Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Left country peace for the Hell that is Edinburgh these days (these years the work is so slow). Every where you try to go the roads are dug up and the traffic is jammed and chaotic because someone thinks a tram ( = ONE ) service would make the city look contemporary, People visit because it has age! New calm me more amused than annoyed.
We were there for the preview of the summer show at the National Gallery “ The discovery of Spain “. Julie had been slightly involved from her museum so had an invite to the meal after she got me added to the invite as hanger on!
A real mix of people from Spanish Ambassador, monied sponsors lenders and gallery folk from round the country to hangers on like me. At the preview I met a few not seen for some years and others never seen before but best of all was a performance of contemporary Flamenco dancing with guitar accompanist. The dancer was stunning raw passion expressed using every muscle in her body with grace, fluidity and precision you would be hard to find in any other activity. All this and beauty too in a costume designed to enhance every movement. Wish I could say that I was as impressed with the audience who obviously not involved enough to know the difference between a momentary pause and an end so desperate were they to clap! My niece visited the biennial of Flamenco in Seville last year and came back ecstatic wondering if we could manage to visit next September (2010).
Before we set off from home I had suggested we try and meet up with some old friends which we rarely seem to come across these days. I need no have worried the fates had intervened and while Julie was enjoying her high powered group on another table, even managing to practically organise and confirm a personal exhibition project for her retirement at the National Library in a couple of years time, no slouch her, I was placed between the two people I had wanted to see! One especially, Jo was very close in the period after I had been abandoned and needed a good close friend. We spent many long nights talking to the early hours in her bedsit in a fabulous decayed jute baron's old mansion house now long demolished. She taught me to drink ouzo and we dreamed dreams together there or on long walks on deserted beaches. As I was getting over the shock of my old life vanishing she was offered her then dream job in another city a considerable distance away, the timing could not have been worse for me just when I thought we could have more than a sisterly relationship she was gone. We had managed to remain closer than I am with others even through our separation and her subsequent marriage.
We did our duty and chatted with those around us including the spanish civil servant from the culture ministry in Madrid who first go the funding request and remembered two months of his student days in Edinburgh pubs one winter! Pay back! Chat with Jo ranged far and wide, now, future and past. Reminiscing on the past and memories recently revisited they were obviously not thought about for years either. Numerous episodes just had an eye widening effect as it dawned that we could so easily have had a completely history. Our lives can so easily turn on saying or not saying something at the right moment.
If we had not both found lasting happiness there would have been some real regret at this near miss but I do sometimes what might have been…
The corporate establishment types were happy in their drab suits, little evidence of exquisite tailoring, some of the hangers on looked somewhat uncomfortable having to wear their cheap suits but I was very comfortable as the only pale suited, Chanel drenched, totally ambiguous creature which I have become. Most of the people who knew me have seen some evolution I my appearance for some years now and I seem to be totally accepted. This part of the experiment will end soon since when julie retires these smarter invites which julie enjoys, will cease.
Sadly the weather today when the Spanish fair by the Gallery was to start is atrocious like a monsoon, streets running with water. No trouble keeping the reservoirs topped up this “summer”. We visited a few other exhibitions in the city then headed home via friends.
Conclusion, if you want to go out pick a large city, nobody will notice!
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Someone was blogging about clothes recently, mainly about how white is doomed to be instantly covered with the first thing you try to eat. It stirred up the grey cells on a subject which I do not have to think about too much but affects me greatly in some ways.
On my recent holiday my intention was to wear as little as possible if anything at all, if you read the start of my Livejournal blog you will understand. I knew that we would not get to my favourite place so much this year. Julie does not like the summer heat on the beach or the longish walk to and from it so I got up at seven when the car would be available and wandered the shore line and swam for a couple of hours before most others had really got started for the day. One unexpected change was body density, as muscle turns to redistributed fat there seems to be a slight reduction in density and you float more like a cork. I was able to lie back close my eyes and float away. Less chance of drowning as nearly happened a few years ago so can’t be bad.
Before we left home I was reminded to pack my kaftan which I had bought for this trip, I don’t get to spend much on new clothing, often depend on Julie’s cast offs, Family beach visits are often when it is a bit too hot and some protection is wise for our northern skin. We had no sooner arrived in France when Julie waltzes out wearing said kaftan to great approval of the gathered crowd. This was a superb test of my new inner calmness, something new and something of a positive statement stolen from me,just a simple sack of cloth but it would have made a strong statement for me especially with a belted waist. Oh well. The tee shirt seen in my photo and a pair of light weight calico trousers to be a bit dressy was the limit of this seasons purchases. Normally I would not want white when traveling for the reason mentioned above but these were so light and comfortable. What I had completely filed to consider was how sheer they were and I had only packed a few pairs of black knickers, my sister in law did not seem in the least surprised at my request for the loan of some of her whites!
Half a life time ago I got a proposal to get married, we had been together for a couple of years but in her professional life at that time invitations did not include unmarried partners ( dark ages ). She did not tell me that this was a principle reason on her mind, she knew I disapproved of the concept but the tax breaks at the time would more than pay for my living costs! They have all been withdrawn now by a stupid government. Julie’s plan did not work out quite as she had hoped. I had not up till that time had to explain my extreme discomfort presenting in an overtly masculine mode. Unfortunately this is exactly the role which she had hoped for since in her eyes I had the figure for it if not the expected look.
