As a Gardener I am always thinking and planing ahead, I am pruning roses in March so that they will flower well and look good in June, July and August. I have just been pruning apple trees, not so they are good now, but so they will blossom in May and fruit well in the Autumn. We plant or bulbs a couple of seasons before we want them to flower. I think this makes us naturally optimistic people, we know that even though this winter has been wet, wet, wet and that there is much that we should have done which we have left undone, spring will still come in with a flood of blossom and scent, summer will warm our backs fill our bellys and flood our senses. I am currently enjoying the earl daffodils, the crocuses snowdrops and hellebores, but I am also looking forward to tulips, peonies, lilly of the valley and runner beans!
Something to look forward to
I am also a Christian, and as such I am also always looking forward, it is right that we should enjoy the blessings we have already been given, but compared to those that are to come they are nothing. As Christians we know that things will get better, that we have hope for both this life and the eternal life we have already started on. For both of these reason I refuse to get too worried about finances, which are a bit hairy at the moment, after all "man cannot serve both God and Mammon"
So, I have made a choice, I will not be dwelling on money matters, instead I am going to look forward, I am going to look forward to tonight's gig on electric bass, Saturday night's dinner with my good friend B, the following Saturday's group meeting. Marshall Stockburn and his deputies have already been defeated by the Pale Rider.
I do think that spring may be on the way. Today I not only actually managed a full eight hours chargeable work, at one point I even stripped down to my tee shirt! The sun was out and it was quite warm, especially while digging post holes! This was only a short time, but it definitely lifted my spirits. Driving home I noticed that some of the street trees (flowering cherries) had come into blossom during the day in response to that bit of sun. Although it still gets dark very quickly, I am now finding I can work till five thirty without too many problems. If this carries on then I shall be starting to prune roses next week, and will have to think about starting to cut grass again.
I wrote that first paragraph last night, but never got round to finishing and posting as I was busy tidying up the house ready for my guests tonight. It is surprising (to me anyway) just how much difference not being around for a weekend makes. It is a the weekend that I tend to do the little bit of housework that I do along with my laundry, shopping etc. miss that and it takes me all week to catch up. This week it looks as though I should be able to work every day as the weather looks set to be better, and as I have work to do I will be highly relieved to get it done.
Now I'm off to finish tidying up after pruning an apple tree the other day, the ground is still totally water logged so there will be no "proper" gardening yet for a couple of weeks. There is still plenty of tidying to do and it is only a week or so before I start pruning ~ A little sun and my mood pikes up no end, I am looking forward t the next few weeks.
I have just got back from my weekend in Cardiff, this is my second trip down there this month and my third of the year, with a couple of other little trips that is something like 1,000 Motorway miles so far this year. I am staggered that in all those miles I have yet to witness a single accident, it is to the credit of the many good drivers that they manage to avoid the collisions so nearly caused by the multitude of bad ones.
For the moment I will ignore the sexually insecure men who find that their penises shrink when they are overtaken by a woman driving a Transit van, but I won't ignore the several cases of tailgating I have witnessed or the loads, upon loads, of semi-conscious idiots occupying the centre lane regardless of speed of traffic conditions.
Today the CLOCS (Centre Lane Owners Club) were out in strength, some where maintaining a steady 60 mph, others would drive at the same speed as the car in front of the, until it turned off or changed lane, then they would accelerate until catching up another car and then staying behind that one. Worst of all was one particular BMW that would slow right down to around 50 mph for while, then the driver would wake up and accelerate up to around 80 or 90 mph before drifting off into Laa Laa land again. I passed that particular car three or four times while all the time I was maintaining a steady 70 mph.
Of course this sort of behaviour is not only inconsiderate and dangerous it is also illegal, a while back the Government realised just what a problem these idiots are and changed he law so that the Police could issue on the spot fine notices for drivers who were not using motorway lanes properly or driving to close to the car in front. Much though I hate to say anything good about this Government this was a good thing. Only one problem ~ in all those 1,000 plus motorway miles I have driven this year I am yet to see a single Police Patrol Car. How can the police enforce the laws in they are not present?
