Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

I had planned several posts before this, but in typical style I simply never got round to actually writing them.   There will be some more Christmas related news to to come at some point, but before I get round to all that stuff, writing about how wonderful my family is and what great presents I got I want to do something else, and wish you all a very happy new year!

In an ideal world I would now be putting on my glam rags (and I do have plenty of them!) before going out to an exclusive party with an elegant but hunky partner wearing a classy dinner jacket.  
Unfortunately I live in Croydon rather than La La Land so it looks like I will either pop down to the local pub if it stops raining, or more likely stay in with Jules Holland.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Stuff & Nonsence

 Well I finally returned home last night after a few days away, and a protracted struggle with the M4, after settling down I decided that what I really, really needed, was a nice Dry Martini. only to find myself confronted with the results of my own gluttony, I had already eaten all the olives!   Never mind I managed with a little lime instead.

Then this morning I had the pleasure of discovering that BBC Radio 4's Womans Hour was devoting a whole program to trans issues if you didn't hear it it is worth it and you can listen again here.  If there is one thing I will remember from the discussion it was the statistic that nearly twice as many Americans think they have seen a ghost as think they have seen a Trans person.   I am reminded of the stat that says 90% say they don't know a trans person, 100% of them were wrong.

I now find that BBC2 are showing now showing "Albert Nobbs" tonight as well. Thank you BBC

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas

Image result for betty boop christmasSo we have made it, today is the day!   I shall now be away from my computer for a few days,  I shall be enjoying the company of friends, and family as I celebrate the birth of Christ the physical embodiment of God's love.

While I may have used Betty (extensively) to illustrate my Advent calendar, I try to not forget that all my celebrations are about that. God's love,

Image result for betty boop christmasSo in turn I thank everyone who has demonstrated God's love to me this year, and pray that each of you will experience some of that love this Christmas.

May you find in your stocking what ever it is you want, and may you be what somebody else is wanting ~ whether in stockings or not.

Happy Christmas

Advent Calendar XXIV

It's nice to know that even at my great age, there are still new experiences I can embrace, and today I have had one of those fresh experiences. For the first time in my life I have attended a Roman Catholic Mass, not just any old Mass, but the Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

This has long been one of my favorite building, many years ago I did play there for the MonteVerdi Vespers, and the choir has a reputation as one of the best in the country (which of course also means the world as England has the best choirs) so when my friend suggested that we went I welcomed the idea.

It is a very different way of doing communion to anything I'm used to, and while there are of course many similarities there are a great many differences, and I was grateful that I did at least have an order of service telling me what was going on, and when to stand or sit.

In the morning I will be back at my own Church, celebrating the birth of Christ with my friends.   However you will be celebrating I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Advent Calendar XXIII

I have the coolest friends! One of them in particular is a particular friend. We had dinner together last night and he gave me the coolest present, something that I think sums up the whole trans gender experience!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Advent Calendar XXII

I have been good! Today I have made progress, as well as actually doing some work, I have now brought all of my furniture home, while I still have a few boxes, mostly of books, in storage and a few here waiting to be unpacked, I feel as though that is a major step forward.   It also leaves me all too aware that I either need to get rid of more stuff, or acquire some more bookcases!

I will now be madly cleaning and tidying up the flat as this evening I will be having my first visitor. A good friend who now lives in Cornwall will be dropping by while she is in London for a few days.   I know that how ever hard I work the place will l be a long way short of presentable, I simply haven't managed to decide how the flat will best work for me, and there are lots of things still waiting for homes to be found, but at least I can give the floor a sweep. and put my dirty washing in the basket.

I have made some progress towards organising my gift buying, I have managed to purchase about half of the gifts I want to get, the trouble is that leaves the ones where I don't know what to get, or I can't afford what I do want toget.

Advent Calender XXI

No sooner have I written about the Christmas colour should green rather than red, than I turn on the radio and hear a discussion on BBC's Woman's Hour about how we should be putting away our Little Black Dresses, and taking up a Little Green Dress!  Listening to this it dawned on me that although I have an absolute plethora of LBDs I rarely wear them other than for concerts.   I also find that I only actually have two green dresses, one of which might be better described as a gown.

All this does make me reappraise my thoughts on what I might be wearing over the festive period.    I need to arrange outfits suitable for dinner on Wednesday night, midnight communion at Westminster Cathedral, Christmas lunch with friends and then I can start to worry about the New Year when I get home.

I worry slightly that I may have turned into "one of those women" as I look at the thirty plus dresses in my wardrobe and exclaim "But I have NOTHING to wear!"

