Monday, 11 March 2013

A tourist in my own city

As mentioned in my previous post, my friend Kay Denise came to stay this weekend. I’ve known KD for some years and she writes this blog here about her adventures: In the past we’ve only ever met in Manchester, for the Northern Angels dinner once and at Sparkle where, last year, she had, in my opinion, the best outfit at the burlesque evening at Eden. Her Flickr pictures are here so you can judge for yourselves:

KD’s wife came too, and she is a really lovely person and we hit it off at once. I know I’ve made a new friend. Quite apart from the fact that women who accept TGirls are very special in my book, she’s a genuinely warm person that it would be impossible not to like.

But enough of embarrassing my guests! Here’s what I did with them as a tourist in my own city.

They came on Friday and we just spent an evening quietly at my home. But on Saturday we went out to London and I was pleased to be able to take them first to the UK’s best coffee shop which, as I am sure you are all aware by now, is Vergnano’s on the Charing Cross Road. By the time we left after our perfect cappuccino it was nearly lunchtime so we popped into the Cambridge pub further up the road to say hello to Joanne, my pal who’s the top barmaid there, and then went on to join lovely Petra at Melanie (again) in Old Compton Street for lunch. Melanie is another restaurant where the staff now know me well and are very welcoming – indeed, the chefs were waving at us from the kitchen! The portions are enormous and I’m not sure any of us finished our lunch. But it was good to be able to catch up with Petra and relax over a nice lunch and for the KDs to meet friends like her here.

Ladies who lunch: me, Petra and KD.

Well, what can one do in this part of London? A spot of shopping in Seven Dials and Covent Garden with their quirky boutiques lining the tangle of streets and yards. The Cambridge Satchel Company has now opened a store in Short’s Gardens, Neal’s Yard (home of the eponymous remedies) has a blue plaque to former resident Monty Python (apparently), funky retro clothing is available in Pop Boutique in Monmouth Street, lovely Tabio hosiery in Neal Street, Kurt Keiger shoes with its fabulous mirrors is in James Street, some outstanding street performers and living statues to see all over the Covent Garden area (Eddie Izzard started out here), trinket stalls in the markets, Stanford’s wonderful map shop in Long Acre, the varied cafés of Endell Street... We took a break for a cup of tea at my favourite café, La Roche on St Martin’s Lane. We saw the sights and the bright lights of Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square with its Swiss carillon, and then sheltered from the icy wind in the warmth of my favourite pub which, as I’m sure readers also now know, is the Chandos just off Trafalger Square with its booths, compartments and sofas, warmed by fireplaces at either end and with no distracting piped music, TVs or fruit machines.

We ended the day with dinner at Wong Kei in Wardour Street, generally known as Wonky’s, the last outpost of Chinatown. It’s far from grand but the food is good, fresh and hot and the prices are the best: you can easily eat a full dinner here for under a tenner a head. London is reasonably priced if you know where to go.

And so to bed for a long night’s well-earned sleep. On Sunday we went for a stroll in my local area and although the wind was keen we enjoyed the parks. I was sad to see them go as I certainly enjoyed their company. I believe it was quite a special weekend for them but I dare say KD will tell you all about that from her perspective in due course. Thanks to them for coming and visiting me. It was a really nice weekend.


Coming up: a night out with the girls in Brick Lane on Wednesday, the possibility (work permitting) of joining the TG London group for a visit to the Soane Museum on Saturday and maybe, just maybe, a return to the Magic Theatre on the following Saturday. I’m sure there will be more girls visiting me at home to have a chance to dress as the easter holidays approach.

As for here, I have been working on a piece, as requested, about my experience of being brought up in a religious household and how it affected me as a trans person. It’s not an easy essay to write.

Thanks for reading. May you all have a happy time this month. And keep warm. Not even my fluffy wig is keeping out that icy wind!

Sue x


  1. Sounds like a good time. Funny how we often skip on the attractions on our own front door step.

    1. Yes, it was nice to relax and see things differently. Sue x

  2. Just another thank you from both of us again for a wonderful weekend and for your lovely hospitality. Take care & hugs. xxxxx

    1. You two were wonderful company and I really enjoyed our weekend together. Sue xxx