Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 31 July 2015

Where has the week gone

So it's Friday morning already and I haven't yet said much about last weekend's wonderful time in Brighton and I'm sorting out going to Brighton again tomorrow.

Last weekend was Trans Pride, only the third time  the event has been held and the first time I have been able to attend.   Last year a few girls from my group TransPALS did attend and decided that this year we needed a proper presence.   So this year we had a stand.   This meant that after the parade I spent a lot of my time either on the stand or sticker bombing ~ if you were there the chances are that Patricia or I go you stickered!

We had some good conversations, met some wonderful people and got our group a little better known. I will admit that I wasn't convinced by some of the acts on the stage, but to be honest I wasn't paying them tat much attention, Although I did feel as thought the parade was a little "flat" and quite this may just be because I am comparing it with main Pride events like London ~ next year I want to be a bit noisier and am recruiting a Brass Band especially for the occasion.   This event had a great atmosphere, the vast majority of people there were positive, loving, and, genuinely interested in each other.   This is how Pride should feel.

Tomorrow I will be in the Brighton Pride parade, this will be totally different, no least in as much as I have already decided that I will not be going into the park.   Last year I helped out at the Brighton FtoM stand and got the impression that it was just another festival full of people who just want t drink beer and listen to bands, since I don't like that type of music and I resent paying that much for beer I will be on the train home.

I will take my camera this time as well.

Monday, 27 July 2015


Friday Evening
OK so I am now back from Brighton, we had a wonderful weekend, where we not only spent time, but also much money! I have met old friends, made new ones and met some friends I previously only knew online. It was good to get to meet you all!

I am sure that I will write a lot more about this over the next few days, but for now I will just observe that I was having so much fun that I only took one picture the whole weekend. Fortunately lts other people were taking lots of pictures, some of which I managed to get into.

Saturday afternoon Parade
It was all too much by Saturday night
Three of us from TransPALS set off on Friday so we could meet a few people in social setting on the Friday night and be in place early on Saturday to set up our stand.   Saturday was devoted primarily to the Parade and main event with a party in the evening (which ended up being too much for yours truly) Then SUnday we were scheduled to have a picnic on the beach, but teh English summer had ended by then so we just moved into a pub!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Dropped Balls

These last few weeks have been pretty hectic, even by my rather strange standards.   It feels as though I have been out with one thing or another nearly every evening, so much so that I am struggling to even keep up with my washing up and laundry.

It is ironic that with all this activity I have quite a lot of material to write about, yet havn't got the time to write.

Well once again I am going to just have to accept the simple fact that I am going to fail ~ yet another big event this weekend which looks as though it is going to take up all of today, as well as Saturday and Sunday.   Just be way of warning since my last post I have been involved in filming for Channel 4, been out to dinner twice, got a new hair "do", and been groped by a celebrity. Now if that's not enough material for some serious blogging I need to change my world.

However I am currently running around in ever decreasing circles in grave danger of disappearing up my own fundamental orifice, as I desperately try to get the washing up done, while updating Paula's Place and packing for a weekend away.

I have been looking forward to this weekend for months, but now that it's here I am worried that I can't really spare the time off work.    Somehow I just have to accept that "it is what it is"

Back in the day when I had a boss, I had one who had fingers in many, many pies.   He tried to micro manage the business that I was ostensibly the CEO of, as well as being the marketing director of another Company working in Mongolia, a director of yet another Company and a partner in an environmental consultancy; as well as being a husband and father.   One day I asked him how he managed to do some many different things, his reply was that sometimes he dropped a ball. What amazed me most at the time was his calm acceptance. Now I find myself in a similar position and I have to adopt the same attitude.   I have tried to divest myself of some duties/responsibilities, but I have to accept that if I want to stay involved with all the different things I do then every now and then I will drop a ball.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Concert Dress XI ~ Your Slip is Showing!

There are things I didn't say about Saturday night in my last post, not least what a fun concert it was.   Some of the choices of music were ambitious, 1812, William Tell, Hymn of the Highlands, but I think we got away with it.   This band is not like my main band, the Croydon Symphonic Band, where the emphasis is on musical and technical excellence, giving the best performance it is possible for us to give, All Saints is much more about entertaining the audience, and if that means a few musical compromises then so be it. Whatever, the audience were definitely entertained.

Because it was to be such a dress up occasion my preparations actually started the day before, with a manicure, when I got a glittery gold gel coat polish to go with my accessories.

I had some earrings I wanted to wear

I managed to find some rings and a bangle to match
And as for the shoes!

