Category Archives: About me

A few more quick words

I do promise to explain all this, and the gap, about a couple of weeks or so, should be, so just wait, OK?

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Just a few quick words

No, the blog hasnt come to an end, its just that  currently my health issues are such that I  have neither the time, or strength to do them. There are reasons for this which I’d rather not go into, OK

Thanks

You make me feel…

I knew it was somewhere around this time, 2 years ago, that the ‘old lady’ started back at work full time, 15 months after being made redundant, but couldnt have told you the exact date if you paid me. Anyway, according to a congratulations from someone on LinkedIn, the anniversary was today, or looking at a calendar, more likely yesterday, because he’s 5 time zones behind me, and the Monday was the 15th, but anyway… Yes, I know, I did do a couple of temp things in the interim, one OK, one I’d like to wipe from the annals of history, and which I can safely say, never made my CV, being only just over a week that I could stand the place.

Well, as it stands, I’m hoping its the last time I ever start a job here in the UK. Well, because even if the back holds out that long, and I’m not convinced that the attrition of travel to, and from work wont get it before then, I’ve got less than 6 years to go, and no huge ambitions, in a work sense at least. Well, unless someone wants to offer me a major acting role, but at my age, with my back disability, and my ‘push’ all gone, I dont see that happening. That doesnt mean I’m not going to appear on a stage again, mind, before Angie says anything, because if something in that sense can be arranged, I am more than up for it, believe me. I might say that my singing isnt great, I suspect my dancing would be limited now, even more so than before, but that chance, on a stage, to do either, you bet I would!

There is also a distinct chance that I might be getting a new role in life, but if so, that will be outside the UK. Possibility I’m going to be a companion, and part time P.A to a wonderful lady, somewhere across an expanse of water, well, thats all I’m going to say at present. But given the chance, the warmth on my back, amazing company, no travel on buses, and everything else, no way am I saying no! Oh, and her biographer, maybe that too?

But while I need to drag my aching body to work in the UK, there is only one place I want to go to, until they sling me out at least, either due to age, infirmity, or the fact I’m moving abroad (at which point I guess its me slinging me out). And yes, thats where I am now, because not only is it a great place to work, but as the video says, they do tend to make me feel like a natural woman too!

Right, video time. I did think of doing a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who left us today at the age of 76, but fine, I’d just be cribbing Wikipedia if I did, and thats being lazy! But musically, oh absolutely! RIP Aretha, has to be said, and thanks for the memories

Anybody got a crane?

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…

In the working years

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!

Hope I Die Before I Get Old

And no, much though I dont want to live forever, given all my health issues, before anyone gets too concerned, its just one of the great lines from tonights video. But no, its not The Who, but someone more apt! Confused? You wont be for long!

When I was 6, The Who released this song, with the classic line in the title. If you take it literally, half the group failed to fulfill their request, they are still alive today, and over 70! Another lasted until 57, so in truth, only Keith Moon lived up to that request!

I’ll be honest, I’ve not been a big one for birthdays, ever since my childhood years. Yes, a meal out, maybe a few small presents, and thats been it, and its suited me fine. I’ve even ducked the landmark ones up until now. 40, I was with my ex partner, but we both had already accepted things were falling apart romantically, so though we celebrated to a small degree, that was it. We finally split, amicably the next year, I might add.

50, I managed to convince the others here that I didnt want a big fuss made, though I had suspicions that at least one wanted to. Now, I’m not saying I want a huge fanfare, and fuss made about me hitting 60 (2 months today), but in a sense, its quite a landmark, assuming I last that long, of course. Maybe its because its the first one since officially transitioning, or something? Strictly, 2008, I already knew I wanted to become a woman, but nothing had been done formally. Whereas now…?

There is of course the factor that I might not even be here on the night of my 60th birthday, if the Blackpool thing happens. No, I still havent looked into the sanity of doing that, was leaving that until next week, when I have more time, as I’ve got the week off. But other than that…?

I dont know, should I be trying to do something special to celebrate hitting 60? Other than not drawing my pension, which I would have been doing not that long ago! Certainly when The Who recorded that song, 60 was retirement age for women, and for quite a long time after that. Mind, life expectancy back then wasnt what it is now, which is the sensible reason for the change. I feel I should, but given that now, with my budget limits, and my current state of mobility, there’s only so much I could do! If Blackpool does work out, then great, that will be said magic moment, and I can party like its 1928 to celebrate! Mind, strictly on the painkillers I’m on, I cant drink, so…? I managed to survive for a few days before my friend’s wedding, but other than that…?

