Its funny to think, in the week when I reach 60, that as little as 8 years ago, if I’d been off this week (and fine, I probably wouldnt have been, in that case), I’d be retiring from work this week, and drawing my state pension. Yes, up to April 2010, women retired at 60, wow! Since then, much to the annoyance of those affected by it, the pension age for women has risen to 65, to match men, and in the next couple of years, will actually go up to 66, the age I will get to retire at. Dont get me wrong, something had to be done, as everyone (well, most people) seem to live longer now, so this was sort of inevitable.
One of the amusing challenges I have to look forward to, or think about in that case, is one of my occupational pensions! Yes, William Hill, round 2 (there have been 3 rounds in all), between 1985 (2 years after starting there) until I left in 1999, I was paying into an occupational pension scheme with them. And actually, that was drawable, even for a man back then, at the age of 63! And I guess if I’d worked there now, for 33 years, with 3 to go, it would be quite a decent sum! But no, it was about 14 years, so not a fortune (I’m guessing about £3000 – 4000 pa, from what I can remember of last salary), but better than nothing.
The thing is, since then, I’ve changed gender, I’ve changed name twice, and though ‘theoretically’ I’ve got the deed polls to cover that, I’m not sure how easy they would be to find? National Insurance number hasnt changed though, and at least one of those names was used on William Hill, round 3, so who knows how complex that would be? Still, something to think about in the next 3 years or so, for sure. Not a fortune, but given the state of my body, a top up to wages like that might be handy? And where I’d start, 22 years after leaving, no idea? Anyway, something to consider, I guess?
Its funny to think what I’ve packed into my first 60 years, though yes, the transition stands out as my proudest moment by far. Maybe one day, I’ll even brave the surgery, and get everything done, though as I’m not one for surgery now, for the sake of it, I cant see it, unless the need really arises to get ‘my bits bobbed’ as such.
Its funny though. I’ve written, I’ve acted, but in neither case, anything I’m likely to be remembered for. Well, up to now at least, anyway! Still a few years to go, hopefully, though how much more acting I will get to do, no idea? I know, given that I will definitely play the role on Friday, you could say I’ve got one more part, but I suspect I might be the only one looking at it like that! I suspect most, if not all of the others just see it as helping out, and being dressed in an old fashioned way, but we will see?
Writing, well I keep saying I might do more when I ease off work, but doesnt seem to be happening just yet. I only wish I could gather enough information to do a biography of a certain chorus line dancer, and bit part actress, but given she died in the 50’s, and any children (she mentioned one, a daughter, seemingly) would be in her late 70’s by now, if still alive, if I could hope to trace her!
Oh, other point of amusement for you. Not surprisingly, for someone who has spent so much of her life working in the betting industry, the Cheltenham Festival has always been a bit of a special event for me. When I’ve been able to, I’ve tended to take some time off that week, ostensibly because of my birthday, but hey, its good racing, so… Well this week, I missed a couple of races today (only able to watch 5 on ITV), because of the need to go to the doctors, I’ll miss all of tomorrow, due to getting things done to me for Friday, and then I’ll miss all of Friday, because of the Blackpool thing! Funny thing is though, I didnt really mind. Is it because I’m now a woman that I worry less about it? Who knows? I’ll let you know next year lol!
Right, thats enough, dont want to keep you here forever with my waffle. So, video time. In my humble opinion, one of the greatest singers of my lifetime. Yes, I used one of his songs recently, and here’s another!
Oh fine, I’ll admit it, I’ve definitely started to get a case of ‘cell fever’ having been stuck indoors since last Tuesday morning, because of all the snow, ice, and stuff like that. I have to admit though, that its been nice being able to take ‘snow days’ from work since then (total of 3 work days), and not have to risk slipping over outside, and damaging knees, back, or both! Especially the latter, as I dread to think what further damage I could have done by going out, slipping over, and landing on my back, but anyway… It is still white out in the garden at present, but most of the snow is gone, the temperature is above freezing, so unless something dramatic happens overnight, I should get ‘release’ tomorrow to go back to work. Thankfully, if I believe the Weather Channel website forecast for next 10 days or so, I should be fine now, through to after my birthday. I know temperatures in the 40’s are hardly amazing, but a lot better than low 20’s!
