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!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Beer Review: Green Tights

"Back in the saddle again"

I know, I know, starting with a song lyric is the last bastion of a scoundrel. Tonight I restart my reviewing of beers in a new place with new breweries. Apparently I now live in the brewery capital of the British Isles. This should help make up for the fact that I am farther from the coast than is possible anywhere else in England and thus the fish and chips are... well, they're not top notch. Tonight, therefore, I sample through the goodness and generosity of Tilly a local brew from Wollaton Breweries by the name of Green Tights.

An expensive little brew but craftily done and in a small local brewery outside an old Elizabethan estate that we went to visit. It's an IPA with a 4.1% ABV and a lovely little squat bottle in which looks the part. On opening there wasn't much of a snick and the bottle warned rightly of sedimentation. I suspect I ought to have left it a little longer to condition (hark at me as a brewer). Anyway, nicely pale golden colour with an aroma that was nothing to write home about. Vigorous head that forms quickly and then froths a bit.

Taste is hoppy and lively with an element of citrus as one would expect. The bottle claims that it is crisp and it does not lie, this is one craft brewery that has delivered more than the one from Fountains (and it pains me to say that), and there's a depth to it. The bottle says 'biscuity' and I can't comment, but it is a bit flakier than a standard ale. It is very nice, very flavorsome, and very crafty.

I enjoyed it as an accompaniment to the watching of Sharpe's Enemy, a real blast from my youth and also one that I have never actually seen before. For this purpose the ale was well matched for it had that sort of body and zest that fits the musical overtones. As Sharpe was a bit of a bastard so is the beer in the fact that it masquerades as something less than it is, with the sediment and the lack of carbonation. No, this is a proper ale for sharing with men in snugs and with darts or snooker being played in the background. Enjoy it slowly, let it breathe and let it work its magic. It is a proper little beer from a proper little brewery. I have much to live up to.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Eh, I don't smoke. Apart from that, yeah, we're

I did have a beer a few nights ago.
It's holiday time and already I'm being a total ditz, plenty of stuff to write about that simply flies from my head when I find the time to write. There are some events, of course, like the rescuing of my beer. The brewing has been rather slow due to the low temperature, constantly around 18 Celsius, and this has been an issue but not insurmountable. Today, inexplicably, it dropped to 12, which is waaaaay too low, and so I brought in a heater in an effort to rescue the brew. However, this put a heater in a small space surrounded by combustible materials so I've now moved it into a gap in the kitchen. That is, a space where there ought to be something like a fridge or something. So, with emergency heating, there's the brew. I have also acquired a barrel to put the beer into when the time comes later this week.

Nowhere near as bad as 1987 but still irritating.

Thank God we privatised the railways. God forbid we still
had British Rail clearing trees like after 1987, when services
were running after the end of the first da- waaaaait!
Tilly's mother is over at the moment, the hurricane dropped enough trees that she's arrived a day later than planned but that's no bad thing I suppose. Girlie was very excited to see her, but also utterly insane, and she's been... challenging lately. I can't really work out whether this is the natural exuberance of a five year old, the residual pains of the move or something else. We have spoken, at length, about the Incident and I think she now understands what happened and why it was unacceptable. Certainly her behaviour, though continuing, has been less explicitly linked to the Incident since. The Boy has also been a little different, but this is mainly due to the influence of his elder sister behaving like a tit when they play together.

Yes, I actually started every single entry with these words.
In pencil.
No, I didn't do a heart for the dot on the 'i'.
For some unknown reason I have been reading my old diaries again. There are some surprising admissions buried within them. For example, the first inclination of my current issues with sex lurk there with references to parts of me hurting that shouldn't when doing what happens around puberty, for example, and much earlier puberty than I had assumed too, which explains why I didn't spot them before. Also, plenty of references to "feeling grown up" and "arrogance" - essentially reading my mother's words as my own. It's been eye-opening. Left me in the same set of feelings that I had at the time though - that awful sense that there is stuff to be done, that won't get done because I'm lazy and the ultimate feeling that something will go wrong. Seems I spent most of my formative years with those thoughts according to the diaries. Also, my school years were not something I enjoyed, which is what I've always assumed, so much as endured, which is something of a shock. Mind you, the other thing is how much feminine affectation there is in there - worries about how I would look clothing-wise and references to things being 'cute'. Even the word choice is, well, feminine. Partly down to having read Anne Frank's Diary and partly, I guess, down to me. Eh.

