Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Can I stop now please?

Recently I have been engaged on a strange pursuit, I have been trying to prove Murphy's Law, for those few of you not in the know, it's Murphy's Law that states "a dropped slice of toast will always land butter side down," or if you prefer "if it can go wrong, it will".

Over the last couple of weeks I have

  • Travelled to and from Cardiff to allow my Mother to be discharged from Hospital, to find that she has been admitted a couple of days later.
  •  Lost my Van keys, in a customers garden, meaning a cab back home to collect the spares and then back to the customers again.
  • Had Bailiffs chasing me for Council Tax that was actually owed by somebody else on a different flat.
  • Had my van driven into at a road junction, the car then driving off with lights out so I couldn't even get their number.
  • Had my Broadband go down.
  • Had my landline go down (still not fixed)
  • Had the Fire Brigade break into my flat causing major damage to the front door (I had accidently left on an electric ring on my hob which set off the alarms)
All in all it has meant that the Blog has not been a top priority, and at times I not felt very cherished.    I have got into a frame of mind where I am constantly thinking about what is going to go wrong next, which I suspect would almost cause something.

A couple of men staying in a bed and breakfast meet over breakfast, one asks how the other slept? he say fine, he got in a little and started to get undressed, had dropped one of his boots on the floor, then realised it must have sounded quite loud so was very careful after that to be quite in case he disturbed anyone else's sleep. How did his breakfast partner sleep, Terribly, "I was awake all night waiting for the other boot to drop!"

I am currently waiting for the other boot to drop!

Monday, 25 April 2016

I'm a fundamentalist

The Church of England official prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (last Sunday the 17th April) was

"Risen Christ, faithful shepherd of your Father's sheep; teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father. Amen"
Of course as a Christian I agree with this wholeheartedly, it struck a particular resonance last week as on the previous day I had attended a meeting of the 2:23 group (Named for Hosea 2:23 as quoted in Romans 9:25 "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'loved one' who is not my loved one"). This is a a network of Christians, connected by LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, who have discovered that God loves us just as they are. They seek to support, Christian families and friends of LGBT people, as well as those directly affected themselves. This is the second of their meetings I have been to, and I find them welcoming, genuine spirit filled people, and blessedly one of those wonderful LGBT groups that fully includes the T.

Sometimes it feels as though the Church is splitting more and more rather than coming closer together, sometimes this is portrayed as a North / South Split, sometimes as a Black / White split and most often as Liberal / Conservative split. I rather suspect that if we were all open to the Holy Spirit and truly listened to what he is telling us, rather than assuming we know what God thinks, then we would be modeling Christ's love rather than displaying the World's hate.

I come from a Charismatic Evangelical background, but am not exclusive, in conversation one day with a good friend who is an Anglo-Catholic we decided that although we come from teh opposite wings of the Church of England we were both fundamentalists! Since the fundamental of Christ's teaching is love, we have to embrace love, for all, in everything we do.

I worry that so much of what I see being done in the name of Christianity seems to based on hate and intolerance, yet I choose to continue to display love where I can, and to pray for those whose views I oppose. I mourn the fact that although I am shown love and acceptance in many areas of the Church, there are some of the people who I should have most expected to display Christ's love who are causing me the most hurt. I cannot leave this and walk away, I cannot forgive and forget, I am trying hard to find forgiveness in my heart, but I also remember what Jesus said in: Matt 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

I feel that this makes it incumbent on us to reconcile ourselves with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot simply agree to differ, We cannot go our separate ways and pretend they do not exist, At the very least we need to strive to understand, empathise and ultimately to agree. I will not pretend that this will be easy, or will happen any time soon but we should be trying

Friday, 15 April 2016


I have been getting increasingly frustrated over the last week or so, my telephone has developed an intermittent problem, which is off course also having an impact on my internet access. It has begun to feel as though every time I start doing anything the line goes dead and I lose everything I have been doing.   I know that this is probably not the case, but as I have had very few opportunities to get on here to lose those occasions when I have had the opportunity is very frustrating.

I have also had a couple of very unpleasant telephone conversations where the functionary at the other end has insisted on misgendering me, even after being corrected. I have now had to go so far as to issue a formal complaint against one of these callers; I await the outcome with "interest"!

