Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Beer Review: Ruddles County

The last time I had this beer I was on holiday with friends from University on an ill-fated trip to the Norfolk Broads. We stopped off in a pub on the outskirts of Yarmouth and had a couple of pints each, back then I was more into shots you understand, for the sole purpose of stealing some pint glasses. I remember thinking that the head was a bit like a skein of spittle but that was long before I understood that beers with a creamy head are not my type.

Anyway, yes, tonight I am mostly reviewing Ruddles County by, er, Ruddles brewery. I know, I am really running through the ales with odd breweries at the moment.

It is a pleasing chestnut colour in its clear glass bottle and smelled faintly of the fens - all wet and woody and rank with heavy matter and falls of rain. It has a crisp and clear citrus edge to a rather nice flavour too. There's definite elements of sweetness to it, it claims to have toffee and caramel but I can't say as I noticed any of that, and there is a reassuring thickness to the taste as it rolls over the tongue. Not too heavy and not so light that you end up wondering why you bothered. This is a good beer to share with a meal, it has that quality that is necessary in terms of being flavourful but without being too strong or weak. At 4.7% ABV it can stand some repetition as well. I can see why my friends chose it when we were drinking in Norfolk that time!

There is definite edge to the taste as well, which I like, and it seems as though it almost needs food to be eaten with it. So, a mealtime beer in the way that most of the ales that I choose are not.

Enjoy, and you will enjoy it, then with some close friends at any bar or pub you can find.  Have it with a nice meal that you will all like - steer clear of things like steak or chilli and, instead, have something that is filling and innocuous. Failing that, have it with a meal that requires you to be watching that flavour and taste like a hawk, because this is something that will reward that kind of attention. It is subtle and it is well made. It will not sneak up on you and it will not force you into warmth either. It is a beer that defies seasons and I suspect will work well in most times of the year.

The hops, incidentally, are Bramling Cross and taste not a little unlike Fuggles. We likey.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Changing Images

I was reminded today of how much there is on this blog that is very negative and how much I have moved on. Firstly there was a very thoughtful and forceful comment left on a post here (Discovery, in case you were wondering) and secondly my son broke his leg.

The woods behind where we live. Snapped with my
poor quality phone camera.
Sums up yesterday well enough I think.
Second part first: the Boy was playing in the snow, left over from our snowmageddon yesterday when even my place of work was closed (we went and bought sledges and the Girlie got rather addicted to it, as did Daddy before leaping over banks of snow on a plastic sled made my bottom sore), and the Girlie hit him at speed on a sledge. No one could have done anything about it, there was no blame to be apportioned anywhere, it was one of those things. I was called back from work to take the Boy to A&E and we were well looked after by some really good staff who eventually discovered that the reason the Boy was in pain was a spiral, or toddler, fracture. He has a cast on and he and I will be sleeping in the Big Bed tonight. The whole affair, with a wonderfully well behaved Girlie and the coming back early from work, reminded me that, as a family, we can be pretty groovy when we want to be.

Mary Magdelene was the first human
to see the risen Christ for Pete's sake!
She was, arguably, the first apostle!
And an ex-prostitute. The Church forgets
this (a woman bearing testimony in a
society that did not trust the testimony
of women as standard) at its peril!
Then the first part. The comment was, of course, correct. There may be guilt but it is ultimately a social construct. I agree. What I find consistently fascinating (and it is one of the reasons I believe in religion) is the fact that guilt is one of those things that my own monotheistic faith strives pretty hard to eliminate and yet, when it comes down to it, most proponents of my faith are pretty friendly with the concept and actively encourage it! Also gender roles. Again, reading the bibble as I do, I see a counter-historical document - that is, a document that actively rails against the social mores of sexual and gender repression of the day whenever it gets the chance. And yet Christianity, my preferred flavour of religion, is often in amongst the pack when repressing sexuality and gender! All fascinating to me.

Basically the argument went that the huge guilt I felt back then in 2011 was a little unjustified. It was good to hear (and has been said often enough on here by plenty of right-minded folks) and a little uplifting too. Of course, again, it is correct in that regard. Much of the guilt I experience regarding dressing is self-created, after all I do it in secret and without the knowledge of Tilly or anyone else, and so I create my own guilt quite well.