On a different note I see that this blog has now passed 300,000 page views. I am reminded that when I started writing this, I would often sign off this way, If you have been, Thank You for reading.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Advent Calendar XX

Only five days to go!!

It has just dawned on me that pretty almost all of the Betty pictures I have put up seem to show her wearing red.   I'm not sure why red has become the accepted colour of Christmas garp, I thought it might be something else I could lay the blame on Clement Moore for, but a quick check on the text shows that it's not his fault! My understanding is that until the last century green was much more of a seasonal colour, we would bring bows of holly and cuttings of trees into our homes as decorations (probably part of the veneration of forest Gods).   The seasonal personifications would be represented as wearing green, possibly as a representation of the anticipated re-birth once we had got past the solstice.

Tonight I was playing at the Carol Service at my New Church, and being a bit of a traditionalist I wore Green, but I wonder when I go to my friends for Christmas lunch should I wear red?

These are old photos, I still haven't got myself organised enough in my new flat to be able to take any pictures here, which is a little worrying since the Vicar asked himself over for a coffee after Christmas.   Maybe I should worry a little less about what I wear and a bit more about how I'm living!

Advent Calendar XIX

I seem to be losing track of time, this is Saturday's post, and it is just dawning on me that it is now only a few days till Christmas.   I know that it is the cry of many around this time that "I'm not ready" I don't have much to get ready, I will be out with friends on Christmas Day itself, and then I will be visiting family for the following few days,so no need to stock up on booze or food.   I'm not having any decorations and it doesn't look like I'll be sending any cards, so what's to get ready?

Well I suppose I ought to buy a few presents, arrange exactly when I will be seeing the people I really want to see, yet at the moment I seem to be having enough trouble just keeping up with my basic life, Keeping the flat clean, getting my laundry done and making sure there is some milk in the fridge.  I still have boxes and a couple of bits of furniture in storage, I have given myself a deadline of the end of the year to have every thing in ~ lets see if I make it!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Advent Calendar XIIX

The other night I went to a show case event my daughter was involved with, as far as I can work out she helped to produce, stage managed and performed.   I have to say that I am in awe of just what a talented and all round cool bunch she and her friends are.   I hear and see so much which complains about "Young People Today", teenagers are apparently something to fear, as if they are a separate species, well I have to say that those young people I saw performing on Wednesday night were only a source of fear if you are a musician because there is competition coming!

Now obviously I am a little biased, but I think they sound great, and they are really nice people as well, I hope I haven't just destroyed any cred they may have by being liked by a middle aged female classical musician, somehow I think I am more likely to be going to one of their performances than they are to come to one of mine.

Last night I played with my Jazz/Blues band for the volunteers Christmas party at our local Hospice, we had a great time, and I think the audience enjoyed themselves as well.   As a band we just need to get some more performance opportunities.

I had every intention of getting some photos taken, but once again failed, in the heat of the moment! I didn't quite look like Betty, but I did have the same colour combination.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Advent Calendar XVII

I have now managed to make arrangements to see my Mother over Christmas. Even though she does see a lot of my Brother and has four or five visitors a day, she does miss the London contingent of the family, so I'm very pleased that my daughter will be travelling with me, I hope we will be able to bring a little bit of seasonal joy to her.  

Of course this also means that I can't put off buying my Christmas presents much longer, this year I don't have many to buy, but it seems that as the years pass buying things for my Mother doesn't get any easier.   I am hoping my daughter will be easier.   I wonder how easy people will find it to select something for me?

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Advent Calendar XVI

The other day I referred to a nativity scene I had seen but was having trouble tracking down, well with a big thankyou to my good friend Alun it has been identified.  This is it.

I like this, it seems to me to have an honesty, an integrity which most representations of the Nativity lack, these appear to be real people occupying the real world, not some fantasy world where everything is clean and nice.   Yet there is still the essential Christian message of hope, the hope vested in that baby.

A few years ago my Vicar asked me what Christmas meant to me, this was a serious question so I gave some serious thought and concluded that Christmas is when it all starts to get better.  The days get longer, the weather tends to get dryer, the worst of my personal expenses (apart from income tax) are past.   Instead of looking forward to mid winter I start to look forward to Spring, I will soon be starting pruning and enjoying the first flowers.

Perhaps more to the point we can start looking forward to Easter, without the Hope that comes from Easter, Christmas is meaningless. It is through the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation that Christ bought us through His death and resurrection that we can appreciate the full enormity of the meaning of God becoming man which we celebrate at Christmas.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Advent Calendar XV

I've had quite a weekend! I have played in a first performance of my new Christmas Suite, Played Carols with over 40 other tuba players on teh steps of St Paul's and Concert with the LGSO which included two, yes two Tuba Solos.