On the other hand we have had some nice weather over the last couple of weeks and I have been able to get some good work done, last week I actually managed a five day week for the first time this year.   Indeed there have been several days when I have been stripped down to my tee shirt, I have even been considering getting my shorts out.   Just as well I didn't today as it rained most of the day!   I have had to replace some of my gardening machinery, a mower and a strimmer, the mower was on it's last legs, but I do get so annoyed that strimmers generally seem to be considered as disposable.   I can't find anyone to service a standard machine, so have finally caved in and bought an expensive professional machine in teh hope that it will last me more than a single season.

Well between trips to Cardiff, loads of rehearsals and meetings I have had very few opportunities to get on to my blog, or indeed anyone else's.

I shall try to catch up a bit over the next week, in the meantime here's a pretty picture of one of my gardens.

Sunday, 3 April 2016


For the last few years I have been saying that the coolest thing I have ever done, was to play in the backing band for my daughter, it was at a Church Social and she was singing a couple of Amy Winehouse numbers,  "Back to Black", and "Rehab". The other day I had to admit to her that she had been superseded.   Last month I found myself on a Sunday evening sitting in the World's only all female orchestra playing the accompaniment to "We are Family" with Sister Sledge! That has just got to be the coolest thing any Tuba player can ever do.

I have only just discovered that one of the other members of the brass section has her own blog and wrote a very good piece about the event so rather than go over everything that she said I will just send you over to Lauren's blog for all the details.

Brass Section Rehearsal
I will try to content myself just a few quick observations,

  • Everyone I met, in the orchestra, soloists, guests, organisers, even the conductors were very friendly and approachable, and there to enjoy themselves.
  • The musicianship of the orchestra was outstanding, for a scratch orchestra made up of a few pros, students and rank amateurs like me to get together some pretty challenging music with very little rehearsal was outstanding, to then have to transpose a whole piece at sight showed just what a quality outfit this really is.
  • To an old lag like me it was very encouraging to not only see so many talented women gathered together, but even better that so many are young.  I was certainly the oldest in the Brass section by a good couple of decades!
  • All of the "Stars" Sandy Toksvig, Sue Perkins, Sister Sledge Bonnie Langford and Sara Pascoe, all came across as very genuine and are exactly like they seem when you see them on the telly!
  • I do hope so much that I will be able to be part of this again next year
The Young, Talented and Beautiful Brass Section (plus me) waiting to go on stage

Saturday, 2 April 2016

I Know, I Know

I have been highly remiss and neglectful of you all with my shameful lack of posting here.  It's not that I don't love you it's just that there always seems to be something else claiming my time and attention.   Of course sometimes that will just be some rubbish television and a glass of wine after a hard day's work.   And, it's not just this blog that's been suffering even my work is behind, what with a combination of mechanical failures and emergency storm damage repairs I have had plenty to do, if not a great deal of will to do it.  

So, I still plan to  manage a post or two on my experiences last month at the Festival Hall, and I have all sorts of garden related observations, and maybe even a comment or two about the just passed Transgender Day of Visibility. For now I will just observe that I was visible.

As I get on with life I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that being Trans is actually one of the more normal things about me.   I am told that I am "so brave" to do transition, or that it must have been "so difficult" growing up.   I don't know about any of that, it's just my life and that's how it's gone.

When we grow up we assume that we are normal, and that we are experiencing the same things as everybody else.   Looking back I now understand that I had quite a comfortable childhood, but none the less one with little in the way of affection. I knew I was loved and cared for and just thought that I and my family were the same as all others.   As we grow up and get to know other people and understand their situations we begin to understand our own better.   Because no one else seemed to have any gender based problems it was only then that I began to think that maybe this wasn't normal, and that maybe I shouldn't talk about it.

These days with the internet and our increased interconnectedness we not only hear about the high profile transitions of Caitlin Jenner, Kelly Maloney and the like, we can also join fora and visit websites, read blogs, and find support groups.   Once again I am beginning to find that my new normal, may be fairly normal after all.

Perhaps there really are more interesting things about me, I have found that a good way of getting attention in a conversation with the line "After I broke my neck", or  "Well of course that was the third time I nearly died", I also suspect that there may be more trans women around than orchestral Bass Trombone players.   Maybe it's time that I write less about what I wear and a bit more about what I plant, and where I play.