Its funny how things play out, isnt it? Oh, I know I say I’ve never seen an NFL game live, but strictly, thats not quite true. What I should say is that I’ve never seen a regular season game live. Thats because, just over 28 years ago, in those deluded days when I was trying to be a guy, and failing miserably, I went to one of those pre-season games, that neither side takes seriously, at Wembley. I dont actually remember much about the game itself, only that it took forever to get out of the stadium parking afterwards.
But the connection between that, and today, is one team. Then the Los Angeles Raiders, now the Oakland Raiders, and soon (presumably?) to be the Las Vegas Raiders played that day, and today is the first time they’ve been back since. Yes, I know, its a different stadium now, but besides all that…they’ve returned.
Looking back, I have no idea why I went to that game that year, but didnt go and see Buffalo (my team) the following year, but I suspect cost, and probably time were the big issues for that? Regardless, I wouldnt rush to see the current Bills team, for sure!
I wonder if anyone who was there, just over 28 years ago, is there today? Maybe a few, but not many, I’m sure? The funny thing is, I’ve been to their stadium in Oakland, though for a baseball game (now only NFL/MLB cross sports stadium), and I’ve seen the Coliseum in Los Angeles, though never (as yet) been inside it. So maybe, after the move, I really will have to visit Las Vegas, and take in a game? Wouldnt it be funny if my first real NFL game also involved the Raiders, in their new home?
So yes, in terms of NFL, me and the Raiders go back a long way. Further than that, in fact, as before I left home in 1983, one night, I was playing around with my radio, and found US Forces radio station, and they were covering an NFL game. Yes, no prizes for working out who one of the teams were, it was the Oakland Raiders!
Right, video time. Couldnt think of anything really apt, other than ‘Walk of Life’, which I’ve used a couple of times, so not using again. Then I thought of this…
OK, two fun things that came out of the trip to London this week, for my Department LGBT committee meeting, both representing a circle of sorts.
The first one isnt related to work, mind, it actually relates to the London Underground, hows that? Yes, that yellow line that goes around, and around, with seemingly no end, the Circle line. As a child, I always wondered how they decided where, and when to end a service that went around in circles, as at some point it had to start at the beginning of the day, and finish at the end. Equally, I have no idea how they reduced the service outside of peak hours either, but anyway, enough childhood musings, as I’m sure they had some clever way of doing it, but I just have no idea what it is.
But seemingly, now, its not a circle anymore, even if its still called the Circle line! Strictly, the trains do a circular route, with a ‘tail’ on one end, to take it to Hammersmith, but when that ‘circle’ gets back to Edgware Road, after a full loop, it stops, and runs back the other way. I found this out yesterday, as I thought I was being a shrewd ‘old bird’ by just staying on the Circle Line, all the way from St James Park, to Kings Cross, but still ended up having to drag my body across platforms, and up stairs (no lift) at Edgware Road, to be able to do so. If I’d known that, I could have saved myself a whole lot of time, changed at Victoria, but anyway… But yes, the Circle line is very much a misnomer nowadays, great shame, in more senses than one. It seems (thank you, Wikipedia) that it has been doing this since December 2009, which shows just how often I go to London nowadays!
I actually had another train first, the first time I’ve travelled under London, other than by tube, when I rode a Thameslink train from St Pancras, to Abbey Wood. Again, its been happening for a while, but was my first time.
The other circle I did, was a circle of work. My first ever (unsuccessful) job interview in 1974, at the age of 16, was for a junior position in the Ministry of Defence, in Westminster. I remember nothing much about it, other than that it was a very imposing building, everyone was dressed immaculately, and I had to sign various documents before I could even have an interview. This week, of course, I visited the imposing building that houses my Department in Westminster, almost certainly completing the London works circle in my life! I’m not sure if it will be my last visit to London in a works related role, though given the frailty of my back now, it might be.
But yes, the changes in 44 years, quite incredible. And yes, I wore a formal black dress, but I was the only one I saw dressed formally in that sense, lol! Back then, I’m sure every woman wore a dress, and probably heels too, which I passed on.
Next Thursday, not only am I involved in another LGBT event, this is a complete Civil Service one, and I will be there. I’m sure if you’d told that nervous 16 year old, on that first day in a government building, that this would be happening, I would have laughed at you. But yes, things have changed, for sure.
