Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Full Time?

There was a time in my life when the only meaning I associated with the term "Full Time" was the final whistle at the end of a Rugby Match.   I have moved on a bit since then, although I do miss being able to play the best of all games.

I remember the first support group meeting I went to, looking back on it I would admit that I was not really dressed appropriately, I think I may even have broken my golden rule about frightening the horses, even so I had a rather special evening associating with other girls, being out in public, in a safe environment.   I remember having a few surprises, there were a couple of girls who I could not believe were other than genetic and another couple who made me feel quite good about my own presentation, but we were all just ordinary people who found ourselves with an extraordinary condition.   One of my surprises was when one of the "more senior" ladies present asked me outright why I wasn't full time?

I can't remember if I had even heard the term used in this way before, but the meaning was quite clear, being rather surprised my reply was simply that I had family responsibilities, and thought little more about it.   Every now and then I hear about somebody announcing that they are going to go full time, or that they are now ready to.   Every now and then I find that I myself considering what would be involved in going full time.   Then yesterday I realised hat I actually have.

Without any conscious decision being made I have found that over this last week I have in effect gone full time.   Last week I went to both a rehearsal at my Church and a CIWM meeting authentically,   I also came out to my RSCM committee and the All Soul's Orchestra and have received nothing but support.

Then on Sunday evening I was scheduled to be playing with the worship band for our evening service, when it came to it I just couldn't bring myself to "butch up" and so didn't bother getting changed, just refreshed my lippy and went.   While in no way was I particularly flamboyant I would say that I was pretty obviously presenting female.   I don't know what I was expecting or indeed what I feared, but there was no drama, no lightening bolts, and not even any comments.   I suspect that my being trans in now such old news that everyone was just waiting for it happen!

I have now told so many of my customers that I have no idea who I haven't told.   A quick check tells me that basically it is now just my Mother and one  customer who are yet to be told.   I will not be telling my mother, and I will await the "Opportune moment" to tell my customer.

Monday, 26 January 2015


Inspired by Cyrsti's comment yesterday "May the Force be with you"


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Concert Dress IV

Last night  played with the lovely Pelly Concert Orchestra, It was an interesting a fun concert, but I will say that I had a lot less to play than I expected.   Out of eight or nine Items I was actually only needed for five, and on the whole they were the shorter pieces.   Still I did better than the harp who only played in three, I suppose this is the lot of those of us who play the more esoteric instruments.

Since I have been writing a bit about the considerations around what to wear when playing I thought I would show you the outcome of those considerations for last night, I managed to prevail upon one of my colleagues too take a quick snap of me with my "new toy" on my phone.

I lie this dress, the way it hangs, the length the fullness of the skirt, but last night I could have done with something a little warmer.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Rivers Crossed, Bridges Burnt

I think at some point in the past I may have observed coming out is not so much an actin as a process.   Gradually we have more and more of those "difficult conversations", and so gradually more and more people know the truth about us.   I suspect that I am not unusual in that I dread these conversations, the thought of having to explain and possibly justify myself to people who should respect me for who I am rather than how I choose to present myself.   I am in effect giving them the power of judgement over me, even though as a Christian I should know and act in the believe that there is only one who is my judge!

I always dread these conversations yet they are rarely if anything to worry about.   Yesterday evening I had an area committee meeting of a Christian music organisation I am a member of.   A couple of the other members of this committee are good friends I have known and loved for years, one of them more years than either of us are totally happy admitting to.    Thinking about the prospect of having to get into guy drag for the meeting made every fiber of my being rebel, and I knew that the time had come where I could no longer pretend, so I made the decision that I would go cross dressed as a man but would explain my situation to the committee under "any other business".

A Chartered Wastes Manager,
not wearing a grey suit!
One of the members is also a member of Christian Orchestra that I occasionally play in, Again I was not yet out to this orchestra, so in the morning I went on to their Facebook page and made an announcement!   So what was I frightened of, so far that facebook post has had 104 views, and I have had five messages, all of support.   Every single member of the committee welcomed me and offered their support and prayers.   Today I attended my first meeting of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management authentically, and once again the only issue was one old friend commented that he didn't recognise me until I spoke!

