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!

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Coming and the Going

Another week and another trip home at the weekend.

The events:
Arrive home late Friday to a house in chaos, but children are already asleep.
Tilly and I share a welcome and companionable takeout.
After chatting we retired to bed.

Nuclear option.
Attack warning's not a fucking drill.
When you hear the air-attack warning
You and your family should take cover...

Two Tribes can go to war
Make money working
For the Bad guys.
Saturday was spent with me in primary care-giver role, not a bad thing.
Over the course of the day, spent sorting house things, girlie and boy push buttons.
Whilst out girlie throws first major strop, Tilly does not deal with it.
Strops continue at home, increasing in intensity and directed at me.
Tilly takes a two hour nap.
Tilly awakes and offers me job of getting the pet out or taking kids to bed, I choose latter.
Tilly gets upset that I do not like the pet, throws a wobbly about it.
Girlie explodes. Much shouting.
I break. Nuclear option taken, not proud of self, walk away too late and call Tilly in, we swap jobs.
Evening spent in discussion.

Sunday begins with me apologising to Girlie. It, predictably, does not work.
Tilly tries to counsel Girlie, she has buried events for now.
We sort more house stuff.
I leave.
Tilly and I speak online about events of Saturday night.

Chase solicitors.
Finally get an exchange of contracts, we're on for moving.
Day ends.

The conversation:
After I took the nuclear option... Oh let's stop pussy-footing around it, I spanked my daughter once. After saying that I never would. I failed to walk away in time. I failed. She did not fail, I failed. Because the action of spanking, even once, is a failing of the parent and not the child.

So, Tilly and I did our usual unpacking of things.

We talked sex.

Tilly shared that she feared that she 'wasn't enough' for me. I have trouble reaching climax in our coitus, not enjoined since whenever it was last spoken of on here, I forget. True enough, we can last upwards of an hour before I can let go enough. She worried that she wasn't enough. She's done some reading, this sort of thing breaks up relationships. But not us. Not us.

Apparently, based on her reading, this is psychological. She worries where my mind is going when I do manage to climax. And I suppose she is right to. It is in BDSM. It is in forced fem. It is not with her. Not with her. But the 'other stuff' she finds perverse. It is not 'normal' though she accepts that nothing is.

She stated that she was happy with the way things had been last time. But that she avoided foreplay because of 'how long it was likely to take' to get me off. That me not getting off was something that made her feel that she had failed. It was stressful. She felt under pressure to climax herself. It was not fun, it was the antithesis of fun. But, hey, she was happy with that, right? One does not support the other.

She said I was stressed and that was why I played the nuclear card. She made excuses. But she reiterated that she did not feel enough. I sometimes started things but then I let it lie. I started the 'date night' thing twice and then never again. I do not initiate. Except when I talk about sex and that makes her uncomfortable. Like when we were looking at beds in IKEA and I shared my love of wrought iron frames and made reference to 'other reasons' that I liked them. She does not want a bed that reminds me of tying her up to it. Or rather, that reminds her of me thinking of bondage.

If we could have a better coitus then maybe she would consider the 'other stuff'. We did it once. On her first night at my place. I handcuffed her to the bed and told her I'd lost the key (half true, I never said the latter part) and she irritated me by being random. I told her that was not true. That I actually liked her exuberance that night. That it was part of what made me love her. This is true.

We did not discuss my dressing, I did not want to discuss something like that in a rushed sense after something so cataclysmic. Tilly opined that nothing ever got discussed until I had exploded. Most of what I said was explained as being 'slightly accusatory' and she was "sick of being accused".

Part of the discussion was about conversation whilst I have been away. Talking to her online, via facebook, was typified as being like an ex of hers that she used to get very upset with stalking her on facebook. I was 'always there' and popping up when she didn't want me. Why didn't we talk on the phone? I explained my phone was out of minutes. She could phone me. We agreed to do that.

Last night we spoke on facebook, her insistence. We barely spoke. My fault. I asked about how the Girlie was bearing up and inquired after the counselling Tilly had provided. Today we chased and eventually caught an exchange of contracts. We are on for moving. She said she would text when ready to talk. That was at 6.45pm.

She's on facebook as I type. No text. No interest. I can't initiate contact.

But if I don't, then what do I expect?

Maybe we aren't compatible (though I don't believe in that at all, a lack of compatibility is the result of one or both people in a relationship not being arsed to find out what the other wants). Maybe she would do 'other things' if she felt like she was enough. Maybe she wouldn't. I don't think she would. And, as ever, when I lead with "maybe I'm in the wrong", it is confirmed. I don't know how to question her without being 'accusatory' and setting up a discussion only results in me being wrong, end of discussion.

But, I am wrong.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Totalitarian Love

A few points of record before I go on.

Ah, if only.
I have spent more days en femme, well, evenings, in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years. I do not doubt my luck, my fortune or how much I've been given a chance to enjoy myself. And I have, I have enjoyed myself and embraced the opportunity. This has been unmotivated by stress, unaccompanied by bone-crushing guilt at what I have done or how I have done it. I have milked the experience and not found it wanting.