The silly thing is, normally I can get by on less painkillers when not working, but yes, fine, that doesnt work so well in freezing conditions! Actually, I’ve only got 4 more working days as a 50 something now, as I’m off the week of my birthday. Mainly because of that, but yes, there is a little racing event called the Cheltenham Festival too, to enjoy as well. Irony, unless I remember to switch it on at the hotel in Blackpool, I’ll end up missing the biggest race of the week, the Gold Cup, despite that.
Oh, and another moment that shows I’m getting old, the rail trip will be made on a Senior Railcard, my first time. Yes, that hasnt changed from being available at 60! In fact, its available at that age for men too! The card might be £30, but by the time you add this trip in, the one to Scotland in September, a possible one from Manchester Airport in May, before anything else, I’ll easily cover the cost.
One other trip I need to book too, the one to Newcastle for work, which should be fine, seeing they’ve now had a week to register my account, and it should take 2 working days! Yes, had planned to do it Wednesday, but then the snow happened, so… And yes, tax payers, I will be using my Senior Railcard to save your money!…angel… Cheapest centrally based hotel available, with internet for me, I’m positive.
But yes, it will be nice tomorrow to actually be able to go out the front door, and ‘escape’ for a few hours, even if it will be at work. I like it here, a lot, but after nearly a week indoors…
An amusing moment before I go. You might remember I ordered a maxi length flapper dress for my work birthday dinner next Saturday? Well, comments on Amazon said it was too long, but I thought that just meant for women of short, to medium height, not to women of my height, at 5′ 9″ tall! Wrong, it actually needs taking up so I can walk in it, and as a good flapper girl should, show a bit of ankle! No, you dont want me showing knees lol, which is why I got a maxi one! Still, matter of getting it taken up is in hand, so… In truth, I’ll probably take it to Blackpool with me, just in case, as a back up.
Right, video time. You might have worked out the song, or maybe not, but you wont have guessed the singer, because its not Crowded House. One of the great ‘lesser known’ British voices of so many tears now!
No, dont worry, it was nothing significant today when I woke up, and though we’ve had a few snow showers during the day, it still hasnt amounted to anything dramatic. Yes, I hope its the same when I get up in the morning, though if you believe the so called weather experts, I might be disappointed. They do say the worst day will be Thursday, when thankfully I dont have to leave home, but I wouldnt mind even that being something that doesnt come true.
To show how slight it was up here, the buses kept running, no issues. And lets face it, they are more than happy to stop running at the slightest excuse. Yes, I walked through snow on the way to Physio this morning, though such an insignificant amount that even a ‘frail old lady’ like me could cope with it, very easily. To be fair, I think its been worse down south, than up here, but believe me, I have no desire to go and investigate that.
Therefore I was surprised when I reached the Physio clinic this morning, to hear that I was the first to turn up for my appointment. Yes, there should (probably) have been 3 ahead of me, and the 1 behind me had cancelled too. Yes, there was snow on the ground, but no, it wasnt slippery out, and the roads were clear, as per the fact that the buses were all running around town.
Of course, to be fair to those people, as the clinic said, most, if not all of those people would have been older than me, and lets face it, you have to have some level of frailty to be going for Physio in the first place! Still…?
I have to admit, in advance of my last treatment next Tuesday, that I can honestly say my knees havent felt as good as they do now, in years. I’d love to say thats just down to the electricity that has got pulsed through my knee, but I’d be lying if I did. Not saying that that, and the ultrasound treatments havent played a big part, but so have the very simple exercises I have to do, as they have definitely strengthened the muscles in both knees that needed it. Oh, and the electrics have definitely made my circulation better, both my feet are pink (or almost pink) again, as blood has started to be forced to flow down to them. The old scars on the right knee are never going to go away fully, but they’re far less noticeable too, for the same circulatory reasons.
Now, if only she could zap my back (or my whole body?) like that…? 😀
But yes, seriously, I’ll be glad when the weather gets a lot warmer, especially for my back. Unless someone wants to buy me a home, somewhere with all year round heat…? No, thought not!