Right, video time. I didnt even need to tweak the blog title to work this one in, lol!
In theory, today was my day off to recover from work yesterday, on the basis that the ‘old girl’ is now unable to do 2 days work in a row, which is pretty much true, nowadays. I know, I somehow get through on a Friday/Saturday combo, but believe me, I’m sore at the end of the Saturday. Sadly, finances don’t permit me to cut back to a 3 day week, I only wish it did!
So you’re saying I’ve had a nice relaxing day today, given the body the chance to recover, and all that stuff? Yes, I wish! This morning, saw me up even earlier than usual, as I needed to get to Sheffield for a meeting, at 10! To my delight, with all I’ve heard of Northern Rail of late, we set off from Huddersfield on time. Snag is, it wasnt long before we werent on time, and getting later. About 6 minutes by the time we got to Sheffield, and as it was one of their ‘legendary’ (not in a good way) pacer trains, I got there definitely shaken, as well as stirred by being late. Thankfully, the tram, and the building for the meeting was easier to find, so all well.
Fine, we over ran, not even close, about 25 minutes over, on a 2 hour meeting, so we ended up in a quiet area to finish off. Good time, but fine, any interesting meeting, related to LGBT issues is good by me. So, I missed my planned train home, and the next one wasnt until 45 minutes later, so bite of lunch, before the train.
Sadly, my knowledge of train timetables was better than the conductor on the train from Sheffield to Wakefield, but I sorted him out in the end, lol. Unfortunately, the train at Wakefield to take me back to Huddersfield was an even more basic Pacer train, so more ouch for me! And home much later than planned too!
Then we had a ‘visitor’ that Eric seemingly knew about, but hadnt bothered to tell anyone else about. Window salesman! Actually, he was quite nice, but I’d wanted to get on with things, Ella and her friend had places to go, but we had to aid Eric instead! So now I’m sat here typing this, aching like hell, and going to work tomorrow, when I could really do with some recovery time, to get over the so called recovery day! So, if anyone has a spare crane, I might need it to help to lift me up at work tomorrow, anytime I need to move! As for jobs (other than this) that needed to be done today, and there were several, not now going to happen, and heaven knows when they will, now! Thursday, maybe, though I have to go out to collect a prescription then, aargh! Thats assuming I can even move by then, of course?
Right, video time. I mentioned the title a moment ago. Yes, I would love to have been in this video, especially given the suit (and helmet), and the silver paint job. As for the flight in the space craft, oh I wish! So, what I might be saying to someone at work tomorrow…
A few months ago, it was announced, with big, bold headlines that the railways over here in the UK would be running a much improved timetable, and service, from 20th May this year. Me, who has suffered the whims, and incompetencies of Trans Pennine Express, and Northern Rail for far too many years, just laughed at this fact, and said on my blogs at the time that it would never happen.
Well, in theory, 2 weeks ago, it did. I managed to miss what was seemingly the first week of total chaos, as I was away in Seattle at the time. However, my first glance back at a UK rail service last Monday, told me the truth about what was happening. I thought maybe it was the fact that rail staff, despite it being in their contract to do so, didnt fancy working on a Bank Holiday, which led to numerous cancellations due to lack of train crew.
However, as the week went on, it became obvious that wasnt the case, it was an everyday event to have lots of train cancellations due to lack of train crews. And it wasnt down to sickness, holidays, or other absences, it was, as I forecast months ago, none of the train companies had the staff to run the new service, and yes, chaos ruled! Guess what, the train I would have caught in the old days, on Saturday, before they changed the time, and ruined it as an option for me, was cancelled!
So therefore, it was no surprise to me to get home last night, and read that 3 of the train companies in this country, have now admitted they cannot run the new timetables, and therefore have introduced temporary timetables in numerous areas to get around the issue. Thing is, some lines arent just going back to service levels before the new service was introduced, its far worse than that!
Given Northern Rail is one of those 3, its easiest to pick on their biggest failure, in the Lake District. The one line going into the Lakes used to be about 1 an hour in each direction, which they tried to improve on, for the summer at least. So, as of tomorrow, how many trains will be running on that line each day? Would you believe, a big round zero! Yes, a replacement bus service all day is as good as it will get. And given its a major holiday area, and summer is coming, the chances of those buses getting caught in traffic jams, and missing connections must be high!