I have been, well, at peace. Peaceful. Happy. Content. I have been me, liberated and free, and I have enjoyed the experience. I have revelled in trying new names. I have remembered how much I enjoyed being called by those names. I have remembered how my life used to be. And I have seen just how it could have been.

Oh, you know, I do envy teachers who can look like this.
I do. I don't want to be female, no, but I wish I could look
like this. I do.
I have been enjoying my new job. Sure there are false notes and bits that are jarring but it is much less pressured than the one I left. In fact, I actually like what I do again. I am enjoying being a Head of Department. I am enjoying supporting a new colleague and I am enjoying working with two other colleagues who are professional, erudite and enjoy their work too. It has been lovely being able to make new things, offer them and have some used and some not. There has been no judgement, no belief that I am not worthy or emulation and, importantly, I have had thanks for offering resources. Genuine thanks. It means a great deal.

I have spent a lot of time chasing people to try and get moved. Alright, it has not dominated my every waking moment, but much of my freetime at work over the last two weeks has been spent phoning and chasing and trying to get things done. I have met frustrations and been fobbed off most of that time, but I felt that I was getting somewhere. I managed to get some movement and I managed to beat my way through several brick walls, much was positive.

Tilly or I? Both?
In the last week Tilly has been ill. She has been sick and not sleeping well. She has been getting steadily more frustrated with both of our children. When I went home at the weekend she spent much of the time in bed, so I was left with the children. She surfaced to shout at them a lot, which was fair, and gave me time to pack down a wardrobe and pack some boxes into the car. We went to a friend of the family's and the children were largely off on their own on the Saturday. I spent time on my own too. Tilly chatted with the family and I watched our children on and off. In an evening she pootled a little on FaceBook and then would announce that she was ill and tired and retire to bed. I get this. But it's not an illness or a bug, it's stress. She's been so stressed that she's been having mini migraines and finding it hard to see or sleep or relax. This is down to us not moving yet. It's now a month overdue.

Another bloody text? Seriously?
That's more than I got before she moved in!
Today, Tilly has been feeling better. I know this because she texted me to make sure I was chasing the solicitors. Fair enough. But then there were a grand total of twenty-two more texts. And five phone calls. All about the moving. And each time she was a little more stressed, a little more angry, a little more sweary. I'm not sure if she's angry at me or not, but there was an undertone of frustration, anger and stress in every word. In the final phone call I was supposed to be saying good night to the children. Instead I had more rants of stress from Tilly, a bizarre conversation with the Girlie, and then much waiting whilst Tilly shouted at the children to be quiet because she was on the phone to Daddy. You know, a phone call to say good night to the children. I love her and I love them. But I find this very hard.

She finds this very hard, I know, none of the people involved in the moving process will talk directly to her as she is not the buyer and so she must chivvy them through me. I get that. But I do not respond well to chivvying. And the pressure today, and yesterday, and over the weekend from home reminded me of the worst times in the last three years. It reminded me that work was a problem only because home was a problem first. My inability to deal with family life led to me first dropping balls at work as I tried to do more at home and failed to satisfy Tilly or our children. As I continued to try and help at home, and failed to make any difference, so I began to get frazzled and failed to keep up with work stuff.

Today was a reminder about that. It was a warning. Hopefully not a herald of how life will revert when we finally move.

I have no personal connection to what went on here.
What I know is somehow... worse.


We understand the camps. On some level, we understand. It's why we find
them so repulsive and terrible, because we can understand. And we fear. We
fear the guards because we could have been the guards. And so we despise
them and say that they were evil. Because it is morally satisfying to do so, and
in so doing we absolve ourselves because we are not evil.


It is worse than that.

And my connection is to someone who was not at the camps.
To make matters worse, I am watching the Reader, loaned by my newb, and it is... well, sexually charged historical thriller with psychological overtones that has the Third Reich prominently in the shadows. It's basically mind-porn for my love of dark subject matter tinged with sex, forbidden aspects of life and the looming spectre of ultimately doomed totalitarianism with a woman who never learned to read. It is... odd and beautiful. It's a powerful film and it reminds me of a story I know about a person that I knew. He was kind. He was old, he was... a lovely old man by the time I knew him. He was well liked. And then he got Parkinson's disease and I learned things. Being a historian I put more together than did the rest of my family who knew him. But that is not a story for tonight. I need to be careful how I tell it. It needs some time. Before I share it here. Before I tell it as honestly and truly as I can. Truly. Not as I heard it. Truly. It is a separate issue to this post. The film is powerful because of what I know.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


I'm spamming my own blog with this link because it actually is genuinely relaxing. I am surprised, usually anything that claims to be relaxing... isn't.

Because what man doesn't want to be
treated like a princess?

That is all. I am going to sleep on the sofa again, because Tilly has a tummy bug that she doesn't want me to catch.

