Tuesday, 14 April 2009

MY BLOG BEGAN ELSEWHERE BUT...

My first steps into blogworld were on Live journal which did not get the following which I have found here on blogger. The few comments have been retained. These are the earliest posts which were made on LJ.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin:-

21/12/08 your favourite place

When you are asked to take yourself to a favourite safe place, to relax yourself perhaps before impending pain perhaps, think electrolysis, where do you go?

At this gloomiest time of the year the eyes are closed and I go to 42 52' 47 44N 3 03' 02 63 E.

A bare stretch of sand backed by a few hundred yards of scrub, seven tenths of a mile of Mediterranean shore line, and usually almost deserted.

It is mid summer and I have floated on the gently undulating sea, hair hanging down like seaweed in the warm water, relaxing after walking a few lengths of the beach. Afterwards standing, eyes closed on the beach edge facing the warmth of the sun ever changing as it reflects off the waves. The merest waft of breeze plays over the skin sending a tingle up the spine. An irregular lapping of small waves mixes with occasional far off voices, a group of grannies meeting to organise their social calendar or children playing at the waters edge. Paradise. Two miles away noisy posing youth are yards apart but they are too body conscious and it will be a decade or more before they dare join the naturists!

So in this winter gloom I am on my favourite beach dreaming of oysters and a glass of dry white wine whilst searching for long forgotten memories and wondering where this journal may lead.

24th december 2008 christmas cheer from benedict, sure to be elevated to "patron saint of bigots".
Good will and peace to all men, ( but most probably not natural born women and the other kind , absolutely not, and not quite all men and especially those boy-to- girl ones, you are all condemned to hell so there ).


Transsexual behavior? After GRS how do you distinguish this from the general population??


A day later more news from the hell givers, a declaration: "Oops,sorry, that Galileo Galilie whom we have persecuted and cursed since 1634,just a mistake, really sorry.


You are probably ahead of me now and are looking forward to the year 2382 when they apologize and declare the error of their ways for contradicting the blindingly obvious evidence and begging forgiveness for the infinite pain and suffering they have caused in 374 years. By then they they will have long ago eclipsed their old friend Adolf.


Perhaps it is time this church thought about reintroducing the castrato on a compulsory basis. Without all that testosterone slushing through their veins they would be infinitely calmer and less likely to lash out at innocent minorities. The added bonus of bringing back fabulous singing voices.


In the past his ranting would have had me wishing really bad things in his life but " I forgive him for he knows not what he does!"

A T. free life is a blessed life and at last for me life seems worth living.

31st december 2008 a new year. new life

This is strange, to have a new year stretching out before me and for the first time ever looking forward to it with anticipation. With festivities almost over the winter depression should already be felt with four months of cold and gloom ahead for questioning the point of this existence. So what has gone wrong? The surgeon said that without T. in the system I was sure to plunge into a "deep clinical depression". I do not expect he realised that that was probably the sort of place I had been in all my life and now perhaps what I feel now is just normal. Is calm, contented, happy, relaxed and open to planning more than a few months into the future normal? I have never felt like this before, I should fell resentment towards the system and the doctors who have withheld the simple help required, but at the moment I am too happy to think about it. Better to look forward than to look back about this. My partner of countless years is somewhat surprised to have the gloom lifted from our lives and we have found ourselves having long discussions about us and our future. We have jumped out of the old predictable groove and have a better understanding of each other, most especially her of me. The lesson here is do not assume anything, you may think someone fully understands you but can completely miss the blindingly obvious. For over twenty years the short haired one in jeans has sailed off to work while The long haired nails painted one with colourful soft delicate clothes looked after the house work, garden, mother ... Who is the one who was proposed to? Despite an eternity of complete role reversal, just how much I felt born for my role had not fully dawned, she still saw sort of boy good for opening jam jars and other manly tasks. If only I had thought to ask, to check that we fully understood each other.
We were not too far apart on our understanding but she realises why I have been frustrated and morose at times. Now I have wider boundaries and can express myself more freely. Just because I did not try to hide I assumed she would see any changes and understand or ask questions. Well she has some answers to questions she wanted to ask and is happy with those answers and more positive about the future.
What a difference a few months makes.

4th january 2009 festivities over, balls away

Everybody seems to have been busy over the festive period. Hope that like me you had a good time catching up with old friends whilst enjoying yourselves, were restrained enough to not over indulge, so much easier to put on weight than loose it! I used my new feeling good about myself to good effect and lost a pound, mostly by sipping rather than glugging my wine. Still seem to have used a case of pink fizz and more with odd bottles of Cava abandoned as gifts. Found a bottle of Champagne from some generous soul so once again I have a prize for the first person who comes right out and asks " are you Trans? " It must be getting too easy, a few were fishing but being professionals in health care they have to be a bit careful what they say. One wanted to know what I used to shave ( four seconds once a week ), a GP asked where my outfit was purchased ( oops she has the same at home ) and the last one kept slipping in references to aquaintences who had a child who changed M to F and how gender was just a construct... She has been my favourite to win the prize for some time. I figure that I am me and as I slowly change, however far I change I do not really have to stand up and make a declaration, after all they don't.

Usually feel really low at this point in the year,I have never felt this good, hope it continues



7th january 2009 planting a roof in france

Just when I was thinking that there was very little planned to look forward to this year the phone rang and a request was made for a couple of weeks work gardening in the south of France in march. Almond blossom time, lunch on a sunny terrace, why not? May as well use the muscles before they fade away and I have never planted a roof before, should be interesting. Bought my ticket from Mr. Ryan, my bags cost more than me! this is mad but while they still fly... Called back to confirm that I would come and they tell me it is snowing, I'm in Scotland and hardly ever see snow. Still in two months it has to be better and I will have earned another two weeks in early summer, before the French realise the water is all right and come onto my beach. These tickets not so cheap, still no Council Tax next month. Starting to think of hairiness in the sunshine otherwise really feeling really up.


8th january 2009 walking to think
If only I had known that the world would accept women and photographers as important I would have tried harder to be both! Fay became a friend in 1980 when she chose some of my work to be shown in the gallery where she was exhibiting a project done in the east of Scotland. Since only two whose work was chosen came to meet the artist we had all afternoon to get to know each other and we kept in touch over the years. She often returned to work in Scotland and many years later came back to stay with me when she opened an exhibition of my work.

Today it was announced that 215 entries for the DNB had been made for deaths in 2005. Her name came up on the radio so I checked the list ( fast getting to love this net thing ), and there she was, there was another photographer but he was an Earl and would probably have got in anyway. Give her a search if you are interested in timeless landscapes, toward the end of her life she used her work to campaign against it's destruction, the British Library holds her archive.

