her Mother rather than have her come home with me, alone, and tired, just to find what I already knew, no bread, no milk, and nothing that wasn't frozen for diner.   All in all a bit of a downer, so popped next door for supplies and say down to reduced price sausages a bottle of cheap red and Doc Martin.

Sunday, 27 October 2013


It is now 01:59 according to my laptop clock I have just got back from the "masked ball" I was playing at with a group of musicians from the LGSO, I have often observed that it is good to be able to still have new experiences at my age, but I'm afraid that not all of them are pleasurable.   This ball turned out to be anything but what I originally expected, certainly not a ball in way I recognised it.   More an adventure in hedonism and an exercise in decadence (and very loud), most of the patrons were in fancy dress, those that were wearing clothes that is, and some of those who were wearing clothes might as well have not been.   I know that some people do enjoy this sort of thing, but not me.

Maybe I'm too old, or straight laced, but it comes to something when the 55 year guy wearing RHT seamed tights, short culottes and peep toe high heel sling backs is the boring, normal one. I would probably have fitted in better if I had taken off my outer clothing and walked around in my lingerie, but to be honest this is not an area of society I want to fit in with.

The event is organised by the Last Tuesday Society and the orchestra have been sending a group to play at these events for some time, I have to say that it is not musically satisfying, the audience makes up with enthusiasm what it lacks in discernment, but we know how well we played and how much effort we put into it.   Having said all this I understand that there is a decent fee to the orchestra involved and that this  helps fund the rest of what we do, so on that basis it is a good thing.

But I'm not at all sure I want to go back next year.

So after a strange day, a combination of hard physical work and hedonism, I'm finishing off with a glass of Scotland's finest before retiring to ready myself for tomorrows battle with the M4

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Just a quicky

Well today has actually been one of the more productive days gardening this week, which means I am now tired and grubby, which isn't grate as I am playing till late tonight, and the a long drive tomorrow.   All this means that I don't really have time to make a full post, before going and getting changed sorting out some dinner and making sure the van is OK for the drive, but not necessarily in that order.

Yesterday I checked through all my black dresses to see if any of them could protect my modesty while playing the tuba, but to be honest the results were not pretty, so I will be going with the culottes and a black blouse, to be honest this is what I expected, t it was fun trying.

I don't know how much time I will have in the morning before leaving to fight the good fight with the M4 but it is entirely possible that I will not have time to post, in which case I will not be back on line till Tuesday!

Friday, 25 October 2013

My first love

Ain't she a beauty
Tomorrow evening I will be indulging myself, I will be achieving a first and at exactly the same time going back to my first love.   I'm sorry to say this but to all those ladies who have meant a lot to me throughout my life, none of them can really be said to be my first love.   The one who has been loyal, who is still with me, who is always there for me, comforts me when I am down and celebrates with me when I am up.   The one whose mellow tones will soothe me when I am angry, or cheer me when I am sad.   The one who gives me a little joy  just by standing there in the corner.   Yes I am talking about my tuba.

I will be playing the tuba with the a group from the LGSO at a ball tomorrow night, this is the instrument I am most comfortable playing, it is my first love, and the one I have been playing longest.   I first started on the tuba as a 12 year old I had already been singing for some time and had some piano lessons without ever really taking to the instrument.   As soon as I heard and saw the tuba I knew that was my instrument, and I was right, and it still is.

The only problem with playing my favourite large CC tuba is that it sits between the legs of the player rather on the lap, in turn this means that my ludicrously large collection of LBDs are all unsuitable (if I am to retain any modestly at all).   Most ladies who play will either wear trousers or large full skirts that will accommodate the instrument and protect their modesty.  

I have already over spent this month so I will not be going out and buying anything just for this one performance, so I am a little split whether to wear some dress trouser, with a  sparkly waist or culottes which will still allow me to "show a bit of leg".   Bizarrely the waists of both of these options are a little on the large side so it may well be comfort that dictates the final decision.

Those of you have been reading attentively for some time will know that I am a little uncomfortable with the whole Halloween thing, I a certainly not in the habit of celebrating it, rather I will generally avoid anything to do with the celebrations.   I agreed to play at this ball some time ago when it was just being trailed as a masked ball, I now find that it is being billed as a Halloween ball with guests encouraged to indulge in gruesome fancy dress, the orchestra have just been asked to wear all black so at least I am spared that, but I suspect that I may be a little uncomfortable with some of what may be going on.   Still maybe it serves me right for not checking my calendar or asking the right questions.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Who's the Walrus

Yesterday I spoke of many thing, but not of shoes or ships, or sealing wax, or cabbages or kings.   I may correct some of that today.   I did speak of Doctors and coming out, and there will be a little ore on both of those.