OK, video time. Its the wrong type of weather, technically, but its a gorgeous song, so lets roll with it tonight
Assuming that plans arent weather affected, or a rail strike gets cancelled (Northern Rail are due another one day one, next Saturday, my only normal train travel day), the next time I travel by train, I will look more dressed for the 1920’s, than the 2020’s, which are fast creeping up on us. I guess I might take the dress in with me, and change at work for the evening do, but if you asked me to put money on it, I’d say a flapper would be working the whole day, in truth! Hopefully I can use more modern equipment than a 1920’s telephonist would have had, all the same. Though fine, that might be fun, but…
I was tempted to suggest to Northern Rail that on the morning of the 10th March, on the 7.50 train to Bradford, that they might need to provide me with a steam train to get me there, but I didnt, as I was certain they wouldnt get the comment. But yes, it would be fun, given that Halifax station at least, apart from the modern lift to, and from the platform, probably wouldnt look too out of place back then, especially with the surrounding buildings as well. But fine, the diesel multiple unit train does rather ruin that image lol!
In truth, I do wonder how weird life would be for a modern person, if truly whisked back into the late 1920’s? Ignoring the fact that even a weeks wages would go a very long way back then! For example, my wage per week now, is roughly equivalent to the same wage per year back then! But yes, even ignoring the loss of things like internet (and Transatlantic flights). its fair to say that even things like the language used would be different back then. Not literally, we’d all still speak English, but taking one obvious word as example, the word gay meant a whole different thing back then, to the way its generally used today!
But is all this modern life for better, or for worse? I know, in so many ways its better, but I’ve got the golf on from the US (TV in 1929, lol), and the commentators were saying that the people at the course were watching the golf, not through their eyes, but by watching it on their phones. Yes, seriously? Fine, I suspect some were recording it, to put it up on You Tube, or the like, but even so…?
The other thing, going back to our original subject of railways, was when earlier I was checking for engineering works on the railways. At Easter weekend, some lines will be closed for work on the 2nd High Speed Train Line in this country. Yes, thats right, a line that wont even start to open until 2026 (if not delayed), and will finally reach Yorkshire in 2035! By which time, with any luck I wont be around to care! I know, I’d only be 77, but the pain I’ve got already, I dont want to get that old!
But fine, if anyone from Northern Rail should read this, 10th March, 07.50 train from Huddersfield, to Leeds, via Bradford, make it a 1920’s steam train, pretty please. Alternatively, on my birthday, 16th March, 14.07 from Preston, to Blackpool South would be equally fun by steam, though I wont be dressed in flapper mode at that time. Though if you let me know, it could be arranged? 😉
Right, video time. Definitely a more modern girl, though in truth, this performance is from 36 years ago! Yes, I had this record on a 45 single, really showing my age!
Oh fine, lets have an amusing rant tonight. And oh, just to confuse my US readers even more, all sizes quoted are in UK figures, which are different to yours. I think you take 2 off those numbers for US sizing, but dont quote me on that?
Well, 4 weeks from now, I will, in my eyes at least, be officially ancient, as I will have had my 60th Birthday, 2 days before. Given that I will be in Blackpool on my Birthday working (though in 1928 mode, its fair to say), I’ve worked the Birthday meal here to one day later, on the 17th. Yes, I know what date it is, but the only thing green I might drink that day would be a fizzy lime drink!
Given that its one of those rare landmarks, and the fact that I’ve pretty much ignored all of them up to now, I thought I’d go wild, and celebrate with workmates as well. Given events of my birthday weekend, the plan is that will be the previous Saturday, after work, in Bradford. Well, I got asked, do I want a theme to things? And I thought, as long as its not compulsory, why not?
Lets be fair, the robot look isnt going to work in a public restaurant, so the obvious answer was 1920’s, or 30’s style. And yes, 20’s is such a fun era (ignoring Crash at the end) that it works perfectly for a party. No, for some at least, it wont be a prohibition era scenario, lets face it. In truth, I do have a couple of flapper style dresses, but as was the want back then, both are above the knee, which has numerous issues in Yorkshire, in March, mainly the weather! Fine, my knees arent a pretty sight, but…
So anyway, today, I thought I’d take a look for longer length flapper style dresses. I found some really nice ones on Ebay, but they’re dispatched from China, so no guarantee of delivery in 3 weeks! In fact some, they definitely wouldnt! So over to Amazon I go, and unsurprisingly, most flapper dresses are above the knee. Then, lo and behold, some maxi length ones! Yes, even in an XL size! But…some of those advertised as XL equate to a UK Size 12! Thats right, a UK size 10 (US size 8) is regarded as large! Seriously?