But yes, despite a few bad moments, I’m glad I didnt die before I got old, assuming I last 2 more months at least! First Buses seem to be trying to ensure I dont at present, but other than that…

Right, the video. Yes, fine, this lot make me look like a youngster! Obviously, given this was filmed just over 10 years ago, most of this group are no longer with us, though they definitely grew old!

Where do I go from here?

Very strictly, the answer to that question, is wherever life takes me, I guess? But strictly, for 2018, assuming I live out the year, some things will happen, some things may happen, and some things almost certainly wont happen, but it would be fun if they did!

Anyway, lets be boringly practical first, things that will happen, assuming the life quotient of course. The biggest, and most obvious one to mention, is that I hit the big 60 next March. I know, who would ever have believed it? But yes, the body is definitely now giving me more than hints that its not as strong as it used to be, so… Hard to believe, that 25 years ago, when a woman hit 60, she retired from work! Now, with a longer life expectancy for everyone, and things, its another 6 years to go! Still, gives me chance to build up my pension, I guess, body permitting. Lets face it, I’ve already had to cut back to 4 days a week, and the back isnt likely to get better, only worse, so…?

The only other definite things at this point, are the fact that I will be heading to Seattle in May for 8 days (yes, already decided the back will be up to that, fingers crossed it stays that way once booked), though that will be the only US trip this year. Yes, thats one cutback due to the financial situation. I thought I might be able to pull it off this year, for the last time, the double trip, but no, now know its not going to happen! I have got a few thoughts for a break in September, but will only be a few days, and will only be in Europe. Well, unless the work syndicate wins the lottery lol! So yes, I’ll be using an airport wheelchair (or 5) in May again on that trip. Hopefully, all will be a little smoother than last time!

The other is, of course, working on a group on LGBT issues at work within our section of the Civil Service. First actual meeting is planned for some point in New Year, but location and date, TBA at present. Quite an honor, quite a challenge!

The maybe’s look trip related. I might try to get to Ireland, for at least some cricket this summer, though sadly it wont be that first Test match, as its literally the week before I go to Seattle. But other games are planned, so time, and finances permitting, it will be nice to meet old friends again, and maybe make a few new ones.

Hey, another maybe, I might write another story or two lol! I really ought to, I have a few ideas, but getting around to it, but yes, I’ll risk putting it on the maybe list, rather than the unlikely one! The other maybe, is my first ever ‘senior citizen’ pass. Yes, the Railway senior discount pass still is permitted from 60, so if I travel on the Railways in September, as I might, I’ll get one then!

The unlikely ones, but not impossible? Well, the first one obviously relates to performing, in an acting sense. I suspect a presentation style performance might be more likely, probably on LGBT issues, but I suspect that will be it. Lets face it, who’s going to want an actress who hasnt done anything much in years, and now has back issues, which means standing for long periods for a role, is nigh out of the question! But maybe, out there is a director/producer who wants to do something crazy, and then, well…?

Then we come to the silly stuff, that ‘could’ happen, but you can be sure wont. Winning a lottery jackpot (I know, theoretically, but me, win anything, dont think so!), getting abducted by aliens, turned into a robot, or regenerating (well, if Doctor Who can do it?) as a young(ish) Clara Johnson might all be fun, but none are going to happen, I think we can safely say!

Lets finish with a dramatic, stat based thing. Look back through early film history, and you find a lot of famous actresses who passed on at 60. Clara Bow is one that immediately comes to mind! Now its fair to say that health matters have improved nowadays, and I have never been a famous actress, so I’m probably safe, but… Still, hopefully we will be doing this in a years time!

The video tonight, isnt a proper one, but it fits the title, and yes, its the Carpenters, so just rolling with it. Just a nice song, that hopefully you can enjoy.

So, one blog to go for 2017, as its back to work tomorrow. Any ideas for something you’d love to hear about, either from this year, next year, or Clara Johnson’s era, feel free to suggest in comments

Choosing My Religion

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?