Still pissed

She's famous, right? She's also
So, the fire has not died. It's a random rant that has little place here except for the fact that I promised to be honest and this is my place to be honest. More on my transition from one place of work to another. It's much the same as the last one, if I'm honest, but I'm still working through it, it seems.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Riding Bitch

I'd do that. You know what I think about gender roles by
now, I hope.
Toby once asked if I would ride side-saddle with her if she got a motorcycle. I said yes. Tonight I explore, in fiction, what that would be like. It counts as a fantasy, I suppose, so it's beyond the line-break. In the meantime, may I share that wearing tights, 100 denier, beneath my floaty skirt is a very nice experience and very warming. I am tempted to wear them beneath my night-dress/chemise thing for a night's sleep, see what that brings.

Tilly's had a bad stomach and a few nights with the kiddlies in bed with her. It's been a fraught week trying to sort house stuff and angry children and the fact that our moving has been delayed by shitty solicitors.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Rebecca Jane

This is a good concept of what I would
love to look like as Rebecca.
Last night I dropped off all the boxes I brought from home in two trips to our new house. In one trip. I tetris'd them into the car and took them all over. An hour spent talking to, rather listening to, our lovely vendors reminisce about the house they've had for thirty years (the least I could do) and just nodding at what they told me. And fifty minutes there and back meant that it was a late night with plenty left to do in the morning. Cue my first stressed morning at work of the new place and my first brace of mistakes, missed messages and confusion. Nevertheless, I am still enjoying the new place, there are many creaky and old aspects, many areas that could be changed to be slightly better with a fair bit of effort but nothing that is pressing. I even got complimented on my stats by members of my department!

Joanna Newsom of the Wire fame. Yes. I sigh
Tonight, therefore, I have nothing to do. In a good way. I have a free evening. I'm drinking some beer, wearing my dress (still only have one), tights, wedge/heels and a stuffed bra. And it is, as it has always been, very relaxing. There is a difference wearing the wedge/heels with wearing my boots, I can't flex my feet the same (the heels are much thinner) and so I find myself swinging my knees to one side, essentially sitting side saddle, and that is a lovely feeling. I don't know why that should be so.

On the drive last night I remember thinking that I would welcome a chance to ride side-saddle on a motorbike, to be the biker bitch I guess, to a female rider. Silly, because it would never happen, but I suppose that is part of it. Also, I wonder if Joanna or Rebecca, my alter-ego names, have middle names? I suspect that they do. I went shopping for tea last night (and failed) to try and avoid a late cooking of a meal (I ate at 10pm) and, whilst I was there, I saw and bought a named Coke bottle: Rebecca. I couldn't find a Joanna despite looking quite a lot for it.

I would love to be that passenger.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Modern Music

I have no idea why this image is linked
to the songs, but it is. I identify with the
one in the purple corset most. I would...
I would actually quite like to be in her
After I discovered that EDM was a thing and that I had been waiting for this for most of my life I went looking around to see what else was out there. I found Archive, about whom I have previously written, and couldn't believe that I was not already aware of them (they've been going for, like, ages). Tilly had previously sent me a rather cool song that mixed Haddaway's What is Love? with Adagio for Strings from Platoon. I liked it and played the hell out of it, cos it was totes amazeballs. But then I wondered about the artist, Bastille, had he done more mash-ups like this?

Apparently, he had, because he had released an album called Other Peoples' Heartache. I looked, I was busy, and I was intrigued but then left alone whilst I indulged with Parralox and Archive a little more, enjoying the strict electronic stylings of this eminently familiar (to me) EDM and how much it mixed and matched with the latest Pet Shop Boys album Electric (and why haven't you bought that yet? Because you should, you really really should, and you won't regret it!). Anyway, once I was on my lonesome in rented land and fully me and myself and with some time to kill I went looking again.

I was not disappointed.

I discovered that he had, in fact, done two mash up albums: Other People's Heartache Parts I and II. I shall forgive him the totally awful faux pas of using Roman numerals to denote numbers rather than cardinal counts (so as 1 and 2 rather than as 'the first' and 'the second') because his lyrical skill shows he has a way with words that allows him to break rules. Also, I'm not entirely certain that he has broken rules, I suspect that there is much to the work that I don't get. However, there are some potential bum-notes where I can't tell if he's being sarcastic or not.

First track then, Adagio for Strings.

The use of the dialogue from Platoon is very clever as it winds up neatly to the title track and does not prepare you for the sudden veering off into nineties dance music. If there could be more mixes made of nineties hits with those drums then I would be a very happy lady and would have spontaneously combust in happiness generally. It works, it really works. The heavy drums and the plaintive lyrics leave me in just the right level of melancholy where I can avoid sadness and instead enjoy the beauty of the words all the more.

This leads to What would you do? which is where I am a little confused. If you listen to the song itself then it appears to be a very heart-rending tale of a down-on-her-luck mother and a ruminating on the inequalities of the sex trade and how it demeans women. However, there is a part of the song where he seems to suggest that the problems are all down to the woman of the piece. She retaliates, explaining the darkness of her childhood and how that has helped limit her choices, and then he has a go again. I can't tell if he is in fact having a go at women who give up, suggesting the empowerment of choice is, well, powerful and life-changing or if he is somehow cheapening the experiences "that you can't even relate to" in the words of the song. Meh, it's a song that has me tearing up because I have a Boy too and the thought of him crying and hungry does that to me. Like Threads I suppose, being a parent messes you up.