Off the top of my head I can no longer think of any group I am part of where I cannot now go authentically, there will of course be odd family situations, and the odd funeral where it may not be appropriate, but that particular process is now drawing towards an end ~ and I thank God!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Concert Dress III The Rebel Bass

I have quite a few performances coming up over the next month or so.   On Saturday I will be playing tuba with the Pelly Concert Orchestra. I am really looking forward to this, they are a lovely bunch and it looks like a fun program with a couple of favorites that I have never played.   It always amazes me that after well over 40 years involved with performing music just how much music there is that I have still to play.   I have played most of this concert before, but only in arrangements for band.   Possibly rather sadly, I am most looking forward to the Thunderbirds and Barwick Green.   This probably says more about me than it does the rest of the program.

I have yet to decide what I shall wear for this concert, but it is a straightforward decision between some posh trousers and a nice black top or the single dress I can wear while playing the tuba.

The following weekend I will be playing twice, with my latest band, but this will present a whole different set of problems.   First it is a jazz / blues band in which I play electric bass, so the safety of the all black concert kit of the orchestral musician doesn't apply.   The second of the two performances is a lunchtime Gig at St Christopher's Hospice I believe this is the oldest Hospice in the UK, and being local I am very pleased to support it.

This band is made up of members of my Church, and I only finally came out to all of the band a week or so ago, so was very relieved on Sunday to be told that they were very happy to have me playing with them.   So on Sunday week I will have to find something appropriate for the environment, the band, and my comfort.   After a while a Bass can get quite heavy which is one factor, another is that standing while playing I will not want to be wearing too much in the way of heels.

I have addressed the Sunday Gig first as that is the easier situation, as on Saturday night we are playing at my Church.   I am no longer in hiding and many of my Church family have met Paula, so far I have not attended a Church service as myself as I want to be fair to my wife, and at any service God should be the center of attention not me, but this isn't a service, and I know my wife is not performing and my daughter will not be in attendance, ho hum decisions decisions, decisions.

Incidentally does this mean that most female Japanese bass players are left handed?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Concert Dress II

While all girls who play instruments have to consider how they dress in order to maintain a lady like modesty while adopting a good playing position some of us do have additional problems.   For me one of these is make up.   I do not feel self confident enough to abandon any area of my makeup, and not least among my armory is Lipstick.

Trying to wear lipstick while playing a large brass instrument simply does not work.   I tend to end up with a red greasy smear across the mouth piece and my face, this is not good for the embouchure or looking glamorous.   I want to bring out the look of my lips but not look like a clown, so far I have found two products which more or less meet my needs, the first is Maybelline super Stay 24 Colour, this is a sort of paint on colour, then topped up with a moisturizer, the other is Gosh Long Lasting Lip Marker, this is more like a sharpie which you draw onto your lips.    I like the Gosh Marker but they are hard to find and have a limited selection of colours, the only trouble is that it does tend to dry the lips a bit, the Maybelline on the other hand I really do like.   Of course as Stana would say these work for me your mileage may vary.

Of course there is always the problem that after playing I will have a ring around my mouth where the mouthpiece has worn away my foundation, but I simply have to accept this as one of those things I have to suffer for my art.

Now I am an Avon Rep. I really need to try and find one of their products which will do the job.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Concert Dress I

The Other day J Spurling asked an interesting question

"I've got a question Paula, as a transgender low brass player .... do you consider how to sit with your instrument? I mean do you consider trying to sit in a feminine fashion? I know with the horn I sit with my legs shoulder width apart, but even with an ankle length gown I can't imagine sitting like that."

Feeling rather nervous before Paula's first concert
To a certain extent it depends on the instrument and the environment I am playing in.   Of course most of my playing is in rehearsal, in which case I tend to dress pretty much the same as any of the other women there.   Like most of the other girls at the moment I will probably be wearing jeans and a sweater often with boots, when the weather gets warmer the sweater will get replaced with a tee shirt or other top. But the general principle is the same, as a general rule I will be dressed and will behave like all the other girls.

