Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Lost and Found

It seems to me that as I transition each gain has a corresponding loss, a little like Newtons' third law of motion, I have gained a new name, but at the same time I have lost one that I have been used to and am familiar with, I have gained a new wardrobe, but have lost some much loved options.   I have gained some (very wonderful) friends, but have lost acquaintances that I thought were more.

I will not talk here about the loss of special relationship, as so far there has been no equal and opposite reaction, but the loss that has been very much grieving me has been the loss of my Church family.   Maybe I could have operated with a little more self restraint and maintained my membership of the church I have been with for 16 years a little longer, but my gender identification has hardly been a secret and anyone who had not realised was a candidate for the "No Shit Sherlock!" award; and on reflection continuing to maintain the lie was not doing anyone any good.

The breakdown of my marriage was always going to mean moving Church, and I always knew that it would be difficult to transition within the Church, but none the less leaving still hurt.   Knowing that I would have to leave I have been visiting a few other local Churches, but none of them seemed to me to be a fit.   I have got used to a Charismatic Evangelical Church using contemporary worship, (or to most people "Happy Clappy"), even though I was often teased as being the token Anglican as I do like a bit of liturgy all the other Churches I visited were very much in the Anglo Catholic tradition (Bells & Smells) where although the people were very friendly and welcoming I just couldn't feel comfortable with the practise, (or style if you prefer).

During the week I got a very nice accepting message from one of my customers, knowing that she worships in a local Church I decided to give the a try.  This morning I managed to travel the little bit further to that church and found them to be friendly, with a style of worship I am happy, indeed I felt as though I had found a new home.   It is, of course, still early days but after playing at a sunrise service next Sunday I will be returning to celebrate Easter there.

With my living arrangements so much up in the air I cannot commit to anything long term, but it is a great relieve to have found somewhere I can worship "in Spirit and Truth"

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Plot? what Plot?

I don't really understand what has been going on, the whys and wherefores, but over the last few months my brain has been slowly turning to mush.   I have been forgetting things, things I should do, places I should have been and sometimes just what or where the plot is.

Yesterday I had a good start with a trip to the bank to get my account name changed, this all went very smoothly, I actually suspect that they had the forms to hand as they have been waiting for me to do this for a few months.   I then had to write up some notes and crunch some figures following the previous days meeting, and only then joy oh joy I could get out in the sun and do a bit of gardening.   Trouble is I totally forgot that I had agreed to do a different job, which I then had to put off to today or Monday.

Rushing home to get changed before going swimming I had to fill the van up, stopped and then had trouble getting my card accepted, I wonder if it has been cancelled already?   Once again with one thing and another I ran out of time and failed to get to the swimming session.   Then this morning as I was on my way out to do the job I should have done yesterday I lost my keys.   Fifty minutes later I found them but by then it was too late, as I have a concert this afternoon.

I just hope I can remember how to play the Tuba.   I will be using my little Besson so that at least should be OK

Friday, 27 March 2015

Signed off

Today is not only a new day, it is now a very special day, because it is my first full day officially carrying my own name!   Last night I signed and had witnessed my name change documents, now I just have to distribute them to all the relevant parties; Banks, Council, Tax and National Insurance, DVLA, Passport, professional organisations, RHS, and all those loads of organisations I am part of, a customer of or simply who need to know.   I am sure that I will miss some and will keep getting stuff through in my old name, but I will try not to get upset about it, instead I intend to revel in the fact that, like the Queen, I will now have two birthdays.

This has made me muse on identity, I think  have written about this before quite recently, but will again anyway.   The question on my mind is where do we get our identity from, is it from our name? well I have just changed mine but I don't think that t has changed my identity, it has just brought my legal name into line with my existing identity.   Is it from what we do?  The standard question men are asked on a first meeting is "What do you do?" or worse "What are you?" Some will get their identity from family or other groups they belong to. Others again will get identity from their nationality or their location.

Personally I am a gardener, a musician, a parent, sure I'm trans, but I am also a Church member, a Londoner, and an environmentalist.   It seems to e that none of these on their own or indeed added together give me my identity, so what can?

I have often been heard to tell people that they need to understand themselves as beloved, adopted children of God, valued and cherished.   The other day while I was looking into "Why was Jesus resurrected" for the bible study group I lead I was struck b the thought that for those of us who do believe, and are baptised then our identity comes from the risen Christ.   Sure we are all individuals, with all the glories and fallibilities that involves, but if as Paul tells us we are all resurrected with Christ then surely that should be how we identify.

Anyway, right now I have to go and put on some suitable clothes, go to the bank and start getting my name changes sorted out.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

What a Weekend?

Billy Twelvetrees
I have just got around to watching the England v France rugby international from yesterday, and all I can say is WOW.   If you don't know what I mean then there really isn't much point in trying to explain.   I am sure that every Rugby fan the world over will still be reeling from yesterday's games.  I think I will have to watch them all again now I know the results and haven't got the emotion to deal with to see if they really were as good as I thought the first time through.