This was a period of closed off memory. I have been scratching at early memory which was supposed to be the basis of my posts but life gets in the way, to try and get at the memories I decided to go for a walk which usually clears my head and lets my thoughts drift. My first choice was the beach but the sun which tempted me out had zero warmth and the wind was bitterly cold, for a moment I missed facial hair!, then headed inland to the shelter of wooded farmland. Even in the times which I have filed best forgotten there were people and events which were really great to be involved with. Unfortunately the "me" involved was the one who just two months ago requested "no resuscitation" as they prepared to cut me open, the one who cursed each morning which meant I had not had an easy passing away in the night.

How much different, how much better things could have been if I had felt that I had a future to live. It was like sleep walking in deep mud! I find it amazing that it was only two months ago and that I can feel so completely different now.

Curling up and trying to hibernate is not an option anyway,need to walk more to keep up the bone density, the warm flashes are quite handy in this weather shame they can not be made to order. Small prices to pay to feel this good.


mornin'
I just tripped over you somewhere...
Been reading you a bit we have some things in common I think I'll "friend" you if you don't mind?
"add pictures other than userpics"?
Go to photobucket.com where you may store a mega amount of pictures (which I can not wait to see)
and post them on thwe Internet from there(easy instructions there too)
And... it's free!

re: mornin'
Hi, you have proved to me that someone does occasionally find what I write. I am still a fairly old fashioned silver print photographer, currently missing the start of spring whilst in the dark making 12 x 16 inch prints for an exhibition. First for some years and it has used up all my shoe and hair removal money from my small savings, agreed to this before the world went even madder than usual. Delighted that you have friended me but you do realise that I am and always have been an atheist not to mention very shy hence a photo from 1971! I shall keep an eye on your writing, what I have read has been most interesting. I am sorry for your loss, I would never have contemplated bringing another being into this world because of how I was born with all the associated bigotry that goes with it and I knew i would never be able to provide enough to support a cat let alone a child. What I also feared was the pain of loss if that associated with less close friends and family when young. It is hard to imagine the suffering of such a senseless loss of someone so close. Thanks so much for your interest, lets see where it leads.

re: mornin'
Wow! How can you be who you are, been through what you've obviously already suffered, and still be afraid of pain?

re: mornin'
We could be on similar wavelength on this subject.

The fear of pain of dying no matter how short this may be stops us taking the path to an instant karma, instead we cause ourselves to suffer endless small pains, physical and emotional , which heaped together make that small pain of death seem totally insignificant.

Without the fear of terminal pain I would have been long gone but as time passes that fear is receding and the pain of living is increasing with age at some point the tipping point must be reached and the opportunity to choose your own moment of departure become easier to take.

Until last November this was a subject never far from my thoughts and could have written a book of plans usually involving the total disappearance of the body because of the horror of any funeral involving masculine pronouns. Since putting myself through the physical pain of removing my maleness I have entered another world where these thoughts have no place, there is strangely a slight sense of loss of such a constant in my life!

I have taught my self to endure physical pain, if you need to remove the facial hairy joke nature gave me you have to learn to savour each shock rather than flinch from it. Tears may flow freely but the end is worth it. Finally after fifty seven years of pain I feel contented, possibly human at last. I think my departure may now be somewhat delayed.

That is the easy physical pain, emotional pain is infinitely harder to bear.

re: mornin'
Me on pain... in case you wondered.

11/1/09 guilty feeling happy

So many seem to be down or unwell after the new year I feel a bit guilty that I am not joining them for the first time ever.

When parents look at their young kids what do they think is going on in their minds, I doubt the parents have a clue.I was born in a city famous for being so heavily bombed during the second world war that even ten years later the place was in ruins and some of my earliest memories are of being taken amongst them and thinking "why did they bring me into this world?". We lived well out of the centre, two families crowded in with my grandfather,for two years I was the only child and everyone made me feel special. How special they would never know!

I started my research early, there was a lot to try and make sense of but for the first three years before we moved there were lots of people around to observe. They were strange times, women outnumbered men because of war deaths and even though women had great problems renting houses without male sponsorship and could not get loans without male guarantors there were many all female households. They were not all happy, I knew some had lost people in the war and were doing the best they could but there were some who were the happiest homes I ever came across and would have loved to have joined but it seemed that was not how it worked. I was quite resigned to wait at this time because it seemed obvious that huge changes had to take place to change something my size to an adult and I assumed I would one day become a woman like the creatures which I had a strange yearning to be with.

Soon my world was shattered with the arrival of my cousin and just after we moved to the edge of the countryside, my eldest sister. They seemed to have a head start on me, ready made physical differences and already the were getting the nice clothes. I became a quiet child and tried to rethink the problem but no longer had much in the way of reference material to work with stuck in my garden all day with the TV, rare in the 50's Britain, my only window on the world. One day, and in a chilling way it has been one of the few memories which has never been hidden, I had a horrible realisation that it was all going very wrong! I have always known the exact spot where it happened and what instigated it but after long meditations on past memory over the holidays forgotten details appeared. It will sound really stupid but an advertisement for soap on the new independent TV station (for Camay soap with actress Katie Boyle!). Whilst left alone I reacted in an unguarded way. I wanted that soap in a very unmale way which I usually managed to keep hidden but at that moment as I hid to calm down I knew that I had to lock down my emotions because it was now obvious that everyone thought I was a BOY with everything that entails. With the way I felt and especially with my feelings towards women I kept those feelings hidden as if my life depended on it and thought I would die and nobody would ever really know. I thought I would die really young and if you have ever been mistaken for female by a brutish alpha male in front of his pals only for him to realise the mistake,and that only murder or some thing close will erase it,then you will know what I mean.

For some years I have been letting my real emotions surface, long sealed tear ducts flow at the movies. Well that was what I thought but with a new hormone balance I was in for a surprise. Perhaps it was because the film which I recorded, " The Worlds Fastest Indian", was about someone who succeeded after a lifetime of dreams but I have just experienced a completely new level of emotion and a flow rate off the scale. Of course the feedback of realising the level of emotion just made it stronger. WOW!!!

So I have spent nearly half a century in a state of emotional numbness, never allowing much expression, playing a part to survive. What a waste.

Must remember to take more tissues to movies in future.


19th january 2009 birthdays and parties
Birthdays and parties have taken up much of this last weekend, a civilized way to keep up with friends and at one an excellent way to obtain six months supply of Parmesan cheeze from a consortium and open a few bottles of wine on a miserable winters day. It was not always something to look forward to. My first invite to a birthday party outside of the family was just four days after my own fifth birthday, I had no say in the matter and was just abandoned to my fate.

