Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Weighty Issues

I have put on weight! Well to be honest that's not so unusual for me at this time of year, as the weather cools down and work slows down I tend to eat more and do less, the trouble is that this year I didn't lose any over the summer, indeed I put a little on. So now I'm very much over my preferred weight.   Of course there is the simple vanity issue that I think I look nicer a little lighter, but there are also the two very practical issues.

I have so many clothes that I simply cannot afford to replace them with larger sizes.   Replacing a complete wardrobe is an expensive business, besides I like a my clothes and want to get more wear out of all of them, preferably without splitting the seams!  But of course most important is that I feel fat! I know from how I feel that a lot of things are taking a little more effort. I am finding it harder to get started and when I do I am finding it all a little more tiring. I am also constantly conscious of the growing size of my tummy!   

The strange thing is that having said all this I don't now how much I weight! Since getting back from holiday a few weeks ago my scales haven't been working.   I used them to check my suitcase before leaving but since getting home they seem to have given up the ghost!   This makes it a bit more difficult to set myself a goal, or to measure how I am progressing towards it, but I do know that I need to lose some, and had better start now, otherwise I will be the Christmas pudding!

Maybe I should be asking Santa to bring some new bathroom scales.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Four Candles

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent.   The Ecclesiastical calendar takes Advent as starting from the forth Sunday before Christmas Day, since the 25th December itself falls on a Sunday this year that makes Advent a bit longer than normal.   Advent is a period of preparation, of contemplation, but mostly of looking forward.   To mark each week as we approach Christmas we light a candle, so we end up with four candles for each of the four Advent Sundays and then a fifth central candle for Christmas day itself.

The secular calendar is a little simpler, it takes advent as being the 24 days prior top Christmas, starting on the first of December and building up each day to the great day itself. Maybe of us from the UK who are passed a "Certain Age" will remember the Blue Peter Advent Crown, each year made from wire coat hangers and tinsel, most of us have progressed from that level to something a little safer, but if you fancy making one for yourself then simply follow the instructions on the second link.

On the other hand here's a little treat for the rest of us.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Feeling Retro

Strangely this happened to me quite recently;~

I came across a teenager I know who had their ears plugged in and when I asked what they were listening to was rather surprised to find it was a Judas Priest album I had bought way back in the 70s and hadn't even expected them to have heard of never mind want to listen to; mind you, I think my parents generation were equally surprised when I started listening to big band jazz.

I was reminded of an incident a few years back, I had just bought a CD of Return to Forever Romantic Warrior when my Daughter came into the room and commented "I don't usually like your music, bit this is quite cool"

Monday, 21 November 2016

Special Days

Yesterday I went to Church in the morning, nothing unusual in that, I do practically every Sunday when I am at home.   I believe in collective worship, and corporate prayer, I also like the structure of a service and community of fellow believers.   Yesterday I did feel a bit conflicted though, it was the International Transgender Day Of Remembrance (as I think I may have mentioned before) I had contacted my Vicar (along with many others in the area) asking that the Trans community be remembered in prayers on this particular day.    Of all the Churches I contacted my own was the only one to reply, with a polite but firm decline.

I was left feeling rather conflicted, wondering if this meant that I was tolerated rather than embraced? was it just lip service being paid to inclusion? could it be personal?    Well I decided to go anyway, only to find on my arrival that yesterday was also the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.   I can see that for a Church this would take precedence, we are all more aware of these special days when they directly bear on a community we feel part of.   If we are not connected then we will be exceedingly unlikely to know of these days.   Given that a large part of the idea is to make those who are not directly affected aware of the problems then somehow we need to do better.   As Rosalind said yesterday we need many, many more people to  be aware of this and want to mourn those who have died/been murdered and support, at least, work to reduce, nay eradicate, hate crime in the future.

After Saturday's event we (that is the members of TransPALS who were part of the organisation) did have a bit of reflection, the main thing we want to change is to increase the general awareness of trans issues, particularly around safety, we aim to do this through increasing the publicity prior to TDOR 2017 and hope that we will see a lot more people at our event then. We cannot help if there are clashes with other notable days or events, we can just work to make sure that ours is as widely known about as possible.

Sunday, 20 November 2016


Today is the International Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR), in London and around the world there will be memorial events, candle lit vigils and ceremonies this afternoon and tonight.   Yesterday afternoon I led an event in Croydon.   We lit candles for the 87 fatal victims of trans hate crime around the world, the 87 who were recorded and verified through  Of those 87 names 65 (including 12 unnamed women) were from Brazil, 15 from the USA and 1 each from Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Turkey.  I do not for a moment believe these numbers, there are countries where crimes against Trans people are not recorded, there are many when it is not recorded as hate crime, or that the victim will not be recorded as trans, or indeed under their chosen gender.   Many events will have list running into the hundreds, these will still not be comprehensive.

