Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Pictures at an exhibition




Cast your minds back to the early summer when my posts were few and far between while I was away in the south of France. You have probably forgotten that as part of my coming out I made an exhibition of photographs of French subjects in the old chapel gallery near where my wife’s sister has settled to live. Many friends came considerable distances when they heard that the after opening party was to be in the restaurant next door to the house and cooked by my brother in law. They may have been interested in the photographs or the location I’m not exactly sure.
If you have four minutes of your life too waste here is a movie, naturally done on a still camera! I asked someone to walk around the outside of the building first then through the show and back out again. This is the third attempt to upload and is only at resolution for the blog. Tuff.
This was made towards the end of the opening when there was room to move, that’s why nobody is looking at the walls anymore, honest!

Autumn cold


Somebody out there must be sticking pins in effigies of us. Julie has been suffering since last week with an infection, luckily a knock on the door on Friday was an old friend not long retired as a GP and she was able to give the full lecture on how to deal with the problem and yes Julie should have listened to me!
No sooner had I walked Liz to the local bus for the final leg of the days epic journey, Green right through and refused the offer of a lift by car, than I felt a sore throat starting up. The first real sharp drop in temperature had just happened and I thought it would get better as soon as I got back inside. No chance, I have been fighting a full blown cold ever since and been banished to the spare room now vacated by our guest. Sitting up is better than lying down so I have been chatting long into the night or watching movies which I would not normally be inclined to watch like 300! A film about a sultry Queen and there were some tough boys fighting I think. I once drove to Sparta, yes a long way from here, took a week. What a dump it was. We nearly hit the corpse of a huge dog on a bend on a badly made road, a heart stopping moment which could have ended in disaster if I had panicked. Returning that way a week later nearly died again, it was still there and people were still swerving all over the road to avoid it.
The sauna was turned into a steam room this afternoon to try and help the painful chesty congestion and seems to be somewhat better, the only joy is the cough mixture which many find foul but both me and the woman in the chemist shop both love it!
The cold is the least of my worries, as all the aches faded one tooth still throbbed so I was on the doorstep of the dentist when they opened. Abscess under tooth and it may not be save-able, this could be the start of me being an old hag!
Last time this happened 40 years ago the tooth was ripped out before I could object and did not heal over for a week of sleepless nights during exams, no I did not do as well as expected but it caused me to be sent up here so all’s well that ends well. Not looking forward to an extraction if that is necessary nor the gap it will leave. What is not happening is the terror and panic which this situation would have once produced pushing me towards the edge.
Neither of us are close to fit to travel so a trip south seems to be off just now but hey I get to have my hair cut and if I can bear the result you may even get a new profile pic to ogle.


You can only wish the poor girl luck with so little left to work with.



Saturday, 25 September 2010

Autumn sets in and we should be far away


                                    dawn from the guest bedroom 7am


We should not be here, home that is. Having seen a free week on the calendar we arranged a trip south to sponge off friends and family. Once organised Julie got an infection making it too uncomfortable to travel, I seem to have got a cold to keep her company in her misery. With luck we will recover quickly enough to make a revised version of the trip next weekend, after that various commitments and the miserable state of the roads once the autumn / winter sets in lead us to hibernate.

Autumn,a time of mellow jamfullness. I would be tempted to make some apple jelly but have been reminded this week that just 100 calories extra per day is ten pounds on the body in a year! What a stupid design we have been built to!