Who, me? Well, because I’m Trans, and therefore my waist isnt as tapered as a ‘natural’ woman, I tend to swing between size 14, and 16. But yes, seriously, my issue is some people who see a size 10 as a large! I suspect its because many of these dresses originate out of Asia nowadays, and those women can be tiny, but…?
Anyway, if I can convince myself to buy a dress that I probably wont wear often (a 60 year old flapper, seriously?), this is the one that at least ticks all boxes.
I know, its not expensive, but when you’re only able to work 4 days a week, due to your health, money is tight! I’ll probably do it (will probably get killed if I dont now, lol), but if anyone wants to help…? https://ko-fi.com/merrybrooks I suggest you make a comment that its for the dress, not the meds, if donating! No, wont hold my breath!
Right, video time. What would a large dress do, that was a size 10, if I tried to put it on?
Yes, I’m doing UK Politics, ooh! But before anyone gets over excited, or panicked, its not modern politics, and very strictly its not even a matter of politics. And oh, its an event that happened 100 years ago today!
Yes, on February 6th, 1918, for the first time, an act was put forward to allow women to vote. In truth, it wasnt the complete victory for equality, that would only come about 10 years later, but as a day when the right to vote was first offered to women, this is the anniversary one.
As I say, hollow victory. Whereas at the same time, all men of 21 or over was given the right to vote, only women of 30 and over, and who had to live in the same property as a man who could vote, or who was certified in some way (remembering that at this time, most womens education was inferior to that given to men) were able to cast a vote.
From there, as I say, it took until 1928 before all women aged 21 and over (the voting age at that time) had the legal right to vote.
Of course there are a few famous Suffragette stories, one of them being of course the sad fate of Emily Davison, who threw herself under the hooves of the King’s Derby runner in 1913, and died. Its fair to say we will never know whether this was a deliberate act, and if it was, its hard to believe she could pick out one horse at the speed they would have been travelling at. The fact that she had purchased a return rail ticket, and had tickets for an event that evening would lead you to assume she expected to go home that night. In truth, the answer to these, and other questions are never going to be answered now.
The biggest question is, but for WW1, would it have happened when it did? Its fair to say that the sudden need for women to do all the work at home in England let to a change in authority attitudes, and this may have been an agreed compromise, to keep everyone happy? If not for that, when would women have got the right to vote, who knows? I’d like to think it would have happened at some point, but exactly when…?
But today, lets just remember all those brave women, from so long ago, who helped to give women the right to vote.
The video, there is a clue in the blog title, and its why 1 word is in brackets, shall we say? Paul McCartney made some great videos back then, and this was one of them.
OK, so I worked the title to suit the video here, but I’ll include a mention of a certain chorus line dancer, and her various troupes, just to make it work.
As far as I know, no woman has been told to flaunt her body, albeit in the cause of entertainment, without being willing to do so. And no, the President Club hostesses werent given the full picture of what would happen, thats for sure. But any cheerleader, or walk on girl knows what they are at a sporting event for, and in the case of most, getting well paid for, and thats to add ‘an image’ to said event. I have no idea what these young ladies get paid for doing so at F1 races, boxing, US sports, and other sports get paid, but I suspect its a decent wage? Oh, and in the case of certain events, publicity too!
Yes, lets face it, if I was young, pretty, and had all the right bits, in the right places, I’d probably give it a go, and enjoy the experience. Fine, I’m elderly, and not currently owning all the right bits, but fine, if someone can arrange me a twenty something body, and some cute looks, try stopping me, if I got the chance.
Thats why I was sad to read today that the PDC Darts people have bowed to pressure from a Feminist group, and decided to drop the walk on girls, and said group has instantly turned on other sports, now they can sense blood. I am Feminist, but to a sensible degree, seeking equality, not superiority, as some seem to think it should be. Now if these girls were forced to do these roles, then fair enough, its wrong, but if you’re happy to show yourself a little, for publicity, and pay, then go for it.