Still, give one piece of kudos to Northern Rail, and the other 2, they’re admitting they’ve got it badly wrong. Trans Pennine Express are making a total mess of things too, but just not prepared to admit it! Cancellations by the dozen, long delays, you name it, they’re doing it!
Do you know the funniest thing about all this, a Japanese Rail Company recently apologized for their train leaving 25 seconds early! As to what they would make of our train service, I dread to think!
Right, video time. To have heard this song before, you either were a huge Gerry Rafferty fan, or just struck lucky, as this is from long after his Baker Street days. But the title sums up what the train companies would like us to do, but have little chance of us doing so. Oh, the blog title? Its the album title!
Well, not strictly, I hope, but yes, we’re approaching that time of year when I discover just how many people go out of their way to avoid people in wheelchairs! Only one trip so far, and I had low expectations, even then, but yes, it was pretty shocking, even then.
Yes, Saturday sees the delight of the flight across the Atlantic (I love the travel, just hate the long hours sat on a plane), which gives me the delight, now that I am disabled (thankfully not badly) by back issues, of travelling through airports by wheelchair! In truth, last year, 2 out of the 3 would have got good marks off me. Unfortunately, the one that didnt is the one I’ve got to use again, Manchester. Hopefully this time they wont leave me sitting at the gate, but not full of confidence. The show coming back wasnt great, but not entirely their fault, as I seemed to be the only 1 of 4 people who wanted a wheelchair to greet them, who actually requested it. But even then… Still, hoping that will be better this year.
Las Vegas, and Seattle, I have no idea about, to tell the truth, be interesting to find out. Though for Vegas at least, I am wondering if the wheelchair comes complete with slots machine lol! I’m sure it doesnt, but… Las Vegas should be straightforward, given I’m being helped off 1 plane, through Immigration and stuff, then on to another plane, no issues there. I’m not sure what might happen if I get a ‘Jobs Worth’ at Seattle though, as I will need to struggle out of the chair, and go off and get a hotel shuttle, with no one to greet me? Beat him over the head with my handbag, maybe, lol?
As for all the people who will either ignore me totally, not get out of my pusher’s way, or both, I’m sure there will be many! Wheelchair rage, I’ll try not to!
The other amusing landmark on the way out is my ‘state bagging’ number, as for the first time in a while, it will be going up, to 24! Not bad for a Brit, is it? Yes, first time in Nevada, even if it will only be an airport terminal, joining Georgia with that honor. Before health woes struck both of us, the plan had been to hit 24, and maybe 25, last September in New England, but no go. Vermont was the main target, Maine the maybe. One of them might yet be 25, and halfway, but Florida, and Oklahoma might be possibles for that honor. All depends on a lot of things in future, we will see. The one big area where I lack states is hardly surprising as a Trans lady, its the ‘Deep South’! Georgia is it, and as I say, thats airport only, at Atlanta! Doubt that will change much, in truth, and in all honesty, beyond the ones mentioned, the only other possibles to visit are at extremes, Alaska, and Arizona! Well, New Mexico, if I get an alien invite, but seriously…
Right, video time. A bit of a hint, and in this at least, a bit of a Welsh accent, great stuff. I cant believe I havent used this before, in truth
Or more strictly, the title should probably just be called ‘Reality TV Roadcrash’, because from what I saw in the trailer item yesterday morning, and the non bigoted tweets about the show on Twitter last night, thats pretty much what it was.
Monday mornings, even on Bank Holidays, the TV options tend to be less than exciting generally, this one was no exception. So I ended up switching on the Breakfast TV show on BBC, mainly to catch up on the news, and the weather, and whatever other rubbish they cover in between.
Because it was a Bank Holiday, I turned on towards the end of the show, rather than the beginning, as I would normally on a working day, and towards the end is when they tend to go with the ‘less serious’ stuff, as they’re getting ready to hand over to the next show. Which was a consumer affair related show, that the facts were just so wrong that, well, I had a good laugh at that too.
