Saturday, 16 May 2009


Week passed in a flash, probably because I have been so busy which is strange for someone who has spent several decades in quiet seclusion.

Yesterday was to be interesting because we were to get a visit from Julie’s school friend and husband not seen since 1974 when she stayed with them when writing a dissertation on some of the collection at their local museum. They had never met me before so I made an effort and took off the black chipped nail varnish only to be told to put on something interesting! Bright orange was suggested but in the end something which picked up one of the colours in my velour top seemed a more subtle choice so lilac / purple it was.

Lunch was to be cold and ready to maximise chat time but first part had to be cooked, shame that we had our gas cut off with no warning! All the pots and pans were carried to a neighbour’s house where Julie was able to cook all the stuff she had prepared. The road behind the house had been being dug up all week and there was no record that we received our supply from that pipe. In fairly gorgeous to impress visitors mode (matter of opinion ) I went out to confront the team of five burly workmen. Had to go through the routine of “not possible to finally OH ****!”. With full macho bluster they attempted to find the supply pipe and told me how they would have have to devastate my garden so that they would be able to get home for the weekend. When I kept pointing out, with beautiful long delicate purple tipped finger an impossible to them route to find the pipe they told me in a frank way how “silly” I was and they would dig a hole to prove me wrong.

Much embarrassment on their part when the pipe was exactly where I said it would be but from that moment we joined forces to solve the problem so as to cause minimum disturbance then left them to get on with it so that I could meet our guests. They were a great couple, you would not have known that it was so long since Carol and Julie had been together. As usual the Partner, husband in this case , has to be entertained by me. This one was totally unfazed and we got on well, A retired university lecturer on telecommunications with an even worse mobile phone than me!

Halfway through lunch a huge industrial drill rattled a hole through the wall from the dining room where we were still eating, this is where having a laid-back bohemian lifestyle comes in handy, everyone is being greatly amused by the whole performance and the guys are enjoying working in a garden after a week in the road. They take for ever so we leave them to it and go off to see my exhibition which is about 24 miles away, tell them my neighbour will close up the house when they finish. Could grow something in the soil they trailed through the house and failed to clean up, I did tell them not to worry too much but to concentrate on getting some gas back in the pipe but…

The show is getting quite a few visitors, a great arts spread in the local press for the middle weekend came to nothing when a local once world leader company closed and the story took over the whole paper. I had very little hope or expectation for sales in the present gloomy economic climate so was more than delighted to find quite a lot of red spots about the room and still a few who had shown strong interest who on past experience may still come back. Julie now thinks she is going to spend her retirement making us some money by being my manager / agent, not too sure about this.

Movies for the first time in an age. I wanted to continue to go where no *** had been before, first saw Startrek in '67 when in Canada, why stop now? Somehow flung back to '76 with "Frost, Nixon" instead.

Mid week saw the theatre show start to come together. Some work was delivered at the small cost of an omelette for lunch, one helped for an afternoon making frames since he required some long narrow frames for multiple images. A couple of visits for collection were made which is just socialising. At the last visit I told Jackie about my previous pick up when Julie came along for a free lunch, these guys were together in a group of photographers who broke up nearly 20 years ago and have seen little of each other since, I said that at about the stage when we had all sat down Julie asked if they had noticed any change in me, much look of puzzlement and they decided that my face was a little fatter, Jackie starts to look nervous as she tries to think about changes, “ what about the lack of beard?”. So the beard which I hid behind for so long was invisible or they just saw straight through to the “me” beneath. These are all visual artists in different ways!

Not all good this week, there was the missed by inches encounter with a deer crossing from the woods, all I did was say “ hey look how graceful that deer moves”, talk about being relaxed these days.

That was a fun moment really but for a while I was back to a taste of gloom and despair moments after feeling joyous. There is only on warm place in this house and that is the bathroom in the mid to late mornings when the sun shines. Often I got here to read for a few hours of peace! I take a chair, don’t have to sit on the loo. Now that the body hair has changed to much finer it does not bother me so much and because of the hectic month just passed I had a fine covering and it was interesting to see how it grew. Julie wanted to go there and read while soaking her feet but did not say, when I go in I spent a lot of me time in the sunshine scraping and preening ending up feeling really great about myself. At this apogee of happiness with a voice of pure venom unheard in nearly thirty years I was told “ you still look like a bloke”, she had used one of the banned words which she knows I find so disgusting and hateful.

A day ruined while I flushed out the tear ducts in misery, she did not say anything I do not know, the ravages of nature and time are hard on the boy body and the changes are slow and subtle, felt more than seen. She has taken my changes in her stride and I know it is not easy, one reaction has been her attempt to be more feminine, one day when I woke very early and dressed in a long plain russet skirt and did things round the house for a few hours in peace and quiet until she woke. Seeing me she flounced off and returned in a “floral” skirt, she is hardly ever seen in any kind of skirt except at midsummer or a wedding.

Julie downstairs puzzling over "Drusilla".

We still have some way to go…


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Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

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