Yeah, books like that would have me giving the
eyebrow like that too.
New starts are all well and good, provided one can make them and make a clean break with what has gone before. The house is damp. Very damp. Water on the walls damp. I mean, okay, it was built in 1909, but I was sort of hoping it wouldn't be that bad. Sucks to be me I guess. In which case, I suppose we ought to stop spending money on furniture and start saving for the inevitable repairs to damp courses, roofing and the like. Maybe the cost of vents or something too. However, the worst of it in the spare room seems to be just to one side of a vent and, in the living room, it's just near the actual flue (which is open) so... I'm not sure vents would do the trick. It's all gobbledigook to me, however, and, as with so many things, I am beholden to the experts - a position I do not enjoy.

Oh I wish.
I can't complain. I have wrung some recompense from our conveyancers for their overall shit-ness during the move and we have some cashback from various places if I can get it all organised. There's also the opportunity of getting a further set of compensation from the removals company that failed to show when we did move (without notice), but that's in the hands of Tilly. If all of that comes in we might just about have enough to get some repairs done and maybe deal with the damp problems. Maybe. I mean, obviously, it depends on what the problems are.

Obviously, after the positive feedback from my last caption I haven't made any more. I mean, tchah, if you've read this blog you'd know that's how I operate. And with Nanowrimo on the horizon along with marking I'm not holding out much hope on that score.

Sunday, 27 October 2013


I'd forgotten how enjoyable a romp Sharpe was, Tilly and I have watched it. We also have a new sofa, courtesy of a Belgian Goblin and the fine folk at IKEA. Children enjoyed playing in the box. Mother-in-law arrives tomorrow for a five day stay.

I find the Lord's Prayer does the trick.

But then... I would.
Tried a church today. It was not to my taste. High CofE, apologetic about it and, well, facile. Highly facile. Conservative with a capital 'C', and that is very much not to my tastes, with casual racism and ageism as standard. Met a former teacher who was bitter and thought I was too, this is not my milieu. We shall have to try somewhere else. Discovered that Tilly still has issues with my stress at our last church - apparently the fact that I was grumpy a lot harmed her enjoyment of church to the point where she wonders if, in our new start, church is worth it. I forget that my moods are my own problem whereas her's are my problem too. Plus ca change.

Anyway, church, for me, is about challenge and restlessness. It is about looking at the world in a new and different way, not supporting the traditions of the status-quo or piffling about Queen and Country. Yes, it is the Church of England, but that's no excuse. I guess I miss our old place. It had its faults, but they weren't all deadening. Of course, our approach to going wasn't great and I resented being unable to fully participate in worship because my duty was to field the Boy and shield Tilly from the Girlie long enough to let Tilly do her singing. Of course I did. I suck at being primary parent even now and most things are looking up.

Storm? What storm?

Saturday, 26 October 2013

An Unexpected Article

Anyone can be a victim.
Anyone can be a bully.
Apparently I am actually rather broken these days. I was on G+ just now and there was a post that said the following:
"We will never get rid of bullying. We should teach our kids to stand up for themselves and cope rather than wearing pink shirts and passing anti-bullying legislation because we are raising a generation of victims."
My response was to post a reply that essentially made a few ad hominem attacks and then remove the poster from my circles. I think that may have been something of an over-reaction. I am rapidly learning that bullying is something of a trigger for me. When some students did a rather piss-poor presentation on it (including the awful "don't let someone hurt you, tell someone!" advice that is only ever used by people who have never been bullied, they agreed they had not) I ended up following it up.

I can.
Well, let me say this: bullying may never be eradicated, but if so, it will be a sad indictment of our society and its desire to allow unfettered selfishness in the guise of individualism to flourish. We shall have let fear of the other become the norm and the ridicule of the different to be acceptable. Bullying is the result of fear, the result of parents teaching their children that it is okay to be ignored and belittled and that might makes right. It is the system of shoving vulnerable children before the age of five into a situation where there is one adult to every twenty or so, and that adult is usually harassed and busy - too busy and jaded to offer genuine attention to their charges. Compound this with a generation or two of parents born and taught in the era of selfish greed being the norm and you have a recipe for disaster. In that sense, no, bullying will not be beaten because too many people are content to blame the victim.