I play several instruments and which instrument I am playing will dictate both what I wear, and how I sit.   With the trombone and the euphonium it is perfectly possible to sit in a ladylike manner while maintaining a good playing posture, as long as the back is straight and shoulders back but relaxed I find there is no problem keeping my knees together, and maintaining a ladylike modesty.   The tuba on the other hand, sits between the legs, either resting on the seat base or in the lap, depending on both the instrument and the player, either way this means a minimum of legs and feet shoulder width apart (interestingly the same as  horn, which although playing generally much higher is actually the same length as an F tuba).

When playing the trombone or euphonium I have a selection of little black dresses or skirts and tops that I can choose from, with the tuba I a much more limited, I do have one mid calf length dress with a very full skirt that works well, but most of the time I will be found wearing trousers and a top.   I have a couple of pairs of dressy trousers that teamed with a nice top, heels, and some sparklies looks very nice and still has a little glamour.

I always try to remember that people are coming to hear me not look at me, I feel better and suspect that I play better as well because I feel good when I am dressed properly, but it is the playing that take precedence, so yes I do consider sitting in a ladylike fashion, but much more I consider a good playing position.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Lies, Damn Lies and High Heel Boots

I have been musing on you my visitors, Blogger very nicely provides us with a few statistics, including where you come from, how you got here, and how many of you visited which posts.

By far and away my most popular post was some musings on Trans Fiction which I headed Fiction Mania? since I posted this back in January 2012 it has had over 15,000 page views, more recently my posts on MiniSkirts and TV have both been popular with the later gaining over 130 pageviews already.

One search was for "Comfortable Tuba Underwear" I'm not sure which is oddest that this came up on my "Keywords" list, or that it had led to at least seven, yes seven hits.   Does that mean that seven separate people all searched for Comfortable Tuba Underwear or that the same person made the same search seven times?   There are so many things that I simply don't understand that sometimes I have to make the decision to just not think about them any more.   In many ways I feel as though I have enough problems of my own without worrying about other peoples.

Having said that I have two separate friends who have both lost their mother over the last few weeks, others who have no job and little prospect of finding one, others recovering from or living with serious illness so on balance a few rather odd web searches are hardly ground shattering occasions, and if they bring a little joy who am I to question?

On different note I have had it brought to my attention through Facebook that January is Ladies Boot Appreciation Month, or L'BAM I have been more than happy to make my contribution.   Indeed I am such an enthusiast / sad person (delete as appropriate) that I have set up a Facebook page for this very thing.   Please take a moment to go and like it, and please feel free to make a contribution or post a comment.   Let's face it January can be a pretty grey, boring month so a little bit of fun can hardly go amiss.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Not one of the 10%

Carrying on from where I was yesterday, I suppose that there is always a question around class, what it is and how we recognise it.   I don't know if we British are any more class aware than other nations, I don't know other nations well enough, but the republican, egalitarian French certainly seem to me to be very class conscious, and the revolutionary Americans also seem to spend a lot of time and effort considering class.

Some will define class by cash value, yet this seems to me to be incomplete, we can all think of the vulgar self made millionaire who no matter how much money they have will always be working class, as we can also think of a member of the nobility who has faced (relative) poverty.   I suspect that somewhere along the line it is a combination of occupation, monetary value, education and parentage.   My Mother always considered herself to be middle class, both her grandfathers were substantial members of Oxford's commercial elite, she had a private education and as a teacher was a member of a profession, on the other hand my father left school at 14 was an NCO during the Second World War and worked his way up the greasy pole of the motor industry.   Although at the end of the day his income was greater than my Mother's he always considered himself to be working class, remembering that he had been brought up around the pre war Elephant and Castle and that his father was an employed butcher.