Then there's Requiem for Blue Jeans which seems to be an original song to the tune of Requiem for a dream and that is cleverly done. I have waxed lyrical about my love of violins and electric music before, and this track seems to have been deliberately made to bring me out to a full eargasm of joy. Listening to it in the car on the long journey home and back to work makes me feel on top of the world. I can lose myself in this sort of track and just let it pluck the strings of my being as long as it likes. It's not my favourite of the double album, but it is very good nevertheless.

Following that we enter an homage to trance in the nineties that I simply cannot help but love. It is my youth and it is a few years when I was in the music scene, it is what I missed at the time and also what I lived. It is essentially love, in many ways. The mixing of Rhythm of the Night and Rhythm is a Dancer seems to make so much sense now that I've heard it but was never something I would have considered otherwise. And his voice is actually a good fit for the lyrics of Corona, yes, I remember you Corona and I kind of miss your sassiness. But this fella does a good job of turning it from candy-dance into something that feels like it ought to have a heavier and more deep meaning. The quotes and the film sections that abound on the album probably help create the milieu too.

The next track, Titanium wins points with me because I was able to identify the quotes from Mulholland Drive without having to look them up. Still a confusing film that I know I never properly understood but it works well enough here. However, it is not one of my favourite tracks and I tend to skip this when driving if I am in the mood to actually listen rather than simply drive. I mean, it works well enough with that backing guitar loop and the subtle drums, but it's not my cup of tea. I don't drink tea. Well, that explains a lot, don't it?

Love Don't Live Here is a nice track. Sometimes I can fall all the way into it and love it and sometimes I just can't be bothered and end up skipping to other scenes. And the track doesn't mind, it's still there when I come back later. I don't hate it, I don't want to eat it and it's all good. It's actually two tracks in one, the first is a standard cover with some clever little flourishes on the electric keyboard and the second is a hard hitting rap with a rather clever little chorus ("Love don't live here/and if you break mah heart/then blood gon' spill here") that I find myself singing along to tunelessly but with a smile on my face. The use of rap on the album is a good one and one that makes me remember why it was such a big thing back in, well you guessed it, the nineties.

I'm not a great fan of Falling. The film quote is too overblown and I'm sure I should know what it's from but I don't. I guess being a parent means that it doesn't resonate with me as much as it perhaps does with those people who are not parents. However, it could also be down to that homage to Twin Peaks which I never saw and I never really got into. As a consequence that background music simply evokes long drives in hot summer sun with my parents who had it on an instrumental tape, all of the songs on which I feel were overplayed so much that I found I could never really enjoy them. Also, the song is very much a 'last track' and fades out too quickly. I want the album to carry on, so part of my dislike for the song may simply be the child in me crying at the fact that the music is nearly finished.

However, luckily for that child in me, there is a second part. And this is just awesome. The second track is where I shall start because the first is just a mash up of the first album, well worth a listen but probably not a good candidate for being torn apart and reviewed. So, this second track, Killer, was one of the songs that I loved in my youth - it is angry and eco-minded. So that's going for it. The distortion of the lyrics and voices works for me and the horns in the background mean that you can crank this baby up and still get on and work on books or something while feeling oh so clever and rebellious in that wonderful way that you can when you are older and less wise than you were in your youth. It's just irrepressible.

This track is sad and makes me want to cry. And I never thought I would say that about a track that is covering No Scrubs. We're all of us trapped.

This one is a good use of a track that I refuse to believe I only know from Kill Bill. The call-back to Vietnam war films works for me too, for many years I would teach the media response to Vietnam (rather than the war itself) and I would use Full Metal Jacket and Platoon and so having them both used on the double album means that I find them like bookends. Also, the sudden pounding of booted feet appeals to my apocalyptic style and preferences. It has nothing to do with the boots that I am wearing now or the fact that I am in tights, no Ma'am!

Forever Ever may be the best track of all time. I love it. I love the story in the lyrics and the way they are expressed. I love the fact that it covers the Fugees and Enya all at once and deliberately plays to both of the tracks rather than simply suggest an urban link to the Fugees or a Celtic link to Enya. I am indebted to the Fugees for showing me the track from Enya, whom I ought to have had the original from before then but never looked. Anyway, that humming background and the use of synth over the top with a rap track that tells such a sad story means it is lovely. It is a track that I could happily stick on repeat for, well, ever. These are the days that bind us/together/forever/these little things define us/forever/forever.

Then there's the song that I loved when the Corrs did it. I was less a fan of the Fleetwood Mac original and I suspect that this has more to do with the Corrs than it does Fleetwood Mac. I love Fleetwood Mac, by the way, I just liked the cover better than the original. And this stripped back version with just a very simple musical accompaniment that turns it into a duet appeals to that part me that liked the Corrs. It is mournful without being soul destroying and sad without being depressing. It is good stuff and strong too. This won't stand a repeat on its own, it needs friends to fully appreciate the nature of the backing being so bare and simplistic, but it nevertheless a good track and I like it at the end of what comes before. These have been well thought out order wise and I get the feeling that the second part of the album does this better than the first, like Bastille was warming to his task and got a better run at this part than the first.