This morning's initial session went very well. I decided that I would go in fem garb, but not overly glam. I wore a grey sweater skinny jeans knee boots and leather jacket, my make-up was similarly understated. I decided that this outfit would serve several purposes.
I thought it would make it easier for me to talk about this aspect of myself.
It would serve as a visual aid to show how serious I am.
It would show what sort of a woman I am, not all miniskirts and high heels but a normal middle aged woman dressed appropriately for her age and the situation.
The man I saw was totally cool, even asked how I wished to be addressed so I guess he may have come across these situations before, asked a lot of questions and made a lot of notes. I will have to wait for a while to find out whether they are going to refer me to the GID clinic, but he is going to refer me for counselling. In all honesty that is exactly what I want. I am not sure that I am ready for all that might be involved with a referral to Charring Cross, no I am sure that I am not ready for all that might be involved with a referral to Charring Cross.
The opportunity to talk through all aspects of my situation with a professional is exactly what I need.
This evening I have a business meeting in Guildford. I don't know if there is a dress code, but I am not expecting to meet anyone I know, or who could influence the success of my businesses. I would normally choose too wear a lounge suit to this sort of thing, but I just looked in my wardrobe and really do not want to wear any of the normal male option suits there.
Instead I am opting for a nice all wool M & S grey trouser suit with a white cotton short sleeve blouse and a pair of flat black slip ons. I shall limit my jewellery to sparkly ear studs, watch and wedding ring and no (or at least very little) make up. This is the sort of thing I find I am wearing more and more often these days. I find this sort of androgynous clothing choice allows me to satisfy my own feminine nature while still ostensibly presenting as male. I don't know what others may think as being British they are highly unlikely to comment, but there is a large part of me that says I don't care. Of course I do otherwise why would I take so much time and care over what I do wear, but I am also examining who am I dressing for, myself? other women? or to attract men? on balance I think it is a combination of the first two.
Any way I am now off down the A3 to Guildford to find out more about tendering for local authority business ~ sounds like fun?
I don't know how widely used this term is, but on a forum I used to frequent we were often warned to watch out for the Pink Fog. Pink Fog is the mental fog that comes down when wee first start to come out and all we want to do is dress, think and talk "Pink". The warning comes as this can test the tolerance of those around us more than we really should. While we may be in a happy pink place the rest have to inhabit the real civilian world.
I suspect that I may have been living in a pink fog for a while. Every time I had an opportunity I would glam up, full make up, high heels, the works. I had expected all this to pass after a few weeks, I never thought that I would lose all urge to dress, but I did expect the imperative to subside. It has not. Although I have stopped needing to put on the full slap, and all the bits and pieces that go to help create the illusion, I have found that I still want to express my femininity through my dress.
All bar one pair of my jeans are female, as indeed is all my underwear and most of what I wear from day to day. Less am I dressing up, more I am simply me. This is by no means to say that I now fully understand who and what I am. I still have far too many questions to answer I am hoping that the process that will be starting tomorrow will help me to answer some of those questions, or at the very least narrow down and help me to focus on which questions are really important.
So the only remaining question before going to for my Assessment in the morning is, what to wear? I am sure that what we wear influences how people think about us, in this situation possibly more than most. At the moment I am thinking smart casual androgynous, but a lot can change in very short time.
A number of y correspondents, Facebook, Google+ and through Blogs have pointed out the Facebook now has a third gender marker for "Trans" I have just been on to my own profile to see about adjusting my "About Me" section and I still only have the Male / Female binary to choose between.
Is this a difference between what is allowed in different countries, or have I miss understood the options?