It's just a lovely image. If I could dress
like that, I'd want to look like that.
In essence, I believe myself to be a very different person after the last few weeks than I was when this blog was started. Which brings me to the point of this post - my changed avatar. Don't know if this is noticeable or not, but I have invested in a new image to more accurately sum me up that is not nicked from a porn website (to my knowledge). I like it because the picture seems more 'real', less air-brushing and more at ease. Much like, I suppose, my mood at the moment.

And that, I say quoting Forrest Gump, is about all I've got to say about that. For the moment. :)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Beer Review: Roaring Meg

So, this was the second in a brace of beers that was bought for me by my childrens and it was an oddity. I have certainly not seen this on sale before and so it marks a real find by the Boy. Basically, the bottle has a large sun on it and it was bright and obvious enough that the Boy was able to pick it out of the line up. I'll take that.

What is it? Well, it is Roaring Meg from, um, the UK. Somewhere in Nottinghamshire from the looks of things on the bottle but no brewer's name. This could be a good sign I suppose, because they're obviously banking on the beer doing the talking rather than the brand.

Anyway, it was an interesting bottle. So I expected an interesting beer, a blonde one by all accounts, but I couldn't tell you much about the colour - Tilly was having wine so I couldn't use the my normal beer swilling glass. Add to that the fact that pint glass is still mouldering in the bathroom as Tilly's back up bedtime drink glass (for water) and you see why. Enough of that, to the beer!  It smells a bit more malty than you would expect from a blonde and thus is heavier than it would suggest from the packaging. At 5.5% ABV I suppose you can expect some heavy hitting and some heavy nights. Certainly the punch it packs is larger than the other blondes of which I have partaken.

There's an element of citrus on the tongue and the carbonation is far from being overdone, though it is still fizzier than I like. The punch and the heavy maltiness is still there in the taste too, which was a tad off-putting, but I guess that's what the selling point is. Don't get me wrong, the malt doesn't detract from the beer too much and it's not a bad thing, just not what I've come to expect from blonde ales in general. I suppose, in this regard, it shares much with the Leffe Blonde  that started this whole thing way back when.

Basically, this is a summer beer, best enjoyed in the sunshine of a late summer's day after a hard day at work when you need to kick back and relax. Have with a light meal, I'm thinking fresh salads with crunchy veg, and simply enjoy the smooth taste and the heavy punch. It works as a winter beer, but it is obvious that this season is not its natural home.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Yes, I tried my posh meal again last night and yes, it was as I suspected - I expected too much of it and got less from the experience than last Saturday. Mainly I had much less time to indulge and a bit of a time getting the Boy to sleep (it took two and a half hours, from 6.25pm to 8.55pm) and then had to get the chinchilla out (9.25pm, after taking half an hour to decide on ensemble, to 10pm). Tilly was due back at 11.30pm from her night out.

However, I did learn some new things. I was attempting to wear another outfit, rather my only other outfit, of skirt (a present from my mad-ex); top (stolen from Tilly's last great throw-out in 2008); boots and tights. I wore the same bra, still stuffed, and same knickers but, lacking a tampon, made do with a panty-liner to help with the possibility of drippage after the loo. In so doing I realised that the bra I use is designed to show cleavage and, well, I have none. So the top was sort of... empty where it should have been sporting a great bosom. I had to change back into my dress. Which is a shame, I really like the skirt and really like the pictures of me from last week - so I was hoping to get more. It is really rare that I appear in photos and rarer still I look back on them with fondness, even, perhaps especially, of me cross-dressing.

So much for that. But I did find some jewelry that Tilly hasn't worn since 2006, that I didn't feel too guilty about borrowing. A necklace with a long droppy bit down the cleavage that was lovely (purple glass framed in black metal raisin-sized beads along the collar bone then a long chain of these hanging down toward the chest, about seven I think) with two matching bracelets. It was the latter that enchanted me. To fasten them you had to clip them together, quite a feat being opposite to how a watch works, and they had small chains with weights to aid the process that, of course, hung loose when done up. They clattered nicely on my laptop as I attempted to work and kept brushing me when I was sorting out the chinchilla.

Now, I generally don't like jewelry, but these... well, they felt right and I felt good wearing them. I would have kept them on after I changed back into my normal, drabber, clothes if I thought I could get away with it. Alas, at about 10.45pm I thought I'd better clear up and make sure there was no evidence, which I did, and then I sat up for Tilly. I don't sound it, but I am grateful for even that much time to indulge!