The signs were not good since I had only been to school for a few weeks, a late arrival because of an accident at the end of the summer. My mother in a panic that I would be way behind by the time I got there decided to teach me to read write and do sums. My gold star on the first day did not go down well with the rest of the class who were still drawing with coloured crayons! They instantly made up their minds about me, boys shunned me thank goodness but so did the girls, so started six years of being alone in this crowded stinking place. Years of solitary throwing balls at walls made me the strongest and best thrower and catcher but I was always last to be chosen for teams. Kids are quick to spot someone who does not fit, adults seem almost blind.

The party was for a boy born in the same hospital at the same time and our mothers were friends and so were we just one to one and had been for our occasional meetings for five years but nothing could have prepared me for the horror of a house full of boys going wild. I do not know what I said when I was finally rescued from that hell but I never went to another party again. If I needed anything to confirm my belief that I should be a girl I had just had it.

I had been a prize winning baby!, with a large cuddly bear and large silver cup to prove it. Life obviously went downhill from that time. The school which I had been convinced was where I would learn everything I wanted to know about the world was just a torture. If I found something interesting I would sneak the books home and do a terms work at home over the weekend then have nothing to do for months! You could only get a new reading book if you had written a review after reading the last one, not so good if it was something you hated for it’s lack of logic, they decided I “could not read well enough”. My mother took me to the public library and I discovered Jules Verne and H. G. Wells and I left this world behind.

At home there had been few books so I had been reduced to a history of the first world war, a children’s encyclopedia and a bible. The bible seemed quite imposing so I gave it a try and got quite interested. There were lots of long haired characters which gave me some hope even though they often seemed to meet a really bad and early end. Obviously I had to be a christ figure, long dress and long hair, a role model at last! It did not take me too long to decide that I did not find much in the bible to agree with so decided that there could be no god and that my existence was enough proof of this, it would be years before I found out that I was an "atheist" and not the only one, even though I still thought I must be the only girl/boy in the world.

When things got tough I had my hide out in a large built in closet where my mothers long dresses lived and just a few of my fathers things at the far end. Amongst the silk, satin and fur I was in heaven and could dream away hours with my feet in the strange shoes which seemed to be shrinking quite fast.

If there is anybody out there who knows just exactly what girls with big feet do,( they can’t only be German with deep pockets), drop me a note.

23/1/9 face from the past?

think someone must have found a facebook button on a shiny christmas present and got curious, any way their last post was "find me on facebook". With a toe nail just removed I needed some distraction so I went to investigate. Not having close friends who do this sort of thing you really find out how instinctive they have made these sites. NOT.
Click on the link and WHAM the Fascist question appears but this time it is really really stupid. WHICH GENDER? What exactly do they want to know, the deepest inner gender identity irrespective of urinary apparatus or are they meaning which arbitrary sex were you nominated at berth based on a quick look at the urinary apparatus? Of course you have two choices, this is like asking what is your favourite colour in the spectrum?, but only giving you the choice between green and orange!!
Next question quite the opposite, relationship? You are offered almost anything you can imagine stopping just short of what excites you most!
Before you get this far you HAVE read the terms? Precis: What is ours is ours so watch it mate, what is yours is mostly ours and we will watch your every move and collect other data about you based on our searches but do not be afraid we ban all other search engines so that's ok. They do promise to wipe everything if you leave so I cross fingers and go in using the false ( given name ) identity which I have lived with for my whole life, they are happy with complete falsehood and I am in.
Now they want to know everyone in my address book! I don't think so!! Then a list of questions the Gestapo would have been proud of, skip these too, just go and look around and see just what it does.
I am confused, not everyone can be living with a false image of their selves but so many on facebook seem to not have faces.
( This has been misunderstood so to clarify: I live quit openly in the real world and am obviously not following a conventional gender role but exist in what used to be a unisex lifestyle, rarely dress in anything masculine but these days usually get the "sir" treatment! People have to make up their own minds and if I make them think a bit great, what I do not do is wear a badge with the answer, I even loathe carrying labels on clothes. My appearance is changing and if the "madaming" ever becomes regular I shall probably become publicly open about my true status. Facebook requests real names and photograph to match and I have a real dilemma. At the moment I could only present me as I am and not the me I hope to be in the near future so do not feel that I could post an image just now. And irony of irony, having spent much of my life as a photographer self loathing has left me with hardly any photographs. )
There is one place I have never gone in my memories, my old school, and I mean old it was founded in 1500's and in my day was for young gentlemen only, what fun!! Anyway there is a school search and there it is. I pick a year just before my time partially because I have forgotten when I started. I nearly fell off my seat when the first image to appear was of a good looking "woman", someone who I must have seen regularly for years, I know the years did not mix much but how did we miss each other? One of the earliest lessons in biology was to get the reproduction question out of the way. It is one of those unforgettable moments where it was made clear that there were two options and only two options, you were M or F and they fitted together like so, and sticky fluid, and eggs equals baby but only if married,( remember the swinging 60's did not start until mid 60's), so there you are now lets get on...
For eight years already I have known that I was not the male that I had been tagged and now when they could have mentioned the possibility of slight errors in the system, they leave me thinking I must be the only one like this. So a that moment I realise that I am on my own with no place waiting for me in the great scheme of things.Just how had they managed to miss all the happy lesbian couples I had found out of this lecture?
So there you have it, boy/girl who likes girls, and they already have lots of girls to choose from, sees little chance of being chosen and see no future in life, decide to keep head down and be invisible. The only good news is that conscription to National Service has stopped and I no longer need to plan how to avoid it.
At last I got to my year group and about 3% were signed up to facebook, are we an untrusting age group or just put off by the clumsiness of it all? But amazingly hidden behind a false face! is the one name I had hoped to find, a science genius whose name I had expected to have found somewhere long ago. What do you say? Are you, you must be etc. Return message was pretty fast, university teaching obviously does not take up all your time. A happy jolly potted CV and history what about me?? was the gist of reply. Truth seemed the best option, we are separated by 30 years and 400 miles and he did paint his nails back then, for guitar,and I could not because I wanted colour! I waited quite a lot longer for the next reply, the silence was deafening, at the very least he could have said humm I thought , or well I never would have guessed. perhaps he fell in a dead feint and is in hospital with shock and has no access to his computer,or.... When it came it was almost as if we had only been apart a short while.
It obviously works after a fashion but I am not sure about it but

I shall finally click on Suzy and see what happens for she led me here.



pastedGraphic.pdf
On 23rd January 2009 07:56 (local), pastedGraphic_1.pdfcmmathieson (195.137.56.135) commented:
I'm on facebook (caroline mathieson) if you feel like adding me as a friend.
Reply · Thread · Delete · Screen · Freeze · Track This · Select:
pastedGraphic_2.pdf
On 23rd January 2009 16:44 (local), pastedGraphic_3.pdfcarolinetoo (81.132.168.204) replied:
facebook?
Still not to sure about facebook. Obviously yes if I decide it is a good idea. Without a group there does not seem to be much point. I donot know anyone who I can have a face to face talk about it, can you give me a few quick thoughts on the subject? Was it the Touch present which started this?
My old friend eventually got back, no mention of my interesting news. He was always ideally suited to be a mad professor but is obviously so involved with his work never chased titles. At school in the 60's he was planning to try and get a computer to write poetry and that was exactly what he set about doing as soon as he got to Cambridge, he has not yet disclosed the result to me, I keep asking. He seems to have not changed much in nearly 40 years!