What they were talking about yesterday was some reality TV show on a rival channel last night, and seemingly again tonight, called Genderquake. Given it seemed to want to include just about every ‘non binary’ (ghastly term) group of people, it seems the people were young, loud, and the type of people that a boring old ‘lady’ like me would avoid like the plague. Dont get me wrong, I am fine with whatever term people wish to use to describe themselves, I just dislike the way some over react when people get it wrong accidentally, not accepting that the difference between a non binary person, and an intersex person may not be entirely obvious to everyone! In fact, strictly, due to having an undeveloped womb, I’m probably more strictly intersex, than trans, but for the sake of convenience… I’m Trans!
Now to be fair, I took the choice not to watch the show last night, nor do I plan to watch it tonight. Last night, fine the snooker final was on, but I would have probably avoided it regardless. But anyway, seeing the show was ‘trending’ on Twitter, I thought I’d dip in after the event, and see what it said. Lets ignore the bigoted, and anti-LGBT rants going on there (especially anti-trans) , because there are people who are always going to be like that, lets face it. Hopefully in a few decades time, maybe not, but for now…?
To be fair, the actual show comments were hardly flattering about the people involved. It seems there was people outing people who didnt want to be outed, there were others saying horrible things, because not everybody in the world had declared undying love for them, and lots of stuff like that. Of course, we boring, just get on with life type Trans folk dont make good TV for the companies producing junk like this, do we? Lets face it, a 60 year old, just going about her normal daily duties in life isnt the controversial image these people love to create! Ah well… The only sad thing is, too many people think all Trans, and Non Binary (heaven knows how many of these titles there are now?) act this way, when the majority of us dont!
Fine, rant over!
Video time. There was only one song that immediately came to mind that focuses on more than just Trans folk, and this is it. I know, could have used the video, its over 2 years since I did, but then I found this live version…
Fine, fooled you, everyone thinks they know the song, and you’re wrong! Right group mind, just wrong song!
Yesterday morning, as per normal on 4 days of the week nowadays, I set out for work. In terms of distance from home, the furthest I got was about 200 yards! The sad story of why, follows:
I got to the bus stop about my normal time, and waited for the bus to arrive. It didnt, but in all truth, given we’re talking about First buses, no great surprise there. The one thing I quickly realized was that no buses were going by, in either direction. About 30 minutes later, I was getting cold, damp, and sore, when someone checked on their phone, and discovered there’d been an accident between my home, and town, and no traffic was getting through. I did briefly consider just walking the 2 miles into town, getting the bus to work once there, and taking things from there. However, having stood around in said cold, damp weather for 30 minutes, my back objected to the idea, even wearing a brace.
So I went for Plan B, probably a wise starting point anyway, as I would have been pretty late for work, I came home and rung in. Thankfully, a combination of my bosses not thinking it was a wise idea for me to walk 2 miles with my back, in such weather, and the fact there was sufficient staff that day not to need me, I just took the day off, and stayed home. It did finally start to clear about 12.30 (over 3 hours later, 4 hours after accident), but by then, I was going nowhere.
Due to the wonders of the internet, I was able to track down what had happened, and where the accident was. Lets be honest, a horrible sight, as a BMW had crashed into a bus shelter that I’ve used many times when heading for the health center where I get my massages done, and when heading for Wakefield too. A link?
Sadly, late last night, its been announced that one young lady who was standing at the bus stop has died, the other woman there has had major surgery, and quite possibly wont be able to get around easily for about a year, possibly more. Yes, it makes you think, doesnt it? Just because the bus stop I use here has got ‘road bumps’ just before it, doesnt mean it couldnt happen to me. Other stops I use, no such thing, and then…?
I’m sure that at some point that more details of what caused it will come out, but nothing said as of yet. Was he speeding? Was he, heaven forbid, but possible, on his phone, and lost control? I know it shouldnt happen, but lets face it, it does!
Thankfully, all I lost was one day of work, or in a sense, one day of my holiday allowance, which I used to cover it. One poor family has lost a young lady, and another has got an older lady, whose life is going to be ruined for a year or so. Fact is, the next time, well, who knows?
Yes, you’ve worked out its an REM video, I’m sure. I’m only surprised I havent used it before, but seemingly not. I’ve no idea if the traffic in Huddersfield yesterday was as bad as this, but…?