None of that was what I wanted to write about, which is this: I have updated my Visitor's Guide a bit with some new and better links to posts here. In the fullness of time I hope to add something on blogs I visit and why I go there, as I am aware that my blogroll doesn't explain why they are there and that my New Year Listings was poor in terms of explaining why certain blogs have helped me over 2012.

So there you go, a little more stressed than last week, a little less happy but still, ultimately, happy.

Alas, no images with this post because I haven't the first idea where to even look for images of jewelry. Did I mention that I have a peculiar phobia about it?

Friday, 18 January 2013


My feeling of happiness, of peace, has more or less carried me through the week. I don't quite know why I am surprised by that, I've said before that simply wearing knickers to work was enough to keep me happy and productive back in summer 2011, and so it would follow that indulging to the heights that I did last Saturday would make a bigger effect.

This sort of meal. I'm hungry just looking at it!
Of course I want to do it again, I am hungry to repeat the experience. Like when one enjoys a particularly fine cake as a treat or goes to a posh restaurant, there is that part of you that wants to return to eat there and have the same meal right now. However, I do also know that indulging that urge too early or too much will only make the special more pedestrian. So I know that anticipation and the wait and the longing and the wonderful memory makes the repeat performance all the sweeter. I was therefore not planning to indulge tonight when Tilly went to meet her NaNo friend at the pub for a meal. Good thing too, there's snow afoot and the place the friend was coming from is looking dicey so it's been cancelled. If I had been planning an indulgence session then I would have been irritable and ratty about it - this I also know from experience. As it is, God is possibly smiling.

Doves symbolise peace. So, a dove for you!
I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't want to characterise my favourite imaginary friend who I believe created the Universe as being someone that only looks out for me and somehow condones everything that I do. You know, the sort of omnipotent imaginary friend that only pops in to our reality every now again, grants a prayer for a parking space and then lies inactive until you cast God summoning +1 again. But I do get the feeling that, after last Saturday and even during it, God is pleased that I found some peace. Maybe that I found the peace that God allowed. I don't know. I have no clue what God thinks about cross-dressing as a habit, addiction of compulsion. Increasingly I see it as less of a choice and more of a thing that is something I do, part of me that I can no more live without than I could my internal organs. If that is true then I must believe, if I believe I was created with a plan in mind, that this part of me was also created with love. Doesn't mean it is condoned or even 'right' but it is something. Some children are born with horrific defects and inherited diseases, they were still created with love.

Huh. I didn't even know I thought all that last paragraph until I wrote it just now. I guess my favourite imaginary friend is ineffable in some ways.

Because there are very few times when I
like photos of me. And I like this one of me.
There have been tribulations at work, I have been denied something I was originally granted that leaves me about £400 out of pocket and the possibility of losing a lucrative career with another company, but the very fact that I haven't been on here to moan, whinge and complain about it speaks volumes for the power of that Saturday night. I did have much longer en femme than I expected, maybe about three hours all told, and I loved the opportunity to really let it all out. No skulking around and no fear of discovery. Even wearing a necklace was liberating. It almost makes me want to invest in some make-up for those times, it would last forever given how long it is between such sessions and I believe I've already shared how much I enjoy mascara and eye shadow. But, equally, I know that this is an empty thought right now, we're not poverty stricken but things will be tight for a good while yet.

And anyway, Tilly is off to see Les Miserables again tomorrow night.

Before I forget, may I thank Elle most profusely for a lovely, and entirely unexpected, caption series that she made for me over the last week. I am blushing about it even now, in an entirely good way! Also, check out the following from Fredoline, why? Because it does a pretty good job at catching my own mental state regarding clothes designed for women.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Articles and "Woah"

Easily the best image I have of what Feminism is and
the one I use to introduce it to my students. Because
it messes with their heads!
Like most people I read the Julie Birchill piece and was amazed at what was going on. Principally because I always assumed, and still assume, that Feminism is about rights for pretty much all people, regardless of gender. That is, campaigning for basic rights like childcare to be recognised as on a par with, and perhaps more important than, 'work' and for flexible work/care options for parents starts, obviously enough, with those whose lives are most blighted by the lack of recognition - mothers. Ergo, Feminism, to me, is so called merely because the greatest wrongs, at present, are done to women.

