And yes, as promised, with just over 4 hours to go of 2014, is the 2nd half of the yearly review, the events here in the UK (and Jersey)
As I mentioned on the previous one, the original plan had been that I would be going to Kansas City, and Cherryvale back in May. The plan being to get it out of the way before the area got scorchingly hot, which quite often lasts into September. And given my love (or not) of extreme heat, we werent taking any chances. As history proved, September was nicely hot, but not excessive, and I know, I was there.
The thing was, before we delayed things, I’d got an offer of £10 off an advance rail fare from TPE, and a 10% hotel discount, so I’d dived in early, and booked them. So now, all of a sudden, in theory, I didnt need them. Now, I could have just written off the £60, or just had a night in Manchester, at a hotel, but thats boring!
So I look at other options, and ended up discovering I could go to Jersey for a week, relatively cheaply if I stayed at a B&B, so I went for it. Did I mention, I’d been to Jersey before, 30 years ago! So yes, it was quite interesting going back after all that time, I must say. There were a few sights I recognised, a lot that I didnt, and a lot that had changed since then, but I’m glad I did it. But no, I dont think I’ll go back again, certainly not in 30 years time, thats for sure!
The main moment of ‘levity’ was the night I ate closest to the hotel, pretty much just across the road in fact. I had tossed up the idea of putting a dress on that night, but didnt in the end. Didnt matter, a few minutes after I had ordered, a gentleman decided to join me at the table, and seemingly chat me up. Sadly, about a minute later, my meal turned up, and he excused himself, and that was that, never saw him again.
But me, attracting a man, oh wow!
The other main item breaking out from the norm this year, was a job interview. Alright, it was an internal application at the office, not breaking new territory, but anyway… I thought ‘what the hell’, and decided I was doing it in style. Long black dress, high heels, the full works! It was wonderful! Seems I impressed, but there was a preferred candidate, it wasnt me, so I didnt get it. But anyway…I will certainly do it again, when, and if the chance arises, especially when the make up has been done. Then I will be dressed to kill lol. But more on that event tomorrow.
The last big happening in my life this year, is very much related to my state, though this person has now gone one precious step further. Yes, I might only have one thing now that a girl shouldnt have, but it annoys the passport office no end, if everyone else now has my gender as female. Yes, Nicole Woodhouse successfully changed into a woman, and I’m proud of her. Granted, if I was younger, or had a man who cared for me, I might do the same, but for now… But yes, I’ve had hints I should either apply to the NHS again (at least for hormones, to top up what my natural body seems happy to do), and see where it takes me.
For now, given the expenses of the next few months (Hollywood, Perm Make Up, New Glasses etc), I’ll stay as I am, but I suspect that before long, I’ll get hints again. Maybe I should, maybe I will, but more on that tomorrow, I suspect. One thing is for sure, 2015 will be fun!
And so, the last video of 2014. What I intend to do next year, a brilliant live version, from just 2 years ago. Seriously, is it just me, or could Cyndi Lauper have played Jean Harlow in a biopic?
Happy New Year, everyone, see you again in 2015
Yes, the video inspired the title, so sue! 😛
As you might have gathered, this is the last blog from Jersey, by this time tomorrow night, I’ll be back in Yorkshire, all things permitting. Due to fly out, at 3.15, for Manchester, if anyone wants to mark my progress, which I doubt you will!
Today, when I woke up, it was raining hard, which I thought was going to mess up plans somewhat. Fine, but by the time I was ready to leave, about 10.00, it was cool, but dry! So, back to plan A. Well, as much as I had a real plan at least! During the week, I’d seen buses going to somewhere called ‘Living Legend’, and I assumed it wasnt an air flight to Carmel, to meet Doris Day. It wasnt, unsurprisingly. Its one of these tourist places of course, telling what it calls the ‘Jersey story’. It does, one of these film things, and it certainly showed me the history of Jersey, in an entertaining way, mainly because Brian Blessed was involved. This man, of the loud, distinctive voice could never be dull, if he tried to be! Yes, it was quite good, certainly for the price, by modern tourist attraction standards.