Like my brothers I went to Grammar School and expected a career in one of the civil service, banking, insurance or the like.   I expected to live in a nice house in a nice suburb with a nice wife and two nice children.   I expected to come home from the office, spend a little time pottering around my nice garden before sitting down to a nice dinner cooked by my wife.   This does not make me a bad person, it is simply the way we were brought up in the sixties and early seventies.   The books we read, the TV we watched and the families we saw around us all fed these expectations.

Even though I knew that I didn't quite fit with all of this, alternatives were not presented so I hoped that everyone else was right and that I would grow out of that phase and settle down, yes I expected to be part of the 10% most boring people in the world.

I now know that I will never quite fit, as a self employed tradesperson I suspect that I have lost my middle class credentials, and as a trans woman I have definitely lost out on my male privilege, my age does put me in the 33% and my ancestry does put me in the 87%, as for the rest well I suspect that I fall into a very small percentage now.   But life is never boring!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

It's not Fair

I hear this or echos of it so often, it used to be from my daughter, like all children she used to interpret fair as getting what she wanted so when she didn't get what she wanted, it would be "It's not fair!"   Now I hear it from trans people, when they realise that we often do not have the same social privileges as Cisgender people, or the other night wishing I could just swap "equipment" with a trans man "It's not fair" but it just doesn't work like that.

I hear a new (to me) term "passing privilege" which I think means that she looks better than me ~ "It's not fair".   Young people are not listened to even when they are knowledgeable and have valid opinions, women still are not treated equally, Gay men and women still do not have true equality with their straight contemporaries, and if you are an immigrant, or of immigrant stock then forget it!

Well I've got news for you, for virtually everybody in this world IT IS NOT FAIR, basically unless you are white, male, hetrosexual, middle aged, and middle class then it is not fair.

Inforaphic from
Which makes it all the more strange that so many white middle class men seem quite eager to give up this privilege to live authentically as the people they know themselves to be

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Every thing in the Garden is..................

Sometimes a blog can seem to take on a life of it's own, and become an all consuming monster requiring more and more illustrations, regular posts and interesting or contentious ideas to promote.   The thing is sometimes life is not like that, we just quietly get on with life but wonder what on earth we are going to write about when we sit down at the keyboard.

I seem to have hit one of those periods, there is a lot going on my life, but not necessarily stuff that interesting or that I want to share with the world in general.   The normal day to day world of being me is getting back into swing with Church groups, rehearsals, and work all re-starting after the mid winter hiatus.   I have some exciting musical events coming up and will be telling a lot more about them as they come closer.  

Work is at it's seasonal low, I have been trying hard not to get worried about how I am going to get through this month.   Every year I run out of money in January and every year God provides a way through, the last couple of years I have had to borrow from my brother, this year I told him I should be OK as I had a fair bit of work in the pipeline, only to find I have now had two jobs cancelled!   I tell myself I will trust that The Lord will provide, then today I get a phone call asking me to go and size up another job, maybe I will get through January after all!

The one thing that does not seem to be business as usual at all is what is happening in my own garden. At the moment I have both a Camelia and a Kniphofia in flower, I'm sorry but that's just wrong!   As always there is beauty in the garden, we just have to look a little bit harder at this time of year.

All photos taken in my garden today!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Potty Mouth

It is no coincidence that in the world of Trans Blogs you will see a lot more written about toilets, restrooms, bathrooms, conveniences or whatever else you want to call them on American sites than on British ones.   Here in the UK we do not have laws governing the use of toilets, but we do have laws that do not allow Trans People to be discriminated against. OK so not everybody gets what this means, but it does mean that very rarely will there be any question as to which facilities to use.

When I first started going out in public I was reluctant to use the ladies', being quite aware that I do not (or certainly did not) pass I was reluctant to be the cause of any embarrassment, mine or anyone else's.   Equally there was absolutely no way that I would be using the Gents wearing a dress and heels, so after a while I realised that if I were going to be out then I would have to either hold it for several hours or accept the inevitable and enter the hallowed inner sanctum of the ladies.   In all that time the only incidents I have experienced have been positive ones, and now I am virtually full time I no longer even think about it.