I have found a way to try and speed up recovery, it is convoluted logic but it will work I bet. I need a new passport, have done for years since it has a picture of a terrorist on it from ten years ago! I have the forms at last and the letter from the gender clinic saying “Not a Boy” so I need a photograph conforming to a dozen finicky rules. Before I get a photograph made I have to at least try to look half decent, it is going to have to last for ten years and remind me of how I once was as the wrinkles take over. Some of my girlfriends have been giving me a little grief for my long straggly hair style despite my french hippie windsurfing hairdressers changes to my look. Some while ago I helped one girlfriend get to her hairdressers when she had her broken leg in plaster, she was going a bit demented with the state of her hair and I had suitable transport so. Parking had been arranged at the lower ground floor entrance and she was helped into a chair to provide me with an hours entertainment with chat, a pile of women’s magazines and constant supply of coffee and biscuits. The stylist, Sally, was great and kept saying that she would love to have a go at doing something with my long hair. At this point It had not been near a hairdresser since I was at school decades before and the idea still terrified me since this had been my defining look and signifier for nearly forty years. Yesterday I decided I had to finally give in, I can’t get out to France so I have to do something here. I did a few hours work last week, a rare event these days but it earned enough to venture through the doors of the expensive salon so many of my girlfriends frequent. I entered the reception and said what I was after and who I wanted to do it, I had by now calculated it was about five years since I had been here, it would have been effortless if the gorgeous Laura had been on reception since she knows me well but it was her day off. While I was trying to arrange a slot in Sally’s schedule she appeared and remembered me! Ice broken and she knows what I am after (I hope). First slot available is on Friday and they are happy to pencil me in even knowing I may have to change, they will also call if a slot opens with any cancellation. This is all bound to cure us and sweep us away south with hair still in a mess.
I am still not convinced that it can grow back if I don’t like it! Playing with hair and presentation is one of the things which I have regretted not being able to do in my past life. 
Hairdressers have held a strange place in my memories. It was my mother who always took me to the hairdresser, never my father though it was his hairdresser we went to. It was as loathsome to me as going to the dentist. I never liked waiting there on the shiny leather seats and all the large hard males all around with their incomprehensible banter. An odd masculine odour filled the air, a mixture of masculine sweat and their strange hair oils and Brylcreme gunk for styling. When my time came a board was placed over the arms of the barbers chair and a piece of the endless snake of cottonwool was pushed round my collar to seal the gap to the sheet which wrapped me. I hated even being here and had probably been ambushed or dragged in quite unnecessarily in my opinion, who needs such short hair cut? Then the complete irony, There was something satisfying about the snip snip snip sound circling round my head and a strange quiet battle occurred as my head would resist each and every attempt he made to move it to a different position all resulting in a cold empty feeling round my neck. I guess this was the closest I came to encountering close personal attention but what a high price to pay for those few moments then the horror of the result. The final flicks of a brush before removing the sheet and cotton wool were theatrical and useless since hairs always remained under the collar to remind me of the torture on my way home.
My two visits to Alaine in France have not produced anything like the same sensations of brief pleasure since I have been concentrating on the process too much and on the last visit stretching my poor French past it’s limit trying to chat! Julie is very poor value for money, I thought going with her would be interesting but she does not chat! Nothing past a request to cut it! What will next week bring?
The seasons have changed and a chill set in. I rolled out the carpet which I rescued just as a friend was about to jettison it a few years back, it both cheers up the winter hibernation look and adds some insulation. Soon time to watch the movies I have been recording. Julie drinks the Whisky.






Sunday, 19 September 2010

Life returning to normal , whatever that is.


You are going to have to hum or whistle a tune since it would be a crime to actually play any music with this. That's what blogger says.





Many months have passed since I last made this walk. Originally the cycle path was blocked for months by workmen slowly rebuilding a stone wall then we went away to France and I have not been in the mood to try this walk when the weather has been so wet and the woodland sections can become messy to traverse.

Walking clears my head and with luck will help wear off an inch or two from round my middle, a waist would be nice.

Autumn is definitely on it's way with the leaves starting to turn colour and rustle in the breeze, some even falling alongside the spinning seed cases. The harvest has been in full swing for a while now, these fields are mostly now out to contract rather than being worked by those who know them well. A potato team is seen taking a break about two thirds of the way through.

My route is first out of town along the cycle path set on an old railway bed, I pestered my local councillor till it was first upgraded with stone chips then tarmac  was laid when she grabbed some spare cash from the system. From that path parallel to the rive I head up a serpentine Victorian walk once planted with rhododendrons and passing an old over grown ornamental pond. It had been in the grounds of a Georgian country house demolished about twenty years ago. I once spoke to an old lady who remembered horse drawn carriages arriving at the house for a Ball, now just a pile of stones. Once over the hill I come out into a wide expanse of farmland extending towards the sea. the narrow path which follows this section is the old "coffin road" alongside the stream leading back into the town. The distance covered I have forgotten but it should not take the hour forty minutes I took today playing with the electric image device. I should do this more often, I have been staying too close too Julie and going at her pace and not getting enough exercise. This walk is now beyond her as is the roughness of the terrain.