My Doctors' practise as many Doctors working there, unless you specify it tends to be a matter of luck which one you see, this morning I saw a lady Doctor, which was actually something of a relieve, somehow with personal things I find it much easier to talk to other women.   The outcome is that I am being referred to two specialist units, one for a hearing test the other may take longer, and hopefully be irrelevant by the time the appointment comes through, to a local unit where I should be able to talk through some of my issues and the various causes of my depressions.   I may not say any more on this matter here as this is a very public place and some of this will be between me, my doctor and my family.

However Paula is now a little less private as last night I did come out to another friend.   I have known her for some time and have at times been a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on for her.   On various occasions recently she has noticed and commented on my pierced ears, (complete with glittery studs) my nail polish, my hair and a bag I was carrying the other week.   So I was quite surprised when I told her and she said she had no idea, I was also pleased that yet again it was no biggy for her.   Indeed after a little thought she was almost delighted that here was someone else she could talk clothes with, and do lunch and shopping, this could be fun.   Yet again I am forced into the opinion that women are much more understanding than men ~ do men feel threatened by us? ~ and that it is a very different thing to find out that a man is trans and finding out that your man is a cross dresser.

Each time I decide to come out to somebody I get nervous about it, I try to plan the whole thing, I'm more frightened of rejection than derision, but that has yet to happen, once again I am forced to the conclusion that people are nice.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Stuff, celebrities, GID, and comming out.

I am listening to the BBC Reith Lecture delivered by Grayson Perry, any one interested in art should do the same, but in his introduction today he said quite emphatically that "Dressing up is not a work of Art", it must be so since Grayson said so.

I am now friends with the gorgeous Petroc Trelawny ~ well a Facebook friend anyway.   After the concert on Saturday I was sitting at a table with four or five other girls, only one of whom (I believe) self identifies as straight, I observed that I though Petroc was "gorgeous" I was overwhelmed with a chorus of agreement, sure he looks nice enough but in person his personality really shines through, sorry if I seem to be gushing a bit, but I have often looked at men and been able to see why women fancy them, but in this case I can see why they might throw their knickers at him.

On a more serious note, I am now getting a bit worried about an appointment I have made with my Doctor for the morning.   I want, no I need to talk to him about the possibilities around GID, I need to work out where I am going with this, what I want, what I am, and hopefully get a bit of help along the way.   I am not very hopefully of anything life changing happening tomorrow, I think the most I can hope for is a referral to someone to talk to.   This is a big step for me, but over the last few weeks, now I have the freedom to be me more often I find I am increasingly resenting the time that I have to be him, and am simply more comfortable as Paula.   Whether this is a consequence of my current life situation or a release of deep underlying gender issues I find it difficult to tell.   But it is impacting on all of my life, my behaviour and my appearance, so time to act (or maybe that should be time to stop acting)

In the mean time I have a rehearsal with my wind band tonight (in fact I should be there when this is published as I have set blogger to release this while I am out), there are a couple of friends there who I want to come out to, in ne case they are such good friends that they deserve not to be lied to anymore, in the other case she has noticed some clues, but has not put them together yet, or if she has she hasn't said anything.

Hair Brained

After my haircut I wanted to get my eyebrows threaded, it's not that I enjoy pain I just think they look so much better tidied up and I am lousy at plucking them myself .   I had originally planed to drive straight into Croydon, but on reflection I decided to go home grab a coffee and then go into Croydon by Bus.   I have been reluctant to use the bus as the stop is right outside my house, and I know I will be very visible to my neighbours while waiting.   But having come to the conclusion that they must all either know or not care by now I plucked up the courage and used the bus.

When I got on the bus I noticed one of the youth from our Church, not one of the most pleasant or discrete young men I know, I avoided making eye contact and sat down I front with my back to him.   A little later in the journey an older woman sat next to me and engaged me in conversation, I was quite grateful as I was in conversation with her when the young man in question got off.   I don't know if he recognised he but it would have been difficult not to, more to the pint I don't know who if anyone he has said what to.   I suppose I will just have too wait and see.

Arriving in Croydon I had to walk over to the Building Society first to draw some cash, then down to House of Fraser just in time for the Girl on the Shavata counter to be going to lunch.   I arranged to go back after her lunch, and wandered off around the shops.    I have to admit that I'm not very good at window shopping, that's probably why I ended up spending too much money on things I didn't really need, just liked.   One day I will develop some self restraint, but this certainly wasn't the day.   Getting back to Shavata after a little wait I did get my eyebrows done.   A bit more expensive than the other times I have had them done, but I am a lot happier with the outcome, better shape, more balanced and a little less rawness.

One of my purchases was a new ring from M & S, it is just a cheap bit of dress jewellery, but I like it, it is definitely "my style", I like the sparkle, and the twist.   Having had a couple of rings that I like quickly lose their plating and turn a bit brassy I have given this one a coat of clear nail polish, a tip I picked up from my new friends in Kings Cross.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Back to Saturday

The last weekend was a bit of a whirl, lots and lots happening, and unfortunately lots of spending ~ but then that's what happens when you go shopping.