However, as all sin is equally reprehensible to God, all wrongs done to human beings by human beings, regardless of motive, are equally wrong. So, although I say Feminism starts with women it by no means ends there. Any group, howsoever defined, that has wrong systematically done to it due to being part of a group therefore has as much claim as anyone else to be aggrieved at poor treatment and the worst thing they can do is blame another group for that.

So, apparently, I show some of the "may"
signs for autism only. Huh. Tilly is still
convinced that I am autistic however.
In honesty, I think I may be, but I think it is
unconnected to my cross-dressing.
So, yes, I read the article and then I started reading about the aftermath posted by someone I know whom I used to go to University with and has no idea of my TG tendencies on their FaceBook account. And I got to the TransDocFail hashtag site. And I read some of the tweets and the situations and... I was gob-smacked. There were many complaints focussed on the psych element and, in particular, on the diagnosis of GID concerns as Aspergers on the grounds that disconnection with body and emotions coupled with female personae were based on wanting "roles to play" or "being obsessed with difference". After all, if GID is not connected with sexual feelings then it can't be "transvestic fetishism" and the only other possible response would be SRS.

Why gobsmacked? Because, when I failed my therapy session last year in August this was reasonably similar to what I was told. Also, the letter that told me to politely "fuck off" and not contact them again, the GP who said it was no longer anything to do with them (it was when I had initially gone with depression and they referred me to the Mental Health clinic) and the fact that I was supposed to have been referred to the Autism Unit for a diagnosis within six weeks. They haven't heard of me and can't contact the Psychotherapy Clinic, I have to do that. But the secretary at the Psychotherapy Clinic tells me that I have been discharged and I must go through my GP to get in touch. The GP tells me that as it's no longer simply depression there's nothing they can do and gives me the number of the Autism Carer's Support Group. I do not care for anyone with Autism and so they send me back to the Autism Unit. And so on.

I'm just amazed that I actually have had some experience of this.

And, for now, that is all. Still feeling the benefit of Saturday night.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Try It

Tonight Tilly is out to see Les Miserables at the cinema, which is great - she's not been and done something for just her in forever, well, since the Summer holidays at any rate. Besides, she was, and is, slightly obsessed about Les Mis, she saw the theatre production in London about 35 times, as you do, and knows some of the actors quite well as a result. Hell, she went to meals with a few of them and even auditioned for the chorus at a summer school a few years before she met me. With no formal singing training she got in but was unable to actually do it. See, dedication, and why she has to go and see this film on its second night. She should have gone last night but she shilly-shallied and left it too late to book.

A rarity. It's me. An actual photograph of me
online. I know. I don't think I can be traced
from it though...
In the meantime I have successfully put the children to bed and am awaiting getting the chinchilla out. I should be working and preparing stuff. But I'm not. I have no idea where the compulsion took me but I do know that I am now sat typing this in my dress (yes, I only have one, it's the one from ASDA whose image I keep posting), tights (2005 vintage), boots (the ones I bought last year), knickers (black pair under tights and a lovely pinks and grey frilly pair over the top for effect) and a bra I bought online in 2005 that's a smidge too small around the chest (stuffed with socks of all things. Lord knows why, but the dress wouldn't hang right otherwise I suppose). I have pilfered a necklace that was a gift to Tilly from some friends two years ago that she's not yet worn (it's been out on a shelf gathering dust and getting tangled with shit since, so I don't feel too guilty about that) to wear and, for some unearthly reason, I've decided to put in a tampon.

And you know what? I feel great. Comfortable and very much like myself.

So, a rarity doubled. Another (no, really, it's
different) shot of me dressed tonight.
Don't get me wrong, I know I wouldn't pass even in the dark and from a distance, but I feel more like me than I normally do. I feel charged and ready. Not even totally sexually, though there's no denying that aspect to things, but mainly just at peace. I would quite happily go for a walk with a long coat (or Tilly's poncho I guess) and a hat and just walk.

I guess I'd like a more feminine watch than the one I wear, pretty unisex all told, but that's about it for wistfulness.

I feel pretty.  Relaxed.