As I say virtually full time, I do now have a timetable but I fear there still are, and may well be for a while, occassions when I still have to pretend too be a man, on those occasions I do have to be careful to go into the correct room, a couple of times when I have been out with my daughter somewhere that I normally go to authentically I have had to check myself and make sure I use the correct facilities.   The other day was one of those occasions when I did have to cross dress as a man, and sure enough there came a point when I needed to go, so I entered the Gents and was just overcome with a sense of revulsion about using a urinal.   It wasn't a particularly bad Gents, I've certainly used worse in the past, but from now on I think that if I do need to use a Gents then it will be in a cubicle.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

TV and the Trans Girl

During the period between Christmas and new year I had very little work that I could get on with not much in the way of rehearsals or performances and very little inclination to do much anyway.   So like a lot of other people I ended up watching quite a lot of television, there was a lot of good stuff being shown I enjoyed some excellent films and some first rate shows.

Those that immediately come to mind are "The World's Fastest Indian", I originally recorded this as I am a bit of a bike nut, but enjoyed it for the simple goodness of the central character, and the sympathetic portrayal by Chris Williams of a Trans Woman.   I am a little peeved that so often the character seems to be referred too as a transvestite, when the script makes it quite clear that she is, and identifies as a woman, even gently correcting Anthony Hopkins' central character on the point.

I loved watching the Gruffalo again, this brought back such happy memories of reading this book to my daughter when she was little, it was one of our favorites, I had to do accents for all the different animals (surprisingly similar to the ones chosen for the film) and each time the phrase came up she would join in with the "doesn't he know, there's no such thing as a Gruffalo!"   For similar reasons I also enjoyed Room on the Broom ~ sometimes I think Childrens books and films are too good for children!

Doctor Who is for me now more a part of Christmas Day than the Queen's Speech, and Miranda was so funny I think I wet myself laughing.   Of course there was a lot of other stuff I watched and enjoyed, and some that I watched and wondered why I had bothered, but I suspect that for many of us the stand out piece of television over the holiday period was David Walliams the "Boy in the Dress"

Of course I enjoyed this on a personal level, I enjoyed the contrast between the camp overacting of the adults against the simple realism of the children, I enjoyed the characters, and the storyline, most of all I enjoyed that children enjoyed it.

While at Church this morning a curious and confident boy asked me why I was wearing lipstick (somehow this was what he noticed rather than the earstuds sparkly ring or nail polish), not wanting to go into all the complications of gender and what that meant to me, I could simply ask him if he had watched a lot of television over Christmas and of course he had.   Had he watched "The boy in the Dress" and of course he had, so I could just say well some people are more comfortable like that and I am one of them.   He was quite happy with that as an explanation and was quite happy with me.   Somehow kids totally get it most of the women I talk to totally get it, it's just some of the men who are uncomfortable or don't understand.

I wonder if this is because they feel that somehow their own masculinity is undermined, or as one of my cis sisters opined they may be frightened that by be attracted to a trans woman their own sexuality might be in question.   Either way I have decided that my behaviour is not going to be influenced by what others may expect of me, but by my doing my best to be the best me I can be and to grow into the person God made me to be. 

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Manners make the man but...............................

I never used to have these problems, as a bloke I would get up, wash put on some clothes, have something to eat and go out.    Now I find that I am constantly thinking (at some level or another) about what I will be wearing on a particular occasion.

I always consider what I wear, whether I am in Bob mode or me, the choice of shirt says a lot about a man, usually hat they don't care, but not as much as the garment choices of a woman say about her.   Of course for a start there are so many garments to choose from, in a moment I will be going out to meet somebody for a coffee, I will be Bob so it's jeans and a sweater.    Of course I have to select which jeans scruffy and baggy or clean well fitted and reasonably new, and the choice of sweater is also important, first off it needs to keep me warm, enough, but it also needs to set the right tone, novelty winter item or smart.