First off was a visit to the Hairdressers on Saturday morning, this soon absorbed a good couple of hours as I was having a perm.   This is the second perm I have had, not a tight curly perm,, but a gentler soft one, I like the extra body it seems to give my hair, making it a bit more shapely rather than just looking a bit flat, or needing a lot of effort each time I wash it, which is almost every day.   Being there a bit longer I ended up chatting with Nicky for quite a while, it is a strange relationship we have with our hairdressers, we will tell them all sorts of things, some quite personal, in some ways they are our modern confessors.   Fortunately for me Nicky is very friendly and understanding, and perhaps nearly as important she remembers what we talked about six weeks before hand and will ask how thing have progressed.

I know I am not her only trans customer, given that I do not know the other one and this is just an ordinary small suburban hairdressers it does make me wonder how many of us are out there.

After getting my hair done I wanted to get my eyebrows tidied up, I have been in the habit of getting them threaded at the stand in Debenham's in Croydon, but last time I went there I wasn't too happy with the outcome so I had decided to try the Shavata in House of Fraser instead.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Well that tells me

Sometimes we think that all the world is a critic, every so often though there really are some critics about, there certainly was at least one at last night's concert. Now generally I would have to say that it is a very good write up, a nice review of the concert and the performance. A little brief but none the worse for that, OK so one or two of the attempts at humour fall a little short but we all have that every now and then.

But just in case I ever had fooled myself that maybe I do pass, I am now shot down in flames. Needless to say the program just lists our names, not our sexuality or our gender identification, so I suppose I must have been obvious. Of course it is difficult not to be obvious wearing four inch heels and a short, clingy little black dress while carrying a bass trombone, so maybe I should forgive him, but it does grate a little.

I love live music of all kinds - so it was a real thrill for me to go and see ( and hear ) The London Gay Symphony Orchestra for the first time . I had no idea we had an all gay orchestra but apparently it's been around since 1996 - and plays at least five concerts a year - in London , Brighton and beyond !

This evening's offering in the beautiful St Sepulchre Church - E.C.1 was stunning and spectacular - with it's marble pillars , union flags and huge golden organ ( no pun intended).Four pieces were all played with great skill and sensitivity .

It was a full house of proud parents ,over excited partners and loyal friends and followers - and we weren't disappointed. One moment of merriment at the very beginning was when the big bad double bassist rushed in somewhat late and tried to set up unnoticed with his large instrument - no pun intended again !

AVRO PART's Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Britten started the programme - after a somewhat hesitant start the orchestra gained momentum and with some passionate conducting from Christopher Braime it served well as a warm-up and an indication of things to come .

BRITTEN's Sinfonia da Requiem proved more successful - after strident drums , bold brass and angry strings made way for a more reflective , moody and peaceful conclusion . Our conductor worked himself up into a sweat and certainly deserved the interval refreshments - wine and water were on offer . A very generous drop of red for £ 2 made me smile and I think helped oil the orchestra and the audience for a triumphant second half .

SIBELIUS Violin Concerto with soloist Amanda Lake certainly transported us away from the city to a place of great musicality . Ms Lake played with utter precision and gutsy conviction- firmly rooted in the dark earthy sections and then danced light and airily for the rest . Great to see the music 'take over' the performer and her offering was very well received with thunderous applause and a lovely bunch of flowers to boot . Again our conductor drove the orchestra home whilst sympathetically echoing with some playful plucking and fun filled fingering - no pun intended.

Our final piece was a true favourite ; BRITTEN's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra . Narrator Petroc Trelawney immediately set the tone with a real sense of fun and each section when mentioned; strings , brass , woodwind and percussion all shone and obviously enjoyed themselves - so we did too . Lots of subdued laughter when THE WHIP was demonstrated and one couldn't help feeling there was a hidden agenda for some of the gay clientele.

You could hear a pin drop throughout - there was no annoying coughing or spluttering and people sat still - so each silence and subtle nuance really hit home. A superb evening of splendid entertainment which launched the 2013/14 Season - the next concert being Sunday Dec 15th a Christmas Concert featuring Delius Sleigh Ride , Prokofiev Lietenant Kije and Tchaikovsky Symphony No 1. A Christmas treat well worth a visit .

There were gays and lesbians of all shapes and sizes and even a transgendered trombonist to add to the mix . In gay slang 'polari ' it was BONA to VARDER the DOLLY OLD EEKS ( good to see so many friendly faces )!.

Conductor ; Christopher Braime
Soloist ; Amanda Lake
Narrator ; Petroc Trelawney
Leader; David Wallace

This was and is my first music review and I look forward to many more.

The review is by Philip Herbert on and can be read here. Oh and by teh way some of the Orchestra are Straight!