My niggle with the place though, was that they opened the doors to the building at 11.30, and the film starts at 11.45. So the time to see the display upstairs, before heading down to where the film was shown, was limited to say the least. Even more so if you go in a couple of minutes later, to avoid the rush! I did manage to see the montage of shots from the 1930’s (I know!) before we were called downstairs, but I wanted to see the 20’s as well, so I thought fine, I’ll do it afterwards. Err, no, because at the end of the film, you come out into the shop, with no way of getting back to the display, aargh! Yes, I’ll live, but its annoying.
So after that, back into town, and what I thought was one last lookaround, before going. Did that, got the bus out to Gorey harbour, for one last look at the view, then back here. Yes, last lookaround, or maybe not? I ended up deciding to walk back over into town, for my meal, though beyond finding this delightful Italian restaurant, where the pizza was wonderful this time (irony, Pizza Express, the one big chain I’ve eaten at, is the one less than good meal this week), and good value too.
That was it, and I suspect the next time I leave here, will be to go back to the airport, and home!
Its been nice coming back to Jersey, and beyond one mentioned event, I’m really glad I did it, to see the place again was nice. But yes, 16 weeks from now, I’ll be heading to Kansas, really cant wait!
However, 3 weeks tomorrow, I’ll be seeing this group in concert, in Manchester, so looking forward to that too.
As Michael Caine would certainly say, not a lot of people know that, especially today, 70 years on! But yes, its true.
Back in June 1940, Hitler was roaring through Europe, and all that was left, was Britain. Thing is, because we’re an island, Hitler did realise that trying to invade our country was going to be a bit more of a challenge than mainland Europe. Didnt stop him trying a bombing campaign, and if he hadnt made the crazy decision to turn on his ally, the Soviet Union, to rid the world of communism, well, who knows if we would have held out eventually? But thats all hypothesis, and no more. He didnt, and as history proved, it backfired on him massively.
But despite all that was said about him, Hitler wasnt entirely stupid, and quickly realised that invading a little bit of Britain might not be so hard. Yes, the Channel Islands of course. And back in June 1940, the navy decided that it either couldnt defend the group of islands, just 14 miles from occupied France, or just didnt want to. Who knows, those details are lost in history, all we know is Churchill decided to demilitarize the Islands, and leave them to it. He did offer an evacuation process for people, but hardly made it look an attractive offer!
Anyway, after a brief (one off) bombing campaign of the islands by the German’s (they were tipped off after that, that there were no military on the island), they took control on the 1st July 1940…and stayed until 9th May 1945. Thats right, nearly a year after D-Day, the German’s still controlled the Islands, partly because they had no way out, even if they’d wanted too! They were well defended, had little benefit to the Allies, and so…got ignored, until the war was over! Snag was, no supplies were therefore getting in, and people were beginning to starve.
Finally, at the end of 1944, a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ was reached, and a Red Cross ship sailed into the island, with provisions for the locals. Sadly, that was it for about 5 months, so the benefit was soon gone again.
Lets not mention the atrocities that went on, we all know the history of that. But one of the things constructed, partly by slave labour (from Eastern Europe, who lasted on average 6 months, being starved, brutalised, and over worked), and partly by others, including locals, who were paid well for their efforts, was what is now known as the War Tunnels. Initially as a defence, and communication hub for the island, and toward the end, a military hospital for the invasion that never happened, for the wounded.
Yes, they are where I went today, a follow up visit from over 30 years ago. Back then, the tour was extremely basic, just a few passages you could walk down, a very basic display, and that was it. Now, with time, and modern techniques, its far better done, and I’m glad I went back.
Its hard to imagine, in more senses than one, what life must have been like for the Islanders back then, and I’m not even going to try!
Oh, and for the journey back to town, I travelled on a bus, that may not have been around during the war, but saw service soon after, an amazing treat for someone like me.
The music, what could be more apt, than a German singing about peace, in her own language, English, and at least 1 more for her trouble. It won Eurovision, in 1982, before the contest became a political joke!
Given that the gap was over 30 years since my last visit to Jersey, lets say that most memories of the place were pretty blurred. And walking around St Helier has only confirmed two things, one that it has changed dramatically in the interim, and that beyond a couple of landmarks, I don’t remember anywhere!
So fine, you know already what one of those memories were, or do if you’ve been reading the rest of the blog this week. The Alexandra Hotel, gone about 10 years or so, and the one place outside the hotel that Sue and I would eat together, which I havent mentioned before, a really good curry house, which as far as I can tell, is also no longer there.