Courtney Lawes
I know that this is not really a sport Blog, and that many of my regular readers may not count Rugby as one of their major interests so I will content myself with the thought that England may not have won the championship, but we do have the best looking players.

As I finally sit down at home at half past nine on Sunday night I can reflect that this weekend I have refelted a shed roof of eighteen square meters; had a discussion with another gardener on charging for waste removal; been out to dinner with a friend; cleared out my van: played a Gig on electric bass with my jazz band; unblocked a drain; done four loads of washing, played at an orchestral rehearsal and almost caught up with the washing up.

The trouble is that next week I have got just as much to do again as i have had this week.   I suspect that if I haven't learnt how to plan my life by now it is to late, ut somehow I have to find a way of doing less, while still doing the things I want to do.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Concert Dress VII

Tonight I have a concert with the wonderful Croydon Symphonic Band.   We will be playing a good selection of mostly contemporary original wind band music at the Croydon Minster a lovely and impressive old Church, with an interesting acoustic.   The audience hears wonderfully well, but the band struggles.

I am playing tuba so will be opting for a combination of modesty and warmth in my clothing choices, but how I might like to look is like Edda from Chickweed Lane,

However I shall try not to behave like her.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Kiss me I'm Irish

 I'm reminded of the awful old joke, "Have you got any Irish in you? would you like some?"

Today everybody seems to claim Irish descent, if only as an excuse to be very silly and drink too much Guinness

I do have some Irish blood, but probably less than a pint!  There was an old family joke that when the O'Higgins left Ireland and sailed for Liverpool they were so seasick that they spewed the O over the side of the ship.   Recent investigations into the family tree show this was actually true!

And finally An Irishman went for a job on a building site, the foreman warned him that he would have to answer some difficult questions.

"That's OK" said the Irishman

"You're absolutely sure?" asked the foreman


"Right" said the foreman. "What's the difference between a joist and a girder?, think carefully"

"Well" said the Irishman "Didn't Joyce write Ulysses and Goethe write Faust?"

Monday, 16 March 2015

A Long Weight

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine, she has just been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and one or two other problems which mean she is in imminent danger of a stroke.   The solution is quite literally on her own plate, she needs to lose a good couple of stone and start to be a bit more active again.   As a friend I will of course do what I can to help and so have agreed that I will try to lose a little alongside her and we will keep each other to account.

Last Sunday I weighed myself and was a little surprised to find myself weighing in at 12 stone 8 lbs (176 lbs or about 80 kgs) I want to be more like 11 stone 7 lbs (161 lbs or 73 kgs) rather than just let it happen over the summer I have set myself a target.

On the weekend of the 11th of April I will be playing with my Band (Croydon Symphonic Band) at the National Concert Band Festival finals at the Royal Northern School of Music in Manchester.   We will be traveling together and staying at an Hotel together.   The Hotel has a swimming pool and I fully intend to take advantage of it, so the 11th of April is my target.   Maybe it is ambitious to try to lose 2 stone (28 lbs, 13 kgs) in one month, but I am already on my way over the last week I have lost 3 lbs.   In my case I suspect that limiting my boos intake would make a big difference.

Lets face it I'm not the only girl in the world who wants to look good in her swimming costume, if I manage my target I may even buy a new one.

On a totally different tack, there are a lot of very good trans related blogs out there and every now and then I find another one.   I trust you all already know Stana; Cyrsti and Meg, but I would like to give a shot out to Rebecca of "With an Open Heart" go take a visit, but do come back!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Concert Dress VI

The no dress concert dress
Back here I last wrote about dressing for a concert, since then I have played at a couple of concerts but failed to reveal  the resolution of my deliberations.   As it happened the 22nd of February did not dawn warm and sunny so I decided for the first time since playing with the LGSO to wear trousers.   As I always play Bass Trombone with this Orchestra I  an retain my modesty while adopting a good playing position pretty much whatever I wear.   I generally choose one of my any LBDs, but just felt like a change and went for the comfort option.

I had initially excluded these trousers as I thought they were a little bit large for me, but since I have put on a little weight they fitted quite nicely, and the top is warm, and comfy but between the velvet and sparkles is suitably glamorous as well.

As it happened that day ou tuba player was due to borrow one of my instruments as his was being repaired, I trolled up to St Sepulchre's with my Bass Trombone "Precious" and my Little Besson EEb tuba in the back of the van.   I was looking forward t the concert as we were playing Tchaikovsky's fifth symphony, one of my favorites.   Indeed this was the first piece I ever played on trombone, way back in the Youth Philharmonic when my tuba teacher first convinced me to take up the instrument as well.   Not only was it the first piece I ever played on Trombone, but also one I had never played on Tuba.