On 23rd January 2009 18:10 (local), cmmathieson (195.137.56.135) replied:
re: facebook?
Not sure what to say except to point out that the picture you have on your LJ profile is presumably not you, yet you complain that people on facebook have fake pictures. Needless to say the picture on my LJ and Facebook are both the real me even though they look very different, camera angles and all that. I don't believe in hiding what I actually look like.
I find facebook and many other sites a bit superficial but there ARE people with depth to them on there.
Facebook makes it easy to find people via your email address books and via the schools you list etc. It also helps you find friends through the friends of others so if you friend one person who you knew before then its likely that they will already have friended another person you know.
I am also on LInkedIn but thst's for professional purposes.
Reply · Parent · Thread · Delete · Screen · Freeze · Track This · Select:
pastedGraphic_5.pdf
On 26th January 2009 01:09 (local), pastedGraphic_6.pdfcarolinetoo (81.132.168.204) replied:
re: facebook?
I see from the post time that it was the middle of the night, the post has been edited and I hope has a bit more clarity. I have had some time for thought about facebook and spoken to the only two people whom I have found who have used it, one uses it for a specific JAVA group and the other joined to keep in touch with far flung family but cannot friend the daughter, they got blocked! Obviously viewed as a venn diagram your circles of friends may occasionally overlap but it would be a rare individual who wants everyone to know of all their other friends. For interest I spent an age looking for any group with transitional interest, not that anyone would join just for this. I got the start of rsi but found nothing. At the moment for the reasons here and in the edited post I do not think facebook is for me at the present time. While I am very glad that you are a friend here I hope that you are not disappointed that I will not appear on your growing list on facebook at this time.

27/1/9


From eleven life was not as lonely as the previous years, as if pulled together by gravity a small group of quiet non sporty kids who, all but one liked science, was formed. We never studied together, this was the 60’s, just passing exams was our aim most of the time and we only did well at what came naturally. I originated a cycling group for sports afternoons, well really a sunbathing in summer and find warmth in the winter group, the members were the same as the first group! If anyone tried to join with a proper bike it was my job to run their legs off so that they would either accept our sporting philosophy or leave. Since I lived on my bike clicking up thousands of miles each year slipstreaming trucks and busses fearless of the possible consequences since a quick end was quite acceptable. My idea was too good and “my” sport was officially adopted, I refused to have anything to do with it and along with the friend I have just found again became the first ever to do “physics” as an official sport! We were in heaven the labs were ours to play with as we wished, no limits. We had never been chosen for teams in this school.

Across a public park and small river was the girl’s equivalent to our school, there were staggered finishing times so they had a half hour start to escape, we never saw them close up. What a difference between the two places, I would take my lunch to a park bench and fantasise of what if... None in the group ever had any interest in chasing females until they left school, perhaps like me they had been told by parents not to be distracted from school work with girls. This eventually changed to concern that I never brought any girls home or even seemed to know any, eventually in a panic my mother asked if I was “gay.” This is before it was called being gay or even close to being legal! At last a long ago overheard discussion with her sisters made sense, this was the “strange” thy spoke of about me. My negative reply was enough for her and the conversation never got onto the real subject, she only had the one fear and now she was relieved.

The school had strict rules on dress, “a suit” as befits a young gentleman! and appearance but this was now the age of the “Beatles” and they started to grow their hair and we started to follow this fashion which became a long drawn out battle against the rules. To hell with fashion this was just what I had been praying for my whole life, there was hope that I was going to be able to find a way of living a life outside the old rigid rules of society. Soon after the fashions also loosened up. Velvet flared trousers and bright silky shirts suddenly became quite acceptable, unisex styles let the genders meet halfway, I was saved! Younger readers could never believe how poor school age teenagers were at this time and until we left for university or work would only have a taste of this new freedom. Weekends were spent working in a department store, not condusive to a great social life but I never again had to wait for handouts and not many can say that their first job was driving Santa’s sleigh ride! Santa’s helpers were Bunny Girls in pink velour and he was a groper they to enjoy it! I only learned years later that the store manager had asked my mother if he could “offer” me a job as his personal assistant, she said no.....

My life had been fairly comfortable compared to most at the time but the moment that the chance came to escape to university and away from constant nagging about long hair and having a perpetual smell of smoke on everything, (that is why I lived on the bike), I left and never looked back. At this time students received a grant payment towards living costs based on parents income, the grant was small and my parents contributed almost nothing.

Comfort to poverty in one step but I was free at last to express myself, the little left over from my summer job was spent on an instant makeover with as much red as I could find. If I was ever to overcome the worry and fear that people would be looking at me why not make it impossible to be missed. The hair was soon over my shoulders which helped keep the earrings discrete as I told myself, now the thug and their children wear earrings as a mater of course but at the time they offered me grevous bodily harm so I stopped! Perhaps I had not fully considered the full effect my transformation would have on my attractiveness. Still could not get near a girl but if I had a hundred pounds for every offer of sex from males I would be long retired to a villa by the Med. If that had been of any interest to me life would have been so much simpler. They are often very good company but I have never had any interest that way but it Still happens!!

By the wonders of technology I have found the kiss scene, I got the gist of it right. If only I could figure out the embed thing.

Utube :Annie Hall- Gimme a Kiss- Woody Allen
posted by qrosity


2/2/9

Woke to the sound of the wind literally howling through the sealing strips round the front door and then the inner door! East wind is no common here so have never found all the draughts in this old house. Today the wind is from Russia with snow showers so I found my new floral handled screwdriver, looks good with purple nails, both birthday presents from women friends and set to fixing even more extensive sealing strips. The howling has stopped but not the snow showers. In this part of the world if we get an inch of snow everything will just STOP. Not sure that I can wear shoes yet, big toe still delicate after nail removal, luckily I only wear sandals except in emergencies like snow. Just as well really because it is easier to find a sandal to fit a big foot than a shoe, think of us when you are buying bargain small sizes in a sale, some of us are lucky to find anything reasonable to fit at all let alone match any clothes we own. Enough moaning, a silent scream and I can get on with my version of life.