Bullying is perceived rather than objective.
No one sets out to be a bully any more than anyone sets out
to be evil. People never believe that they are the bullies.
But, I find, most people that talk of 'coping' and 'having a
thicker skin' are, themselves, bullies.
There is a belief, and I encountered it, that if the victim would only stand up for themselves then the bullying would stop and the bullies give up. This works only insofar as it is possible to find how to stand up to bullies. I tried to stand up physically and was made to write a letter of apology to the bully. I tried to stand up verbally and intellectually and this simply led to greater abuse (on one occasion it led to physical pain for me at the hands of three idiots). I tried to stand up with fortitude, not letting them know it got to me, and they thought we were friends and carried it on as 'banter'. I tried to stand up by walking away but ended up nigh friendless and a loner.

No, standing up for oneself does not work.

Hmm. I know that bullying is punished.
Fear of punishment does not deter wrongdoing, rather,
it is fear of being caught that does that.
Punishments are meaningless if people do not
believe that they will ever apply to them.
I do not condone more punishment, I condone greater
awareness and greater vigilance.
There is also a strong belief that if we can teach victims to 'cope' then it won't be a problem because bullying raises the rather uncomfortable truth that the world does not end with us and if the bullies are picking on someone else then we should do something. By saying the victim should cope we absolve ourselves of the responsibility of standing with that victim, they are unimportant, and we pat ourselves on the back, after all, we coped. But coping is a sop. It is putting off the pain or, at least, not bothering others with it. I had to 'cope' when my teachers decided that what I was experiencing at school did not match what they considered bullying.

When victims believe that nothing will change, that it is their
business and they are alone, then the bullies win.
And when the bullies win, no one wins.
Bullying lives in the cracks and the fissures of life. Bullies are not cartoon-esque villains of the piece, dispensing physical violence in exchange for lunch money or for the love of torturing insects. Those kinds of people are now dealt with and picked up by a system that has at least accepted that wanton cruelty and violence are not the natural state of well-rounded children or adults. Odd how that version of bullying has, in fact, been more or less stopped when society realised that it often led to examples of excess in adulthood that led to the damage of property and, crucially, affected the middle-class notions of ownership and privacy. You know, yobs and anti-social behaviour were a nuisance and, it turned out, they had their roots in behaviours that had previously been tolerated as 'character building'. Then we stamped it out.

Recordless and impossible to prove - name calling.
Bullies are the people that do silly things, small indignities perpetrated over a period of time so that they amount to cruelty without any one incident being worthy of attention. Stealing a pen, throwing a rubber, hiding a bag, calling names (oh my God, the name-calling - the small, carefully barbed but otherwise innocuous names that people are called, the hurtful little jibes that alone sound piffling but over a few weeks, months and years add up to the sort of stuff that leads to suicide - every time they are reported the victim sounds foolish, the adults, without meaning to, sneer and laugh it off because they do not understand. And what can one do anyway? Each incident too small to act upon, each name too stupid to credit. Here is death by a thousand cuts). And, because each incident sounds ridiculous, it seems viable and normal to claim that the victim should have a thicker skin and get over it and cope.

Coping is the beginning of depression for the victim of bullying - the belief that oneself does not matter.

Ending bullying would take a revolution.

Lets have that fucking revolution!
I have this to say in response: I do not have the answers. Victims of bullying know of what I speak and they know that there is no comfort or recovery in the empty platitudes of 'tell someone about it'; 'don't let others hurt you' and that horrible, false and mocking rhyme 'sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me'. There is no relief in revenge, however much solace one takes in it. No release in forgiveness, though it helps. No, bullying is a societal cancer and, until it is cured, we remain broken as a species. One cannot repair victims in later life, one cannot ignore them and blame them forever. If there is an answer it lies in making sure that bullying does not start. And that action lies with the bullies - they must be raised to be aware of others, as all people should be. Because one cannot identify a bully before they are one any more than one can identify a victim before they are one. We must work to ensure that we recognise in one another our shared humanity more than we recognise the differences. We must embrace those we feel threatened by as adults so that our children learn that lesson. For we are the broken ones, not our children, and we must make that sacrifice for the generation that follows. That is our mission.

I am not certain what I think of this man, Russell Brand,
but he writes and talks in a way that I am unable to simply
Overpaid? Hypocritical? Oh yes, but aware of both.
Fascinating, yes.
Bullying ends when we stop fearing who we do not know. It is not natural to do so, if it were then we would not exist as a species, and it is not inevitable, if it were then many societies of the past could not have existed. We are all one race, regardless of colour or geographical location or culture, and we are all human. If we could believe that, that is, live as if it were true then we would see an end to bullying. There may still be wars and selfishness and other inhumanities, but there would be no bullying. Or, perhaps, bullying is the world in microcosm and we blame and ridicule the victims because we do not see ourselves in the victims, but in the bullies. If we blame the bullies or deal with them, we are guilty of the ultimate hypocrisy. So we blame the victims, we absolve the bullies. We claim we are creating victims by trying to protect our children from the indignity and suffering that bullying creates because, goddamn it, that's what we do daily when we ignore the person begging in the street, when we read of the injustice and go and buy a take away; when we turn over on the TV when the appeals are on; when we believe we make a difference when we vote; when we believe we have earned our wealth and when we allow ourselves to be proud of the place of our birth - one of the things we had no choice nor control over.