I know that this can't last. Even though Tilly isn't due back until 10.40pm there's the chinchilla to get out and the very strong possibility that a snot-filled boy will be abroad before long. And there's the Girlie who was most upset and sad that Mummy was going out and is likely to be up and out soon enough with trips to the toilet or asking for food or just generally announcing that she misses Mummy - she's at that age you see. Also, I should wash the pots and sort the kitchen out a bit. Then there's the stress about finances (again), though they aren't as bad as usual at this time of year. I haven't had to borrow any money from Tilly (indeed, I've paid £600 back over the last year) and we're still in the black. Things are just tight at the end of the month and we just have to be careful 'til the 16th when the credit card cuts off and we're into the next month - which will be good.

I have this bizarre fetish where we pay the credit card off in full each month you see. Means that we can't spend what I don't get a month later after bills and mortgage. It's a pretty good system but leads now and again to situations like now where we're having to be rather careful about how much we spend on normal items. As you can see, there is a modicum of stress involved. But, strangely, I can recount it here, adjust a bra strap, and not feel worried at all. Just... aware, but at peace. This is like taking a long bath, I guess, I can feel myself luxuriating in the feelings and the freedom and liberation.

I was going to post other things but, right now, they don't feel terribly relevant.

This is bliss, this is happiness.

Friday, 11 January 2013

New Year Listings

I've been meaning to write a summation of last year and a celebratory post for a while but one thing and another has conspired to keep me away and not writing. That ends!


I have been touched and honoured to have had mentions by people I consider to be talented and lovely and, well, more focussed on what they give than what they get. The following people are wonderful, in my humble opinion, and have been a great help to me in some bad times for myself either through offering support and advice or through simply being themselves and offering their talents. I realise that I am merely one of thousands, and that most readers of my blog will already know them, but I post them here as recognition of their all-round loveliness, in no particular order:

This is a lovely gift that Dee made for me
 (I still get wibbly when I say that)
and still pushes buttons even though Dee
had no idea what I liked! That's either talent or
I'm justvery easily pleased... either way, I was pleased.
Another one that pushed my buttons.
I like to remove the
last three paragraphs,
but that's just me.
First of all Dee-Mentia, who is lovely. Creator of many captions and conversations that I wish I had more time to take part in. Always game for deeper conversation and discussion or simply light-hearted banter. If you haven't been over there then can I recommend that you do so and have a gander? Do take part in the conversations there. There is no better supporter of community on the web that I have found and I think from my own reading of some very brave individuals that one thing everyone is in need of is a feeling of belonging! I have included two captions by Dee here for illustrative purposes and for completely different reasons! It is through Dee that I got the earworm of 'Garden of your Mind' stuck in my head which I credit with finally breaking my writer's block and allowing me to get involved in NaNo again last year and writing some of the novel that one day I hope to publish.

Secondly there is the epitome of strength and gravity that is Leslie-Ann. I cannot adequately put into words how helpful I have found the advice and support offered from across the Pond. The amount of times that a comment has been made just when I needed it or an e-mail sent. If I could repay even a small amount of that support and help and just, well, interest then I would have done a great thing. My thanks to you, I know I sound all gushing and wibbly, but the fact remains that at some pretty low moments a little bit of understanding and concern has gone a very long way indeed. I would not have met you without this blog and, without your kind invitation to view yours, I would not have learned as much as I have in 2012.

The first caption made for me.
It is... well, I found it to be
I just love what was done with one
of my favourite images.
Thirdly, may I once again introduce the ever-dear Elle who decided out the goodness of her heart to offer me some captions apropos of nothing that were just full of... well, I still can't rightly say. In many ways the two I offer here for illustrative purposes summed up my thoughts at one time or another and they spoke to me in a way that sometimes mere prose cannot. For that alone I am in her debt, especially considering that I lack the talent that is on display in captions - I have made about three so far - and these were... if nothing else, they were very kind. Again, I can recommend that you pop over to the blog in the link above.

Also there is Sveta, whose input to my foray into fiction (which I do still want to continue) was well-timed and very supportive. She has a site of her own, which is in German, but that's no barrier to interesting  prose and thoughtful comment! You were not unnoticed last year, Sveta, vielen dank!

Then there are the people whose blogs I found interesting and supportive simply to know that there were other people who faced similar situations to myself and who had logical thoughts about it. The story of 2012 could be subtitled as the year I found out that I was not nearly so odd and alone as I thought I was. To these people I offer a hearty thanks for posting in your blogs and suggest to the frequenters of this place that you may want to take a look and find what I found.

