Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 30 June 2017


I sometimes wonder if I am being wise, for the vast majority of my life I have been culturally rather conservative.   I tend to eat European food, I dress (or at least I did dress) in a pretty ordinary slightly conservative manner, suits, smart casual, a bit preppy a little like James May, but with better trousers.


Likewise my hair has tended to the ordinary as well, I suppose I just didn't want to stand out, so what has come over me now I am getting older?   When I was in my twenties I was accused of being middle aged, now I am rapidly leaving middle age I have suddenly become adventurous and apparently fashionable as well!

As I left the flat this morning I was thinking that my daughter would hate my outfit, pink top, pink loafer type shoes, denim min skirt and denim jacket.   My daughter hates double denim, but I was twice complimented on the outfit, and was told that double denim is now very much in!

Today I had my hair coloured, I have been blond for a while now, and am quite used to a blond looking back at me from the mirror, but today I went for something a little special, at least in part in honor of Pride month and Sunday's LGSO Concert. 

I think that Courtney from the Rush Senior Academy has done a fabulous job, and also given me one of the best blow dries I have yet had! I just hope I still like it in the morning!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Still Busy

July is going to be a hectic month, I have Gigs planned every weekend, two this weekend and then one on each of the other three, there are also three Pride events that I will be attending. The big one in London, Trans Pride in Brighton and of course my local one in Croydon.

A while back I mentioned that I was going to be busy with Croydon Pridefest, well I was right I am busy with it! This is only the second year, but last year was such a success that it was decided to make Croydon Pride both a Company and a registered charity.  I am now the Chair of that organisation, and although there are lots of people helping I do have to do a bit more than just be a figure head (although that's the bit I'm good at!)

I have several more meetings to go to and loads more e-mails to deal with before the big day in a couple of weeks, then I should be able to sit back and enjoy the party ~ until I have to play a concert the next day with a hang over!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Just Another Reason

I apologise for my recent absence, it's my usual problem of trying to do slightly more stuff than I have time for.   In my life the stress comes not from what I do, but from what I fail to do.

But enough of all that, I have a concert coming up!

Rather a special concert!

It is the LGSO's 21st Birthday concert, we are not only celebrating 21 years of our existence, we are also celebrating 50 years since the decriminalisation in the UK of gay relations between men. We have commissioned a new piece "Natural Behaviour"  from the well regarded contemporary composer Michael Finnissy.   We will also be playing Stravinsky's Firebird and Rachmaninov's second symphony.   All this at St John's Smith Square, Great Music, Great Hall, Great Orchestra, what more could you want?

OK so you want some hunky men as well? I think we can help!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Remember Gerald Ford?

I may not have been wise, but I have just stayed up all night watching the election results, it was quite a night, but with no definite conclusion. Labour did better than expected, the Tories and the Scottish Nationalists did worse, but the Tories still have the most MPs even though not enough for a majority.

So after all the campaigning, all the mud slinging, and all the punditry we have very few real conclusions. Jeremy Corbin's position is probably  more secure and Teresa May's less. SNP and UKIP will now be playing a different game while the LibDems will have mixed feelings. But rather than a conclusion this is now the start, the start of some pretty serious negotiations between party leaders, and MPs.   Who will be our next Prime Minister? who knows?

It certainly seems as though Teresa May called this election to increase her majority, give her a strong mandate for a "Hard Brexit" and has been rejected by the electorate.  There is now a big question over whether her own party will allow her to continue or will she be forced out.  

For those of us who watch politics then next few days will be interesting, certainly the MPs from Northern Ireland will prove crucial to any party trying to form a Government.

But for me the best news, a decent turn out and lots of young people have been voting ~ maybe they have been reading my Paula's Place

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Today's the day

I am quite sure you all have a pretty good idea about my politics, I have made no secret of them, I am definitely of the progressive school.   I have actually had to make quite a hard decision as to who is going to get my vote, as the three parties all have policies that appeal to me, I am particularly attached to the Green Party's policy of trialing a universal income. Likewise I am very attracted to the LibDems Policy of a Ratification Referendum, in the end I have made my decision on the basis of both the local situation and the wider political climate.   That is my decision, yours may very well be different, but unless you vote it simply won't matter.

I mentioned before that people died so that we could vote, I don't just mean the service men and women who have served in wars protecting our freedoms, I also mean the campaigners throughout the years who forced changes to our laws leading to universal suffrage, the Suffragettes campaigning, imprisoned and inhumanly treated as they campaigned for women to have a vote.   Reformers who were imprisoned or killed before forcing the great reform act allowing all men to vote.   Democracy (even one as scant as ours) is not a God given gift, it is a hard fought for privilege!    USE IT

I am about to go out and cast my vote, the mpre3 of us who do that more likely we are to have a Parliament that represents us, don't use your vote and you will not be represented, you will have no right to complain, and you will be dishonoring all of those who fought so hard to give you that vote as a right.