That said, the next track is not a keeper for me. Too much xylophone at the beginning gives way to something that, well, it doesn't do it for me.

Then there's this masterpiece. I don't know how one mashes up Private Dancer with Everybody's Free but this is a pretty good way of doing it. He really milks the bitterness of Tina Turner, which is often missing when the song is played or sung along to, and this works for. There's a raw call here, to revolution and to violence and to anger and to despair. It speaks to that part of me that would quite like to watch the world burn and society be ripped apart. It is a revolutionary song, it goes alongside a number of others that I would blast to gain a following from atop the barricades. It is a banner waving song, the middle switch is what does it, along with the return of those heavy synth drums that remind me of the brilliant live version of Integral fading into Building a Wall by the Pet Shop Boys.

Then there's the American Beauty paean with Kevin Spacey being Kevin Spacey. I think watching K-PAX earlier in the week helped me to enjoy this particular track. Tortured synth further helps the track avoid being doldrums after the one that precedes it (and how do you follow that anyway?). Nothing to write home about but it does for driving or working, background music that can quite happily occupy centre stage if you need it to. An understudy of a track with plenty of leading lights!

The next two tracks ought to be played together. And I have no words.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Broken Violins

Sapphism or just a rich friendship?
Is there a distinction?
One of my new colleagues, starting at the same time as me but new to our profession, has forwarded for my reading pleasure her dissertation on lesbianism in the nineteenth history. She warned me that she got 'ranty' in it but, given some of the ridiculous assertions she has quoted from historians ("lesbianism cannot exist without the language of lesbianism and thus cannot have existed before the term, coined by Freud, as women would not have been able to communicate what to do with one another." I want to find the historian responsible for this stupidity and beat them) I can understand.

I have also 'discovered' Bastille. I have referenced them on here already but not I have downloaded pretty much all of the covers that they have done and listened to these on CD all the way between where I've been staying and home on the journey yesterday. No. Why would I do that? I can feel that there is a review in the offing of these albums because I was going to do that tonight before this post took a turn for the unexpected, so, I shall leave this paragraph here as a placeholder and the music video below by way of explanation.

In the approach to Tilly's birthday I have started actively looking for another angle in gift giving with watches and bracelets in a possibly doomed attempt to try something more romantic than a DVD and a takeout which has been our staple to one another since the birth of our children. This is fraught and a bit of a minefield as Tilly hates surprises (most of the gifts she has received in her life are chosen and bought by her with money being supplied after the fact) and distrusts my tastes and motivations in anything of this nature. I am barred from buying her clothing of any kind, even supplying money for clothes she chooses (as then there would be pressure to wear it), already. We had a surprising talk today too, in that neither of us saw it coming, about our relationship.

And, of course, part of me wanted to say:
"Well, what's wrong with wanting to have
 a young love?" But I suspect that's part of
my emotional illiteracy, my intensity and my
overall draining nature.

It seems that whenever we discuss this it
becomes a listing of the issues and problems
that I bring and we never move past that.
Tilly pointed out that my intensity was negatively draining when it came to our relationship and that this limited her ability to 'give' anything emotional in return. This was particularly apparent in our physical relationship where I seemed to lust after a 'teenaged' conception of what a relationship is: holding hands and hugging in public. These things are, apparently, emotionally illiterate conceptions of a relationship. My intensity stems, says Tilly, from a void where I was not provided with something in the past that she is not capable of filling for me. She worried that what we did physically was never going to be 'good enough'. However, the fault was clearly with me, because she found our physical intimacy recently (back in April/May) as being perfectly good enough. We were "muddling along" quite nicely and that was surely enough. I explained that Tilly is only my third relationship and thus the language of love that I speak is like German - I know some terms but I am by no means fluent. At some points I am reduced to the relationship equivalent of shouting out random words and badly translated idioms. Therefore I have no idea when I am being unreasonable nor how to gauge when this is the case. I posited that 'muddling along' was all very well but I wanted us to do better than that, that 'good enough' was fine but that I thought we should strive for higher than that in our relationship. It was a relatively short conversation and we haven't been back to it.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Beer Review: Manns Brown Ale

I have had a good few days and I feel like I have produced some good work. I feel productive recently in a way that would have been unthinkable this time last year, or this time the year before that. Hell, since 2009. Anyway, I decided that I would reward myself with a beer. Which I have. It is Manns Brown Ale from, yes you guessed it, Manns Brewery. There's no apostrophe, I feel like I should be insulted, but there it is.

At 2.8% ABV I'll confess that I wasn't really expecting much. I thought I would taste it, just to see, and then relegate it to the lagers and other such things that I tend not to drink. It was pleasantly free of over carbonation upon opening and, when poured, showed a treacle-like blackness that put me in mind of the rather good Ilkley Black and Manchester Brown Ale and so I allowed myself to feel that it wasn't going to be so bad. There's a malty, heavy, aroma with no real bitterness or citrus to it and it remains very dark with only the barest hint that there's any fizz there. First taste was actually quite fresh, lacking the weight suggested by the aroma, and there's caramel overtones it. Like burned toffee or the bottom of a cold sticky toffee pudding. I can't tell if I like this or like the fact that I can describe it in colourful language. Anyway, point is, it's not half bad. After-taste is lacking and the consistency is actually thinner than some of the Pale Ales that I have enjoyed recently.