Terri is first up and an all round nice person. Infrequent, but illuminating posts and just a lovely person. I'm already coming across as enormously sycophantic, so I'll keep this short, but it's a place to visit for me when I need reassurance that there are other people puzzling through the same issues that I am.

Next there is the lovely Rhiannon, whose blog I discovered very late on and is a place that I do not feel qualified to comment. I find the story powerful and the emotions raw. Thank you for posting your experiences and sharing what has happened, you've helped me get through the year if nothing else. If you read this, I of course wish you all the best!

I can't let Caitlyn go without mention. The recent discussion on alter-egos I found to be illuminating, powerful and revealing - from everyone who took part - and, above all, so supportive. I would say this about all the people and blogs I've mentioned, but it especially appropriate here, I am finding that there is not only a sense of community but that people are so supportive of one another. It really is something that one does not see much of out in the real world and so something that I have come to appreciate when posting here or commenting elsewhere or even just lurking and reading. Oh, and a great captioneer too but not the main reason I visit.

I don't usually talk about this side of my compulsion, nor do I intend to make this more of that kind of blog, but in a review of my year, and in trying to be honest, I suppose it's fine. In terms of captions, the following sites I offer for your consideration:

Fredoline: boys who became girls
Just a lovely place to get lost in. I append one of my favourites above.

Servitor: Contemplating the Divine
Another place I enjoy visiting.

Kim: Tight and Shiny
Not what you may expect, but I do go there now and then.

I expect you already know about Fictionmania; Limited Audience; Sissy Kiss and Rachel's Haven.

And that will have to do for now, the Boy is up.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Dog tired

A library image of a boy that reminds me of
the Boy.
This month I knew was going to be busy, but I did not anticipate it being busier than December. I mean, I knew that ditching stuff on evenings in November was going to result in pain but I thought I'd have passed the hump by now. No, the Boy has undergone a developmental surge to place him just six months behind other children his age verbally and has done so by shouting his new vocabulary loudly and with obvious glee at around 2am. I'm torn between getting pissed off with him and grinning proudly.

I keep hoping to get some posts in order, knowing that I have extra busy time coming up at the beginning of February, because there are people reading what I write and I feel an obligation, a positive one, to keep communicating. However, that hasn't happened. Not complaining, merely pointing this out. I had been hoping to review my resolution post from last year, for example, and review a book I read but I just haven't the energy.

These are close enough to what I wore. Certainly more on
the 'sexy' scale than the ones I did wear. I have no idea what
that, or the fact I feel the need to point it out, means.
I also haven't had the energy to really look at cross-dressing at all. I managed a sneaky wearing of some wedges, the ones that I first referred to back in 2011, for a short while but that's about it. Putting what remains of my wardrobe in, well, my wardrobe in the bedroom currently occupied by Tilly does reduce chances of wearing that wardrobe. Especially since, due to the surge, I'm back in with the Boy and, due to who-knows-what, I'm never in the house alone.

Apparently, Tilly was making an effort to be more personable at the beginning of the Christmas season but I didn't notice and rebuffed her by getting my laptop out. After that she simply ignored my requests on the grounds that she didn't think I knew what I was asking and wasn't actually interested. She went further, pointing out that requesting time to "sit together and be together" was not terribly romantic, nor was it obvious what I was driving at. Instead she suggested that we book a night a month where we could sit together. I pointed out that I was trying, like she asked (again she pointed out that she has told me what she wants, without elucidation), to woo her by being more spontaneous - she countered that we didn't really have that option open to us any more as we were both very busy people. I raised what happened when visiting her parents and she simply said that it was "different" and "proved her point". I have no idea what that means.

On the plus side, she has taken a shine to a song by the Pet Shop Boys - okay, sung by other people - from the musical that she bought me for Christmas that they wrote. Ow, that's a sentence plagued by sub-clauses from Hell.

And I'm shattered.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Beer Review: Victory Ale

I have been remiss in not posting about my beer. But there was much that had been had before and much that was simply not done in time to be posting on here and some that was imbibed when I was tired, or away, or watching a film or... you get the idea.

Anyway, it is after Christmas now and I should be reviewing ales, this time it is the turn of one of those bought for me by my children: Victory Ale brewed by Batemans. It has a picture of a tall ship on the bottle, along with Nelson of course, and that is the reason that the Girlie chose it for her Daddy.