Neck still giving discomfort but showing signs of recovery which is cheering me up. This should show that I do not live in abject misery and have an easy escape into the fresh air If I choose  to get out.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Tripped up

I certainly tripped myself up emotionally somehow today. The past couple of days I have been fairly miserable with a pain in my neck which stops me turning to the right without a severe stab of pain. Driving was a real challenge until I started to plan my routes to avoid looking right! Friday is hrt patch change day so I decided to try some heat treatment in the sauna. Just before going in the denouement of something on tv had someone’s old and new partners in a state of mutual jealousy, interesting but not personally relevant so I did not imagine I would think about it during my contemplation time in the heat.
Tears are something I have come to enjoy after decades of emotional lock down, what I had never encountered before was tears coming from so deep that it was like the worst gastric regurgitation you have ever experienced! 
My life is usually a very calm affair and I thought I had come to terms with my circumstances long ago and my extremely low expectation of experiencing any event of mutual passion in this lifetime. I always felt fortunate not to be driven by lust like so much of humanity is and which would have been very inconvenient since I have been generally unattractive to all but a couple of people. Once in a passionate relationship I have always enjoyed the sensuality and have been unstinting in giving as much pleasure as was required. Little chance of doing that now! Then again it was that freedom given when I was no longer required to perform which finally left me free to transition.
It could not be imagined how suddenly and intensely I was overwhelmed by that fleeting thought that I could never experience a feeling of an irresistibly strong mutual desire ever again.
So not the calming meditation event it usually is though the pain seems to have subsided.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

time to get posting

The paper work begins. Certified copies of my name change deed poll document arrived in the post and no doubt the post will be busier than usual in the next few weeks as I work through all the agencies where name changes are necessary in the modern age.
The first complete change was done while we were away for the weekend. Out of practice, it took ages to pack and then we forgot to take important things with us like the keys to the flat where we were staying! I had the new key to the apartment but Julie forgot the keys to the building. I tried getting the keys from a neighbour but only the teenage kids were in and I had changed so much since I had last seen them a few years ago they did not recognise me, we went for a coffee and cake round the corner and waited for the mother to return and Julie tried the second time and spare keys were handed over. A hard days exhibition visiting was hard work and Julie was almost prepared to say that she had had enough and drive home after visiting friends for the evening but we stayed over as planned.
Several of the exhibitions were festival exhibitions near the end of their run and costly to enter. Being friends of the galleries we get in by waving our cards, if we bother to take them! I knew where the strange small building with the organisation offices are so drove there and squeezed into the tiny parking space while Julie went in to try and get a new copy of her card. Being terribly nice people this was no problem, just one more thing while they were at it she asked,” this other card in my husband’s name, could you change it to Ms C****** R****** please?”. “I am sure we can deal with that”, and it was done in a flash. 
Clearly what was once front page news has become so mundane and common place most reasonable educated people now take it for granted even if they don’t know each and every intricate detail of the problem and it’s treatment. Someone arriving and saying that their husband has transitioned to a woman does not cause them to even miss a heartbeat.
Hardly a day goes by without someone else turning up and being in the circle of friends who need to know, many more than I realised! Nobody has had a bad reaction, nobody.
At the same time very few thought I was anything more than an eccentric very feminine male which is fair enough since I suppose that is the way I presented and never directly gave cause for them to think outside the regular norms, now they wonder why they never made the leap of imagination. The most surprising really is my friend Alison who kills my unwanted hairs. Over the last few years we have grown close,  I was at her wedding and was really one of the girls with the other two from the salon and the countless hours of physical contact and chat has been about as close as you can get to someone without…
I had to apologise for not saying anything earlier but she understood, I pointed out that since it was time to have another go on the hairy circle round my nipples she was about to find out anyway! Before I turned up she had been working for countless years but had never had another transexual come in and need so much work, just shorter sessions of smaller areas. Together we built up the length of sessions as she built up her stamina so she was ready when someone else finally knocked on her door a couple of years ago. She was younger and much more girlie than me so did not fire off any alarm bells about me, I guess often talking about having a wife puts people off the track! Through conversation about the other client we got round to the final frontier, hair between the legs! Yes she had done that for this other person and it would be no problem if the time comes to go there. What a relief! It could have been a tricky question to ask of a friend. Not that either of us would be embarrassed about doing it, it is just that awkward moment asking! 
At least our chatting will be easier if and when we go down there!
When I left after making my appointment Alison went back into the house to tell Mike her husband that she had just heard something interesting, “C******’s changing into a woman” he said immediately!
.
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Saturday, 11 September 2010