We had a run through before the concert with a break to have something to eat, and then time to change, as expected I needed all of the time available.   I had of course had a trial to make sure everything went together OK, but I did have to buy a new strapless bra, I don't know whether it was the new bra or some temperamental fit by the zip, but it took three people tugging away to get me into the dress.   I was worried that I wouldn't be able to breath, but I managed OK even if it did feel a better fit at the end of a very long note!

I like the dress, I like how it makes me look and I like how it makes me feel, I do hope I get another chance to wear it.

After the concert I got changed back into some baggy white linen trousers and a casual top as I had to take some of the percussion back to the rehearsal room in my van, after loading up we joined some of the others at a local hostelry, I ordered our beer, twice, since the poor lad serving was having some difficulty, and then the beer we wanted had gone "off".   After he managed to get everything sorted he added it all up and told me how much it would be, adding "Sir". I just looked at him for a moment before he realised what he had said, he then turned bright red and fell into abject apologies.   As we walked over to a table to join our friends I heard him saying to his boss, "Oh no, I've just said the most awful embarrassing thing ever" ~ in all honesty I don't like it but I have had worse, and I am rather glad to find somebody who is embarrassed by their slip.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Concert Dress X

The other day I mentioned a concert I had coming up, a concert where we were asked to wear formal gowns in a single colour, for some of us this helped make it something of a special event.  Like many other ladies I love the opportunity to dress up and "strut my stuff", it's nice to be able to get out the outrageous shoes and the dramatic dress and know that you will not stand out for the wrong reasons as others will be doing the same.   For others it can cause quite a bit of anguish. for those whose body shape does not fit the image, playing position does not lend itself to glamour, have changed body shape so favorite dresses don't fit, or just can't afford something new this can be a real challenge. Having said all that I was very impressed how the ladies of the All Saints Concert Band embraced the idea and showed some great style and glamour. ~ Next someone will what to shoot a calendar!

It was nice to get away from the increasingly predictable all black, it was also nice to find a reason to wear a dress that has been hanging in my wardrobe for something like 18 months.   At some point last year I found this dress in a charity shop, decided that I would try  it on ~ just for a bit of fun ~ and it actually worked.   Since then I have not had any occassion to wear anything this glamorous so it was nice to finally get some wear out of it.

Of course I also had to work out what accessories to wear, after deciding on some gold coloured killer heel sandals I then had to match the rest of my accessories to my shoes, which meant picking up some new gold coloured sparklies and a new clutch bag.   I suspect that I have now spent more on the accessories than on the dress, so it would be really nice to have another opportunity to wear it.   Of course if we do the same for this concert next year I will have to buy another new dress ~ I couldn't possibly wear the same thing two times running!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Living on the Edge

In so may ways I live in the border lands, that may not be how many of you will think of suburban South East England, but just up the road from me five London Borough coincide. Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Bromley and Croydon all meet at the Crystal Palace, closer still I am a matter yards from the border between Croydon and Bromley; Surrey and Kent, and the dioceses of Rochester and Southwark.  

Of course on a much more personal level I am still living in the gender border lands.   While I am now living my life fully female I have yet to start any medical treatment, there are times when it feels incongruous, but pretty rarely. I am aware that I still project a fairly masculine image, my shoulders, chin and ~ God help me ~ a five O'Clock shadow do not help with my presentation; on the other hand I do my best to dress well, but, mostly, not too conspicuously.

I am now in the odd situation of living on the edge, of moving.   We have accepted and offer on our house, and I have had an offer accepted on a flat (apartment fro  my friends over the pond).  I am still living here, trying to divest myself of "stuff" that I do not need, while thinking about how I am going decorate and update my new place.

At the moment it feels insecure and just a bit scary, but I am trying to think of it as a fresh start, a opportunity to start again, a fresh beginning where nobody will know "him" and I can just get on with being me.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Unexpected meetings

After going a little off piste on my last post, today I am back on to a more obviously trans matter.   That having been said this blog is about me, all of me, all of my interests and mental meanderings.   there is a large part of me that would be rather disappointed to find that Paula's Place was considered to be a purely trans blog, you get everything that crosses my mind, music; gardening; cars;cartoons and all the other things that come together and add up to Paula.

But getting back to my sheep, this evening I had a rehearsal with the All Saints Concert Band as we prepared for Saturday's Gala concert.   This is an unusual concert for this band as it is raising money for the band rather than supporting somebody else's cause.   It is also a bit different as there will be a buffet dinner served during the interval; ~ and possibly more important for some of us (well me anyway) the dress code is different, for this concert ladies are required to wear formal full length gowns in a single colour.   I have my dress ready I am just trying to make some final decisions about accessories, recently I have found that I am worrying less about what I wear for most of my concerts, maybe I'm getting a little more confident in my choices, or maybe I'm just growing up at last.

