Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mellow fruitfulness...






Thank goodness I managed to make my garage door repairs recently. They were hardly finished before we experienced wild gales whilst the leaves are on the trees, most unusual but the garage remained dry and cosy. Not that the poor van was tucked up cosy because I had decided to scrub up the floor and apply three coats of heavy duty floor paint, the extra coat always seems like a good idea… Once the last coat went on it was not to be driven over for three days and that is when the gales came. Many trees were blown down but branches were ripped of all over the place making driving into the country an interesting test.

First pane of glass to ever get blown out of the summerhouse...

Our guest expected in November is here at the moment which speeded up our house tidying plans and we are now halfway through an intensive week of socialising, not much change there you might be thinking… Sunday lunch guests have just set off on their fifty mile drive back into the highlands. A month ago I was on the point of dismantling the garden tables to store away for the winter, not got much use this wet summer, suddenly the weather changed and we started to get some warm dry days and even today we started our lunch with nibbles and a glass of wine out in the sunshine. 

I had left two sisters to battle out how to cook the main dish, I know when it is time to retreat… Lamb shanks was the sort of meal which we looked forward to cooking when income dropped on retirement but all the cheap cuts needing long slow cooking have become popular restaurant dishes so now the ingredients have fancy prices to match! This dish is similar to what Julie’s sister used to feed her restaurant staff on because it was so good and cheap!!

This week at Bramble cottage we had a frost which ruined the brambles which were soft and ripening, luckily those still hard and unripe seem to have survived a while longer so I was able to pick a large bowlful for desert. Half were taken and turned into ice cream which made a much fancier dish than planned. There will be few more days with fruit from the garden this year since the apples nearly all came down in the gales and the fallen will be stewed and frozen or made into chutney like the small harvest of hard and split pears last week.

Perversely I used to look forward to the autumn since I hated the summer. As much as I loved a sun warmed body the summer was a torment seeing girls out enjoying the warmer weather wearing colourful to die for clothes and well just being girls like I knew I should be! Most of my wardrobe is spring summer based… Covering up too much has never been at the forefront of my thinking but it is time to put away all the light clothing and see what is left to see me through the cold dark months to come.

All I have to look forward to is my first mammogram next month and yet another big toenail removing session in November, I tried wearing shoes after the gales and it was like toothache in both big toes! All my fault for wearing sandals all my life with toes just waiting to get crushed so that the nails now grow twisted. I am torn between hoping that this time the nails will be killed off and having them grow again so that they can be painted my now standard toe gold...


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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blogger controls vanished!

Just logged in to find that I have a new Blogger interface as threatened for an age.

Though it looks clean and fresh that is because all the old controls have vanished!

One step forward, three steps back...

Autumn and garage doors...



Finally the wet cool summer is turning to the dry chill of autumn. Autumn crocuses are dotted round the garden and the chestnut tree leaves have stared to turn brown. All the maintenance jobs needing a spell of dry weather have to be prioritised and many left for next year with fingers crossed.

I had been making the garage tidy to get the van in with more than the couple of inches to spare! The first of the gales lashed against the door and puddles formed across the floor so I started wondering how to make it more weather proof. Out of the blue another blogger wrote about getting round to having a roller shutter, long stored, fitted to her garage by workmen discovered working in the neighbourhood. When the pictures of the finished job were posted my mind raced. Long ago I salvaged some sheets of corrugated steel used for packing roller shutters and faced the doors to the street with it with the corrugations running vertically, the remainder of the sheets had been used in the vegetable garden  to hold back compost heaps and to stop weeds growing on prepared ground. They are the perfect trap for slugs and snails who love the dark space underneath…

I made a comment on Shirley Anne’s post saying that I was going to try for the same effect but with a slightly reduced budget of £10. 


 Looks like I am the last person who will ever get a cordless drill...

The screws which I bought were £9.98 for a miserable packet of a hundred. I wanted pan head screws, preferably galvanised but as usual my desires are not mainstream so little choice and five times the price of countersunk! My only luck was it was 10% discount day for us old folk so here I am well under budget!


I have not been doing many jobs like this for a few years where ideally there is an extra pair of hands when needed. Takes a high degree of cunning to work out how to organise handling the material into place but I made it. I regret loosing the afternoon light from the windows but half of them were cracked and would have cost more than the screws to replace, modern obscured glass is far too sharp and bright compared to these hundred year old panes...


Shirley Anne wins on finish, two of my sheets were smooth and the other a textured plastic finish in a similar colour which has faded in the decade or so it has been used in the garden. Recyclers can’t be choosers… Tomorrow promises to be wet so if it comes from the south west I will find out if I need to do any more to hold the water at bay. Another dry day and I may even finish painting the wall!


Neighbours may think that we have won the lottery!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Seven months on...


With life so hectic I missed a six month post-op round up and already another month has gone by and this is the first time I have found to think about a post all week.

People still ask if l am alright, I say that I am much better than alright! Life has quite quickly changed in a way I did not expect it to. Like stepping through a doorway into a completely different space…

We must each find our own eureka moment when all the hullabaloo associated with transition melts away and you are finally free to pursue the kind of life you always hoped for. I cannot say exactly when that moment was but sometime in the last seven months the constant need to read the latest news from the “T” frontline, with the extremes of sadness and joy, do not bring me to my screen anymore. I follow al those I have always followed but the posts from the 80+ on my reader list has dwindled to a trickle. My quite ordinary life goes on without any drama. The memory of the life which I once led is fading fast like a hazy dream, the memory of old body parts really does seem like it could have all been a very bad dream!



All is not perfect, we each must have worries about the transition process and apprehension about how it will affect us. 

I did wonder how on earth the plumbing could be so drastically altered and a new system of liquid waste disposal be fashioned and made to work from bits of the old system. The joy of finding that it did function was soon tempered by the random and erratic nature of the flow. You certainly need patience and something of a sense of humour along with an endless supply of tissues while it all settles down. Settle down it does do, eventually. Peeing without aiming is great and as a bonus I seem to have been granted a greater range before needing to pee and less urgency to go… An unexpected bonus!

My father had lost a leg during WW2 so I grew up knowing all about phantom limbs. What I did not want was a phantom bit of boys waste disposal apparatus haunting me for the rest of my life and thank goodness there is nothing to remind me of what was once there. Even better It is now very hard to remember the part or even where exactly it might have been…

My third item of concern was what effect the process would have on body shape. Clearly I was not going to suddenly appear butterfly like as a great beauty, but what body changes would take place? Over the last couple of years my rear has slightly expanded to now move more solidly with the rhythm of music, thank goodness it has decided to stop at the present size…. Breasts have formed nicely and also move quite naturally, perhaps not as large as most might hope for, I have never been overly attracted to large breasts so I am quite content and there does seem to still be a little increase taking place. My one disappointment is the ease with which any extra calories are stored round my middle! Beware as the metabolism changes appetite does have to be mastered and the reduced muscle mass means that you do not need to consume so many calories. I blame the long cold wet summer for inactivity and a little comfort eating especially whilst in France…

On each of the last three days we have spent several hours in attendance at a stall in the “Flower & Food” festival in the nearby city as hundreds of people wandered by, many stopped to chat even if it was to ask directions to the nearest toilet facilities! I have finally found my new life and can find acceptance in such a public test, I long ago stopped thinking about being accepted, it is just not an issue. if you had told me even a couple of years ago that such a thing really was possible I still would not have believed you but here I am…
My partner is not greatly interested in playing with intimate body parts but the other day did get curious to examine my new arrangement. “Looks like the real thing” she said with some surprise, it had been new and raw the last time she had taken a peek, “ what did you expect” was all I could say...