This wasn't the post I thought I was going to write. I do apologise, I have soap-boxed and, whatever else this blog is I never thought I'd use it as a soap box, sorry.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Young, but I'm not that bold

Ah, that's what I need: a hat!
Oh, and a cool apron.
I want to try these beers...
Hops have been added to the beer and I've read the instructions properly - I have to ferment it after I have done it the first time for a further 14 days, hence I'm going to need a barrel of some description. However, the joy of half term coming up means that I shall have time to look into and possibly purchase such a thing. Also, last night, I had a night out with new colleagues at a snooker club. I still can't play snooker to save my life but it was a good night. I have an actual bona fide social group at work, this is a pleasant surprise, and I also still have contact with one or two friends back where I used to work, which was equally pleasantly surprising (we communicated via text). Tensions remain at home where Tilly is finding it hard to deal with Girlie, who is still hating having moved. Girlie's latest tactic has been to try and make life so difficult for everyone that Tilly will give up and we'll be forced to move back to where we were. I explained tonight that this cannot happen. I'm not certain how successful I was but I think a little of my own experience moving with less than supportive parents that I shared may have made a little positive difference - allowing her to realise how much Tilly is trying to help the transition.

Always helpful to know.
I also heard an interesting piece on Radio 4's PM show with Eddie Mair today on the way back from work about trans* people. I didn't hear the full thing but I hope to listen to it later on iPlayer. One of the things that got me thinking was a statement that "eleven is awfully young to have firm ideas about something as fundamental as gender identity, isn't it?" when commenting on the story of one youngster who, at the age of four, had stated that they were the wrong gender and ended up transitioning at age eleven. I first heard something similar when working at my last place during a workshop run by Stonewall where they would bring up someone from the watching crowd and ask them when they knew they were straight. They would push further - when did they tell their parents? Was it hard to come out to others as straight? How could they know they weren't gay? When did they make the decision? Obviously, the point was soon made that these were pretty ridiculous questions - straight people (and by correlation, gay people) know that they are gay or straight as much as anyone knows anything about themselves. In much the same way I find it very strange how people question trans* people's decisions about their own gender.

On the radio it was interesting to hear the mother of a MTF
explaining that they kinda knew when she started playing
with dolls and dress up. She did say that this was very
stereotypical. But I have always seen outdoor stuff like
this as being the preserve of girls. That is, I have always
identified more with tomboys than I did with either actual
boys or girls when I was growing up.
Adventurous, outdoorsy, play was a 'girl thing' as far as I
was concerned growing up.
Put another way, non-trans* children of age four identifying as a particular societal gender role that fits their physical form in societally approved ways, even self identifying within a normative binary gender model, are assumed to be perfectly able to express that. No one says: "isn't eleven a bit young to have a firm idea that you were born the right gender?" but it's fine for that argument to be levelled at something that is not as socially acceptable. Indeed, as home schoolers (is that even the right term?) Tilly and I get some odd comments from people. They say things like "have you checked out local schools? After all, you can't assume you'll be home schooling forever!" But no one ever says to people sending their children to school that they should look into home schooling because they can't assume that they will always send their child to school. Surely it should apply equally both ways?

I Hate You!

Yeah, I didn't say that, but only because I didn't know that
it was an option to say that to a parent in a teenage
Equally, it got me thinking. I've said before that as a youngster I always felt an outsider and unsure of myself. I have detailed some emotional neglect (or perceived emotional neglect) from my parents. Yet... I have never self-identified as female. But I did get very angry and upset in my teen years about dating. My mother suggested that I should take on board a regimen like my younger brother in order to appear more 'manly' and thus attractive to females. She recommended that I take a more active role and be more forward generally, as society expects of males. I keenly remember my reaction - I ended up crying with rage and frustration and yelling that I was not a 'man'. I have never really read much into that incident, always assuming that it came down to my own inability to articulate my feelings and mother's inability to behave with anything approaching compassion. However, looking at that in light of the article on the radio (and it's something that really ought to have been looked at before now) I wonder if that is my own assertion of gender identity. That is, I do not self-identify as male but nor do I strictly self-identify as female.