Why I say that is simple, the town centre has changed so much, that when I get down town, I cant get my bearings as to which way I would have gone, when going from town, back to the hotel. And the back route for that, is where the curry house was. So yes, highly unlikely it is, but, it could still be there, and I just cant find it. Chances of that, less than 1%, but… I’ve decided that before Saturday comes around, I need to walk up the front, to West Park, go to where the Alex used to be, and try and find that road, so I can at least vaguely try and work out where it was, and what it is now.
Right, get to the story. Last night, as I was either going into the bus station, or leaving it, what did I spy across the road, yes, you’ve guessed it, an Indian restaurant. And fine, like a fool (as I now know) I thought it would make a good place for an evening meal, for old times sake, and all that.
So tonight, I went in. One thing I am sure of, especially having looked at a town map of St Helier, that wasnt it! Keeping this brief, the food was really good, the service was equally good, and it was all reasonably priced. But I couldnt go back there again, not even for a million dollars! Why, simple, talk about invoking the ghosts of holidays past, big time! All too much, thinking back on the times of curry houses, in St Helier in the past, with her, way too much for me. Even though it wouldnt work now, she was into guys, not girls, and I doubt that has changed, even if I have, dramatically.
Fine, I got through the meal, but as soon as I’d eaten my main course, I called for the bill, paid it quickly, and went just as quickly once I’d done so. Yes, as I discovered, way too much of an emotional experience doing something like that. So, if anyone from the Jaipur restaurant, on the Esplanade should read this, or anyone who knows anyone who works there should read this, say I’m sorry. The reason I almost rushed out of the place had nothing to do with them, and was entirely down to some memories of events over 30 years ago, that the place invoked for me.
The video, well, this was the most Indian song I could think of, nothing more. Great song though
Ah well, this is what you get for blogging early yesterday, the big news is a day old by now!
To be honest, beyond some shrewd charity shop buying when I got back to St Helier, generally, its been a pretty quiet day. Seriously, 5 tops for £11, 4 of them definitely vintage in style (though not in age) is not a bad way to spend your late ‘lunch hour’ back in town! Covering the rest of the day briefly, I went up to Gorey this morning, though I didnt climb up to the castle. My knees took one look at the steepness of the steps up to it, and said you have to be joking, and that was it! Especially given the cost of entrance when I got up there, assuming I did!
So after a walk around the harbour, and the cheapest coffee I’ve had out in a long while (95 p, for a large mug!) in a cafe, I headed back to town. Its fair to say, with the exception of said charity shops, that most of the clothes shops in St Helier are of the more expensive kind. And being a tight fisted Yorkshire lass (yes, I admit it), the only other thing I bought was an ice cream!
So right, lets drop back one day, to last night, and the far more interesting events! Just a few yards down the road here at Havre De Pas from my guest house, is another guest house, with a restaurant attached. Or I suspect more the case, a restaurant with a few rooms as a side business. But anyway…they had seats outside, they were offering a fish supper at a fair price, so I went in.
Got a nice table outside, though like a total blonde, I sat on the wrong side of the table, and though the view was nice, the one in the other direction was better! Fine, glass of wine arrived, and I sat there sipping it, as a lady should. After a few minutes (it must have been quite a few, as the story will show), a gentleman came across, and asked if he could sit at my table. Me, quite stunned by this sudden male attention, said yes. He started chatting away merrily, for at least 2-3 minutes, and then my food arrived, he excused himself, saying he wouldnt disturb me while eating, and that was it! Why is it that when you wouldnt mind your meal taking a few minutes extra, it never does! He was about my age, but I wasnt exactly making any effort to attract men. No make up (I really cant, with the slight tremor in my hand, it would just be a mess), and to be honest, it was only as I was sitting down that I realised I hadnt tidied up the ‘shadow’ on my top lip before coming out, although there isnt much nowadays, but…I pulled, or was about to!
I dont know, have I brought some aura of Harlow on holiday with me, or something, men seem to be falling over themselves for me! Either way, it was flattering in the extreme, it has to be said, even if I’m not interested lol! Good job I dont wear makeup, if thats the effect the plain me has on men at the moment! Oh alright, it was nice.