Saturday night's concert was great fun, there are few things that are better than making great music with good friends. Surprisingly this is the first time I have played the Mendelssohn Midsummer's night dream, the trombones are only involved in the wedding March, but of course that is the bit that everyone recognises. the Chopin was wonderful if maybe a little too fast for absolute comfort towards the end. I was surprised a little by the piano itself, an enormous Bluthner concert grand, it looked almost as impressive as it sounded, and that's saying something!
After the concert we all adjourned over the Road to a bar where the extortionate prices succeeded in keeping me sober, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. As always there is a bit of a flat feeling when I get home, back to reality, but I couldn't dwell on that as I had an early start on Monday doing some emergency tree work.
I just about got up in time, rushed around getting all my "stuff" together, left the house and was just about to drive off when I realised that my finger nails were still bright crimson! How I long to be able to not have to worry about such things. Whether that means me being more "out" or actually starting transition or the world changing sufficiently to not care I'm not too sure. I do know that the further I go down this path it doesn't get any clearer to me where I am going. I do know that this week will mark some sort of turning point as on Friday morning I go for my postponed initial assessment with Bromley LIT. From there they can refer me to a mental health unit, the GID unit or tell me to go away and stop being a silly girl.
I have just read a piece over on Alice Jane's blog, it is one of the wonders of the internet that I can be in such wonderful regular touch with friends in America, Australia ad even Surrey! This piece by Alice is exceptional, she explains simply why we dress, the difference between Cross Dressers and Transsexuals, a simple elegant explanation of the inexplicable, go and read it here
Valentine's night is the busiest dating night of the year, so it is also one of the hardest to find yourself alone. Raher than face that I agreed to play at the Valentine's night ball for the totally barmy Last Tuesday Society. The LGSO seem to be a bit of fixture starting off these events, I suspect that we are a bit of a cultural fig leave, but never mind, it helps to pay the bills. Last night's ball was a little less boners than the others I've played at, but it did strike me that there were an awful lot singles there hoping to "pull" but none of them seemed to be trying too hard, indeed a lot seemed to be spending a lot of tie with their phones.
Late it also struck me that it was possibly the saddest way to spend Valentine's night, sitting in grotty changing room in the Elephant & Castle drinking lager out of the can with a bunch of gay blokes! Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the night, and the guys are always excellent entertaining company. It's just that on this night of all nights a girl (or come to that a bloke) wants to be made to feel special, wanted, and maybe that they are desirable. At least one of the punters did find me desirable, unfortunately I couldn't reciprocate ~ anyway that's another story.
Walking back to the van after our performance the wind was really getting up and had my coat flapping all over the place, I was nearly blow over once, and I was quite glad that even if short my dress was quite tight, other wise I would have displayed that which shouldn't be displayed to a couple of very busy bus stops!
After all that I arrived home to an empty house, please to have made it but a little "down" at being alone. When I walked into my lounge I found a card and gift from my Daughter saying " I hope you're not feeling lonely today" and "Just a reminder that you are loved!" I went to bed very happy after all.
I was chatting with one of my customers earlier today ~ I was chatting because, lets face it, with this weather I can't actually get on with any work ~ and showed her a couple of photos of Paula. She asked about my clothes, had I many? where did I get them? that sort of thing, she also observed that "A Girl Can't Have Too Many Clothes"
Well sometimes I wonder, I actually think that I probably do have too many clothes. When I was less out and couldn't wear what I wanted when I wanted, one way to affirm my femininity was to buy feminine garb. I suspect that I have become well known in one or two of our more local charity shops. The end result is that I have far more clothes, many of them items that I will rarely get an opportunity to wear. I like to dress well, I like elegance, so I have quite a lot of dresses and a few suits (again mostly dress and jacket suits) these are not the sort of thing I can wear for work, or a evening in the Pub or at rehearsal, there's a bit f me that says I should have a cull, but there is nothing there any more that I can say I will not wear. I just don't necessarily know when.