Over the years I have suffered remorse for having denied her the chance to go to some really fancy events but in recent years have relented occasionally ignoring black tie demands and arriving in androgynous mode, unstructured cream suit, wild shirt without collar, feminine sandals, flowing hair and painted nails. It is the nearest I can get to her dream date and this week she has what may be the last invitation before retirement to a National Galleries event with special lenders meal after the official exhibition opening. My nails are their worst for years after heaving luggage about without considering my decrease in strength and ripping several down to the quick.
This could be an interesting evening out in Edinburgh where we don’t get to visit much these days. Perhaps I should mention it in a future blog.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
Finally found a way of answering the sign in questions for " Pink Essence " at Lisa's insistence and finally got in. I know quite a few of you are already there, perhaps you would like to click an invite when you are visiting, it is a bit lonely at the moment. Here is my new photo to help you find me. Normal blogs shall continue very soon.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Snails came up on Dru’s blog and I said I would post something about them with a few photos so here goes.
Snails are Hermaphrodites so presumably have no gender issues! They are very hungry creatures and will happily eat anything you are trying to grow in vast quantities. One way to get revenge is to capture them for a while in a cage and give them a false sense of security by feeding them on herbs for a bit of flavour! When you have enough you call you friends to set a date for a party, in the south it is called a “cargolade”. At this point you had better stop the feeding so that they can do what snails do to clean themselves out.
We are lucky, we know people who do this in early summer so it was ready when we arrived.
First make medium sizes fire, this is after all a BBQ! In the past the next stage was really easy, set children to put snails on grid, critters have grown and do not wast to be with adults when there is a beach 12 minutes away so now we have to do that part ourselves. I figure if you are going to eat something oyu should be prepared to get you hands dirty and treat whatever with respect so while friends are starting on the wine set to.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
I JUST HAD TO COPY THIS POST LINK TO SITE IS AT BOTTOM OF PAGE
In November 2008, 15 year old Takeshi Shimozato, won the 60th All-Japan inter-middle school English Oratorical Contest.
The prize-winning speech was about Takeshi's GID.
The prize presenter was Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado.
(The original story and speech appeared on "The Daily Yomiuri" of Japan, but links to both are now broken.)
Here is Takeshi's speech, as originally published by "The Daily Yomiuri".
I am Takeshi
Haebaru Nansei Middle School
You are probably about to check the speech contest list to see if there has been a mistake. Don’t bother. It’s correct. I am Takeshi, and I am a boy, but my mind and my heart tell me different. I have a condition called “Gender Identity Disorder”.
Since I was born, I grew up playing with my cousins and friends that were all girls. I had a wonderful childhood and felt happy and loved by all those around me. However, when I became a fourth grader, all that began to change. I couldn’t understand why I was being asked to wear a boy’s P.E. uniform and why I was being forced to change clothes in the boy’s bathroom. Even some of my closest friends started saying bad things to me. What really hurt most was having to walk home by myself and hearing students behind me call me names. Why is everyone treating me like this? I cried to myself. I began to hate anything about school that separated boys from girls.
One day at school, I saw a girl playing the piano. She was surrounded by other students and they all looked so happy. I wanted to be able to smile like her. More importantly, I wanted others to smile at me. That made me wants to learn how to play the piano. I started taking piano lessons and from the start I was able to play with both hands.
One day I asked my mom to buy me a piano. She told me that if I could learn an entire song in three days, she would buy me a piano. The song was four pages long, but I was so determined to make friends, that I was able to do it. She bought me a piano and my life improves every time I play it. All I could think about was playing the piano. I began to play at contests and won many prizes. Many people began saying good things about me.
One day, I sat down at the piano at school. Students were looking and pointing at me and began to say bad things. I touched the keys and suddenly every one froze. I was so nervous that I could only look at the piano. When the last chord was played, I looked up and there were many students standing next to the piano. A few were even smiling. Their smiles made me feel so good. After that, all I wanted to do was play the piano.
I still have my condition, but playing the piano helps me to deal with it. I feel that playing the piano helps others to understand my condition as well. I donft want to hide who I am. More importantly, I want others to understand who I am. That’s why last year I wore the most beautiful dress while playing at the Ryukyu Music Contest. It was the biggest contest I had ever entered. Thousands of politicians, pianists, adults, and children were there. Some of their mouths dropped, and others rubbed their eyes. After I finished playing the piano, they stood and clapped. More importantly, they smiled at me.
Music has helped me find happiness, make friends, and even become the Ryukyu Music Contest Champion. My dream is to use my music to help others. I want people, who are constantly worrying about what other people say and do, to search for their dream. My mother has always told me that I am the only person that can live my life. She said I have to be myself. I am myself, I am Takeshi.
(1st Prize in the 60th Contest, 2008)
Sunday, 5 July 2009
Just gave Anji a wave on way south, thought I should find camera for picture of French coast but it is more about ice on the window! The clouds often seem to start about here while Anji is in sunshine.