Credit Where it is Due

I need to apologise, the other day I posted a photo, without giving credit where it is due Justin David is a professional photographer and writer so it is even more important to place the credit where it is due.   He set up a studio in his flat to take these photos, he used a black background and two lamps, as well as some natural light from the window.   I understand that my glasses were a bit of a problem as they kept giving unwanted reflections, but since I do wear them all the tie he did want to keep them, as after all that is what I look like.

Justin has been talked into doing the publicity shots for the orchestra by Nathan, one of our oboe players and a bit of a star in his own right, they were both at last nights concert, with Nathan playing and of course featuring in the Britten Young Persons' Guide.

An old Brooke Bond Card portrait of Benjamin Britten
Last night's euphoria is beginning to wear off a bit now, but I have to say that it was a great concert, and a very interesting, and challenging program.   Well, challenging for most of the orchestra at times I felt a bit of a fraud as everybody else has these really difficult parts to play, especially in the Britten Fugue, while hiding in a corner at the back on Bass Trombone I just have to occasionally interrupt with some rude noises.   Every now and then I will look across at the parts played by the violins or woodwind and I'm in absolute awe of some of the things they manage to play.   I complain if I have more than four notes in a bar, and semiquavers make me panic so last night I was impressed by all those musicians with all those very exposed very tricky passages, especially those like the Basses who are not very used to being in the spotlight.

For now I will just quote what one of my colleagues and friends from the Orchestra wrote on Facebook last night

Fabulous concert with the LGSO tonight. We rocked it, if I do say so myself! Our last concert with Amanda, who blasted the Sibelius Violin Concerto into touch with a well deserved standing ovation. Good luck in your lovely new pastures,  we'll miss you x
And thanks to 
David for leading so brilliantly - man you owned that fugue!!

A Great Night

So a Great night the orchestra was great, the soloist was great, the narrator was great and the trombone section was, well, fabulous.

I promise to write more late but for now just great

Saturday, 19 October 2013

I'm a Poster Girl

A while back I wrote about going to a photo shoot, it was a great deal of fun, and very much a new experience for me, and I suspect by far and away the most glamorous thing I have ever done.  

There have been occasions when I have taken the photos but this was the first  time the camera has been aimed at me.   Not only did I have fun but the pictures were pretty impressive as well.   As the photos are to be used as publicity for the LGSO concerts this season there was an embargo put on publishing them before time.   Well the photographer has now put them up on Facebook so I think it safe for me to publish mine here.

I hope you will also notice my beautiful trombone, I will be playing this tomorrow night at St. Sepulchre's without Aldgate with the LGSO, please come.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bloody Americans

It goes against all my finer instincts, I hate myself for saying this, but, I agree with an American.   Worse than that I agree with an American politician.   You may relax it is not Palin. but it is actually someone with real power.   Well real power in the world if perhaps not that much in America.

Today Obama basically said that the idiots that Americans keep electing have done serious, permanent damage to the world economy. OK not his exact words, he is far more diplomatic than that, but I still fail to understand how anyone elected to high office could possible have ever thought that this recent crisis created solely by partisan self interest was ever a good idea.   Please remind me again, what exactly it is that was being objected to, was it something along the lines of people should be encouraged to make provision for them selves if they fall on hard times or are ill, and that maybe society should take an interest in them.   And for this the most powerful country in the world shuts down.

I live in a country where we argue about how much provision we should make for those who are unemployed, have a disability, are old or infirm, not whether we should make a provision.   I worry that even here, the home of the social state, that we are abandoning some of those who deserve our care.   Yet in the "Land of the Free" unless you can afford it you can be denied medical care or starve.   So what price freedom?

I am sure I may have upset a few of you with this rant, but surely the purpose of society is to be social, to care for one another, and in turn to be cared for.   Maybe this is just at the forefront of my mind as I suspect I may be in need of receiving some care from society at some point.

As I warmed to my diatribe against American politicians I very nearly forgot the whole point of this post, it has recently come to my attention that Boris Jonson was actually born in the USA, that means that he is eligible for election as president of the USA, so please, please elect him, then in London we won't have to put up with this joker any more.

You know thinking about it suddenly the Americans don't seem so bad

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Stuff and nonsense

Today has been grey, miserable and wet, so not a day for working outside in the gardens, rather I have spent the day sorting out some upcoming jobs, trying to source some materials and generally sorting odds and ends.   A while back I thought about going to see my Doctor to see if he could refer me to someone I could talk through my issues with.   There is a system for making appointments on line so I went to use that, only to find that when my computer hard disk failed a while back all my book in details were lost so I couldn't do it.   Not to worry the NHS has a central trace so I could go through their website and get my log in details, when I typed in my name date of birth post code and gender I got the reply "Details do not match those held by your practise" I was a little concerned but as I was so busy I didn't follow it up ~ until today.

