Sunday, 28 June 2015

Andro week

I’ve been taking a week largely away from work just to relax and do things I don’t get to do so much these days. And I’m spending it in androgynous clothing – women’s trousers, tshirts and plimsolls, which hasn’t caused any comments from passers by, although a till assistant in Marks & Spencer did take my payment for a pack of pop sox and offer me a money-off voucher for the menswear department with the comment “if it interests you as well”. By the way, I have such tiny feet (UK size 5½, European size 38) that I’ve often had no choice but to buy women’s shoes anyway, though obviously not with high heels if I’ve been presenting in male mode!

So this week I’ve started walking the Capital Ring, a route around London that links so many unknown places via canal footpaths, parks and open spaces. Who would have guessed that so much quiet open space exists within a few hundred yards of motorways, railways, flight paths, industry and endless housing? I’ve also been visiting art exhibitions in the local area and in central London and spending some time cooking. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered or made so far.

Beautiful wildflower meadow at Syon Park, still the estate of the Dukes of Northumberland

The Great Conservatory at Syon Park (1827) which was to inspire the Palm House at Kew and the Crystal Palace

The Duke of Northumberland's cat!

The Grand Union Canal from Birmingham meets the River Brent at Osterley

Millennium Maze at Hanwell, planted with 2000 yew trees. It took ages to get to the middle (only cheats go straight through the gate)! There's a really nice little zoo next to it. Both are free to go in.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Wharncliffe Viaduct (1838) that carries the Great Western Railway across the Brent Valley. You don't appreciate the massive size of it until you are underneath it.

Bitterns' Field, a beautiful, wild, quiet hay meadow ... that was made on an old Ealing Council refuse tip.

Piano in the woods, Twickenham. This will be here in the open for anyone to play till January. I'm not sure what state it will be in by then but, according to the label, seasonal changes in timbre are part of the act!
Old next to new, City of London

Authentic home made pesto sauce for spaghetti: basil, pine nuts, garlic, pecorino cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum.

More interesting discoveries as the summer goes on.

My waxing is booked for the 7th and Sparkle is on the 10-12th. I’ve been sorting out my wardrobe as my problem skin may let me do only one day of Sparkle, so I intend to make it fabulous.

Sue x

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Countdown to Sparkle

I've booked a hotel for Sparkle, the annual national transgender celebration, next month.

I am working on the assumption that I should go as it's become my tradition. But I am doubtful about it.

To recap, I have such a bad rash of eczema on my face and neck that I haven't been able to shave for a year so I am all hairy and can't go out in female mode at all. My skin is reacting badly to any products put on it, medicine hasn't advanced in this area since I was little and so the best policy is to leave my skin strictly alone. At least the complaint seems to have gone from the top half of my head but it will be a while yet before it all clears. I have lived with this problem all my life, but when it is on my face it is worse than anywhere else. What keeps me going is the knowledge that it settles somewhere only temporarily, although it's anguishing not being able to go out as I would like and be treated as a woman.

I'm seeing my TGirlfriends these days anyway as I don't want to lose friends through neglect. I am also arranging to have a good all-over wax soon with a local beautician. I normally shave or epilate all of me that I can reach and then go to my local beauty salon to do my back but I'd like to see what my legs, arms and chest feel like when all smooth. I'm told waxed legs feel awesome.

And I was pleased to lose 9 pounds weight in January but then the weight loss stopped during several weeks of near freezing weather when stodgier food was needed. Now that warmer weather is here I can get back to losing more as, frankly, I'm not going to get in to my summer dresses with a big tum!

Fingers crossed that I can shave fully, put on makeup and do at least one day at Sparkle and that my face doesn't fall off like last year. I'm even hoping that I can manage two days, but I don't propose to push my luck given the agonies of last year.

Sue x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

There's silly, and then there's silly!

Once in a while I take a day off and wander without any plan. I love doing this as it's amazing what you discover completely by chance.

Despite having lived in London all my life I'd never visited Battersea Park before so I happened to wander that way and by total coincidence came across a huge bunch of people in the middle doing co-ordinated dance routines all in high heels. And when I say people, I mean girls and boys equally.

I'd inadvertently stumbled across the warm-up of Hope in Heels, a charity run in high heels for children affected by AIDS. If only I had known I'd have taken part, especially as I enjoyed the Great Drag Race five years ago (that was an event for prostate cancer). There's always next year.

From the Hope in Heels website

From the Hope in Heels website

It's funny how the men all seemed to choose sparkly silver heels!

It's silly, but it's a worthwhile event (and has the added benefit of teaching people to run in high heels, a useful skill for those of us who need to catch buses and trains).

And there's another type of silly. Like the cleric in Pakistan who has blamed earthquakes and inflation on "jeans-wearing women". OK, he's made himself a laughing stock, but it does show the sort of nasty rubbish freer people, and women especially, are constantly up against. This is not some isolated nutcase, you know; the religious family I come from are equally anti-jeans, anti-women, anti any deviation from religious dogma and their own arbitrary views. To them, transgender people don't actually exist: they are just perverts and/or people seeking to provoke, or mere mental cases behaving in a deranged way.

I love my jeans and leggings: not only do they mark me out as just an ordinary woman in the street like millions of others but I'm secretly glad to wear them in defiance of this nastiness and as a mark of freedom just to be.

Being irresponsible and evil
Sue x