I am particularly drawn to its darkness and its steady look - without constant fizz it seems almost monolith like standing on my table. There is weight to its appearance that, though it is not supported in the taste, I find oddly reassuring. No strength over the course of several drinks from the glass but this is not necessarily a failing. It is a 'cheap' beer, but still very much ale. Small beer one might say. As the aroma grows I detect hints of oak and wood in general - it reminds me, actually, of the crocodile tree gently rotting in the woods that used to lie (well, they remain) behind my house (but we have moved), so-called due to the fact that the innards were rotting away and leaving the bark open like the jaws of a crocodile. Yes, that is the smell. After the caramel there is the definite hint of that same bark-like taste and texture on the tongue.

In short, this is one to enjoy a few of without fear of getting too drunk and falling over and/or asleep. Probably best shared and probably best after a meal when shooting the breeze - a good accompaniment to conversations and light enough to enjoy a few without getting a headache come morning. Not a great ale, but a pleasantly passable one when found on offer.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Blogging Part 94

This is the sort of look I guess I'm
going for. But with a long skirt. I am not
proud of my legs.
I was feeling dangerous last night in my twirly skirt and velvety top, an ensemble I ended up sleeping in all night, which was lovely, and I wrote up a rant (see below) striking a blow against people that made my life Hell for three years at my last place of work. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, along with having found the whole Other People's Heartbreak album by Bastille on youtube to listen to with a glass of wine and tea (soup).

then I received word from Tilly that our boiler had packed in. Frustratingly I have a vague idea what is wrong and I kinda know how to fix it - a swift relight with a match - but Tilly won't do matches (they scare her) and so we have to call a man out. The sure knowledge that five minutes fiddling from me would have probably solved the issue whilst Tilly stressed about a sleep over for the Girlie with her best friend at our place last night was pretty hard. I ended up feeling down and, well, punished. No good day goes unpunished and all that.
Lovely top!

Same ensemble tonight, with the addition of a shirt with floppy cuffs (it's designed for use with cufflinks) that is slightly too big for me and I'm feeling safely feminine again. Grounded. Such an odd thing but not something I shall knock too much. I just wish I could share photos.

I woke myself up this morning and actually uttered the words "Come on Joanna, get out of bed!" before I realised what I was doing too. Is that good?

Oh, the rant follows in case you're interested. It was posted on my other blog where I post beer reviews from time to time.

Monday, 9 September 2013


Like this, but less elegant.
I know that I should be working, but when I got back from my visit home I was so tired and, well, depressed that I did not dress as I have been doing here so far. Instead I stressed about what I had to do today without actually doing anything and didn't really talk to my wife online - that is, we shared a few remarks back and forth and then we... sort of stopped. She's preparing for a sleep over by the Girlie's eight year old friend, which should be good for the Girlie. Again, I feel bad about that because the house was slightly tidier than when I arrived but it was still a bomb-site.

Instead of working tonight, most of what I have to do is either done or do-able in the morning, I am luxuriating because... well, I know I don't deserve it, but I feel like it and I maybe want it to feel a little stressed. So I have on my short skirt (gift from Toby); the top I stole from Tilly's throwing out a few years ago now (velvet style strappy top); my fuschia bra (I chucked the other one); my favourite knickers; my boots and a shirt from my male wardrobe. I wanted to see if wearing a male shirt over a stuffed bra still looked feminine, and it does kinda. It certainly doesn't make me look any more masculine, the beard does a good job of that.

I'd love to be doing this. I mean, look at how happy and
carefree she looks. Yeah, I know, it's posed but still.
Merely thinking about femininity and masculinity like this has caused a physical response that is sexual in nature that has been entirely absent in my evening so far, by the way. I ate chicken soup with toast and a glass of red wine with my legs crossed, in an attempt to ape a more female method of sitting, and read the Private Eye (go look it up, it's a political/satirical magazine). I am watching the telly, K-PAX, not as good as the book but still a decent enough film. At 9pm there's a drama about losing power on the telly and I intend to be watching it. I have eaten some tortilla chips with Doritos dip on the leather sofa and I have leant back and enjoyed the feeling of the stuffed bra tight around my chest and the skirt on my legs and the heels on my feet.

I love the feel of the velvet top against my arms and I love the way everything hugs me tight. When I got in I put the boots on over my work trousers and I loved that too, the way the boots made the trousers cling to my legs. I love that feeling. I feel safe and warm and hugged tight - as if I am in the embrace of God Herself or Jesus or just the Holy Spirit or all three.