No, I wouldnt have sung this to him, might be singing it about him if dinner hadnt arrived when it did. But fine, you dont get the Piranhas every night, do you? 😉
As some of my readers at least will know, most of my holidays nowadays tend to be in North America, principally the USA, of course. Over there, I tend to try and select a room at the smaller end of the scale, but to be honest, most of them are as large as, or bigger than some flats/apartments I’ve lived in, in my time! All they’ve lacked is a kitchen, and…
Quite seriously, my room at the Walker Center in Boston even had some sort of kitchen too. Fine, most hotel rooms over there have a microwave in them anyway, so you could survive, but…
Of course, this time I’ve come to a guest house in Jersey, and though my single room isnt that small, it just feels so, by comparison to the accommodation I’ve got used to over there! Believe me, I’ve had plenty smaller than this in my time, but back then, I hadnt stayed in US hotels at all! Seriously, this is quite comfy, and sweet, and not a bad size at all. And being frank, some of those US hotel rooms are just too big! I know I shouldnt complain, but the one I stayed in, in Richmond last year was like having 3 separate rooms to myself! A work area, a living area, and then the bedroom. I know, they cater to the business crowd (indirectly why I was there) and they need space, but…
Lets just say you get spoilt by these things! Oh, and another thing I’m being spoilt by, the weather. Seriously, as I type this, its 72 here (23 for those who live by C?)! I’m looking for somewhere to eat tonight where I can sit outside! This is mid May, in the UK for heavens sake!
Oh, and a moment of amusement today. I know, I shouldnt laugh, but…
After visiting Corbiere, and enjoying the view of the lighthouse today, I decided to apply that well worn tactic of not coming back by the same bus route as I went out. Therefore, I got back on the next 12 (an hour later) and caught it to the end of the line, at Greve De Lecq, where it turns into a 9, and takes a different, and quicker way back to St Helier.
Fun started when the bus finally turned up, he didnt have the correct destination showing, he was showing St Brelades Bay, a point he had already passed through, instead of his destination. Apart from one couple, everyone listened to him, and all that wanted that route back to St Helier got off again. They didnt even realise until he was calling everyone off at Greve De Lecq! To be honest, they were ignoring him even then!
Finally he got the message through, or so it seemed, a bus to St Brelades Bay (a 9, turning into a 12) would be along in under 15 minutes, and after much discussion they got off to wait for it. Or so it seemed, because just as we were about to pull off, they jumped back on again. Despite again being told we were not going to their destination, they stayed put, and finally, about 10 minutes late, we pulled out.
I think they only finally got the message when we hit the main road to St Helier, on the front, and we turned left, when St Brelades was signposted right! I’m guessing that meant they would eventually get back home nearly 30 minutes later than if they had listened to the driver in the first place! Before you say anything, they spoke English, so should have understood what they were being told, but…all part of life, I guess?
The video, it hurts me to say that this is 50 years old
Well, actually, to be honest, since I last posted, not much blog worthy has actually happened. So lets focus on one strange, and ironic moment that happened today, on the journey to the guest house.
As we were coming along the front in St Helier, I was talking to my driver, who was shuttling me from the airport to here. And of course, soon after the airport, I got asked that question that I suspect so many visitors get asked, “Have you been here before?”, and I admitted that I had, but a very long time ago.
After some chat, he asked me where I’d stayed back then, and I told him, The Alexandra, and he confirmed what I already knew, that it was no more, seems it closed about 10 years ago or so. In that time (unsurprisingly) there have been developments along the front, and indeed some land reclamation as well, making it almost impossible to get many bearing points that I could remember.
So I asked him (just in time, in fact), to point out to me where the hotel used to be, and he did. I’ll admit, even after all this time, seeing the park, but not seeing the hotel was a bit strange. I have a vague image of it still, but thats all, I visited it enough for that. And yes, now its got me wondering, whatever happened to Sue Clark(e)(?), the member of staff I had regular contact with, and visits to, back then. No idea, its over 30 years since I last spoke to her, and given she was just slightly older than me, I assume she’s still alive, but have no evidence. Beyond her work at the hotel, I know she was originally from Bristol, but thats all I can remember.