Back on the high stage again

No, dont get excited, I havent got a movie, or theater offer just yet. But next month I’ll be doing a Diversity & Inclusion presentation for a large group of people (about 110, I’ve been told) in Leeds, about life in my Civil Service Department, ooh! No script, well, not unless I write my own, anyway. To be honest, I might do a few notes, but generally I’m pretty sure I’ll just go with the flow, so often its the easiest way with things like this. A fortnight on Wednesday, for those interested, though I’m pretty sure there will be no tickets for the general public lol. Yes, it is a piece on Transgender life, so yes, I do know the subject matter pretty well, I guess?

Seemingly the approach was made on Thursday, though I didnt pick it up until Friday, as I’ve cut back on my working week of course. A quick check for approval from bosses (its on a working day), and I replied positively. One moment of amusement was when she rang up later that day to confirm details, she mentioned the numbers involved, and asked if I would be OK with that, and then after she’d said it, remembered I’d said about being an actress, so…all fine! In truth, it will be interesting to see how I react, given its been a while, other than the wedding, where I have been ‘on show’ to this number of people, but I’m sure its just like riding a bike, anyway.

I have no great idea what the dress code is for a presentation like this, but I’m going to assume, unless told otherwise, its going to be business smart wear. So yes, I will wear a nice dress, and get my hair curled 30’s style, either on the day, or the day before, depending what time I need to be there. No, I wont wear anything as clingy as Harlow would, or as revealing as a chorus line dancer (Miss Johnson) would have to for such an event, principally because I have an obvious issue with too revealing (unless a surgeon is offering to remedy that quickly), and besides, its not fit for a moment like this. I think my ‘publicity manager'(Yes, Madi, I mean you) would love it if I went all flapper, and agreed it might be fun, but apart from the fact those dresses are quite short, they arent winter wear over here, and November might be cold lol! So I’m pretty sure that it will be 30’s look, to some degree. More classy look anyway lol. There is also the factor that I need something that I can hide the brace corset underneath, lets face it, only way I’m going to stand for about 15 minutes or so!

No, sadly I’m not expecting any Hollywood, or Broadway agent representation at the event, a girl can only wish! Nor do I expect them to be able to grab it on You Tube either, ah well…

But who knows, getting back on a stage might just get infectious, and I’ll see where it goes from there. In truth, my long term standing issues might make things complex, but…its a comeback at least!

The video, well, its one word different to the blog title lol! 😛

Seasons In The Sun

Its probably fair to say there are 2 stages in my life. The first one lasted 42 years or so, when I tried to be a man, probably failed miserably, but at least I gave it a go. As we now know, wasnt me, but anyway…Then, early in the new millennium, by the magic of the internet, I finally found out what was the matter with me, and as they say, the rest is history. Yes, this century started in a sketchy way, where I tried to live 2 lives, or is that more correctly, 2 genders at the same time. In comparison, the last 8 years or so, since when I’ve been living to various degrees full time, as a woman only, been so much easier.

One issue it quickly created, is that in terms of friends, there is pretty much no crossover from the 2 stages of my life. In all honesty, apart from my mother (now departed from this world), there was no connection in my life pre 2001, and after 2001. No, you dont want to know about my transgender coming out, and my mother, you really dont.

Thankfully, in 2001, I managed to find myself a new group of friends, who accepted me for what I was, and at that time, it was pretty much of a mental mess. Since then, I’d like to think I’ve got better, not altogether hard when I’m living as I should be, nowadays. And thats right, back in 2005, 4 of us moved up to Yorkshire together, to start again, in one house. And until today, thats the way its always been, but no more. To be fair, Dave was 84, so had lived a good life. But yes, cancer is horrible, and thats what took him in the end, finally leaving us this morning UK time. I might only have known him for about 17 years, and lived with him (prior to Yorkshire move, he lived separately in Cambridgeshire, much of the time) for about 12 years. So yes, going to miss him a lot. In all honesty, my current ‘family’, for want of a better term care for me more than my own (fine, it was only my mother) did when I got away from that stage of my life.

So yes, strictly, in bereavement senses, he wasnt family. In truth, he was more a part of my family than my true family ever was! So RIP Dave, and thanks for everything. Thankfully for him, the pain is now over. And yes, more praise for work, in bereavement leave sense, he counts as part of my family, and I’m grateful for that.

The video? Well in truth, I couldnt really think of much else, so…