As a general rule we don't get many opportunities to exercise control over our governance, today is one of those days, we can change how we are governed, or indeed we can choose not to, but it is up to us all to make that choice.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Geting Ready

Whilst the last couple of days have presented a bit of a hiatus in the weather it is undeniable that Summer is here.   Temperatures are regularly in the twenties, the days are long and the evenings light.   Skirts and trousers are both short and sweaters are consigned to the wardrobe.   

I have at last taken to working in shorts and vest tops rather than jeans and sweaters, and it's nice!   Of course that does mean that there are some aspects of my appearance that require a little more attention than when I am more covered...............

I have also been through my wardrobe and realised that quite a few of my summer clothes are a little snugger than I would really like, leaving me the choice of trying lose some weight or buying some new clothes.   Since I have an aversion to spending money I will be trying to lose some weight.

Ideally I would like to be below 12 stone (168 lbs) which means shedding a little over half a stone.   It would be really nice if I could do this before all the Prides start in July, especially the Croydon Pride Fest on the 15th July as I will be playing quite big role in it this year.

Looks like I may have to try to find some self control!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Fear and Loathing; Then and Now

Inspired by a recent post by Hanna, my friend from Minnesota, who posted on her Blog an article about the fear experienced by many cross dressers.  There is an almost universal fear amongst cross dressers that they will be found out, this can lead to all sorts of subterfuge, lots of lying, and on occasion some pretty unsafe behaviour.   The secrecy can lead to snatched moments of release, lone walks in dangerous dark alleys, moments in strange bars inappropriately dressed, lone drives which are fine until the car breaks down or the Police stop you!

Then, the first photo on this Blog back in August 2011
Once I realised the dangers of these sort of outings I quickly stopped, sticking to planed days out with friends or in populous spaces, like galleries, but maybe on days like this when the rain pours down and work would be impossible I might wait until the family had all gone out and then get changed, sneak out the back door and go off on an adventure.   I will admit that the subterfuge was a bit exciting, and truly made these outings adventures, indeed one of the things I did worry about before going "full time" was that in losing that excitement I would lose the whole point.   Mercifully that was not the case.

And now
Of course at first I was still frightened of being caught, indeed I was frightened of being caught not just in my cross dressing, but in everything I did.  I always had the scared feeling at the back of mind that I one day I would be "found out".  Whether it was playing music, chairing meetings, leading Bible studies or whatever, I always had this feeling that somebody would notice I wasn't meant to be doing it! So with the cross dressing I was really insecure.   It was only when I stopped cross dressing and started to transition that I began to find fuller confidence in everything else I did as well.   I still get nervous before I perform, but I no longer worry that I will be "found out", and thrown off the stage as they send for a real musician.

Maybe we should all ask ourselves why we are trying to hide?, what actually would happen if we were more public? would the sky fall in? would we lose our jobs? would we lose our family?
Once I started to be honest about this one thing in my life I stopped fearing everything else, and guess what, I am a much better me, and everybody seems to recognise that.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Boot Camp

I have a problem with boots.

I like a nice pair of boots as much as the next girl, well possibly a bit more. A quick count tells me that as well as 28 pairs of shoes I now have fourteen pairs of boots!   There are the lovely black leather boots with the three and a half inch stiletto to the Bike Boots and the other pairs that I can actually walk in.   I have a nice pair of black patent knee high flats that I think I may have only worn once, three pairs of knee boots with mid heels that I more or less live in all winter, apart from when I am wearing my over the knee flats.

There are also a couple of pairs of classy ankle boots, both mid heel, one pair black and one pair brown; a pair of walking boots; a pair of Converse leather "Paddock Boots" and a couple of pairs of wellies.   All of these are good (apart from one favorite pair of black "slouch boots" which are on their way out as the soles are starting to lose their patience with the uppers and are considering separation), with the change in weather I shan't be wearing them as much and I think I should get another few seasons out of most of them.  No, my problem is with the more important boots, the ones I wear almost every day.

By the nature of my work I spend most of my working life wearing work boots, not very elegant, but comfortable and practical ~ after all a fork or chainsaw through the foot would do nothing for my image.   Generally I go for the type with a steel plate in the sole as well as the steel toecap, to get protection from both above and below, on some of my more sloping gardens a bit of ankle support is welcome as well!

Again, I have a couple of pairs, only this week both seem to have pretty much given up the ghost, and now I have to go and find some new ones ~ this is the one form of shoe shopping that I don't find fun, on the whole I prefer Russell and Bromley to Screwfix but needs must.   I always wear out the leather on the toe of my left boot because of the way I kneel when weeding, but this week, half the heel feel of one boot, and the sole split on one of the other pair. Now I have no choice, new boots needed.