Not for a moment do I believe these numbers, there are still way, way too many people being killed, raped, beaten up because of their gender identity, we need to note this; morn this; publicise this; and work to reduce this.   I may not be directly under threat but we all (all of society) are reduced by the violence that is offered instead of compassion.

As well as the 87 candles we lit one extra, large candle for all of those victims not recorded on the list.

On a personal level I was gratified by the attendance at our event and the support shown to us by members of the local LGBT community. We also had substantial support from the wider community, with friends, supporters and indeed the Deputy Mayor of Croydon all joining us.

This is an event we do not want to have to hold, but expect to have to for many years yet.   The last couple of years it has been run for and by the Trans community through my local support group TransPALS.    Our next event will be our Christmas dinner, that should be a lot more fun!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

It's Coming

It's got to that time of year! Remembrance Sunday has past, Guy Fawkes has passed, and this weekend we have the Transgender Day Of Remembrance.   This latest has been taking up a fair bit of my considerations recently, although maybe not as much as it should have.   With both a Holiday and a close family member in Hospital I will admit to having been distracted.   Add to that this week I have not been feeling too well myself, without wanting to go into details I am a little reluctant to get too far away from my bathroom!

Yet even with all of this the thoughts of Christmas are looming!    Some of my friends will be overjoyed about the impending celebrations, others will be profoundly depressed about the enforced conviviality.   For me it is also about the sheer number of performances that pile up during the month of December.  Yet having said that this year I only have six performances scheduled, a little less than previous years, and none of them paid! While I know that some of this decline is down to a general lack of funds (I had to turn one Orchestra down as they can no longer pay) and some is down to a severe clash of dates ~ I was offered three gigs all in the same Saturday evening ~ I feel it may actually be good for me to step back a bit and try to do a little less.   I might even be able to go to a concert or two.   I certainly want to hear my Wife's choir singing.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Memories and Remembrance

The other day I wrote a post, but when I read it back it seemed so gloomy and sad that I decided not to put it up here.   Enough to say that not everything is rosy at the moment, which is a great shame as I had such a good holiday!

This costume, but not this body!
It really was a great little break, and much needed, we did some sightseeing and some sun bathing, on Sunday I was lying next to the swimming pool in just my swimming costume, then on Tuesday morning I was scrapping ice off the van windscreen.

Although we had a self catering apartment I think I only prepared a couple of meals all week, and they were just sandwiches when we had had a big meal already earlier in the day. We enjoyed some good local food ~ the food in Malta is for me one of the many attractions, lots of fish including one of my favorites, swordfish steaks! ~ Quite a lot of local beer and wine and plenty of sun.

While here in the UK temperatures were well down into single figures in Malta we enjoyed temperatures in the high 20s one of the reasons I like to go in the Spring or Autumn is that in the summer it is just too hot!

Of course even if I am feeling a bit poorly and generally a bit under the weather the pages on the calendar keep on turning and we are rapidly approaching one of the most significant dates in our year. The International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is on Sunday the 20th November, but as is traditional in Croydon we hold our event on the nearest Saturday, so that will be this Saturday the 19th November.    Once again I will be leading the event which will be in the Community Section of Bernard Wetherill House in central Croydon at 2:00 p.m.

If at all possible please come and join us, this is the most important thing that we do each year as a group and support from the wider community as well as the Trans community means so much to us all.   This year we will have the Deputy Mayor of Croydon with us, adding a visible sign of civic support for our community.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Not Getting up

I feel like giving up!

After getting home from a great, but short, holiday in Malta on Monday (more of that later!!) it came as a shock to my system to have to scrape frost off the van windscreen and then it refused to start.   Having got under way I had to visit my Doctor who told me that I'm putting on weight and that for the first time in my life my blood pressure is high.

Then we get the US Election, probably not as bad as some of us fear but still another blow to liberal internationalism.   Last night I heard that another close family member is in hospital and then this morning I wake up to the news that Leonard Cohen has died.

On balance I feel as though I would rather like to go to sleep and not wake up till 2017

Thursday, 10 November 2016


I am getting fed up with waking up, switching on the radio news and then thinking OH NO, WHAT HAVE WE DONE!   My first reaction, yet again, is that this is the end of life as we know it, and that we're all going to hell in a hand cart Of course I can't know the future, but suddenly it all seems a lot bleaker than it did at the beginning of the year.

I am reminded of sermon I heard a while ago, where basically we were being told that since God gave us the gift of free will and the ability to make decisions then maybe we shouldn't pray to him that we make the right decisions, but that we should pray that the decisions we make are the right ones.   Well I feel a bit like praying that this is all a dream and that I will wake up soon, I find it difficult to understand how some of these decisions could ever be "right"; but maybe it is especially since I disagree with them so much that I should be praying to God that he won't abandon us, that we will seek his will, and that somehow he will use our new situations for good.

I am quite certain that we all need to pray!