With my "Little Besson"
Being a day for complications the tuba player fell ill and we couldn't find another one at that notice, fortunately we were able to drag a trombone player out f a local pub, so he played the Bass Trombone part on my Precious while I played the tuba part on my little Besson.   Not only was it a freak of luck that this happened to be the one concert where I had both instruments with me, but somehow it was also teh first one where I was wearing trousers.   If I had opted for either of the dresses I was considering there is no way I could have worn them and played the tuba, at least not while retaining any modesty whatsoever.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring has Sprung

We have had a lovely mild sunny week, and it has struck me that the season has turned.   Have started to cut grass, roses are being pruned and on a couple of occasions I have even been displaying bare arms!

This of course means that my working year has finally started.  I will now be at work up to six days a week for a while, very, very busy.   This is good news as it also means that I will be getting my finances back on to a more even keel, the down side is that I will be exhausted and struggling to get more mundane domestic stuff done.

Also I suspect that once again my own garden is likely to suffer from neglect.   So here are a few pictures taken in my garden this morning.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

This and That, Weekend observations

Interesting things that struck me over the weekend ~

Woman's Hour staff asking me what single piece of advice I would give my Daughter? My reply was to tell her to follow her dream, I think that we don't just need to encourage our children, we need to give them permission to be themselves, ~ who knows, if I had been given permission to be myself "back in the day"

Quite a lot of men at Women Of the World, Feminism is not because we are women, not because we have daughters, or mothers, it's because we're human.   What I saw over this weekend confirmed me in my opinion that the men haters have got it wrong, feminism is about changing society so that everybody can follow heir dream, and not be treated any differently because of Gender, Gender Identification, Race, colour, sexuality, disability, age or anything else I haven't even thought of yet, not about contesting with men.

I heard what I thought were my own words quoted back at me "Life is too short for ugly underwear" now I'm wondering if I heard it somewhere, and who said it first.

No one I spent any time with alluded to the fact that I may not have always been the woman I am now ~ wonderfully affirming!

There were two members of the Orchestra who I had worked with before, and another couple with whom I shared mutual friends.   Although there are a lot of us our paths cross and interconnect.

Beautiful young weightlifters showing that it is OK to be competitive, physical and feminine (and very friendly we had a lovely chat about techniques for pumping iron!).

I felt quite hurt to be dumped by somebody I haven't even met ~ only swapped a few texts with, but that is not so much the disappointment as the rejection.

Hugh Grant really is that good looking!

Everyone I met was happy, relaxed, safe, conversations were instigated stranger to stranger, everyone treated as an equal.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Young, Gifted and Female!

As a musician I have done, or been part of some pretty amazing things.   I worked at Expo 92 one of the greatest shows on earth, I played at the first every Festival of Music for Schools, I have been part of bands and orchestras with some pretty special people.   I have played in at least six different Countries, I have played in Liverpool Cathedral, the Liverpool Philharmonic, the Manchester Bridgewater, the Fairfield and several other halls.   I have been part of Prom Praise at the Royal Albert Hall.

I have used music to worship God, to entertain, to educate and to bring back memories to the very old, I have always worked on the theory that I have been given a gift that is to be shared. Not a great gift, but none the less not one that is simply for me.

It is gratifying that even after all this and nearly fifty years of performing I can still have new, interesting, and exciting experiences.   This last weekend definitely falls into that area.   I think even just one year ago I would not have been able to do what I have, indeed a year ago I would not have been convinced that I qualified!

At one point last night Sandi Toksvig asked how many of us had played in the Orchestra in previous years, I couldn't put up my hand for that one, and if asked would I have owned up that just one year ago I still wasn't sure that I was even a woman.   Yet this year it was so affirming, so encouraging, so much fun, to spend most of my weekend making music with women.

I will be coming back to this with some more details of the weekend, but for now I just want to say what privilege it was to be part of such a talented, technically fine, and young orchestra.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Between work, family and music I have been very busy (so no change there then!) over the last couple of weeks.   I promise a much more complete post soon but in the mean time I will over one word WOW for more go here

Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Pictures Worth ~ How Much?

I am aware that I have been very remiss about posting here over the last couple of weeks.   I have a lot going on but do promise to at least try to catch up soon.  As well as work I have a busy weekend coming up with rehearsal and performance at the Royal Festival Hall, and preparations for all my more usual activities.

I have also just applied for something on TV that needed a photo (preferably head shot) so I sent them a few, these are what I sent, do you think that they will help me get the gig?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


I have just got back from one of my irregular trips to Cardiff to spend a little time with some of my family there.

I have lots to write about with lots of stuff having been going on and more coming up. My life is certainly never boring.

Having got back I have just quickly checked up on my e-mails (nothing much of any importance) friends' blogs (I will catch up later) and Facebook.  Don't tell FB but I have two identities there, I promise I will be taking one of them down soon, but I was interested that being away for just a couple of days, when I got back I found 46 notifications waiting for me on one account, and 12 on the old one. - I really must get a life.