I've said it before: I rather like my male parts (but that doesn't preclude a curiosity about female plumbing or breasts when dressed) but I do not feel I 'fit' what male seems to mean - in that regard there are more aspects of my personality and outlook that more closely approximate the female definitions in society. And I know this on an instinctive, rather than rational and carefully evidence-based, way. As a child I 'got' femininity more than I 'got' masculinity (without knowing either term) and thus have always more easily identified with females than males (on the whole, there are exceptions, my hetero-normative sex-life and relationship experience for example).

No, I have no idea what this post was about either. I suppose the more pressing questions are:

What does the fox say? (everything they say it says, by the by)

What's the meaning of Stonehenge?

And, of course, now my signature:

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Closer or That Old Chestnut

So, I posted over at Steffimariechen's blog (which, if you haven't been to see, you ought to) that she has inspired me of late with her prolific and very welcome return to captioning. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are some very inspiring people captioning out there daily like Dee and Elle and Mistress Simone. I am assuming you know all of these people if you're reading my blog.

Anyway, I've had a bit of a day of it today and so I thought I'd try my hand at making a caption again, something I haven't done in a long while, and this was partly inspired by the return of Steffi. I am sorry, I realise that using powerpoint is a poor tool choice and that my previous efforts at captions aren't exactly... well, they're not the greatest pieces of work ever committed to the electronic medium. However, I am reasonably annoyed enough at various things that have happened today to take solace in the use of an image that has haunted me, in a good way, since I saw it.

Standard copyrights apply, of course, and I'll happily remove it if people get in contact with legalities.

I welcome any and all responses about how to improve. For example, I think I ought to have had the close up of the face on top of the left hand side of the caption, and I would have liked to frame the image somehow. If I ever get my own laptop I know that I shall need something like photoshop on it so that I can sample and use the purple colour on the corset, something I wanted to run through the piece, and the complementary red of the hair. I'd also want to play around more with the colours in the image, to give a sort of fuzzy outer glow to it all, fading into blackness right where the kiss is happening. Also, removing silly details like the lamp, which I think detracts from the situation. Maybe also play with the frame of reference so that there is less space for the text and the image can take a bit more space. At present I feel that it is made smaller by the text on the right than it needs to be.

Anyway, yes, for your consideration.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hair today or tomorrow?

Yeah, so, it was a bit like this I suppose.
Not sure it was exactly the same, but,
then, that's not the point.
I recall it felt nice.
And this is close to my hair colour so...
why not.
During the last week I think I mentioned that I'd had a dream about hair. I am aware that the last time I spoke on this topic (it was about wigs if I recall correctly) it was quite possibly the most boring blog post in the history of me blogging. And that's saying something in a blog, like mine, that is generally centred around what goes on in my head with occasional self-serving reminisces or descriptions of events from my own point of view!

However, given that hair is such a topic for me, along with shoes (I saw a lovely pair in IKEA, not known for selling shoes, and actually genuinely considered stealing them - they weren't for sale - but they turned out to be size 5 and thus waaaaay too small; and the local supermarket that sells clothes doesn't have any in my size now), it turns out that I shall be talking about it again. So, here it is. I had a dream about my hair being grown out and long, it was not the focus of the dream, but what got me was how realistic it felt. I could almost feel the volume in my hair as it fell about my ears, the pull of the straighteners I was using with a brush and it was... well, part of the routine or getting ready for work. I cannot recall what it looked like, though I think I was using a mirror in the dream, just the feeling of it and how it fell about my head, just in the periphery of my vision. It was nice.

Oh, I'm just indulging with this, I know. Hey, at
least it isn't a picture of a wig!
In other news, Tilly has been keen to be nice lately, helping me brew beer and making sure that I have washed underwear to wear to work. Indeed, I was given specific time in IKEA today to browse things that I wanted to see rather than being shoved on child-care duty. I tried to respond in kind by getting Tilly some punch like stuff that she'd like and being helpful around lunch, but I'm not sure how successful I was. We went out to meet some new friends at the park and got rained on by a thunderstorm too. Thunderstorms in October are an oddity for me. But, yes, I'm staying in work later than I used to but have managed to free the weekends so that I don't actually do any work at home at present, is this the source of the good feeling? She even mentioned that she'd like to play chess again tonight. We haven't played any kind of game together since before the Girlie was born, so sometime in 2007. Hell, I've detailed on here about how requests for time work in the past but this week I asked for certain things to happen (brewing beer, shopping for food for the week - I make packed lunches now as my new job doesn't have free meals like my last one did) and they were done, seamlessly, in the normal rigmarole of the day on Saturday. This is highly unusual. I'm not complaining, but highly unusual.