Afterwards we popped up to my favorite pub, the Grape and Grain as the Big Beer Band were giving their annual film music concert.   This is something of a local highlight and great fun.   What was even more fun was meeting some old friends who I had no idea would be there.  In all I met up with four people I had no expectation of meeting, including one who I thought was in Singapore!  I had a very nive evening but was very rude and rather abandoned the nice people I had gone with, still I will see plenty of them on Saturday at our concert.

What was extra nice was that two of these guys had not met Paula before and both were very grown up, very kind and very supportive.

Sometimes the world is good

Monday, 13 July 2015

A classic design

Matchbox model of the original BMC 1800
I have always had something of a passion for cars, back in the 1960s when I was growing up this was manifested by collecting toy cars.  One I still have and have always admired the styling of was the BMC 1800 Pininfarina.  So different and exciting compared to the dowdy but worthy standard "Landcrab" I was only to experience this design in the form of the "Matchbox" model.

Many years later in the 1970s the newly reformed British Leyland were to resurrect the design in the stunning Rover SD1.   With their all aluminum V8 this would prove to be a quite awesome car, whether as a mile eating luxury saloon, fast pursuit Police car or even as a Touring car racer.

As I became more and more aware I found this same design cropping up again and again.
Citroen GS
Citroen CX Prestige

Renault Megane

Seat Leon
Now I have bought a car again after a break of several years, looking at it I find it hard to get much pleasure from the image, but at the same time I wish the same amount of design effort had been put into the interior that has been put into the exterior.   Or maybe it just needed longer to mature.

Finding it hard to love the new baby

I have a mental list of cars I want to own, not an unattainable list of Aston Martins and Bentleys, but cars that when they came I thought "that would be nice". At one time or another I have owned most of the cars on that list, Mercedes estates, the Renault 20, Humber Scepter, Mark I Ford Granada Coupe, Opel Senator, Peugeot 405 Estate, The Rover SD1 V8 is one of the few on the list that I have still to own. ~ Maybe one day.....................

Friday, 10 July 2015

Brave! Me?

Since I started coming out a number of people have observed that they think I am brave, I always deny this, I am of the opinion that staying in the closet would have taken more courage.   To have kept my feelings hidden, to carry on pretending in order to protect other people from the truth and allow then t maintain their illusions, maybe that would have been brave.

Brave is risking your own life or welfare for somebody else, brave is taking a risk when the odds are against you, brave is selflessly putting others first.   No what have done may be called many things but not brave.
I understand I have recently been the subject of some conversation at at least one of the pubs I frequent.   I gather that it was suggested that it was inappropriate for me to use the ladies facilities, the landlady slapped this idea down straight away, of course I suspect that the person voicing their concern was much more concerned about my very existence than where I pee!   Now I think that bearing in mind the way I dress most of the time it would take a lot more bravery to use the "gents" than the "ladies".

On Wednesday evening I played at the Fairfield Hall with the wonderful Croydon Symphonic Band, during the interval I used the facilities backstage and it crossed my mind that I had been performing there of and on for nearly 50 years and that this was the first time I had used the "Ladies'" there, yet it never crossed my mind that I should go into the gent's lift up my dress and use the urinals!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

WHat a Difference a Year Makes

Pride, London 2015
It is just over a year ago that I attended my first Pride, that was the London Parade ad it made something of an impact on me, as I remember it less than half of the parade had gone past us before we had decided that we would be part of it this year; ~ at so we were!

It was that same day that I had something of an unschedule outing,   Since then I have not performed as a man!   Indeed since January this year I have been living full time in my adopted gender.   I now feel totally content in myself as, it would be fatuous to claim not to have any regrets ~ but then again too few to mention.

Current typical concert dress
Looking back to that day in June 2014 it now feels as though it was something of a watershed, playing music is such a big part of my life that once I started to play in y true gender it was the start of my own self confirmation that this is right for me.   So far at no time during this last year have felt that I am doing the wrong thing.   Of course I have worried, and I have had moments of doubt, bt inside I have always felt that this is right.

I think it is probably better that others have confirmed to me that I seem more relaxed, more confident, and generally more at ease now.   I am sure that much of this is that I am no longer lying about myself and am now living my life honestly and with homogeneity.

I suspect that I am lucky in that I have total support from my two brothers, and being self employed I have no work related issues ~ in theory my daughter is supportive of minorities but is still not comfortable with my transition.

This last year has certainly seen a lot of changes, the coming one holds even more, moving home; medical intervention; and wh knows what else?