In my travels I popped into the Surgery and explained about losing my details, they checked, and told me that they did have the right information about me, and that they would send me fresh log in details.   While I was there I also made an appointment.   I will be seeing the Doctor next Thursday, so I have just over a week to sort out what I am going to say, and just over a week to get nervous, worried and to think about chickening out.   I know (or think I do) that it can only be helpful, but I will admit to being nervous about this discussion already.

When I am at home alone, I will dress for comfort, today that meant a snuggly sweater knitted tights pink slippers and a denim skirt, being on my own I didn't worry about makeup or jewellery, but was wearing a bra and some forms.   Having been on my own since lunch time I didn't really think abut when the door bell rang but automatically went and opened the door, as I did I suddenly thought what the *%$@ are you doing? but it was too late.   There stood a delivery man, who handed over a box, got my autograph and didn't bat an eyelid at my clothing choices ~ good man! and in the box, my new boots so I am extra pleased that I did answer the door.

The sun has now come out, I have a rehearsal to go to and I've got my new boots, the day that started grey and miserable feels a lot better now.

People can be nice

Written about seven thirty last night (Tuesday)

I have an observation, I noticed this yesterday evening when I popped into the Tesco's next door, on the whole people are quite nice, if you give them the chance, but they definitely seem to be nicer to Paula than they are to Paul.   Odd that, strangers seem to respond well to me almost all the time, almost everywhere.   I wonder if this is because Paula is nicer, giving off (for want of a better expression) good vibs, while he is just seen as the typical aggressive masculine seeking domination.

I increasingly find I am more comfortable while in fem, more peaceful and therefore more at ease with myself and with others.   It could be that this comes across to others and that's why they are nicer to me.

I'm sure there is a deeper message in all this, but just at the moment I'm not able to think about it.   I have some people coming around in an hour or so and had best get changed and clean off my make up and nail polish before they get here, this is one of those many situations where I am afraid neither I nor they are quite ready for me to be out.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Comments Please

I very nearly had a major technical problem with the blog yesterday.   To sort out my Facebook identity I had to start running a different, additional, browser so I set up Chrome, while playing with it I have started another Blog as well, one to show off some pictures of my work, something I can refer potential clients to, so they can see the sort of things I can do.   All very worthy and at least slightly productive.   In the process I came across the various options for comments.   Ah ha I thought I can set up for anyone to comment, and a good friend has been complaining that she can't comment on Paula's Place without a Google account, so I changed the setting here as well.

All very well until I found that changing the settings away from Google+ meant that I lost all comments since May 2013!   Since for me your comments are an important part of this Place that counted as a disaster.   By linking back into G+ I have retrieved all those comments, but I have still not solved the problem of how I can let my friend comment.

If you know about these things and can help please let me know, ~ and any gender stereotyping about girls not being able to handle tech will be sat on, however true they may be in my case.   And why does Blogger work even slower in Chrome than in IE? I'm getting confused, think I'll just g and sit down with a cup of tea.

And by the way the new Blog can be found at

Monday, 14 October 2013

Another Grey Day

There may be as many as 50 shades of grey, but the sky here is displaying mostly the darker ones.   I woke up this morning, looked out he window and decided to go back to bed, although not actually raining it is damp and miserable, and my self starter has totally failed.   I did eventually manage to get up and have started on a few chores, but to be honest my heart is just not in this morning.   So here I am at nearly one O'clock in the afternoon, still in my nighty and dressing gown with a cup of coffee and the laptop keeping me warm.

I think part of my down is due to a busy Paula weekend, I have already said a bit about Saturday night, as the group has now set up a Fakebook group I have now got a presence there as Paula Gee, if you are a user I will be posting occasionally I already have found around 20 friends, people I actually know and bloggers and on-line friends.   It will be interesting to see which of my identities is most used / popular.   Since that involved installing a different browser as well as all the rest of the set up I managed to waste a good bit of the morning yesterday setting the whole thing up, leaving just enough time to get up to town for the LGSO rehearsal for next Sunday's concert.

The Britten Young Persons Guide has a narration with it, and our narrator for this concert is Petroc Trelawny, many of us who listen to Radio 3 will be familiar with his dulcet tones, and will have seen him introducing some of the Proms on TV, I can say that in person he is just as, or maybe even more, dishy. tall, slim, clean cut, and quite charming.   And yes Petroc the beard does work.   So there you are yet another reason to come to the concert.

After the rehearsal we made our usual visit to the neighbouring pub, feeling rather tired I was not quite my usual sociable self, but I did get into conversation with a couple of civilian sister there, who admired my bracelet we then went on to discuss the merits and problems with costume jewellery in general.   This was fun, but it ended up being another late night.

Now it is definitely time to go and get dressed and get on with something useful, but no I'm not going to clean behind the fridge.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Leather Mini Skirt

I often talk about appropriate clothing, how if we want to blend never mind pass, then we should dress in an environment and age appropriate manner.   After all I am past a "Certain age" and maybe I should dress as such, I'm not saying that women in their 50s and 60s should not wear short skirts, on occasion it can be a very good idea, especially if you have the legs for it.