As I mentioned a couple of months back, I had actually managed to build up the funds to pay for my holiday next May, and at that point, normally I would pay for it, get the whole matter sorted, and in this case, look forward to Seattle. But yes, there was one thought nagging at the back of my head about whether the body was up to a West Coast flight, and stay in a hotel, given the state of my back. In truth, my biggest concern wasnt the length of the flight, though that doesnt fill me with joy, it was the idea that if I stay in a hotel, I will be expected to get out, at least for a while each day, and I had no idea how that was going to work out. In truth, in a sense, I still dont, as of course, I dont go out every day, just 4 days a week, and even then, the 2 days in a row leaves me a bit sore, let alone 7! In truth, I think the public transport is probably a bigger issue than the work, and walking around, though most likely, its a combination of all those things.
But equally, I said that, in January, I’d have to make a decision on the matter, and its now January! In truth, Thomas Cook have sort of twisted my arm by having a sale at present, so it makes sense to get in during that, if I’m going for it. Given that the back doesnt seem to have deteriorated further, I’ve decided to give it a go, and see what happens. Crazy? Yes, maybe, but if I dont try it, I’ll never know. Its not like I dont know I cant do a US flight, I did one with same issue in September! But that was East Coast, not West, a whole lot shorter flight.
Even more so, given that flying out, I will need to travel all the way down to Los Angeles, and then fly back up to Seattle. Thankfully, coming back, its a direct flight. Yes, Thomas Cook only start their new direct flight service that weekend unfortunately, or I could have done it both ways. I would love to have flown out via Las Vegas (gentler route on back, and would allow me to add Nevada to my States visited list, earlier arrival too), but thats £50 extra, and thats an extra too far on my new budget restrictions lol!
One thing I do know, that will be the only trip to the US this year, for sure. Yes, the second trip was always an interesting (but doable) budget challenge when on a 5 day working week, but on 4, impossible. Possibly for the better, less strain on the back, and all that, but sad news, all the same. I’ll do something in September, only over here, and just for a few days instead.
But yes, I’ve decided I will throw my back into the unknown, and hope it doesnt fail me!
The amusing, and some might say, annoying thing about my planned hotel is that as a ‘group member’ I get a discounted rate. Whats annoying about that you’re probably asking? Well, its the fact I can get said discounted rate for a standard room, but not an accessible one! Fine, I probably dont really need it, but extra mobility room, and a suitably designed bathroom might have been handy. But again, $17 per night, for 8 nights, just to get that, I dont think so!
So now, once the money has been transferred, I can get it all booked, and get my wheelchair rides booked! Yes, this time, no qualms about doing that lol, I am officially disabled, though thankfully just mildly!
If anyone knows anyone in the Seattle/Seatac area that I can use as a ‘support’ during my stay, I’d love to know. Positive I wont need it, but just handy to know that if one day I need a little assistance, its only a call away! I know, but no harm in asking?
Right, video time. As so often with me, big clue in the blog title!
In truth, when I look back on most of the things I’ve done in my life, there are numerous things that I’ve done to a decent level, without really excelling at anything. Acting, writing, playing various sports, all of which I’ve done to a reasonable level, without ever getting to exciting levels of skill. Among those sports, I would mainly rate athletics, cricket, golf, and darts as the best. There were a couple of others that I could get by at, but was never going to represent anyone at, so lets ignore them for now.
Oh fine, of those, I’d probably most love to think I could have made it in acting, or writing, but in truth, I probably reached, or nearly reached my mark. Acting probably is the one I could have done more, but more like Clara Johnson, than Jean Harlow, I doubt I would ever have made it big. Ah well, but as that isnt what this blog is about…
I had played darts a few times before I moved to Somerset in 1983, but it more related to throwing 3 darts in a board back then, and hoping they went roughly where I wanted them to go! But anyway, one of my shop customers (a lovely gentleman) was determined I wasnt going to just spend all my off time back at my lodgings, but get me out a bit. One of the things we did was go to Bingo, though in truth it was probably more a chance for both of us just to get out and have some fun, than anything else. The other thing he got me into, was darts. There was a pub next to his office, and on a Saturday night, before he went home, he tended to drop in there for a drink or two, play a few games of darts, then get a takeaway meal, and go home. I got talked into going along after I finished work as well.
I got talked into joining in, though at first I was pretty terrible. But as with so many things, if you practice, you get better, and I did! Thats when I found out he played in a couple of local leagues, so I went to those, and in one at least, started to play. No, I didnt become an overnight world beater, I was still pretty moderate, but the aim got better, the scoring, and double hitting improved. I even got decent enough to play 2nd Division County Super League in time! As I say, decent, without being great.