Thankfully, some are trying to keep these girls in work, good for them. Cant see it, in these PC days, but I can hope.
I know it was a different era, with different attitudes, but seriously, some of the outfits (some were barely outfits, at least one movie, the outfit was a long blonde wig!) those chorus girls wore, revealed far, far more! Did they care? Probably not, they were earning decent money, at a time when many Americans were struggling with the depression. But yes, some happily stayed on the chorus line, a number became stars,and others got to marry rich men, who they got to know through their work.
But yes, there are times I’m sorry to see myself as a Feminist, and this is one of them.
Video? Pretty obvious, I hope?
So, lets get to the last 4 months of the year now, when a few things might have happened!
To do it in strictly in chronological order, the first new experience in September, was being wheeled through an airport in a wheelchair! In truth, I possibly could have survived the security experience at Manchester Airport (especially as I would have got Fast Track routing as a premium economy customer), but there was absolutely no way I was ever going to stand in the Immigration queue at Boston, I went with the ‘full in’ option. So fine, at Manchester it didnt quite work as planned (twice, but more on that later), as I got wheeled through security, and to the gate, but no one ever appeared to take me to the gate! So in the end, I managed to get myself down, and aboard the plane, but ironically that meant I was last on, not first! Boston end, it worked perfectly, and I can safely say I have never got through Immigration so quickly in my life, even if you allow for the time I waited on the plane before I got off!
The first few days on Cape Cod was a delight (Saturday night in Boston, went down there on Sunday) with Kate, just relaxing, and giving my back a wonderful break. Then, on the Thursday, we both headed back to Boston, Kate to head off somewhere with her partner, and me to head to Mahopac, NY, via Stamford (c/o Amtrak) to go to a friend’s wedding. Initially I’d assumed I would be going as a guest, then told I was a bridesmaid, only to find out I was Maid of Honor! Thankfully for all the others there, I didnt catch the wedding bouquet lol! It was an amazing experience, thanks go to Stacie, and Eric for the honor of doing that for me. Also thankfully, I was relaxed enough over those last few days that I managed to lay off the painkillers for just long enough to be able to drink at the wedding reception. Fine, I made up for it that night, but anyway…
Flying back afterwards was entertaining. Firstly, for some reason best known to themselves, the airline staff at JFK started boarding people, before boarding me in a wheelchair. It seemed they realized pretty quickly, and sent me through, but it was an interesting journey through all these people who had no interest in giving way to a passenger in a wheelchair!
On arrival at Manchester, chaos ensued. As had shown at JFK, I was the only person who had booked a wheelchair. Therefore, on arrival at Manchester, one wheelchair arrived, for me. Thing is, 5 people suddenly decided they needed a wheelchair, and one woman (who had the physical strength to push me out of the way!) decided she was taking it! Anyway, in the end, after a bit of a delay, a few more wheelchairs arrived, though only 1 extra pusher, and we eventually got through, but after quite a delay, obviously. Not helped by the fact that one person clearly didnt have the right paperwork (not sure if she was from my plane, or a holdback from a previous flight?). In the end, I sort of got up, collected my case, and struggled through on foot (someone pushed my case, thank goodness) to where I was being met! I only hope Manchester Airport does better next May, we will see!
After that, its fair to say that the year settled into LGBT mode at work. A presentation to just over 100 people on working as a Transgender person in my Civil Service Department, and gaining a position on a committee dealing with LGBT issues within said Department are 2 of the delights that followed. Oh, and on top of that performance, was of course, the performance as an Elf very recently!
Lastly, on Christmas Day, on Facebook of all places, someone posted a picture in one of the groups, of a young lady, in Christmas mode, of an event that happened nearly 90 years ago (1929). Yes, an unknown lady, at a pre-Christmas event in Los Angeles, way back when. Except…she looked familiar to me. Comparison to a few pictures taken about 5 years later, and agreement from a couple of other people on the matter, that lady is no longer unknown, to a few of us at least. Yes, 99.9% certain its a certain Clara Johnson! Talk about dream Christmas present, especially as in total, there were 3 pictures! Oh fine, here’s one of them, of her, at 24!