If anyone who knows her, realises who I’m talking about, let her know I mentioned her. No, I dont expect contact, and lets face it, I’ve changed a lot since then, in more senses than one!
So anyway, as its been a glorious day over here today, late afternoon (I only arrived at the guest house about 3.15), I took a stroll down into St Helier, and didnt recognise anywhere! Not surprising I guess, in all honesty, but I sort of thought, one landmark, but, not one so far. 😦 Mind, I ended up in the shopping area, and that would look totally different anyway!
Tomorrow, probably plan to do another memory trip, by getting the bus out to Corbiere lighthouse, then walking back a way, and then getting a bus back to town. No, I doubt very much the lighthouse has changed lol! The buses, what I saw of them, are a lot more modern than then!
I never was a diary keeper (I have one, but only for recording my work shifts in), and I have no idea if Sue kept one either, and if she did, whether I ever made an entry in it. But despite all that, this brilliant Yazoo song deserves a bit of love!
Here in the UK, in theory we get a new railway timetable every 6 months or so. Thing is, I’ve lived in Huddersfield since 2005, and as far as Trans Pennine Express is concerned at least, I dont think the times of the trains have changed in all that time…until now! Indeed the only change I remember between Huddersfield and Leeds, was when the 2nd stopping train an hour was switched away from us, to provide Brighouse with a better service.
But this Sunday, everything changes in a big way. From now on, we get an extra train per hour during the day en route, and more carriages too, not before time! Though the cynic in me does wonder if that just means one extra set of train delays per hour, or cancellations through them not having enough staff for the new service! But lets give them a chance…
The only irony with all this, because the stopping trains have also had to be tweaked, it means that when I finish at 8.00 or later (up to 9.15, due to getting a taxi on a 10.00 finish), I will lose out! My last race for the 8.13, or 9.13 stopper is done! That will now leave at 26 minutes past the hour, and assuming the .41 TPE train is on time, will be passed by it. Please note, I did say assuming! So now, not only will the .50 bus be impossible to get (always a piece of challenging fun), getting the o’clock one will be very tight, unless the train is bang on time. Yes, stop laughing back there, I know!
But during the day, it should, should be better, lets wait and see.
So today, I made my last journey on the old timetable, and yes, you guessed it, we were late! 6 minutes late leaving Huddersfield, increased to 15 by the time we reached Manchester Piccadilly. A hasty turn around, and with their lenient scheduling, we were about 10 late by the time we reached the Airport station.
Yes, Manchester Airport, as tomorrow I fly back to Jersey, after over 30 years. Yes, its fair to say it will have changed, and fine, I barely remember what it looked like anyway! So…but given people I knew back then, its still going to be sort of funny going back, especially as the hotel I stayed at is no longer there.
But yes, for the next week or so, you can get blogs from Jersey, if you’re good. What its like now, my reaction to returning, and other things too, I’m sure. So watch this space.
The video, perhaps the most famous song inspired by waiting at a rail station, something I was doing earlier today
For most people, any place you visit in the world, it doesnt matter when you go, you’re the same person when you return. For me, things are a lot more complex!
There are a large number of places in the world that I only visited as a ‘man’, and have no plans to go back to, now that I’m officially a woman. Including in fact, the 2 places where I spent more than two thirds of my life living, the Medway Towns in Kent (62-83, and 02-03 when I knew I was Transgender, but hiding it ) and Yeovil in Somerset (83-99). Why, I just think it would be a bit weird going back to either of those places now, to be honest, and the first has more bad memories than good now, anyway. The latter, might be interesting to visit again, but I know in my heart, it wouldnt be the same, so…I must admit, I havent been back to Haworth (where I was born) in a while, for the same reason, found it weird going there again now, as a woman.
Beyond local places, and of course, New England, and Rochester, NY, I have tended to avoid places from that era. And given I had no great memories of the areas on my first visits to those places (it was 1 holiday), they werent a problem
From 2000 onwards, which brings in most of my US trips, it gets complex, as thats when I finally worked out who I was, and that I had the wrong body! But, for a few years at least, in public, I stayed behind the male persona, even if I knew it was a lie. So places like Richmond, and Seattle saw me as a man, even if I knew otherwise, which is probably why it didnt feel strange going back to both as a woman since I fully transitioned. Technically San Francisco falls into the same boat, but not directly, as by then, at home at least, I was living as a woman anyway. And one day, sometime soon possibly, Chicago will fall into that group too.