I also look at all those clothes and think about how much I have spent over the years building up this impressive wardrobe. For what it is I have spent very little, but with work being so difficult at the moment money is in short supply and the profligacy offends my inner puritan. I have actually tried doing a bit of on-line trading through e-bay, but have so far singularly failed to sell a single item. Perhaps I made the mistake of trying to trade in items I would like rather than thinking what others might want to spend their money on.
I am sell (or rather not succeeding in selling) stockings and ear studs maybe I should stick to what I know. It looks like I will be stuck with a lifetimes supply of era studs, and will be wearing stockings for the next couple of years.
Last night I went with my friend S to a recording of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, the antidote to radio panel games, the hall was full which is something I haven't seen for some time, and I have to say that I don't remember laughing so much for years.
As so often happens recently I had been tossing up as to who was going Paul or Paula? In the end I opted to go in male mode (I won't say drab as even my male self is beginning to come out of the chrysalis a bit) this was probably just as well as I bumped into my neighbours on the bus, going to the same show.
I was pleased I went, and so pleased that we had booked this up a couple of months ago, we have both had a lean couple of months financially and admitted that we would not have been prepared to pay to go if we had had t do it now. I now have some great memories, some new jokes, and my own kazoo!
I feel so guilty that I am so often commenting on how busy I am, I should stress that being busy is a choice, I could say no, although to my cost on occasion I'm not very good at it. On this occasion I'm not thinking in terms of work, I have enough I just can't get it done in the blooming weather!
This week is a typical example of how I tend to overbook y evenings and weekends. Monday saw a friend, then a Church meeting, Tuesday I hosted and led a Church Home Group, Wednesday Band rehearsal, Thursday I will be at a recording of the ever wonderful BBC Radio 4 show "I'm Sorry I Haven't a clue". Friday is Valentine's night and I will be playing at another masked ball for the insane Last Tuesday Society. (Given that I still have not had a better offer, I felt I might as well, while in theory there is still time for somebody to ask me out for a romantic candle lit dinner, I'm not holding my breath). I almost have Saturday off, my only commitment is to get my hair done in the afternoon, then on Sunday we have the LGSO Valentines Concert, this is also one of the concluding events for this years Gay History Month.
The more perceptive of you will have spotted that within that list there are at east three occasions for Paula to go out. Several of my civilian friends will be at the recording on Thursday so I shall have to resist the temptation but as Friday night and Sunday are LGSO events so they are definitely Paula occasions, I just have to decide which LBD to wear for the performances. I also have to decide what to wear on Saturday when I have my hair "done" and for Sunday's pre-performance rehearsal. Recently I seem to be almost living in my denim skirt, thick tights and boots, I think on both of these occasions I will be opting for comfort over style.
Given the weather we have been having maybe waders could be the best choice.
There really is a website www.womeninwaders.com it's amazing what a Google search can bring up sometimes.
Unsurprisingly January was a record breaking month here in the UK. Once again we have had the wettest month since records began. For many that means being flooded out, people have been evacuated from their homes, businesses ruined, farms under water, roads and railways washed away. The rain has been hard, steady and unrelenting. I know that there are other places that are experiencing problems, and indeed other places where it is worse but that does not help us. It is not so much that we have had floods, it's more that they keep going on, it is the continuous, unrelenting nature of the rain that is so crushing.
Since this wet weather is all coming from the West I am sure that our problems are linked with those of the American North East. Usually around the turn f the year our weather stops coming from the West and starts to come from the East, that means we get cold dry or snowy weather from Russia rather than mild wet weather from the Atlantic. Every year we seem to get the wettest, the coldest, the hottest or the driest since records began, at what point will we accept that it is climate rather than weather?
I do not live in a flood risk area being half way up the highest hill in London but this weather is having a serious impact on my livelihood. I am struggling to remember the last time I managed to work a full week, In November I invested in a snow shovel so I could do some useful work if we had much snow, I could go out and rescue my little old ladies, if I could get out myself. Well that was a wasted investment!
