Thursday, 29 May 2014

Early summer holiday

Early summer holiday… Well, more like a long weekend in the sun. But I managed it despite the state of my face. And I was glad I did as I haven’t actually had time away for eight months.

Last Thursday I was pleased to be able to meet up at long last with Amanda Parnell, the doyenne of musical TGirl videos, elegant photography and comedy double acts (like this: I’ve linked my blog to her Flickr pages before (

Amanda was doing one of her mystery city video tours so I met her in the mystery city – which I cannot disclose or it would cease to be mysterious – and we had lunch in the sunshine by the cathedral. I think it’s the first time I’ve eaten outside this year. We looked around the cathedral and even went up the long flights of stairs to the gallery, and then to the roof, and then by a narrow open metal stair right to the top. Do not attempt to negotiate openwork staircases if you are wearing high heels, are overweight, slightly vertiginous and have bad eyesight. It’s too late for me now, but save yourselves! Anyway the view from the top was glorious. In the churchyard I filmed Amanda’s mysterious mystery city talk and it’s already on Flickr. Can you guess where we were?

I think passers-by were curious as to why this lady in a pretty dress was feeding a wire up her frock, but it’s all part of the tourist experience!

We strolled gently through the town and I met Jolene for the first time and we all enjoyed a nice Italian dinner together.

On my way home a guy stared at me a few times which disconcerted me at first. But then he said, "I think it's great that you can be who you want to be," before disappearing into the crowd. That made me smile. A kind word to a stranger goes a long way.

The next day I went to Brighton to stay with my friend Stella and her wife, Helen. A number of girls had decided to visit Brighton that weekend so we met up with them in the evening at their hotel, Legends on the sea front. This is a gay hotel – very gay in fact! – and the reception desk seems to be the bar, or the bar is the reception desk … well, who cares. Cheers! In fact, the set-up reminds me of this Mitchell and Webb sketch:

There’s a sequel to this sketch for aficionados.

Back to the action in Brighton. We had dinner in the pretty good Italian restaurant, La Capannina. Not cheap, but I have no complaints about the food or wine.

At La Capannina in Brighton with (l-r) Lucy, Susie, Rachel, Linda, Stella, me, Helen and Stevie

Back at the Leg Ends hotel we enjoyed a drink and the music before heading off home.

Now, I had been worried about the state of my face but on the Saturday I did manage to get fully ready before breakfast without too much pain and strife. Stella is a photographer and wants to do a series of photos of her visitors in this style of Princess Diana

Well, as she was something of a world fashion icon in my younger years, how could I resist? Despite my scarred face, the only photoshopping here was creating uniformity in the background. I like this image and I think it captures a twinkle that I do have in my eye and the smile that breaks out when I am fully femme. I like my hair like this, too. Thanks, Stella. And I look forward to taking my place in your rogue’s gallery in due course.

It was such beautiful weather and it was wonderful to be able to drive into Brighton to do some shopping with the hood of the car down. The Lanes with their jewellery shops, boutiques and makeup stores are always a delight. It was back to Leg Ends in the evening to meet the girls and head off to Il Bistro for dinner, a general Mediterranean restaurant. The food was OK on the whole, and another fun evening was spent by the group.

Don't blame me. These days it's the fashion to photograph your dinner and share it online.

The yellow haze on the sea’s horizon was extraordinary, and even more amazing was the huge copper-red moon that night. We tried photographing them but both phenomena are something you have to experience for real.

And Sunday? I had to give my face a rest for a bit. After three days of T-grade shaving, steroid creams, thick makeup applications and general overindulgence, I needed a few hours rest after waking. My hosts did do a double take at this stubbly character who turned up for breakfast. But I was determined to do the whole holiday as attractively as possible and by lunchtime I was ready to go. Lovely Linda joined us and we drove over the downs, passing a rally of hundreds of minis old and new on their way to Brighton (that’s mini cars, not mini skirts – though the latter would have been a delight, too!) We had lunch in a hidden-away pub on the edge of Lewes, the Snowdrop, a classic old English tavern which does fantastic Sunday lunches and has a wide variety of English and continental beers. My roast lamb was tasty and accompanied by a Yorkshire pudding and just about every vegetable you could think of! A delight.

Ignore the fat lump in the foreground. This pic is to show you the pretty decoration of the Snowdrop at Lewes.

The afternoon was beautiful and so, on our return, we just sunned ourselves in the garden before I caught the train back home.

What a great weekend, my first little holiday of the year – and a much needed one – and I managed to survive the depredations of the skin lurgy. Many thanks to Amanda and Jolene on Thursday, to Rachel, Helen, Linda, Lucy, Stevie and Susie at the weekend, and above all to Stella and Helen for their perfect hospitality, and for the professional photos.

It’s given me a lot of confidence to enjoy my proper summer holiday in June when I go to the Lake District and then Manchester, followed, I hope, by a return trip to the Nottingham Invasion: a whole week of summer touring and fresh air and girly nights out. And then Sparkle followed, I hope, by another trip to a different part of the South Coast in August. I am even hoping to go to Berlin en femme in the autumn, my first foreign trip as a woman. But let’s not get too carried away! There’s work to do and health to sort first!

Many thanks for your good wishes regarding my health. I think they have been working.



  1. Nothing wrong with getting carried away. Life is for living and good for you that you are doing it !

  2. Really pleased to read this entry - very upbeat and good on you. As for the "Diana" image, it is lovely one of you and yes you should be proud of it too. xx

  3. Thanks for your nice comments, girls