I will be going out this evening as well, the choices will be more complicated, I could once again wear jeans and a sweater, but the choice of jeans is extended to include skinny, skin tight and jeggings, and the sweater could be angora, cowl neck, roll neck, or turtle neck.   I could team the jeans with a variety of boots, or shoes, high heel, mid heel, or flat.   I could wear a dress, a skirt and top, or some tailored trousers, the sheer number of choices is just so much larger and the wrong choice could send some very wrong messages.   What sort of a woman am I? and how do my choices of clothing reflect that, I suspect that most women sort this out in their teens and twenties while I am still struggling with it in my fifties.

One thing I have learnt is that most women do not dress for men (other than on specific occasions), most men don't understand the clothing signals, so women tend to dress either for themselves or for other women, the people who's opinions matter to them.

All very interesting but I still don't know what I am going to wear this evening.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Another milestone passed

I note that this post will be number 1,200 at Paula's Place, looking back to where I was in August 2011, a lot of water has gone under the bridge, so much has changed in my personal situation, and it looks like even more is going to change over the next year.   Over the last 40 months I have averaged 30 posts a month, I have survived an April A-Z Blogging Challenge, completed an Advent Calendar and shared my thoughts on subjects as diffuse as Lingerie and Garden Sheds.  

Initially I just wanted somewhere to record and talk about my crossdressing, now I find that I happily Blog about whatever is on my mind, now I am so much out that I no longer need the confidant that a blog can be, but I now have so many new on-line friends who read regularly and this is my main means of contact.

Yesterday I revisited a subject I first wrote about around three years ago, writing it and looking at the old photos I used to illustrate the post I actually managed to inspire myself.   This morning I had one of my regular appointments with my beautician for electrolysis, I see no reason to attend looking dowdy or drab even if I am limited in my shaving and make up, this morning I decided to wear my high heeled boots with a nice M & S grey sweater dress.   I do like these boots and they are surprisingly comfortable even with 3.5 inch heels, I felt comfortable, elegant maybe even just a touch glamorous, and perfectly warm enough.   In my book that means a successful outfit!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Mini Skirts and High Heel Boots ~ revisited

I love these boots and have been wearing them a lot
I see that it is now exactly three years ago that I made one of my more popular posts, on my observations of Mini Skirts and High Heel Boots,   Even now it often comes near the top of viewed posts each month, mind you I think that says more about peoples Google searches than my astute fashion observations.

I can't help reflecting that back then I was mostly observing fashions rather than wearing them.   At that time it was pretty difficult for me to go out much, or indeed at all, I was limited to snatched opportunities when I would not be seen by anyone who might know me, and when family were not around.   Now that I have very few limitations beyond what is practical I find that I am now wearing what I used to enjoy looking at.

I love these boots and have been wearing them a lot
This winter I have found that I am enjoying wearing boots, and have been wearing them a lot, very often with opaque tights and mini skirts.  Often skirts that  I might be reluctant to wear with bare legs or sheer tights, somehow I would feel a little naked, yet with thick tights I feel much more covered.  

I have also got a couple of pairs of skinny jeans and some jeggings which all also look great with boots.   I now have three pairs of high boots, one pair of over the knee flat heeled black "Pirate" boots, one pair of mid heel grey slouch boots and one very nice pair of stiletto boots (which don't get worn out as much as the other two pairs).   I like the look of the combination of the boots with one of my shorter skirts (denim or tweed) and thick tights and with a nice sweater it can also be surprisingly snug and warm.

I like these boots,
but don't wear them so much
Of course there is always the inappropriate black leather mini skirt, not suitable for Tesco's but with a silk top and some sparklies will do for a little bit of glamour.   At least the fish aren't complaining!

I find that now I have a great number of pairs of boots, of all types, as well as these three pairs of higher boots I have one other pair of black leather knee boots that are absolutely lovely, but just a little to small, somehow I can't bring myself to part with them but neither can i get round to doing anything about stretching them.   I also have five pairs of ankle boots, one pair of walking boots, one pair of High Tops two pairs of work boots, and for some reason three pairs of wellington boots.
Because they were not made for walking

Too Much

There is so much going on to reflect on, the vicious attack in Paris, leading to equally senseless but, so far, much less fatal attacks on "People of Faith"; Tesco's finally admitting that the "Race for Space" was a mistake and are to close several of their stores; crises in the NHS; elections; arrests and all sorts of things in the news.