Yesterday I was in the mood for a bit of glitz and although not really much of an occasion for some glamour, as I would be amongst other girls like me I thought there was a good chance I would not stand out too much if I did glam up a bit.   So I did, a nice satin blouse, smart jacket, and yes the black leather mini skirt.   This skirt doesn't come out of the closet very often, every time I do wear it I am very conscious of just how much leg I am showing, especially when I sit down, so it is only on those special fairly rare occasions when I feel like flaunting it a bit.

At our last meeting back in September a couple of the other girls were both sporting some very high hem lines so I thought I would just blend in with them, as it happens I was the only sporting a pair of legs, well maybe more a pair of thighs, as all the others had decided that it was too cold for short skirts.   Strangely this is more a look I associate with winter parties or when teamed with thicker tights autumnal trips out.   Apart from that I do have a coat, so the temperature is not an issue.  

When I got home I wasn't ready for bed so I stayed up and had a glass of wine and a snack, and took a couple of photos of the outfit.   This meant it was pretty late when I got to bed, waking up this morning it was so dark I thought it was still the middle of the night, it turned out to be about half past nine, but as it was raining so hard it was still dark.   I hope the weather clears up a bit as I still have a lot of work scheduled for next week.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A bit of Glamour

Tonight we have a support group meeting, I am looking forward to seeing the girls again, and of course sharing a drink and a natter, I also hope I can persuade a few of them to come to my concert next weekend as well.

But of course I always seem to end up with the problem of what to wear.   Tonight I fancy something a little bit glamorous and a little bit short.   This may well mean overdressing for a Saturday night at a "local" but amongst the other girls I'm sure I won't be the only one.   I resolved this problem on Thursday by wearing my dark blue trouser suit with a paler blue blouse and a paisley tie.   Pretty much what you see here, except that my nails were not dark red, they were more a slightly pink pearl, I was also wearing a couple of sparkly rings and tights (pantie hose) that were quite obvious under the cuffs of the trousers.   Guess what, if anybody noticed they didn't care, but I did notice that afterwards I spent a lot more time with the ladies than the men, coincidence?

Today I have just been knocking around the house and garden catching up on a bit of housework and doing a few chores, I have just been wearing a denim skirt and a polo necked sweater, I did pop on my new leather jacket when I popped next door to buy some bread, maybe it is this casualness that has triggered the desire for a bit of glamour.

I think I may well wear the same outfit I wore last Saturday, I do like those culottes, and the outfit makes me feel pretty good, even, dare I say it, a bit sexy.  

How Much!

Yesterday was quite a big day, it was the last week day that my friend B will be working with me as he will be starting a "Proper Job" on Monday.   I am so pleased that he has been able to find something even if it is not ideal, it is a lot better than what ever casual work can be picked up.   I will also miss him, we have grow a lot closer again working together, probably closer than we have been since we shared a flat back in the late 80's.

It was also the last time that Will Carslake conducted the London Charity Orchestra as resident MD, so another rather happy/sad event.   The event itself was special, we played at a thanksgiving service in St Paul's Cathedral, including a first performance of a new work for choir and orchestra by Will.   The event was also a little confusing, it was a service but the congregation seemed to want to treat it more as a concert, so there was much applause for the singers and musicians.   I always feel that any music in a service is an offering to God so should not be applauded by people, as this can take the focus away from God and the offering a praise onto the musician who then becomes a performer to the congregation.

But none of this is the point of this post, as it was will's last gig with us after playing we all adjourned to a bar near by for a few drinks together and wish Will well.   These are the times that build relationships within an orchestra so are an important part of the life of any amateur ensemble.   The bar chosen was the bizarrely named Corney and Barrow in Paternoster Square.   As a bar it appears nice enough, reasonably well furnished and designed.   As I rather expect from this sort of bar, they have a variety of lagers from around the world lots of wines and spirits, and few drunks.   There was one live beer (real ale) one of my favourites, Doombar.

Like I said this is a live beer, a living organism it needs to be treated with respect and like the rest of us requires care to be presented at it's best.   Unfortunately the staff at the Corney and Barrow seem unable to tell the difference between a live beer and water from the village pump.   Rather than pouring with care and presenting a cherished product they felt the need to torture the poor beer.   Then it got worse not only did they want £4:60 per pint they also failed, every time, to fill the glass.   If each time I bought a pint I had not insisted on them actually giving me a full pint I would have paid for an extra full pint the money going straight into the owners pocket without the need to provide any beer in exchange.   In any other environment this would be called theft.

I would not recommend this establishment, I understand that costs in central London are high, but the standard of service, the presentation of the beer and the lack of skill from the staff are all unexcusable.