Yesterday I went to set a tv recording when up came the least liked James Bond film, You Only Live Twice and I just had to watch it. Not because I had not seen it since it came out in 1969 and needed to see if it was as bad as people said, my sole reason was Diana Rigg. Strict parents ensured that there were no posters on my walls but if they had been allowed there would have been one of Diana, I both lusted after her in a very “sisterly” way and she was my role model. Her role in the Avengers was what first caught my attention and changed my car dreams from 1930;s Bentley like the one I used to go and watch motor racing in with my father and his best pal, now I wanted a Lotus Elan, so nimble and elegant! When I met her forty years later I was asked if I had mentioned the pinup wish but I would have felt so stupid and been one among tens of thousands but I so wished that I had mentioned the role model, that would have been much more interesting and a much smaller group. She still looked fabulous.

Last post was a bit depressing. Still figuring out the workings of the site and caught sight of the writer’s block section and it was a subject which interested me, I did not think it would go as a personal post but would go to a writer’s block page, live and learn! Really needed ten times more space than most of the other replies. We live on in peoples memories and whilst I have never made a public announcement about how I see myself I have also never hidden who or what I am I do not want the male part of my life to dominate their final memory.


11/2/09

At eleven years old, in the facts of life lecture I was convinced that there was no place in the scheme of things for someone like me. If a girl wanted a girl why would she look twice at a boy who wanted to be a girl so why even hope? Now totally unplanned I found myself with a girl to play with and even with my strange perspective on the relationship we managed to have a lot of fun. The brain can dissociate from the bits you have and in my case the pleasure came from giving pleasure to this new interesting body, there was a heck of a lot missed out of that biology lesson and the inventive creature made sure that we tried many things which I had never imagined I would have had a chance to do. We wore each other out in the best possible way and at last I had some one to braid up my hair. After some searching a small two room flat without bathroom was found for rent and we moved in together after a three week cycle tour round the north of Scotland. Between the two of us we had almost no possessions except my cameras and her record player and sewing machine and a box of her books for her English Literature course.

The city was being demolished street by street by businesses owned the local politicians, surprise surprise, this provided opportunities for exploration and salvaging the furniture to fill our empty rooms, amazing what some people left behind. A large dining table from an old school was perfect for the sewing machine, soon I had made a couple of kaftans which I wore most of the time for the next ten years when at home. We had few clothes, they were relatively much more expensive at that time, creative patching became our style. The 14 hours a day 7 days a week summer jobs had give us a pile of cash which we kept us alive for the nearly eight months it took to find a temporary job to keep us more comfortable until she finished her degree. This was a carefree time and I took the chance to read the english course along with her and her friends. Now that I was out of the science circle, mostly male, I found myself in predominately female company for the first time and because one had approved me I was quite accepted. When I found a job it was on changing shifts but this gave her time for study without disturbance. Since we still lived as though we had no money, we got minimum power bills because we used so little we had no even reached their lowest bill!, I was able to get a loan to buy a comfortable flat. Twice the size and a bathroom, such decadence her friends were quite jealous of the extra comfort which made study much easier and she went onto get a good degree. We would soon be moving to where she got a decent job, well that was the plan.

Another three years would pass before the first permanent job offer came. Before that it was years of ‘job creation schemes” and unpaid volunteering in museums while I continued with my quality control job endlessly wandering round a large factory. The only good thing about the job was an office to myself ( private bathroom facilities! ) and increasing time to read, I had moved on to German and Russian literature and I was considered very strange if not a bit mad. Then one day I no longer arrived with my long braided hair, she had been offered a job in the south of England starting at the beginning of the next week so returned from the interview to pack some cases and left the next day to find somewhere for us to live. Well that was what she took all our savings for!

How do you put into words how you feel when every thing you have hoped for and have worked for for six years disappears with no warning leaving an empty home and no imaginable future. Something crushes your guts, your heart is in your mouth and despair constantly floods your whole being when something triggers a memory. The loss of shared memories could be the greatest loss, life negated, time never able to be thought of with any pleasure because of the brutality of the ending.This was as low as I have ever been

I had become defined by this relationship. Friends had diminished as job opportunities had been taken up and we had become more reliant upon each other, I soon found out which

12/2/09

My unexpected foray into a sensual and sexual relationship had ended as suddenly and unexpectedly as it began. Never a bad word passed between us and we could almost finish each others sentences and our desires and tastes were an almost perfect match, perhaps eventually too close. I never did find out even though she told my mother! Twenty years later, just before she died she offered to tell me as if she had carried the secret for too long but by then there seemed little point knowing why she had caused such pain and misery. She no doubt got on with her new life more quickly than I did, we only ever met once in an anonymous car park for me to hand over the possessions she had abandoned. Not a smile, not a question, we could have been strangers who had never met. At this time it seemed as if this six years together was an absolute anomaly. Working on changing shifts is no aid to a social life, younger readers will be astonished to learn how difficult it was to obtain something as simple as a landline telephone, they cost a fortune and if you got one it took six months to be installed, answering machines were practically science fiction. Life eased up once the telephone arrived but I was starting to get used to a solitary existence, only in the movies do friends try to match up single friends, perhaps they realized how strange I really was and didn’t want to spoil someone's life. Photography had once been an obsession, when money was short film was bought before food. I had run the University photographic society and through various enterprises and competition prize money it had ceased to be an expense, now the flat was reorganized to be quickly converted to a darkroom in minutes and with a hundred watts per channel printing was no longer the chore it had been. I had made a trip to London to visit the Victoria and Albert print room where they brought out box after box of prints by he worlds masters. This was a real eye opening experience, I was pretty good but to hold some of the best examples in the world without the interference of a sheet of glass only had the drawback of making even the best exhibitions a disappointment. Photography was not the accepted medium which it has become or even what it had been decades before but I was determined to try to get my work shown. Christmas arrived and nobody seemed interested in my company that year so I laid in a store of bread and cheese closed the blinds and shutters and set to printing an exhibition! I soon lost track of time because I only stopped for cheese on toast if hungry or slept if exhausted. The holiday passed in a blur but at the end I had what I wanted, the local Museum and Art Gallery I had found out did not promote solo shows so I approached them with the work of a local professional I had known most of the time I had been in the city, photography was also a personal passion since he had returned from his time at photography college in America, and my own work. They had never shown photography before, well almost nobody had! Normally I am quite withdrawn but in the right conditions a switch is thrown and a performance is given, there was nothing to loose and everything to gain and against the odds we got one of the first properly curated exhibitions in a public gallery just as photography finally started to be appreciated. Now of course photographers make fewer images than just about anyone.

The date for the show was set, a small catalogue was printed! ( with one disastrous mistake! ) but this exhibition was going to change life more than I could have imagined.