All of that and the main things on my mind are work, rain, and family.   Work because I can't do any today because of the rain and family, because, well, because they are family.    I seem to be subject to mood swings at the moment, yesterday was a good day, I worked mostly clearing up the last of the leaves and dead bedding, then later I spent some time with my daughter ~ a good day.   Then I wake up this morning to steady persistent rain, meaning that any prospect of outdoor work today is simply off the agenda.   Rather than rejoice at some extra time to myself I am feeling very "down" and can't help thinking about the money I won't be earning.

One of my Facebook friends reminded of this Bible verse and I am now determined that I will rejoice and be glad.   So now I am going to go upstairs, but on a smart dress and go out to the Dulwich Picture Gallery and I will enjoy myself.

If I have swings like this now, then what will I be like if I go onto HRT?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

It's Started

Here in the UK the General Election Campaign has started already, even though the election itself is not until 7th May.   We have had the major parties taking lumps out of each other on TV, Radio and in the press, I expect another five months of this until we decide that we don't really want any of them and once again get a coalition of politicians none us wanted to be in power.

I suspect that the tone of the campaign has already been set with arguments being about finances and who we trust with them, or to put it another way who are the best managers.   I suspect that the continuation of this argument is part of what puts people off politics and politicians here, yet I do not expect any of our leading MPs to talk about the fundamental principles that they hold, and that separate them from others.   The big argument should not be about who will manage the NHS better, but what is it for? not who will organise cuts best, but how big should government be?

The right hold a fundamental belief that Government should be as small as possible, with as many services as possible being run by the private sector, providing each service on a commercial basis, while the left have a fundamental belief that if not the means of production then certainly the provision of service should be in the hands of the workers.   However I cannot see the right admitting that they want to put the National Health Service into the management of private companies anymore than I can imagine the left planning to renationalise the railways, gas, electricity or waste collection.   My complaint is that they are just too disingenuous when the main platform seems to be that "the other guy will make you worse off than me."

And all this is before I start to rant about the culture of youth and the apparent importance of the leader being photogenic.   I am interested in politics (in both senses of the word interested) but I can understand why so many people aren't.   They see bland grey (mostly) men making bland grey statements as they appear to just meddle around the edges.  We need more honesty, more conviction and more courage. Bring Back the Big Beasts!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Cramping my style

On Friday evening I once again joined the TAGS Gender non conforming swimming group. It was very good to meet up with some friends, have a night out that doesn't involve consumption of anything fattening or unhealthy, and to get a bit of exercise.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been pretty idle, with more emphasis on the idle than the pretty, that's fine for a couple of days but after a while it does begin to pall.    So it was lovely to get into the water and start to use a few muscles while I still have them.   Unfortunately after a while I got a touch of cramp and had to finish a little early.   I know a while back I started to get cramp and couldn't work out why until I realised that my ex was using low sodium salt as well as cutting down the amount in order to deal with her high blood pressure.   I added salt back into my diet and have been fine.   Now the only time I get even a hint of it is when I am swimming, and then it is only in the sole of my foot.

I have now been given an exercise that should help, it certainly won't stop me swimming, I hope that I will be able to start going more often, it's just unfortunate that the swimming group often clashes with rehearsals for a band I play with.

Earlier in the day I went out to deliver some of my new Avon Catalogues, the two neighbours I popped them into were both quite happy to see me and chatted about me starting to do this, then I walked down the road to drop one into a Church friend who had already expressed interest.   Another friend was there so we had quite a chat and a cup of tea.   Bearing in mind what I was doing and where I was going I had made a bit of an effort with my presentation so it was nice to be complimented on my appearance, I had debated with myself for a while on the combination of brown tweed mini skirt and black tights, but in the end stuck with it and was fairly happy with how I looked.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Two Towers

The more observant reader may have noticed that over the last few weeks, or so, I have been playing around with the appearance of Paula's Place.   This has been mostly part of my advent calendar, and then my new year wishes I now want to show a nice big HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all, which meant changing the background again.