Sunday, 4 June 2017


I had a post prepared to publish today, a nice cheerful slightly jokey post, the type I like, but somehow after last night it just doesn't seem appropriate anymore.

Last night I was on a Daughter Date, the only type, but also definitely the best type, of date I get these days.   We had a pizza and then went see Wonder Woman, we both enjoyed the film, despite some slightly dodgy accents and some serious racial stereotyping it was a fun film, with some serious underlying points on equality, the nature of good and evil, and individual responsibility.   All this along with some "Kick Ass" moves, great special effects, and more than enough eye candy to satisfy everybody.

Then after getting home I switched on the telly while I had a quick night cap to be confronted by the awful news London.

Once again I was confronted by the nature of good and evil, man's inhumanity to man, and even some racial stereotyping.   Only this time it was not part of a knock about fantasy, this was real, a few men so corrupted in their believes that they felt obliged to go out to kill and maim others, others whom they had no previous contact or knowledge of.

I cannot begin to understand what makes a man hate so much that they will undertake this sort of action, what drives people to declare war on whole civilisations, but to effect that war on individual civilians.   What I do understand is that this is a war that cannot be won with violence and counter terror activities alone.   I do not know how an ideology can be defeated,  but I do know that as a Christian I have to start, and end with forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not to say the offence did not happen, it is not to say that the offence did not matter, and it is certainly not to say that the offence did not hurt and it is not to deny that the offense deserves punishment.  Forgiveness is to acknowledge the hurt and the pain, it is to recognise the offence, but to not hate the offender, indeed as Christians we are to show our enemies love.   At times like this it can be really hard, it would be so much easier to be like Wonder Woman and go out and kick some ass, but that is not Christ's way, we must show love to the offender as well as the victim ~ after all Christ defeated death and sin through love, not with a sword, but on a cross.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

I couldn't resist

In case any of you in the further flung corners of the Globe (corners of the Globe! now there's a strange expression) haven't realised here in the UK we are in now in the final stages of a general election.   In theory we are a representative democracy with a Constitutional Monarch.   In theory we are electing a Member of Parliament who will represent our views in Parliament, in practise we are electing a Government and a Prime Minister.   I am quite sure that any one who knows me, or indeed anyone who visits Paula's Place will have a pretty good idea of my political views.   There are plenty of places where you can go to get political views and commentaries so I will not join in here, I will not tell you who to vote for, I will simply encourage you to vote.

Recent polls have shown that if the 18 - 30 year olds vote then we could have a very different result, so whether you are voting on
  • How you will pay for your parents care,
  • What sort of a state pension you will enjoy,
  • What sort of treatment you will be able to get in what sort of hospital,
  • What sort of education your children will get, or how university education is funded
  • Whether you want to be protected by the Police or avoid being arrested by them, or simply
  • Who is consistent, and honest enough (and likely to actually turn up) to lead a Government that has to negotiate a deal with the E.U.
What ever issues light you up, please, please please use your vote.   People died to give us the privilege to vote.   Even though we rejected what may have been a farer system, we do have the right to vote, at our last referendum we voted for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament and therefore us the people, the subjects of the UK, make use of that hard won sovereignty and vote.   We don't have to look far away, or far back into the past to see what happens when we leave it up to others.

Sorry, I tried to avoid politics, but I simply couldn't resist any longer!

Cartoon from 9 Chickweed Lane by my favourite cartoonist  Brooke McEldowney

Thursday, 1 June 2017

So They Say

I've heard a lot recently about people denying the existence of Gender Non Binary ~ I have not seen any of these attacks myself but I can understand just how hurtful they might be for those who identify as non binary.   It is only recently that we have started to understand gender as a concept separate to physical sex, indeed when I was at school the two terms were considered to be interchangeable, so it should hardly be surprising that some people refuse to change their minds.

The very concept of Transgender is appalling to some people, so the idea of gender being a spectrum rather than a simple binary is just going to blow their minds.   I suspect that most of us accept the principle but struggle with the true understanding of how that feels, of course we do, how can any of us truly understand what we have not ourselves experienced.   I have some young friends who identify as non binary, or are moving towards that self understanding.   It has no real impact on any one except themselves, so why do some media types feel the need to express dissent?  Probably just to further their own career by exposing another minority to their bile, a minority that does not have legal or political support is an all too easy target for those who like to be seen as contentious.

Rather than simply give their views credence just because they are published, rather than get into pointless on line arguments that only serve to promote the hated view, maybe, just maybe, we should examine just who "these people" are, and what motivates their views.

Cartoons from 9 Chickweed Lane by Brook McEldowney