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!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Unexploded Guests

After the crash on Friday I haven't yet managed to write anything more creatively (not that I usually manage to write creatively anyway, but it's sad to waste the opportunity) but there has been quite a busy weekend with all manner of people coming over for all manner of reasons. Naturally, I have songs playing in my head all the time as a consequence.

As ever, I put the 'read more' link below as a sort of safeguard for people who read my intro and decide that they don't want to go further. There shall be talk of Norman Conquest England, trampolines, miscarriages, self-indulgence and poor parenting. Expect rumination on lack of sex and the like, because I am somewhat self-obsessed.

Friday, 28 March 2014


Be warned, I have been writing on my other blog. I have been attempting to rewrite a shit novel. I think I mentioned that.

I have also been skipping meals and watching my step. But all I do is watch myself miss my footing. Don't read on if you aren't interested. Hell, don't read on if you are. It's my oddness to have to write shit to cope, not yours to read it.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Pounding Headache

I've only ever had one migraine. It was Christmas three years(?) ago and it was chiefly down to, I think, an excess of caffeine and stress. I no longer have the stress, seriously, no matter how bad things get at work or at home at present it will never be as bad as things were three years ago. I am not feeling under threat at work and Tilly even referred to me as 'wonderful' two days back. Granted, this was sarcastic, but it's still a sobriquet she has not used about me since before the birth of the Boy. I have a headache again, it's related to the enormous (for me) amounts of coke like beverage I have consumed.

Why so much?

Yep, that's about the size of it.
I can listen to my alarm, and turn it off before Tilly hears it,
six times every morning. And then sleep in.
And not make lunch and skip breakfast.
Tiredness I suppose. I'm being unhelpful by staying up late and getting up early. Hence the need for pick-ups and stuff to stay awake and effective at work and at home. It's silly and I know it. I'm also attempting to survive a most awful novel by re-writing it. It's a friend of Tilly's, who is giving self-publishing a bad name. A shame, I know of plenty of self-published authors who are decent writers and would wow you, as a reader, if you read them. This... is not one of those authors. She started her opus when she was around 19, got interrupted by children, and completed it last year. It is very clear that her idea of editing is to add more sections and words and cut entire sections. None of what she wrote at 19 has been amended to take account of her changed life experiences or, seemingly, any changes in writing style. So there are truly awful descriptions of a kiss and a date, for example, born of naive 19 year old fantasy; along with references to how hard family life must be that are taken from her current position. Conversations are related without actual conversation and entire paragraphs are given over to (rather repetitive) descriptions of walls and rituals.

Yeah, that's how I feel after reading it.

I am getting very sweary of late...
The latter wouldn't be so bad but for the rather oddly placed vague references. For example: "After cutting up the assorted animal parts he placed them in a bowl. It was impossible to tell what they were and so she stopped looking, by now she was used to the rituals involving blood, and so when [name] went around to collect all their blood in a bowl she did not flinch from the knife, then he threw the assorted animal parts, of various types, into the fire. The flames of the fire spit and twisted into strange shapes and she could see shapes of humans and animals in the flames. Captivating, strange and ever so slightly morbid." This is an actual, genuine, paragraph. I mean, fair play, the last sentence isn't so bad but... eesh.

And I am close to this with that class.
Frustrating experience with one of my classes today. I actually had to admit defeat and pretty much kill the entire lesson. Two of the students were fucking singing. Two tried (and failed) to noisily beat-box (unconnected) and the students attempting to do the task I had set were actually unable to do so because of the noise, the stupidity and ill-behaviour of others. I have ten years of experience and I couldn't make it work. I don't know who I'm angry at more: the students for being tits (not the hard working ones, obviously) or me for being unable to maintain control. I confess I got genuinely angry, which is bad. A teacher should never get genuinely angry with students. Still, we shall see what tomorrow brings.

On Sunday there was a follow-up to the Auschwitz visit. I'll be honest, I was kind of looking forward to it as a chance to, well, make sense of my visit. Alas, despite being compelled to attend I was asked to sit out of the activities and discussions (fair enough I guess, but then why ask me to turn up?) and ended up getting... uh, nothing out of it. Four hours of my life they took, for no gain or even a chance to talk about what I'd seen. Ah well, I guess adults are supposed to be able to deal with such things. I've ranted at Tilly about it (the visit, not the seminar) which is about as helpful as I guess Tilly can be. My mother, who has been twice(?) has been less than helpful. I strongly suspect that, if I am autistic, it is through my mother that I am so (in that she is autistic, not that she created the autistic tendencies in me). Mind you, what, exactly, am I looking for here?