At 6.0% ABV it promised to be a big hitter and the aroma of faintly spicy hops made me feel that this hunch was not misplaced. It was a darkish colour as I poured it into our one remaining beer glass (the Boy destroyed the last one) and promised to be a nice enough brew. Indeed, the aroma settled wuickly into familiar territory and the first taste was promising too. There was a nice tang to it all, a bit citrus and a bit bitter, which is exactly how I like my beer, as I'm sure you know. It was satisfying and, despite the strength, it wasn't overpowering and dangerous. It was very much like supping the liquid equivalent of a muted TV show - that is, there was plenty going on and the hits were loud and strong but the volume had been turned to a tolerable level and the violence displayed could be seen rather than experienced. For that, it was a nice ale and one I may have again.

Enjoy this best on its own, with a brace, and with some people over who also enjoy good ale. You can mix it with food, but I would suggest leaving it until after the meal and make sure that the meal isn't too spicey or over powering in terms of flavour - this is an ale you'll want to taste and enjoy rather than force into the background.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Post New Year write up

Oh, wishful...
That was New Year 2013. And it was an interesting four days away from the homestead. First of all, as I think I mentioned, I failed to get all the work I wanted to get done done before we left, so far so normal, I think I was bibbling about something similar last year as well around this time. Anyway, we travelled first down to my father's where we spent the actual New Year. This was generally positive, with my brother and his wife and daughter there too. We were all smartly dressed, as my father insisted, and we had proper drinks like Port and various wines that matched the food we drank.

My father, having imbibed rather a lot of Port, held forth on why he was proud of both of his sons for the same underlying reasons but different outcomes: that we were both workaholics and had applied it in completely different spheres; my brother has thrown his all into Youth For Christ and I've become a teacher. Neither avenue, he said, would have been his own choice but the way we both have gone about making them all we can make them was very much of him. As my father is a workaholic so we are too. On one level this was pretty good to hear and clearly meant as nothing less than a great compliment. Of course, it got me thinking about defining oneself through one's function - something I've ranted about on here already - so in the end I merely got all thinky about it as I too had been on the Port and at least three glasses of wine by this point.

Tilly's parents were old. I mean that in a sense that I could think of no other way of describing the experience. Her brother is a bit of a piece of work, largely down to domestic issues a-go-go, and these particular chickens have come home to roost in that he is now a bit of a miserable, violent, racist, not-too-nice, work-shy lump. And now the Dad that pretty much caused this is in the position of being a vulnerable adult with minimal mobility, causing Tilly some anxiety. We both know that nothing will change and, in the nicest possible way, they will simply moulder on until one of them dies and then, well, they'll sink slowly toward death themselves. As you can imagine, such a place is not terribly pleasant - with overdue bills and rent arrears letters and warnings about bailiffs shoved not too well out of sight about the house, evidence of violence (shattered door panels, holes in the walls, ripped carpets and stains everywhere; coupled with the lack of money evidenced by the window that was smashed back in 2010 still not properly repaired) and the thick smell of stale cigarette smoke hanging like a veil.

Nevertheless, the children loved seeing them and we took Gran down to Portsmouth for a look around the dockyard. Tilly, her mum and the children went around HMS Warrior whilst I, for reasons of prohibitive cost, was free to roam about the place. We were staying in a hotel, cheap place, I should point out. It went well enough, but Girlie has now decided that I am the enemy in terms of gaining Tilly's attentions - so that went well. She tantrumed so much on my approach that several official looking people began to approach me, it was only when she added 'Daddy' to her list of screamed complaints that people began to visibly relax. So... fun.

On the first night down there I spooned Tilly and stroked her hair, she didn't really respond at all, as in no response. So I asked her about it while we were in Portsmouth and she said that it wasn't so bad but she got angry that I was crawling all over her and nearly knocking her out of bed. Needless to say I did not attempt to do so again. Indeed, tonight, after a long drive home and a decision to get take out, we are once again on laptops on opposite sides of the room. No TV, no shared experience, just her catching up on e-mails and me blogging. Wedded bliss.
Hippy Now Beer!

I was going to post some other things, but I'm beat, been driving since 11am and we stopped home at around 6pm, then I unpacked (my job as bloke) and then put the children to bed (also my job). Still, I was downstairs by 8pm so I can't complain too much.