Despite all that, there's been no change on the physicality front, it's still a non-topic and joking about garners the suggestion that it's all I talk about. In fairness, I have made at least one sex-related joke a day this weekend (two today, one on Saturday and one on Friday night) so I suppose that was fair comment.

Clearly, I also seem to have a thing lately for curtseys. So, who am I to argue with my subconscious? I shall add another animated gif (to the left) to indulge and, also, to say a genuine and heartfelt thanks to all the people that indulge me by reading this blog. It's very much my safe place and it is also a place I am pleased to call my own. Not having the net for a week and a bit brought that home quite a bit! So, thank you *curtsey*

Oh, I'm back alright, fear my random meanderings!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble

With many thanks to all the people at my old Department, I have begun an epic journey this evening.

Much like this kit, as it happens.

Apparently, I'm going to need another bucket. I am keeping
a weather eye out for an angry walrus / sealion.
Well, okay, I've started brewing my first batch of beer. Beer kit provided by Festival Beer Brewing Company, it is the Golden Stag variety. I have disinfected the bin, lid, tubes and various items. Then you soften the malt (stop reading if you know the process), cut open the bags and put the malt in the bottom of the bin. I don't know what I expected malt to look like but the treacle-viscous substance that oozed from the plain green bags wasn't it. This formed a viscous treacle (no, really?) layer at the bottom of the bin that seemed to be solidifying and hardening as I watched. Add three litres of boiling water and it started to flow better, then, with Tilly doing the stirring, I added a further twenty litres of cold water.

If only Tilly and I could do that.
It frothed, looked like a bad batch of beer, and then did, uh, nothing. I sampled it as instructed for Specific Gravity and the reading said "40". I have recorded this, the SG meter tells me that this is "start brewing" SG, and then added the yeast with a gentle stir. I have put the lid on, stuck in the airlock (which promptly drained and had to be refilled with water when I moved the bin into the cupboard under the stairs) and stuck the bin in an area that is currently about 18 degrees Centigrade and is roughly consistent temperature.

At approximately six days, so next Friday evening, I shall add the hops. At some point this week I must also order either another bin or some barrels to decant the beer into. Given that the barrels last less time than bottles I suspect a second bin and some bottling kit may be in order. This... could get expensive.

Still, I am moderately excited and this, hopefully, sets a new routine that I can follow. A new start, my father called my move, and he may have a point.

Friday, 18 October 2013

I met a man with too many faces...

The mask I wear is one.

Who doesn't want to learn the cleaning trade from a master
of it and wear a kick-ass choker whilst doing so, huh?
Internet has returned to our abode and we have full access again. I have my laptop connected and can type more effectively. Excellent. Tilly and I have watched Leon this evening, one of the odder films in my collection, and shared a takeout. We took the children to the local fair this week too, which was different, and they had their first candy-floss and I had my first taste of the local delicacies in the area. Last night I was out with people from my new place of work at a local curry house and I found that I have become a bit of a curry snob. I'm used to proper sub-continental/English variations as homegrown but what we got was... well, it was a pale imitation of what I have become used to. Nice enough, but not worth the prices they were asking and no amount of talking up by new colleagues would change that.

If only I could look so friendly and inviting.
I should point out that I didn't exactly say that. Like I say, it was nice enough.

But it turns out that I have rather missed this place to sound off. I have missed the feeling of connection I get from reading the blogs of the community, all of you good and kind people, and missed the camaraderie that pervades this community. I am also blushing furiously because I was able to comment to someone in need of support and kindness, and definitely deserving of it, and found that I was no stranger and that this blog was read regularly. So, hi Rhiannon, glad to have you here!

Why not?
Also, there are shout outs to Dee and Leslie who have commented in my elongated moving absence. Both of whom offered pertinent advice and points to one of my laments. I can say categorically that I know of no physical issues with climaxing, I can do it on my own perfectly well and pain free, but it may be an avenue to consider if nothing changes. As for incompatibility... I'm still not sure I'm convinced. Most cases I know of tend to be about one or both people in a relationship refusing to co-operate and learn about the other's needs, wants and desires.