We played the Ravel Orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, on movement, Bydlo, or The Ox Cart is basically a Tuba Solo,  The only problem is that it is too high to play on a modern bass tuba.   The usual practise is for the second trombone player to play the solo in a euphonium, but it transpires that none of the trombone players at this concert play the euphonium in concert pitch. So it was left to me to put it in on Euphonium, having to make a quick change between instruments. I enjoyed playing Baba Yaga much more!

We also had our annual TransPALS Christmas dinner, we had great fun, cemented so old friendships and reinforced some new ones. ~ and thank you to all of you who voted, I followed the popular choice and wore the little black dress, but looking at all these Betty Christmas pictures I think I need to get myself something red and glittery!

Advent Calendar XIV

All the recent furores over the lamentable spoutings of Tyson Fury, made me reflect that just because somebody is good at hitting other people it does not make them an intelligent nice person.   Indeed my first thought on hearing of his, misogynist, homophobic comments was pretty much "Well what would you expect from a boxer"

But there was a time when boxers were fine sportsmen, and indeed fine men. Men of faith and principle, and damn fine boxers as well. I'm thinking of George Foreman and Muhammad Ally,   Intelligent articulate men, who were more than mere punching machines.  I saw this on my friend Joey's Blog today, and couldn't help but think of the contrast between two world champions.

I know that Betty is easier on the eye than either of these two, but this is meant to be the season of good will towards all men, maybe a good way to start showing that good will would be to seek to understand them, their faith, and their motivations rather than be fearful of their differences.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Advent Calendar XIII

Well we are now over half way through the Advent Calendar, I have played in several Christmas concerts, yet somehow I just don't feel like it's nearly Christmas. Maybe it's the weather which is unseasonably mild, maybe it's the lack of decorations in my flat, (I still haven't unpacked all the boxes so definitely no decorations), maybe it's being on my own, or not having much in the way of work colleagues.

However it does make me wonder what we actually mean when we talk about "feeling like Christmas", I like to think that I am full of good will most of the year, it's not special to a couple of weeks in December. I am happy to join my friends in a glass of good cheer at any time, we don't need to be wearing silly hats or jumpers.   I think in my case it is the feeling of anticipation, of looking forward.   The season of Advent is all about looking forward, looking forward to Christmas, our annual celebration of the birth of Christ. Maybe my anticipation isn't as eager this year as I'm not so involved in my Church's preparations.

However I am looking forward to Christmas, because that's when everything starts to get better!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Advent Calendar XII

Today I have a couple of Nativity scenes for you

You choose which you like best

But my favorite I saw shared earlier today of Facebook, wanted to save it but my computer crashed, now I can't find it.

A fairly traditional oil painting it showed Mary asleep, exhausted after childbirth; Joseph bemused about what was happening to him, and Jesus simply asleep.

No animals, no shepherds, no angels, no wise men, just an exhausted Mother, a worried Father and a sleeping Baby. But the hope of the world lies in that Baby.

If you know this painting please let me know hwo the artist is and where I can find it.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Advent Calendar XI

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the TransPALS Christmas dinner, and I still have the perennial problem of what am I going to wear. I see that last year I ran a poll, and let you, my gentle readers, decide which of three dress I would wear. So I Thought I would do the same again this year.
Once again there is a choice of three dresses, it's just that only one of them has managed to make it through to year two. The green one from last year I love, but is not really very celebratory, and I wore the red one so this year we have these three.

These are all old photos, but that's fair enough I'm an old lady, I think now I would wear the black dress with sheer black tights, the black and silver, more as a tunic with leggings, and the white one, just as it is.

Advent Calendar X

Looking back on May I see that I was concerned about being too busy needing a holiday, nothing new there then! I also had my only two guest posts.  Nationally the big news was of course the General Election.   For me though the big event was a trip to the Opera! I thoroughly enjoyed a trip up to town to see the ENO's production of Carmen. One of my favorite operas, and in my opinion a truly remarkable production.

May is of course a busy time for me, gardens are in full growth, the work being somewhere between Spring and Summer, I will be planting, pruning, weeding and cutting grass; December is quite different, or at least it should be. Yet the weather has been so mild so far this year that I am still cutting grass. Indeed as soon as I have finished here I will be loading my little mower onto the van a going off to Beckenham to cut a couple of lawns

Tomorrow I will be inhabiting a  very different world, as not only is it the Croydon Symphonic Band Christmas concert, it is also the TransPALS Christmas Dinner, dashing from one to the other I should just about be able to manage both.