Yesterday I managed to start removing some tree limbs that were threatening a customer's Garden Room. It is all now safe, but ugly and I have left bits of branch lying around waiting to be cut up and removed.
I have fences to treat, or indeed replace. I have fallen trees to cut up and remove, I have shrubs and trees to prune and of course my own garden to tend. I have got t the point where I am getting a little stir crazy as well as impoverished - Still I will try to be thankful for what I have been blessed with rather than dispair at what I am missing.
On a different tack I was surprised this morning to hear that Queen's Greatest Hits is now the all time best selling album.having shifted over six million copies it is now reckoned that one in three families own a copy. I'm not one of them!
I seem to be in the middle of a maelstrom of activity. With family, Church and music commitments as well as work I barely seem to have time to think, certainly no time to do any work in my own garden. This morning I started an emergency bit of tree surgery, but had to stop after around four hours to allow the customer to get on with their own work (They need to earn enough to pay me after all). Popping home for lunch I decided that I would do a bit in my own garden this afternoon rather than dashing around trying to catch up with others. So what happens as soon as I finished eating it started to rain again.
It's OK we have had enough you can stop raining now.
It feels as though we are bypassing Winter, last year we went straight from Winter into Summer, this year we seem to be going straight from Autumn into Spring. The weather feels like November, with the hint of March round the corner, and it's not just me the plants are confused as well ~ these pictures were all taken today in my own garden.
A couple of items I've noticed on Facebook over the last few of days relate to women's experiences of life. The thing is do they apply to me because they are actually universal truths or because I'm a woman?
I am not a great fan of rap, or hip hop. This will be no surprise to almost any one who knows me, after all I am a middle aged, white classical musician, and my preferred radio station is BBC Radio Four. Indeed listening to Radio Four's Woman's Hour the other day I had my first contact with Angel Haze. I have not had a sudden change of taste I still struggle with the music but I am in open admiration of the woman. Listen here and see if you don't become a fan as well.
I was impressed by her attitude, her resilience and her honesty, of course her stance on gender and sexuality also strike a chord with me
When my wife left home, one of the first things I did was to move Paula in. Now that will be no surprise to anyone in a similar situation, the relief of being able to liberate my clothes from suitcases in the garage, to be able to hang them up and treat them properly, to be able to wash them when needed and dry them properly all this was quite considerable. I had already stared to wear more and more "female" clothes as part of my regular male wardrobe, tights, jeans the odd pair of shoes or boots, but now I could bring the whole lot indoors and have freedom of choice.
So, vacant wardrobe, ~ not for long, I soon had all of Paula's clothes hanging on one side and all of Paul's on the other, and things have stayed pretty much like that for the last six months.
I looked in the wardrobe the other day as I was packing for my weekend away, and was struck that the separation was rather arbitrary, of all people why was I perpetuating the gender binary in my wardrobe? Wouldn't it make more sense to hang all the trousers together, all the skirts together, all the tops together, etc. etc. you get the idea. At the moment it seems particularly silly that I have ladies' jeans hanging in the boy side of the wardrobe, simply because they are what I have been in the habit of wearing most of the time.
This might also be a good time to consider the destiny of the twenty or so ties I still have even though I properly wear one less that fifteen times a year.
I'm slowly catching up after my weekend away, it's amazing just how much Facebook, Google+ and Blog stuff goes on over a weekend, and that's without all the cartoons I have to follow each and every day.
I do enjoy all the blogs I follow and miss them when I am away.
One of the things about going away is that we see different shops, I am used to my local Tesco, as I am sure most of us are, over the weekend I had occasion too visit two other branches of this self same store. One thing that all three branches have in common, and therefore I suspect all the others do as well, is an aisle of "Seasonal" produce. Curious to see what Tesco might think is seasonal in late January/early February I checked, and yes they have - Easter eggs.
How the blazes are Easter eggs seasonal in February? it's not even Lent yet. But then what can we expect from a society that supplies us with Hot Cross Buns all year around?