I lol'd. I'm Cancer. Guess with which I
actually identify.
It's less a lack of belief in incompatibility as it is a lack of belief in compatibility. That is, all humans can sexually compatible with all other humans, but they must learn to respond to that other human being. Both in a sexual and emotional fashion - humans that respond to one another can learn one another's responses and thus fine-tune their own ability to deal with and understand those responses. Over time people thus become compatible rather than starting out that way or being unable to be compatible. Everything is a choice somewhere along the line. Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone recognises the choice or even, if they do, feel that they are able to make any choices. I get that. However, the lack of willingness to entertain some options doesn't actually change the fact that the options exist. For example, I consider myself to be strongly heterosexual but that doesn't mean there is no choice for me to be homosexual, just that I don't really want to make that particular choice. My decision does not imply that the choice does not exist. Even if I can't foresee any way in which it would become a choice I would consider (I believe men to be sweaty, smelly, plodding things; I understand straight women and gay men less and less the more I think about it - I get why women are interesting).

See, happy teacher.
Now, I had a dream where I had long hair recently...
My job is a good one. I am daily more glad that I moved from my last place to my new one. There are politics, issues, back-biting and the crappy stuff all over the place, but this is normal. It is low key. The place has problems, it runs... well, it isn't terribly logical in many places. But these are all fine. I love the fact that I can bitch and moan with others there without being bitter and without any of it carrying the faint smell of redundancy or mistrust. Sure, there are staff that dislike one another and there are the usual office politics, but it's... refreshing and clear after the last three years at least. I'm enjoying it and so far the positive far outweighs the negative.

Oh yes, to own this set of clothes.
I love how the same pair of shoes is used with each outfit
and doesn't look out of place in any of them.
I think I may have more of a shoe fetish than I
My wardrobe has been unpacked. After the lovely time in the holiday cottage alone, with access to it every evening, it was all in one place; after that, it is odd to once again know that I have hidden the top, floaty skirt and dress in the drawers in the bedroom and the underwear, blouse and shoes in my old wardrobe in the spare room. Despite being up fairly early most mornings I haven't trusted our children not to wake enough to wear the boots, but I know it's just a matter of time. The lack of space to dress has meant that while I ogle the clothes on offer in the charity shops, I have my eye on a blouse in one, and the ones in the supermarket I have yet to bite the bullet and actually add to my wardrobe. It seems a tad wasteful given the situation. As predicted, Tilly and I have not had a discussion about this or anything else since the move.

They have nice hats, doncha think?
I love the fact that the daughter, like mine,
undermines the shot and the pose with a
simple look.
Speaking of which, Tilly is very much enamoured with the place we have moved to. She enjoys the size of the house and the fact that much is within walking distance in a way that it was not where we were before. The Girlie is calmer now that she has made a friend, though remains hugely on edge and generally irritating. She and I have spoken properly about the incident where I smacked her, she has shown me what happened and talked through it and we hugged and I explained that I was wrong to do that and told her what should have happened. She has forgiven me (we talked about forgiveness ages back because I thought she needed to understand the concept, I use it to help her get past doing things that make her feel guilty - if she is forgiven she feels less guilty, it's a trick I never learned and so I'm keen that she succeeds where I have failed) and we have agreed to move past it. For a five year old she is remarkably good at ordering things and dealing with them. She has been 'better' since that talk and less angry and sad all the time. Turns out the incident affected her quite deeply. But yes, she has made a friend. The Boy remains the same as ever, he misses his old garden but, apart from that, he is very happy here too. He loves having his own space and somewhere to have his train set out without having to pack it all away if he wants to play with anything else.

In short, I am a glad to be back on the internet. Glad to be blogging again, hopefully semi-regularly, and glad for the opportunity to comment properly elsewhere.  *curtsey*


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A Damp Squib

Before moving onto my customary rant after a long absence let’s start with the positives:

I have moved house. It is a nice house that we now live in. There is no damp problem (I mean, it’s an old property, there’s damp but it’s not the problem of our old place) and there are actual rooms. We have four bedrooms now and a dining room downstairs in addition to a kitchen and a living room. There is no shower but the bath is nice. And we have four bedrooms. Did I mention we had more rooms?

My job continues to be positive. Oh, there’s plenty to gripe and moan about, but it is the general griping and moaning rather than the sort of stuff that threatens my employment and my sanity. This is nice. People have even said nice things about my “can-do” attitude (seriously, is this still actually a term nowadays?) and my desire to be helpful and use my initiative. You know, all the things that my last boss said I was incapable of doing.