24/2/9

Sorry that I seem to have caused a less than warm response to an honest enquiry about how you saw facebook and how it could be of use. There is just an assumption that somehow everyone knows what it is and how it works. Since you offered a friendship it seemed a good opportunity to get some help. The usepic is only my x chromosome source and for a diary recording my memory recall of how I got to where I am and following the changes I make and how far they take me , it seemed appropriate. In the real world I am what I am and people can make up their own minds if they even care. I have spent 40 years somewhere in the middle, not a comfortable or easy place to be. Having recent net access I took the opportunity to find information on gender variance, not a lot to be found in the local book shops after all , soon various links led to personal stories, a wide range of experiences , a lifeline to the many scattered souls struggling with this problem . After a while it seemed only right to contribute something even if it was a fairly hopeless story someone might find solace knowing that they have been more successful and that there is a lot more help available. You and Suzy inspired me to write something, even though I have not written much more than my signature for years and it probably shows. I liked the contrast of your style and approach one chatty and unpredictable and you silently smiling out of the screen for weeks without feeling the need to write, seemingly content with the world. My journal is a form of self help therapy to face the past and put it behind me and is not without some pain.

Appearance is a tricky thing, I spent ten years with no mirror in the house and 50 years has done little to loose the scars from slashing through both my lips, no beauty prizes here. facebook by it’s very name is absurd without faces and since registration demands a legal name rather than the one I gave myself as a child, I am in a quandary as to what to do. Present name with present real likeness, if I had a decent one, would not represent the me from the journal and if I clicked on the friend button in this guise you would wonder who the heck it was and it would feel somewhat absurd. Perhaps until such time as my real live friends and family all know my status I should leave the book alone.

The cartoon my friend used which I called a false face has not been explained to me but suited him perfectly, on his website he has his real portrait, the message sent had to be “is this you”, clumsy writing on my part, out of practice as I said before. Again sorry but I seem to have managed to upset us both.

27/2/9

Two weeks have passed in a blur, not a moment free to write a post, so worn out I have slept better than I can remember for months.

When I suggested helping strip down a kitchen and dining room with a close friend to make it easier for workmen to access the work needed to redecorate after the building alterations she has had done. I would never have guessed that the prices quoted would be so outrageous that I would end up doing the whole job! Last night we tested everything with a birthday party for Betty who claims to be too old for birthdays but still acts 21, she decorated the Beatles first house when they moved to London so do the sums.

Too much of the casual horrors the Government and National Health Service put us through, they make 30,s Germany seem like a holiday camp, how does anyone get through the system intact?

On top of this the creature who made my life so miserable 30 years ago and who I thought of for the first time in 30 years when writing my wee biography just the other week suddenly appeared care of facebook which I had signed up to view someone’s round world photographs ( account deleted now ). For such a high powered administrator her memory is not too good and she wanted to get back in touch!!!!! Strange , the only person with whom you never want to communicate with ever again is the one who wants to stay in touch. Some days of irritation passed before I realized that that brief contact had in fact exorcised the whole sorry affair and the seven years no longer sit like a black hole in my memories, the pain is gone, I never thought I would ever be able to say that.

My garden is starting to come alive, so why did I offer to go to France and work in someone else’s garden? This is going to ruin my nails but they do need to get the garden sorted to start a new business opening in March. I stay with a French chef, the almond blossom is out and I will come back fitter than I am at present, never told them about the loss of strength due to the snip but I am sure they will put it down to a lazy winter.

I shall be a thousand miles from my keyboard, hope you are all well when I return ( if there is anybody out there ).

19/3/9

Normalement must be the most used opening statement in French, it means something like: “should be like this, but it never is.”

Normalement, if asked at this time of year to go out to France and help on a project for a few weeks I go, work hard, enjoy and return. A bit of sun helps cheer us S.A.D. Vitamin D deficient northerners. I take my passport with the picture of a suspect terrorist “with beard” issued eight years ago just before I started to clean up my face! There is often the odd double take but with hair tied back the sad eyes were still the same.

The new happier me no longer slinks about hoping to be ignored but I have regained a couple if inches and the world just has to take me as I am, really did not need any extra height though! Forgot about this as hair loose over shoulders, bare faced and just a hint of Chanel No 5 and long Fire Red nails I handed over the offensive little document. Long waits ensued as their poor brains tried to work out where the error was but I have had decades of being thought a terrorist and holding up queues so no real change and they let me go. Arriving in Spain with our so called open borders I thought I was finally in trouble as the guy gave me his long look then stared at the passport, and again and again…. A moment of some importance, the real me against the world, I gave him a big beaming smile as if to say, “well what do you think, not pretty but a lot better than the picture in your hand”, finally he smiled back and I was in.

Normalement the drive to France should be five minutes to the motor way and an hour and a half drive through the Pyrenees but that day had been a shopping day for the new restaurant and I had to give my opinion on some of the choices especially the chairs. This project is somewhat over burdened with art directors but we do have a fabulous classically trained French Chef so no problems with the food. Naturally we were off major roads in the dark now, obviously no map, it started to rain and the driver needed to pee so we pulled into a truck stop bar for coffee. My Spanish is restricted to two milky coffees please and crispy fried squid please hence my concern at border control. My reception committee are much better at it so were able to explain to the barmaid that this strange creature whose hands she could take here eyes off was here to help with gardening and building. A long story of hands that do dishes all day every day can never be like that and life was so unfair Well we know that don’t we?

It had been 20 degrees C. Now it was cool and windy but the almond blossom was out so all was well with the world. I sometimes think they wait until I visit to get tidied up so first thing after a lazy French breakfast was to fill the VW bus with as much junk as it will take then take it to the recycling centre where they watch you like a hawk as everything is separated. First you have to drive through the village set in a tight gorge and being France you have to greet most of the population with differing degrees of intimacy. We managed a 100m. Before the first stop to chat, Yanna gets a peck on the cheek through the open window with her bonjour, I only get a bonjour Madame. “I ONLY GET A BONJOUR MADAME !!!!!!!” They say it gets easier to pass as you get older and she can’t see my height but something is starting to work, I am sure the smiling confidence helps. Poor Yanna does not know what to say, technically a brother in law for half a lifetime, beautiful brother in French, she was the first I told about killing the facial hair and she watched the chin and upper lip appear for the first time in over thirty years when I shaved on the first morning of a holiday and she is the only woman who has lent me underwear when packing errors occur and still she has not quite got the message.