I choose this one from the Blogger stock of standard backgrounds, not because of any affection for Paris, but because it reminded me of my home, Crystal Palace!

A bit like me Crystal Palace is many things to many people, to some it is an area of South East London, where the multiple Boroughs of Croydon, Bromley, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark all meet.   To some it is the National Sports Center, to others again it is the Association Football Club.

To others it is the triangle of streets that make up what is known locally as "The Triangle" at the same time both a commercial and residential area, on one side is Church Road which houses All Saint's C of E Church (Which gives it it's name) and the United Reformed Church, there are also place to eat and a couple of excellent Pubs, curio shops and an old cinema being converted into a "Mega Church". then we have  Westow Street the home of the Salvation Army, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Holly Bush, one of the oldest land marks from an ancient cross roads in the Great North Wood (hence Norwood) now the pub has changed name only remembered in the name of hardware store.   The third side is the fully commercial street of Westow Hill, with the library, interesting delicatessens and antique shops alongside restaurants, pubs and normal everyday food and stationary shops, there is even a plumbers merchant.

It was a fascinating place to grow up not least because when I was younger different licensing rules applied on different sides of the road, one side of Westow Hill was in Surrey and the pubs were open from 5:00 till 10:30 the other side was in London where the pubs opened from 5:30 to 11:00, such anomalies have now largely disappeared.   For me the best part was always the park, now also in danger of disappearing.

This park is Paxton's masterpiece, a major great heritage site, the site of the old Crystal Palace itself and home of the Dinosaurs yet is still under threat of development by Bromley Council.   Paxton has always been one of my Heros but I have fond memories of this park, going to motor racing there in the 60s; international athletics in the 70s; floodlit Rugby in the 80s and first class concerts all my life.

It has always been a favorite of mine and is now a favorite of my daughter as well, I do hope that we are able to keep it.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Retrospective Introspection

The New Year always seems to me to be a period of both reflection and anticipation, of looking back as well as forward.   In no way am I immune from this and I find that during this short period of hiatus between finishing work for Christmas and going back after the New Year I am particularly  prone to this sort of navel gazing.

So where have I ended up this year, well as a starter I am around the same weight that I was at this time last year so that's not too bad. Two years ago I made series of resolutions, if I remember correctly I failed to manage around half of them, last year I decided not to make resolutions, not to set myself up for a fail, rather I just gave myself the simple aspiration to be more authentic.   Over the last year I have taken to living more and more of my life authentically, indeed I have got to the point where it is only certain family and Church activities where I will still be cross dressing as a man.

I have been impressed and a little surprised by how well I have been accepted, certainly a couple of my Church friends have expressed sadness, and several surprise but no one has rejected me.

I have been referred to the GIC and hope to be hearing about my first appointment very soon, this has been a BIG DEAL to me, it is the outworking of the admission to myself of who I think I am, and the acceptance that I do need help with this.

I think I can say that I am now pretty much "out" I know coming out is a process not an action, but I am no longer denying or hiding who I am, neither am I taking out an advert in "The Times", I do suspect that for anyone who knows me not to know they must not be paying attention.

My big "gender" stride this last year has been to accept that I am a woman (whatever that means) now I have to work out what sort of a woman I am.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Well that's that then.

Last year seems to have passed very quickly, it only seems a few weeks ago that I was thinking about what was going to happen in 2014, now we are in 2015.

I don't resent 2014 passing I don't think there is much that I should have achieved that I haven't, since my main aim for the year was survival and I'm still here I should be content.

Over the year I have become more accustomed to living on my own, and have grown to accept that this will be my foreseeable future, I have also become more aware of how important some of my friends are to me.

I saw in the New Year with some of those friends as we played at a special service at our Church, I think this is one of the best ways to greet the New Year, it certainly beats fighting through crowds in the freezing cold to catch a passing glimpse of a few fireworks before spending hours getting home because the busses aren't running.   I also woke up in the morning with a clear head and a functioning digestive system!