I was going to add Toronto to that, but that was my first trip as a woman, so…that was special in that sense, to be honest, and yes, I will be going back again. Interestingly, Canadian rules on Transgender folk, and passports is complex, to say the least. Technically they wont let you fly out of the country, if your look doesnt match your gender, and I have two large bumps nowadays that say otherwise, but…if they want to offer me a job, accommodation etc, because they wont let me out again, then fine!
Now, getting back to where we started, going back to a special place, I knew as a man, as a woman. Yes, its going to happen this year, I just hope I dont regret it. Thankfully, it will only be for a week, so I’m sure I will cope, and after more than 30 years, it will all have changed beyond recognition anyway.
Jersey, in the Channel Islands.
I first went there, either at the very end of the 70’s, or the very beginning of the 80’s, and went back more than a few times. Why, because of a certain woman, a receptionist in the hotel I stayed at. Hey, the hotel is now long since gone, I suspect St Helier looks very different by now, but so do I! Fair to say that I wont recognise anyone, or they me, but…it will be the first time I’ve done this sort of visit, and its going to be a bit strange. But given the US trips this year are September, and November, I wanted to get away somewhere, so…
But yes, I’m looking forward to it, and see how I react to returning somewhere like this. Hey, I might even get back to Yeovil, if it isnt too bad lol! Medway Towns, no chance, even if this is the 40th anniversary of leaving school there, and I could go back for Founders Day in July. Hey, I might be the only female pupil they ever had, being a boys grammar school lol, and they dont know it!
I think this video is right, I do want to go back, just not sure how strange it will all be
Well, this morning I went and had my hair highlighted and cut again. In all honesty, the latter was overdue, and the former was pretty much becoming a need too, but now the deed is done. And yes, its still blonde…for now! But only for now. Let me announce now, for those who read my blog, I’m going to change my hair colour the next time around. Not that being a blonde isnt fun, it is, but I’ve been that way for quite a while now, and I think its time for a change. Stick with the bob though, and in a sense, when you read on, even more of a reason for doing so.
Oh, and Linda, if you read this, I’m warning you now, ‘killing me’ for not being blonde is not really practical lol! As I say, if she sees this, she will know who I mean! Just at the moment, I’ve got a couple of options. One, that June (my hairdresser) suggested to me, of going brown, maybe with a few red highlights, maybe not? Actually sounds quite good to me. The other one I’m considering is the look that most flappers went with, the very dark one, black. Funnily enough, much closer to my natural hair colour than I’ve been in a long time. As I’m told there is no sign of grey hair, I might well go with that.
I’m not saying I wont end up going blonde again at some point, but a change is as good as a rest, as they say, and I feel its time for one. No, I dont plan on shortening the bob even more though. I know that nowadays I have ‘2 good reasons’ why people shouldnt think I’m a guy, but no point in taking too many chances lol! Who me, boyish, surely not! The longer bob looks good anyway, so I’ll stick with that at least.
Other than that, the main thing that seems to have come together, is holiday plans. And shock horror with me, its been changed a bit! Yes, I will still be going to Kansas, but its going to be September! Yes, I spoke to Kate last night, care of Yahoo Messenger, and we talked things through, and made plans. So, given that I’m going to Albany now in November, that moved the ‘blank space’ from September to May. Actually, not so blank. A long, long time ago, (early 80’s, at a guess) I spent more than a few holidays in Jersey, and had a wonderful time. But no, have never been back since. Well, in the summer of 2014, after I guess, 32 years, I plan on going back. No, I dont expect to recognise anywhere, and certainly wouldnt expect anyone to recognise me, for more reasons than one!
The one thing ironically that will, by then be the same, the hair colour, assuming I go dark, not brown at least! The funny thing, especially with my job, will be the betting shops. Back then, in the UK, all betting shops shut at 6.30 in the summer, in Jersey, they stayed open for night racing, and I remember my amusement at going in a shop at 8.00 in the evening, just because I could. Now, everywhere stays open!
Now, all I have to find is some body armour, for when I see Linda, after I’ve changed the hair colour! 😛
The video, a real oldie, in black and white, quite apt, maybe?