With the cold wind it will not be possible to start to start the roof garden which gives the new restaurant, chambre d’hote, catering business it’s name. A small survey showed that the French had an almost 100% hatred of “THE GREEN ROOF” in English but if you can translate it into French you will be able to find it open from April in Fitou. An infinite amount of work is available out of the wind so we start excavating the terrace to provide one flat inside outside space with two new rooms with flat disabled access sharing the terrace. This is the end of the world and bank money is tight and spent on stuff that really matters, luckily friends and family join their skills and brute force. We labour for days to organize for the concrete pour while an ever changing group sand and paint the hardwood tables bought at auction, if you don’t like a bit of colour stay away. The paint team makes this trip really worth while, two kisses and a hug when you meet and depart, with ever increasing enthusiasm from Babette, Valerie and Joanna and I already have Yanna and the fabulous Sophie. Babette has taken my passport name, stretched it and feminized it so that I am truly on their team.

Most come and go as they please but family work until it is impossible to see the fall in a heap and hope food will arrive. I am glad I loaded so much music and audio books into my iPod, too tired to keep eyes open to read. After the terrace was poured we gave ourselves a day off! A few phone calls and several helpers just appeared worked alongside for a couple of hours chatting away then off. That is how things get done in a small village. I have lost some muscle in recent months but am still reasonably strong but concrete work uses them all the wrong way so we needed to recover. Sunday lunch finally go out to the beach and a plate of oysters, still a wind but the sun was getting stronger, quite warm in the oyster bars. They have a special licence for food which only allows fresh raw seafood and wine, once a quiet place now has hundreds at the weekends. Shall wait till June for a swim!

Second week it gets warmer, stone walls are built round the terrace to hold plants and now that there is a booking to hire the place for a day on the 25th. Decorating and finish take priority. We have more energy now and start spontaneous dinner parties starting with the Haggis and turnip which weighed my bag down on the way over, this is what France is really all about and all generations join together.

By the end of the trip the temperature is like Scotland in summer, thermal vest a thing of the past now down to tee shirt and wish had shorts! My four second once a week buzz with the electric razor has to be increased to harvest the thinning crop on arms, have standards to maintain, June is going to be interesting... Morning walks down to buy bread and croissants elicit some “bonjour mis… err dame” this is getting to be fun now. On the final morning I drive down to the wee supermarket to stock up for return, we jiggle through the few side streets, hardly the car width, on the way back up. We stop to say hello to Andre, a real character who used to be the local shepherd with a traveling flock of sheep which kept the village and countryside nibbled and neat. He live just across from the old ruin which I helped restore and he used to let us use his water supply before we were connected, When he gave me an enthusiastic bonjour Madame Yanna nearly died! But but but don’t you remember C …?

Perhaps I have spent two weeks in a computer game like second life. I have been somewhere, the nails are 1/4 inch shorter and chipped but it was no nightmare, somewhere closer to heaven.




We could be on similar wavelength on this subject.

The fear of pain of dying no matter how short this may be stops us taking the path to an instant karma, instead we cause ourselves to suffer endless small pains, physical and emotional , which heaped together make that small pain of death seem totally insignificant.

Without the fear of terminal pain I would have been long gone but as time passes that fear is receding and the pain of living is increasing with age at some point the tipping point must be reached and the opportunity to choose your own moment of departure become easier to take.

Until last November this was a subject never far from my thoughts and could have written a book of plans usually involving the total disappearance of the body because of the horror of any funeral involving masculine pronouns. Since putting myself through the physical pain of removing my maleness I have entered another world where these thoughts have no place, there is strangely a slight sense of loss of such a constant in my life!

I have taught my self to endure physical pain, if you need to remove the facial hairy joke nature gave me you have to learn to savour each shock rather than flinch from it. Tears may flow freely but the end is worth it. Finally after fifty seven years of pain I feel contented, possibly human at last.

24/3/9

Back a week already. Catching up with friends,having dinner parties to show pictures of progress on the French project, they all think I was on holiday and unfortunately my happy snaps have made it seem that way! What magic the Apple TV box is, a few clicks and an effortless “slideshow” with soundtrack is beamed onto the TV screen, my friends are easily impressed!

Interesting visit to my GP, just like a friend these days but she seems to be the one most likely to have a student in tow. In the past this has set me back from being completely open, stupid I know, but for the last couple of years my policy has been to preach the cause. The sooner these students meet us and see that we too are human and accept our condition as a normal thing to be treated the better the world will be. Today she told the student to suck out some blood for tests, made joke about hope fully trained on the procedure but he was the best ever. New stuff to take to help bone density, good idea especially being so big, also something to cool me down, as the weather warms so did I.

Spent rest of day with friend who rang to say that her neighbour had died unexpectedly, they were the same age and from her voice I could tell she was none to happy and needed some distraction and someone to have around while she talked, if you know what I mean.

A nice warm wave just passed over so I must read through all the med. Sheets and work out a schedule for all these pills, it is like a test to fit everything in with all their requirements!! One of the new ones requires once a week empty stomach glass of water 30 minutes before food and upright position and absolutely no other meds. She swears that tis calcium stuff will not increase the chance of another kidney stone which I do not want, that pain makes everything else seem like a soothing caress. This one I shall double check with the one who can’t sew properly when I visit his clinic on April fools day!

4/4/9

Richard, a friend who has not long retired to Canada, with his Canadian wife Marlene, has been keeping us entertained, or is that the other way round? He is over finishing some research at the university and organizing a home for his archive of design history. We keep loosing friends who in a previous generation would be settled at their age but now make complete changes to their lives. They are missed and the couple of weeks each year that they may come and stay hardly makes up for the loss, especially of Marlene. We were close for a long time, as close as you can get without being stuck. When we realized how close we were getting a boundary was negotiated to allow us a comfortable intimacy like siblings, both being far from our own sisters. I had never had someone I could open my heart to before. This gave us a decade as best friends so close that we were often mistaken as a married couple. Just over ten years ago we planned a week sharing a villa in France. By now she had been married to Richard for some years and we had spent much time such as christmases together, a holiday would be interesting. Somehow Marlene and Julie turned the idea into two weeks villa hire in Tuscany and two weeks road trip to get there and back. For nearly a year I had been swimming early mornings with the pensioners most weekdays and was the fittest I had been for years. It had been Marlene’s idea, she wanted to swim but was too embarrassed to go alone so we went together. After a few months she started searching for work, being a poor artist no longer seemed such a good idea, she was too successful and found a job almost straight away, I continued with swimming a mile a day.

The trip should have been a great adventure sharing our different views, design historian, art curator, artist, and well me. This is how it had always been on our trips before but two decided to make it the honeymoon trip they never had! A month together was probably too much even though we kept splitting up and meeting at the end of the days when we shared cooking day about but we never got to see our innocent Canadian discover Italian Renaissance Art for the first time, not that we did not have a lot of fun. When we briefly reached the Mediterranean , and it would be the only time on this trip, Julie and myself just stripped off and went for a swim as you do, poor Marlene was left dumbstruck standing on the beach with a fist full of swimming costume and frozen to the spot, she watched us dry off and get dressed still dry as a bone herself, clearly some issues here. At the end of our time in the villa Marlene declared that it should be a fancy dress night for our last night, this was a surprise and not something we had expected, my brain went numb for a day and we were traveling light especially after the car blew up and was abandoned for a smaller hire car. With seconds to go before we were expected to appear I knocked on Marlene’s door and demanded the orange lycra dress which she had been threatening to wear for three weeks and we were obviously never going to see. With some reluctance she handed it over, thank goodness for all that swimming, what joy! Three shocked faces with wide open mouths, what a sight, I suppose they thought I was too. She never did wear that dress and it was passed on to one of her many sisters, I often wonder if she ever told them it’s story.