On a lighter note (Bb) please don't forget next week's LGSO concert, if you are in London please come.

Buy tickets here.

Friday, 11 October 2013


I want to have a rant, and I will, but later.   I have just done my usual morning check around my favourite sites and have seen what Hannah has put up today.    Go and see it for yourself, I think she has just so perfectly and concisely captured what so many of us think and the process we have been through, hold you head up girl!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What to Wear?

This is the age old conundrum for many of us.   We have an event coming up where we need to make a clothing choice, and then need to decide exactly how we are going to present ourselves.   What we wear can say so much about us, how we view ourselves, and how we expect others to view us.

On Thursday I will be playing at St Paul's Cathedral in a celebration and thanks giving for the London Taxi Drivers Association Children's Charity.   It should be a bit of a gala event, and of course this is a very prestigious venue (albeit a lousy acoustic) rather than the now usual all black, or dinner jackets the men (in this orchestra that includes me) have been asked to wear lounge suit and tie.    So now I have to make a choice.   If we are in all black then I only have to choose which black shirt and trousers to wear, if it's dinner jackets then it is more a question of do I have a white dress shirt that is clean and ironed, but just saying suit and tie!

I have three men's two piece suits a light grey shinny suit, good for weddings, and very dark blue light weight, good for funerals, and a double breasted dark green one that covers pretty much everything.   I also have two ladies' trouser suits, a dark blue one with a three quarter length jacket and a Marks & Spencer grey wool with a shorter, waisted jacket, one of which I am very tempted to wear, after that I still have to decide which one of the well over twenty ties I have.

I have often heard it said that clothes choices are easy for men, just put on a suit and tie ~ well I know I may not be a typical block but it's not always easy.

Monday, 7 October 2013

An Endagered Species?

Inspired by the "Femulator" photo on Stana's Femulate page today, I wondered, where have all the female impersonators gone.   I grew up during a period when Danny La Rue was a main stream major star.   Around the world there many others like Laverne Cummings, and Harry S Franklyn, they were not drag artists, they were not ostensibly, or at least publicly, trans gendered, but were main stream performers.

Danny would often lend a real bit of glamour to Saturday evening family TV, a regular on "The Good Old Days" old time musical and other variety and entertainment shows, he would impersonate females, he never pretended that he was anything other than he was,, and avoided "camp" if not innuendo.   I watch TV now and wonder who are his successors, I see no one doing anything like this, sure there are the drag queens and actors occasionally taking roles that require cross dressing, but the Female Impersonator sees to be rarer than jugglers and performing dogs.

Maybe I should brush up an act and go "Britain's got Talent"

All Welcome

At last nights rehearsal it was revealed that ticket sales for the next LGSO concert are not going well, so get over to this site and grab your tickets.   It will be a very good concert, and as an added incentive for some of my readers it is also a "safe" opportunity to go out.   By the very nature of the orchestra both we and our audience are open minded and accepting, so go on have yourself a night out.

After the rehearsal many of us are in the habit of popping into a local hostelry for a small libation, this des mean spending a couple of hours in a pub, surrounded by men, but somehow I put up with it, I did manage to show a little restraint and get home before the witching hour, and got to bed in sensible time.   I removed my rings etc. and cleaned off my makeup, but for some reason decided to leave my forms on (I had applied a little craft glue to keep them in place).   It was rather odd, and rather nice, to wake up this morning in my nice black satin nightie, with my boobs in place and feeling very natural, still with nail polish on and for some reason my watch and a bracelet, but with all my make up and other jewellery off.

What I would like now is a day off to just relax and enjoy being me, instead it's back to work, and firstjoba  visit to the builders merchant s I think I had better get rid of the nail polish as well.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Last Night

After doing my little bit of shopping last night and while waiting for my dinner be cooked I decided too set up the old tripod and take a few selfies.   So here we have a couple of shots of last nights outfit.   I like these culottes, at first look the pleating makes them look like a short skirt, but the back is quite fitted, and being shorts rather than skirt I feel as though I have a little more freedom, a little less likely to reveal anything that should be kept hidden..............

It's a lovely outfit to wear, so it was a bit of a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go, but it was nice for once to just stay at home watch some TV and relax with a bottle of wine.   I still didn't manage to get to bed till pretty late, but then again I didn't have to get up too early this morning.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

"Thank you"

At the end of a ridiculously busy week it is nice to sit down and relax.   Even today (Saturday) I had an all day Worship seminar / conference / thingy that I was committed to being at.   It was very good, and although I'm not too sure that I learnt anything new I was certainly reminded of a few things I had more or less forgotten.    Every night this week I have had some sort of commitment that has required "him" to be out, so I have not had an opportunity to be me since last Sunday.