You have no idea how much I would love to end every day
at work like this. After the children was asleep, of course
but still, I would love to wear a female tailored  suit and just...
well, veg out like that. I want her hair.
It was a good day at work, I enjoyed it all and I have had a good day. This is unusual, as long-time readers will know, but it was a very good day. I have not had any stress from work, I have done everything I need to do and I have received praise both unbidden and welcome from staff and students. I have seen colleagues I hope one day to call friends and I have shared conversation with good people. I have had lessons with students who were sparky and interesting without arrogance and with innocence. I have, in short, enjoyed myself today. I was hoping for a video chat with my children to share this good day with my family. But Girlie was up in the night and Tilly remains tired having dealt with her being out of control and stressed out. My visit home has merely made her angry all over again at the move, at the change and at the indignity of not having her Daddy with her. Over the weekend we had a fall out that I still don't fully understand but that Girlie has not worked through with me. I was being punished by her but before it could be fixed, and Tilly and I tried, I had to go back to work. This has happened before and can last days. Of course, on those occasions I could retry the following evening. I couldn't this time and so we parted without a resolution. Now Tilly has to deal with a Girlie who will not be comforted or calmed.

More after the break.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Scanners Darkly

While I don't want to be a female I do feel
that I would like to share what she is
feeling right now.
Over the weekend I went home to visit. It was good to see the Girlie and the Boy again face to face. It was good to interact with them again too. It wasn't all good though, of course, Tilly had had her hands full all week and so very little had been done to pack the house up. Or even clean it. I don't blame her for this, I blame me. It's pretty mad with two little ones and home schooling and stress and lack of sleep, I know this from when they were first born. It meant that the house was a tip, the floor was full of crumbs and ripped toilet paper and ripped paper and bits of chalk and general detritus, in every room. It meant that every available surface was covered in a collection of mail, papers, colouring in, drinks glasses, half empty plates, dry clothes, wet clothes, dirty clothes and dust. Tilly had managed to pack two boxes in the week. This all stressed me out - I am to blame for this by being absent, you see - I did not deal well.

But it did cause me to assess why I dress again. So I guess that this post will be another look at that aspect of my life.

Happy Families is a card game. It is not, alas, anything that
lasts. I doubt that such a thing is even real.
It's not that I want to be a woman, I've been through that. I have certain societal privileges bestowed by being male, for a start, and the right to pretty much do as I wish is dear to me. I would not wish to change that. There are, of course, limitations on male behaviour that include the wearing of female designed clothes. So although there is a slight disadvantage, I would not swap that for the general pressures of being female, if you see what I mean. Basically put: the right for men to behave as women in clothing pales in comparison with the rights denied women even in developed nations (like the right to body control, agency and the like).

It's not that I want to pass as a woman. I love the female form, I love the way that it can be and can be used. I have yet to see a physically unattractive female (let's leave character out of this for now). However, that's just it. I love that form precisely because it is not my form. So, whilst I like the female form I have no real desire to wear it permanently in public - maybe a short while for a limited audience but... No, I like my beard too much.

See, like that. But my face, not hers.
I do, however, want to shave my legs. I want to shave my armpits. I want to feel a skirt billowing about me. Tilly is looking at buying a cloak for winter - green wool with slits for her hands and a hood - and that's the sort of thing I dream about. I bought Tilly pink roses when I went home and I wish someone, Tilly mainly, would buy me pink roses. I want to smell nice, like Tilly does, rather than rough and sweat soaked like I do, even with deodorant (especially with deodorant). I want long hair that I can colour and style. None of this has to be 'female' per se but it is not considered masculine. I want to be shorter so that wearing heels makes me look normal sized and so that my weight is actually normal for my height. I weigh 142lbs, I'd be happy for that to be a good weight for my height rather than my height making me underweight.

I want someone to run to me and hug me after time apart. I'd love it if it were Tilly or one of my children. In the former case I'd enjoy a frisson of sexual feeling too. But that doesn't, won't, happen.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

On shoes

Oh, these are lovely too.
I may have already mentioned my wearing of shoes. Today was another hot one so I couldn't put on my boots so instead I am wearing my wedges. They, like the boots, have 3.5" heels but, unlike the boots, the heel is much thinner than the sole as a whole, offering a very different experience. Using the balls of my feet rather than my heels is different to how I usually walk and move too, so it is interesting to me and feels nice, that word again.

It is easy to see why women end up with toes pointing inward to maintain knees together, as I am wearing them with my dress that is rather short (it's hard to sit without showing off my hairy arse to anyone stood behind me). But I am loving the fact that when I am sitting down my legs 'slip' and I end up bending my ankles sideways. I also like the tight feeling of the strap just below my ankle, oh to have one above as well. Alas, I cannot enjoy that with these, but what I have is good enough.

That's it, mostly I am planning (or failing to plan) my day tomorrow and trying hard not to stress out about being in a new place - two days of training is good I guess, but it doesn't do my nerves any good, I am better after facing the lion's den and knowing what to expect - the unknown is a powerfully fearful thing. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Not Knocking It

Day three.

This is pretty close actually.
I am wearing my floaty (but not really) blouse with my short denim skirt. Alas, it's been a hot day here and my feet have swollen too large to put in the boots (though the extra warmth they afforded this morning was most welcome) and too sweaty and crappy to risk putting on my wedges. I'd wear tights, but it's too hot. The blouse isn't great, but it's one of only two tops that I own now after I threw the rest out - when I told Tilly I was doing this and she did not believe me. Not my favourite knickers today, gone with a slightly frillier pair that I still own. Now the only two pairs I still have.