To have had a female best friend and a friend closer than any had ever been before or since had been such a joy, think tears down cheeks, lump in throat as I type this out, but this trip was the start of a slow change to a more regular friendship. They almost immediately move another twenty miles further into the countryside to get a grander home for their money and work became an obsession, money seems to be addictive. The hours on the phone became minutes then became almost nonexistent as her new life took over. When we do meet it is as if we had never been apart but the magical years are almost like they had been a dream.

4.5.9

Richard, a friend who has not long retired to Canada, with his Canadian wife Marlene, has been keeping us entertained, or is that the other way round? He is over finishing some research at the university and organizing a home for his archive of design history. We keep loosing friends who in a previous generation would be settled at their age but now make complete changes to their lives. They are missed and the couple of weeks each year that they may come and stay hardly makes up for the loss, especially of Marlene. We were close for a long time, as close as you can get without being stuck. When we realized how close we were getting a boundary was negotiated to allow us a comfortable intimacy like siblings, both being far from our own sisters. I had never had someone I could open my heart to before. This gave us a decade as best friends so close that we were often mistaken as a married couple. Just over ten years ago we planned a week sharing a villa in France. By now she had been married to Richard for some years and we had spent much time such as christmases together, a holiday would be interesting. Somehow Marlene and Julie turned the idea into two weeks villa hire in Tuscany and two weeks road trip to get there and back. For nearly a year I had been swimming early mornings with the pensioners most weekdays and was the fittest I had been for years. It had been Marlene’s idea, she wanted to swim but was too embarrassed to go alone so we went together. After a few months she started searching for work, being a poor artist no longer seemed such a good idea, she was too successful and found a job almost straight away, I continued with swimming a mile a day.

The trip should have been a great adventure sharing our different views, design historian, art curator, artist, and well me. This is how it had always been on our trips before but two decided to make it the honeymoon trip they never had! A month together was probably too much even though we kept splitting up and meeting at the end of the days when we shared cooking day about but we never got to see our innocent Canadian discover Italian Renaissance Art for the first time, not that we did not have a lot of fun. When we briefly reached the Mediterranean , and it would be the only time on this trip, Julie and myself just stripped off and went for a swim as you do, poor Marlene was left dumbstruck standing on the beach with a fist full of swimming costume and frozen to the spot, she watched us dry off and get dressed still dry as a bone herself, clearly some issues here. At the end of our time in the villa Marlene declared that it should be a fancy dress night for our last night, this was a surprise and not something we had expected, my brain went numb for a day and we were traveling light especially after the car blew up and was abandoned for a smaller hire car. With seconds to go before we were expected to appear I knocked on Marlene’s door and demanded the orange lycra dress which she had been threatening to wear for three weeks and we were obviously never going to see. With some reluctance she handed it over, thank goodness for all that swimming, what joy! Three shocked faces with wide open mouths, what a sight, I suppose they thought I was too. She never did wear that dress and it was passed on to one of her many sisters, I often wonder if she ever told them it’s story.

To have had a female best friend and a friend closer than any had ever been before or since had been such a joy, think tears down cheeks, lump in throat as I type this out, but this trip was the start of a slow change to a more regular friendship. They almost immediately move another twenty miles further into the countryside to get a grander home for their money and work became an obsession, money seems to be addictive. The hours on the phone became minutes then became almost nonexistent as her new life took over. When we do meet it is as if we had never been apart but the magical years are almost like they had been a dream.

4/5/9

After a flat out hectic two months I am sitting here with no pressing commitments except perhaps to try and cure this terrible cough and sore throat. In the middle of the night it was so bad I could not sleep, what I did not know was that everyone else in the house had been woken by my hacking cough while sleeping!

My exhibition opened at the weekend with two previews, total seven hours of trying to chat and entertain. I played my part with hardly a cough but lost my voice by the end and am paying the price now. Docs back from their holiday tomorrow, I shall be on their doorstep before they open to get one of the few short notice slots, tried last week with no luck. Julie was so worried she lay there wondering what she would have to do to live in this old pile without me, nice to be wanted for something.

My sister and her husband visited from the south of England for the holiday weekend. There was a lot the two of us needed to talk about since we failed to meet at all last year, some things need a face to face meeting, in the end the whole time passed in a hectic whirl and we are going to have to debrief over the phone when she gets home. Shame my fabulous B & O phone after 14 faultless years refuses to talk to it’s base station. Dilemma of the age, do you pay a fortune to repair an old machine or put the money towards a new machine with up to date technology?

How can you afford t even think of a new phone after all your recent expenses I can hear recent readers say, well miracle of miracles sales have already covered the money I used from housekeeping to pay for framing costs to get the show up and running so all my apprehension was pointless. Someone wants two so will be back to see me in a few months time while yesterday I was stopped in the street and offered a direct swop by a much more expensive artist. Not a bad result considering half the population seems to have gone away on holiday and last time at this gallery most of the sales came after people had gone away to have a good think so fingers crossed. Julie is now even more convinced that she can sell my work by being my manager when she retires in the summer. What about my retirement?

My sister brought old family 8mm. movies in danger of damp stored in her attic space, included are some I made when I was a student. If sales permit I should have some off this transfered to digital and see if it was as good as thought it was. At the time I wanted to make a film unlike anything I had seen. Eventually I saw KOYAANISQATSI (a state of life which calls for another way of living,crazy life, life in turmoil, life disintegrating, life out of balance), and realised that I should not have abandoned film making after all. Along with the films were some really bad family holiday transparencies, the ones which had been edited out for the bin and lovingly treasured by parents. Since the good pick seems t have long been lost this is all that is left of that period. A crowd came for dinner last night to see my sister so I loaded 80 slides into a magazine and set up the old projector for a show after we had eaten. It has often been said that me and my sister would have made a good set of twins and these slides came as a surprise to most who have only ever known the two of us recently. That crushed heart feeling came with the realisation that by looking at my sister now, only three years younger than me, I can have a very good idea of what I could have looked like if I had got the help I sought thirty nine years ago instead of undergoing the ravages of testosterone. For a while this dented my usual present composure.

Well done if you got through that lot, It gets easier from here on in.