Tonight after getting home I decided to get changed, and to glam it up a bit in order to cheer myself up, while relaxing.   I already had on a rather nice black satiny blouse so I decided to keep that and team it with a pair of black culottes and formal black jacket, along with some sparklies it makes a nice party type outfit.   It was after getting changed that realised I would need some fresh bread for the morning, and could really do with some wine for the evening.   They have more or less got used to me next door in the Tesco's Express so I wasn't worried about popping in.  

I was showing quite a bit of leg and was way over dressed for shopping, but then that is quite normal as lots of people pop in on their way to parties, indeed while I was there a very pretty quite tall girl came in wearing very nice, very high heels and a very nice very short dress. we exchanged a few words other the wine fridge as we made our selections.

I collected the rest of my shopping and went to the tills to pay, my favourite (female) cashier wasn't on duty, so I had to go to the sole male cashier.   They are in the habit of getting a bag out for each customer, but I am in the habit of taking my own cotton bag, so the following conversation ensued;

"It's OK I don't need a bag"
" Oh you're turning down my bag are you?"
"Well it's nothing personal"
shopping rung through money exchanged, then;-
"You know I like you"
me totally flummoxed can't think of anything to say other than to smile and say
"Thank you"

I Think I've Lost It

OK I think I've lost it, that is in both a metaphorical and a literal way.   I am actually sitting typing this at seven thirty in the morning after being up for around three hours, even though I didn't get t bed till gone midnight.   I have had a fairy frantic week with various commitments in the evenings as well as lots of work during the day.

Friday morning I realised I didn't have my mobile, I couldn't find it anywhere in the house or the van, yes I've lost it.   I thought I had probably left it in the Church where I was rehearsing the previous night (London Charity Orchestra, next performance next week in St Paul's Cathedral!), but equally I could have dropped it getting in or out of the van, or just walking down the steps of the church past the homeless who gather there.   After much heart searching I decided to call Vodafone and have a stop put on it and get a new sim card sent through, thinking I'll just have to bite the bullet and buy a new phone.   When I get home I find that I have an e-mail telling me the phone has been found, but by now it has already been blocked!

Well, after work a quick wash and change and then dive over to meet a friend for a couple of beers and dinner, very nice, very civilised, get home a little late, put some washing in the machine and go to bed. Wake up in a blind panic what did I do with the cheque?   We finished a very nice little bit of landscaping,, I got paid put the cheque in my shirt pocket and packed up.   The shirt had gone in the washing machine, I can find no trace of the cheque or indeed any sign that it went into the machine, yep I've lost it!

One way r another I need to wind down a little, take on less commitments, both paid and non paid, but first I have another busy week ahead to try to get through.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Bad Builders Bum

To day Meg has been writing about the simple pleasures of underdressing, and suggesting that you shouldn't unless you can enjoy it.   I have to agree, for the last few weeks I have worn nothing but female (or should that be feminine!) under garments, indeed I have put all my male stuff away in a case in the attic.   I have also found that other than under my work boots I am habitually wearing sheer hose, whether tights, stockings or socks.   Today while at work I'm afraid to admit that it appears that I had an unfortunate attack of "Builders Bum" much to the amusement of my colleague who suggested that I adjust my trousers if I don't want everyone to see my pink lace panties.

Indeed I find that most of the time outside of work I am wearing almost exclusively fem garb, even when ostensibly in drab, now we can add into the mix a pair of sparkly ear studs rather wavy increasingly long hair, and often a lady's watch people must notice.   I guess that in Meg's terms I have crossed a "care - don't care" line.   I find now that it feels more natural than to be in fully male mode.   I don't know where I am going with all this, but I am trying hard not to move too far too fast, I spoke with an old friend the other day who is going through a tough patch and I was counselling him not to do anything precipitous, maybe I should take my own advice.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Her Majesty Paula

With only a few weeks to the concert Sunday was the first time that the LGSO had pretty much the full wind section present for a rehearsal.   We are playing the Britten Variations on a theme by Purcell, better known as the "Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra".   The opening themes and the first few variations are quite magisterial, and choral in character, to try and inspire the sound that the conductor wanted he suggested we build the sound from the bottom up, from the basses.   When it came to the brass variation he suggested that we build on the "majesty that is Paula"! I think he was referring to the bass trombone sound rather than my presentation, but none the less it certainly felt like promotion.

I think I could quite enjoy the title but it does sit a little strangely on a good republican like me;~ note for the Americans in the UK a Republican is not a political conservative but an extremist who wants to get rid of the monarchy, as a general principle not many people take us too seriously, and most of us accept that it is simply not going to happen.   On the other hand very few of us would want to resort to violence like some of our more illustrious predecessors.

I'm definitely looking forward to this next concert, it is so liberating to be able to go out and perform as Paula, as myself.   I find that now I have more opportunity to dress it feels more and more as though Paula is normal and the male me is the act.   Still no precipitative decisions just yet, not until I have had a chance to get used to our new family arrangements and whatever my financial situation may be.