The area we are living in is nice. There is a good selection of amenities (we went swimming over the weekend and, joy, there was a place where I was able to dive into the pool – I haven’t been able to do that in ten years and it was such a joy to be able to try it again) and the people are friendly. I haven’t really seen much of them, in fairness, as I tend to set off for work at 6.30am and arrive home around 6pm to 7pm but I can’t complain.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled rantage. I should point out that I have not had a chance to dress since moving in, and that has been more stressful than I thought it would be as I think I got rather used to dressing as soon as I got in from work and spending more time as me. That is, as a self-identified straight male in a dress / skirt and heeled boots. Nor have I had time to play solitaire, which is unusual for me, and Tilly is still too stressed for anything else. I am not hopeful of any great change there any time soon, though she has started wearing jewellery again and buying a new wardrobe – of clothes I mean, not furniture. Anyawy…

Moving is such sweet sorrow. At least, it is if your removal vans don’t turn up on the day and you have to book in an emergency company to get you out of the shit-hole before the buyers turn up. Then you find that their van is too small to take everything, later than the official hand over time, and then they leave you with about half your possessions in said house, after the rest of the family has gone on the train as previously arranged, and as the buyers move in – trying desperately to decant the house into the kind neighbour’s living room, the outside cupboards and the very small amount of space remaining in the car. Then your wife tells you that she doesn’t think that she and the children will actually make it to the new property (they were screaming and in tears when they left you see) and your panicked call to your father, despite eliciting help, now has to cover getting the keys. Oh, and the place you get the keys from has shut. Then you have to drive down, beating the removal men who set off an hour before you, to the new place, hope that the keys are sorted out (they were) and that your wife can make it (she did). Then unpack the madness that is the van into the new house before collapsing the children onto mattresses with your wife. Serve tea and coffee to willing helpers in the shape of my father and his wife and finally arrange some mattresses for myself and Tilly to sleep.

The following day I drive back to the original property to pick up the rest of our belongings. It is the wrong day, Saturday, to book a van and it cannot be done. A friend’s husband arrives to help with his estate car. We manage to pack an incredible amount of stuff into the two cars but we can’t take everything. Some six bin-bags of random things, a wedding present in the shape of a swanky kitchen bin, the cage for the chinchilla, two computer base units and sundry items (including a hat stand) have to be dumped as there is no space. No space. And it’s not worth another trip in terms of fuel costs. Frustratingly I had transferred the money required for the original removal firm to Tilly’s account the night before and so that money was now out of reach for the remaining shenanigans, meaning I had to scrape together extra monies for the emergency firm, for fuel, for provisions and for general costs from, well, nowhere. My carefully built cushion fund thus disappeared. Tilly was unable to access her account (except by cheque) until quite recently and so I’ve been perilously close to being in my overdraft since we moved.

The Girlie remained very stressed, angry and violent for the first week, compounded by my actions the weekend previously where I laid hands on her. Tilly was thus, as you’d imagine, very stressed too. I, of course, was also stressed and ranted at both of my parents about opur general lack of readiness – we had intended to keep packing as the removal people moved our stuff out but, given the lateness of the hour, were unable to get everything sorted. However, I’m not sure I buy the comforting argument that we couldn’t get everything packed in advance because there was no space to move what we had already packed in the first place. Not when we had five weeks to prepare. I’m also not sure that I can entirely blame Tilly for it, after all, each weekend I spent some time with the family out and about rather than packing and having children tends to sap the time one can spend doing other things.

I shouldn’t really harp on about it. But it was a big thing. We still haven’t got reliable internet at the house, nor a phone line and the TV points aren’t universal so we can’t plug in. We really ought to do something about that latter point. With any luck, by the end of the week, we should have a proper internet connection and I can start posting of an evening. In the meantime I suppose something like this will have to do. I hope I can find some images to illustrate this, you know how much I dislike walls of text.

Ah, I knew it was too good to be true. Apparently I can’t run on the temporary internet thing. This whole entry may be posted a few days later than it was written. No, on the day but no chance of images, blast!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Eyes have it

It's a short entry. I don't think I'm fully recovered from the weekend.

I bought make-up.

Mascara and eye-liner. I'm shit at applying eye-liner but I was passable with mascara, quelle suprise. Now I must vacuum the cottage in time to leave tomorrow. And pack. And shower. Can't do my job in mascara.

Not my eye. I'm not that good. Just passable.

Oh, and this video should be seen by everybody: (thanks to Dee)