OK, the link between this, and tonight. On a number of those Saturday’s, a well known darts player would turn up at the pub, join in with the social fun, and all that. Normally we all played that the winner stayed on the board, but he always only played so many games before standing down. Why, you ask? Because that player was Mike Gregory, a professional darts player of the time, who in fact played in the World Championship Final in 1992. In that final, he lost to the new ‘big thing’, a player named, yes, you’ve guessed it, Phil Taylor!
Tonight, in one of the versions of the 2017 World Championship finals, Taylor is playing his last match before retirement! He has, in all, won 16 World titles, and could well make it 17 tonight! Dont get me wrong, by all reports, he’s not the nicest man to know, but I guess to some degree, anyone as driven to win as him is unlikely to be that friendly to others, part of the game, I guess? But yes, for one man to so dominate his sport for 25 years, an amazing achievement.
So no, I’ve never known what its like to play sport at a top level (School county championships, 2 sports, best I’ve done), and certainly wont now, so have no idea what that pressure is like. Nor have I appeared on a really big stage, so never known it as an actor either. But yes, I know what it takes to get that far, and I admire those who do.
So enjoy your retirement Mr Taylor, and thanks for lots of amazing darts memories.
Tonights video. Well, I thought his walk on song to be the obvious one. Not a song I’m a fan of, but could hardly not use it, could I?
Well, if anyone was expecting something Halloween related today, you’re going to be disappointed. Thats because today, thanks to a friend telling me, its the 500th anniversary of the day when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Well supposedly is, there is some feeling that it didnt actually happen, but 500 years on, proving it, or disproving it is nigh impossible, so lets just accept it for now. But yes, regardless of how it was done, it happened, and the Roman Catholic Church, which had reigned supreme in Europe until then, got a nasty surprise! Yes, the Reformation era had begun.
I’m not going to go through the whole history of everything, my knowledge isnt all that great, and Wikipedia can tell you all you need to know in truth, far better than I can. Equally, lets just say he wasnt perfect. He was anti Semitic, no fans of Muslim people either, but of course, 500 years on, trying to define on what led to those feelings, who knows?
My religious upbringing was a complex one. My Father was of Irish, Roman Catholic ancestry, my Mother came from Irish, Protestant ancestry! How they got together, who knows? All I know is that my Mother had to become Catholic to allow them to be married, but whether matters have changed in the 70 years (nearly) since then, I have no idea. All it meant was that for the first 10 years of my life, I went to a Catholic Church, and indeed, as I was trying to be a boy back then, I even served as an altar boy. Then my father left my mother, and I stopped going to a Catholic Church, and ‘changed teams’ lol. Then somewhere around 16, I left school, and slowly, but steadily, I stopped going to church every week. For a few years, I still went from time to time, but by the time I moved to Somerset in 1983, I’d stopped altogether. I was still Christian, you understand, just not a church going one!
And in truth, thats pretty much where I’ve stayed from that day, until then. I went a few times at Christmas in the past, but other than that, no. And yes, they were all definitely Church of England, not Roman Catholic. The last time I went to church, for a service, was at a Reformed Church, in Albany, to hear said friend preach, and to enjoy the whole service. Since then…
No, I have no time for those ‘fire and brimstone’, so called Christian Preachers in the US. Not that they would have any time for a bi, trans woman anyway, but thats beside the point. I did actually, when in Seattle in 2003, get invited to a service, not realizing it was going to be one of that type of preacher. I had to stifle several giggles, as he proceeded to say terrible things about Gay people during his sermon, I must say. No, the person who invited me didnt know at the time, nor did I tell him afterwards. The amusing thing was, that this preacher was quite keen to help me find a job over there, and that as far as he was concerned, the immigration issues could soon be got around, by his friends. No, I never did take up that offer, never saw him again. In fact I was offered other jobs while out there, but I said no, thinking I wanted to come back to the UK. What would have happened if I’d accepted, I will now never know.
But yes, October 31st may be famous for being Halloween, but its also Reformation Day, and this year, even more so, its 500 years since that incredible moment, for Luther, and history.
The video, yes, I spent at least 15 seconds choosing this one lol. Though my blog title might be more apt today?