I am drinking a beer (nice EPA from Marston's) and reflecting on the days at work so far. I have also gone out and got some fish and chips, thus blowing my food budget for this week and next in a binge, and have failed to do any work in the cottage so far. I have been staying later at work to compensate so I shouldn't complain. I have had two video calls with home, the first hampered by a lack of mike at my end, but they have gone reasonably well. And I've some early nights.

I'd love to look like this.
My new place is not so bad. I am shocked at the lack of organised system for chopping up things that you have had copied and at some of the charges being made for basic printing and the like, but I have had that very good where I was so... Also, there may be some bumps ahead, but the two staff who have been there a while are preparing to move on or retire, no biggie about the school just where they are, and so I suppose I can't expect them to drop everything and change on my whim. They are reasonably enthusiastic about some of the things that I'm asking them directly to do and won't be standing in the way so much as off to one side doing their own thing, which is fine. They are, after all, professionals!

I am enjoying, as much as I can, the time to myself. I have barely worn my boring clothes whilst in the cottage and have made the most of dress up time. Last night I slept for a bit in my chemise as well, which was nice. In the mornings and evenings I make a point not to wear any footwear but my boots and wedges and that is nice too. I can really feel it in my calves mind, they ain't used to this, and I do wonder why any woman would choose to wear heels. I mean, I know why I do it, but I think women have more to deal with on a day by day basis - basically put: I can add a little madness, but women could stand to lose a bit, no? I also took the liberty of stuffing the front of my floaty blouse just now (socks alas) and can see a little more on why people would buy this. Unfortunately I have man arms, so it's a bit short on me. I seem to have developed something of a paunch over summer too - too much driving and eating well, not enough stressing and running about my place of work in a tizz I suspect.

Or this. No, more this.
The main feeling, as I've said before, is liberation. I feel much more like me when I am dressed. Which is an odd thing, but there it is. I feel... free. It's similar to how I feel about bondage but less sexual. In both cases I feel more free and more able to be myself, I feel like a great weight has been lifted and I am able to smile and let go a bit more. In the case of bondage there is an added sexual element, a frisson if you will, that lends a delicious feeling of the forbidden and I confess that I find that difficult to control. It's why I don't do that very often even when I have the chance. Mind you, most of the time on Sunday was spent in collar and handcuffs because I could. This is beside the point. The clothes themselves feel just nice. Like now, with stuffed frontage, it's not about looking like a woman (like I could pass with a beard and my gangly frame) or even about feeling like one (I rather like my male privilege where I can throw on a pair of trousers and leave the house safely or eat whatever the heck I like when I like without having people judge me). I have no real idea what it's about except that the clothes hang better and I like the feeling of it. I can't really describe it, perhaps it cannot be described, I just really like it. I can wear the clothes without stuffing or a bra but it doesn't feel the same and so it doesn't work the same. No, I can't describe it, much less explain it.

Or even this.
It would be like trying to explain the feeling one gets from hearing the choral arrangement backing Quindon Tarver singing When Doves Cry in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet without being able to share the song itself. It just can't be done.

I wish I had long hair to fall on my shoulders. I wish I could shave my legs and armpits. I wish I could share this with Tilly.

The images collected here were supposed to illustrate my day but I got rather sidetracked by skirts, as you can probably see. I have no idea why I would like to be able to look like that - it's nothing about being a woman or being turned on, but something about the image is what I am hankering for. It is part of the liberation and the feeling I suppose, for what that's worth.

Oh, Quindon Tarver:

Sunday, 1 September 2013


I look nothing like this. However,
on her face there is an emotion that
I can identify with at the moment.
However, there is still the off-putting
element of me being away from my
family. No dressing can remove that.
I write in my rented accommodation for my new job. My house purchase rumbles slowly onward, meaning that I have had to leave home and find somewhere to live for at least the first couple of weeks of work. I have found a lovely little holiday cottage for about £300, with bills extra. For this I get an awesome kitchen, a nice room with a telly, a shower room and a bedroom. Not too shabby. It's about 25 minutes from work, but may be quicker when not following a car that thinks a steady 40mph is good through 50, 60, 30 and 20 limits.

Anyway, this means time without family. On one level I am horrified and scared and very sad. I am also deeply stressed about buying a house, starting a job and looking after my lonesome again after so long. However, I am currently wearing my first heels (well, wedges), my floaty and twirly skirt, a vest top, my favourite knickers and my collar. This is not only helping it is positively bouncing my mood. I am essentially doing what I should have done when I lived alone in the house we are now selling. I have worn my boots or my wedges since I arrived and that has been wonderful. I had almost, but not quite, forgotten how lovely this feels and how much I enjoy being in a skirt and in shoes that force my heel to arch. So far there has been no sexual element to this, it just feels natural and liberating and, well, nice.

Yes, I have solved the new laptop issue too and I have properly working broadband at this new place, so this place can have some lights on again, huzzah!

I have much to talk about, as I'm sure you can see, but right now I am going to leave this here and enjoy the remainder of my evening. I intend to sleep in a nightdress tonight and may even have some spare money to invest in new items for my wardrobe.

Oh, there was one other bombshell.