And thats about it! Two more working days in 2017, Friday all day, and a half day on Saturday! Not expecting anything major to happen, but we will see?
The video, big clue in the title. A live version of the song, from 2012, which means no Kirsty MacColl, but the woman gives a decent, if clearly rather starstruck performance
Tomorrow, a look forward to 2018, and what might, or will happen
Well, finally, as we get close to the end of the year, Christmas and all that, things start happening for the last time in 2017.
I’m due to take the final one of those 3 exams I needed to take tomorrow, and having passed the first two comfortably enough (in my opinion, only get told passed, or presumably failed, no actual score), I’m definitely hoping that will be it for the year. In theory I’ve got a couple of practice tests I need to do by mid January, but with luck I can leave them for now. We will see how busy Saturday is, I guess, though as of yesterday, I couldnt sign in to said website, so definitely cant do them at present. No, I’m not missing them in the slightest lol!
I am guilty of doing far too many sports related competitions for my own good. Horse Racing, Golf, and American Football are the main ones, though I do (shock horror) do a soccer one, but primarily because its very stats based, and seemingly, given I’m currently 55th out of about 460,000, a knowledge, or care for the sport clearly isnt needed! Number crunching, yes, caring about anything else, no! But do I care if I’m 55th, or 55,000th, beyond pride, no, I’m not.
Given the Golf is the only calendar based one, this is the last week of the competition. No, there arent thousands in this, more like 50! But yes, somehow or other, I’m 2nd! Yes, stats are a wonderful weapon, seemingly. Mind, I need a winner this week to have any chance of success, but beyond the thrill of beating all those men, not going to cry either way. Well, there is 1 prize, which might be nice, but otherwise…
Oh, and getting back to work matters. Some people take competition way too seriously for me! As in the judging of the work team Christmas displays. No, I’m not going to mention names, though some might guess, but someone takes defeat way too seriously for little old non competitive me! In related matters, given the ‘lovely’ weather we’re having over here at present, today’s required shopping ended up being done online, instead of in town! Still, Secret Santa gift is sorted out, and on its way now. The elf costume is no longer on its way, its arrived! Put it this way, unless they move me, and the office to somewhere very warm (or tropically hot), I will only be wearing it in the office! Not that I think First Buses, Huddersfield, and Bradford would be ready for me in an elf outfit, but anyway…lol!
OK, video time. Something apt for this blog, though with me, just the opposite is the truth. Main reason for this song, and the blog title, is to pay respect to Keith Chegwin, who died earlier this week at 60. Yes, I’m 3 months away from 60! Ah well, been nice knowing you…lol?
As I’m sure everyone reading this surely knows, I’m a supporter of LGBT issues. I add that I dont support all issues generated by those people, especially, sadly, of the Trans kind, because some of them dont just expect equality, they want special treatment, over and beyond that point, and no, I dont feel that way.
The other thing relevant to tonights piece, is that I’m not a Royalist. I might not wish for as dramatic result as there was in France, a few centuries ago, but one of these people who fawn over every move they make, no. Which makes tonights post more ironic than normal lol.
A religious minister, and gay rights campaigner, in his, err, wisdom, decided to ask people to pray that Prince George is gay. Even ignoring the Christians who (incorrectly) think being gay is a sin, and who are therefore not going to support this, most staunch Royalists arent going to approve of this anyway. And yes, you’ve guessed it, this LGBT supporter, and Royalist non lover doesnt approve of this either! Yes, when I start feeling sorry for a member of the Royal family, something’s wrong!
But no, my sympathies for the Royal Family are still limited enough that I’m definitely hoping that Prince Harry’s wedding next May is while I’m out of the country! I know, the US will probably overkill the event, but it might (hopefully) be easier to avoid it over there.
But no, seriously, I hope Prince George is straight, gay, or even bisexual, whichever makes his life at peace in the future. Mind, by the time he knows, I’ll probably be dead, so I wont care anyway! But please, LGBT activists, keep things sane!
Right, video time. Yes, big clue in the blog title, shock horror. This however is not the video version, this is a live version (pretty sure, singing only) that is so over the top, its crazy! Be warned!