House guest

If I am a bit quiet for a while I could be lost in the change names paper chase which can now commence with the arrival of some certified copies of my deed poll. First question is where to get a passport application and worse an acceptable, to them and me photo!
We have a house guest keeping us entertained. Being a professor of design history he is overflowing with interesting stories. It was about fifteen years ago when we were sharing a Tuscan villa for a couple of weeks with him and his wife that the world first caught a glance of Caroline. For our last supper before departure the wife said she wanted us in fancy dress, where this idea came from I have no idea, so out of character and so not me! I was at a complete loss as to what to do right up to the literal last minute when I demanded a loan of the dress she had been talking about for three weeks but nobody had seen, amazingly she handed it over and I slipped into an orange skin tight lycra dress at a moment when my body had reached it’s high point of fitness.
I was met with a stunned silence! The beard added a touch of surrealism but I was clearly one hundred percent comfortable with this presentation and had never felt so alive. We had our meal then sat out on the terrace under the stars in perfect temperatures. I should have , like any good opera, died at the end of that evening, how could I ever reach this degree of happiness ever again.
Stupidly I handed that dress back instead of claiming it as my own. The real owner never did bring herself to wear it and passed it on to one of her sisters soon afterwards. Last night we were joined by friends for dinner and I was seen by our visitor in a skirt for the first time since that evening in Italy, now it has become just a normal part of life but has taken all that time to become so in public.
Sorry to say, there is no photographic evidence of that moment in lycra, they were so stunned nobody thought to record it so you are going to have to use your imagination.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Names

Went to visit my friend Betty today and took a bottle. Nothing unusual in that except today was more than putting the world to rights lubricated with coffee and cake.
We did that but not before we filled in and witnessed my official name change document. Then and only then did we open my last bottle of champagne!
In the UK you can call yourself just about anything you want but thats not much good if you want a new passport, then you have to get serious and do something more positive. A sheaf of notarised copies will be back with me in a few days time so if I go quiet for a while I am just buried under paperwork.
When I posted the signed document back to get the copies I thought I would ask for a passport renewal form at the post office where they have been available my whole life but no more! I think I should have done this whole process a while ago to have a chance of a last quick visit to France before the weather becomes too cold to really enjoy. I suspect the prices will rise as we get nearer any departure date, missed the figs season anyway.
There is little family left that I care about but I certainly did not want to make the official change before my sisters had become comfortable with the idea especially since I was abandoning my original family name. One of my sisters had retained her old name after her marriage and took a while longer to understand my desire to move on.
So there you have it, I am now officially the person you have always known. Sorry bit of an anti climax there.

Monday, 6 September 2010

make a sentence containing the words scum and police.

After a miserable youth tormented by police for no other reason than not being “like them!” I had settled into middle age only occasionally bothered by police stupidity, where do they get their recruits?
In two days I have heard horrifying stories of appalling police behavior in places I go, clearly this can only be the tip of the iceberg and it has to be deeply ingrained in the system to have happened at all.
In one case a mature woman (genetic) was arrested one evening for a non arrest-able offence, not told to phone for legal representation, taken to the cells and made to strip in front of three male officers then in the middle of the night set free and told to walk home!
Because she did not wish to repeat her humiliation she now has a police record because she pleaded guilty against her solicitors advice just to be out of there!
I found out this happened at the beginning of the year since when she has not been able to look after her relative and now the state pays thousands for social work to do it!
Nobody can tell me these thugs only did this once and nobody knows about it. Women are suffering and it can’t be stopped because they cannot bring themselves to be further humiliated and the perpetrators know this!!
In another area a gay couple who worked for friends have been hounded out of the village where they have been living for years. Regularly all their tyres would be slashed and they were often subject to abuse. Police refused to accept these reports even when their brake lines were cut! A little case of attempted murder, nah, not interested!
A support group gets involved and the village is shamed in the press, it just got worse. They have been driven out to a city loosing home work and friends.
The police wonder why they are thought of as untrustworthy scum. 
Well I have no idea

Sunday, 5 September 2010

day out.

A trip out to the big city. Found a shop for long and tall girls who sometimes seem to have larger than average feet! For once fell lucky with 30% off marked prices and some of those were already reduced to make way for the new autumn stock. I helped them by buying a couple of pairs of pumps in a size I have never seen in a shop in my life! Cost less than our lunch too. Fab cotton shirt fell into the bag as well for next to nothing, count this as a success.
This is about the colour of the satin pair. And the shirt base colour.