Right, if I'm rewriting that shit novel I'd best go do that.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Beer Review: Broadside

This was bought in a vain attempt to get into the selection of ales offered by my local supermarket. The area in which I now live is clearly more interested in cheap lager and strong tramp juice in cans. As a consequence, the bottled ale section is clearly maintained more out of a sense of duty than because people actually buy and enjoy ale. Tonight, therefore, I am trying Broadside from Adnam's.

I have a vague recollection that I've tried this before. Way back, when I first started having beers on a week, I was particularly enamoured of blonde ales, Brewdog's Trashy Blonde to be precise, and I was wary of ruby ales. Indeed, heavy ales were very much not my forte as I was already needlessly concerned that having alcohol on an evening would render me unable to work effectively the day after and incapable of operating my car come morning. Aaaanyway, I had Doombar and Broadside and did not enjoy them. How green I was.

Sure enough, this is a ruby ale and it is a dark horse. It smells like malt and it smells heavy. After the overpowering hoppiness of Halcyon, this was actually a relief. The colour of it was heavy with promise and it put me in mind of some of the nicer ales I have had of late. At 6.4% ABV it was going to be a big hitter too and I was not disappointed. Aroma was musty, but in a malty rather than yeasty way, with hints of acidic hops as a good bitter should have. Taste was similar - a solid and dependable bitter in a way that I recall Black Sheep lost recently. It was malty in the middle and ended with bittering hops of a typical nature. I imagine that this goes down well on tap in dark bars at the end of a working day. It is a skilled laborer of an ale, with plenty of time spent down the pits and in the steel mills. It is the sort of ale that I can drink as a teacher and feel a connection to the working class.

Best drunk, as you would imagine, after a hard day's work. Despite the strength you can very much use this to session with as I suspect it is forgiving. The naval theme is well chosen and the overall feel is of the dark at the end of the day. Perhaps a poor choice for the latter part of spring it suits the ending of winter or the beginning of autumn more than it would summer or the cold depths of the icy blasts. Less stormy and more tall oaks, this is a very British ale. It compares well with my recent bouts but isn't the best, it's a workhorse of an ale and I'm glad I was tempted to try this again.

Thursday, 20 March 2014


I'm having a hard time thinking of words at the moment. Usually, this time of year, I'm churning out fiction and words and sleeting ideas. This year I'm... not. Can't rightly say why. Work is okay, I think, and mostly lessons are working, I think I'm keeping up with things. Home life is... well, same old same old. Tilly is PMSing, ill or tired all the time (or all three); Girlie swings twixt mad tanturms and being sweetness and light and the Boy is just... well, he's learning to sleep by himself again with minimal input at bedtime so it's hard for him at present. And my most recent posts are about Auschwitz. Hmm. So, this post. It's an image. I have a character I'm trying to build to live in a city and encounter multiple dimensions. I typed her name into an image search and this turned up. So, I guess this is her? Meet Anastasia Cable.

Looks a little like Billie Piper or Denise Richards come to think of it.
It isn't. But it could be.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Day-Trip To Auschwitz Part 2

Apparently one long rambling post on the experience wasn't enough. So, I'm going to pick up where I left off (on the way to Birkenau/Auschwitz II) and see where it takes me. I wouldn't blame you if you don't read past this introduction.

In other news, I am avoiding marking and may or may not manage to get round to writing this evening, because I know you care. Oh, have you checked out the 1066 Game? You ought to.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Day-Trip to Auschwitz: Part 1

Most of my blog-posts where I babble about what I did on any given day have a pun-tastic title. I... well, I didn't think that this was a pun worthy thing. Yes, I did go on a day trip to the area we know as the concentration camp of Auschwitz. I know that I spoke about it already in my review of the Wake and I know that most people don't come here to listen to me spout.

Nevertheless, this is part of my experience and, to be honest, this is part of how I cope with things. I record them and that is part of my processing. I'm not sure that what follows will be coherent, let alone interesting, and I'm absolutely certain that it will be less amusing and uplifting than my other posts. It will also be accompanied by some of the pictures that I took on the trip. If this ain't your bag or you don't really wish to face the camps then don't click below.

Would you really like to know more?

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Beer Review: Halcyon

I'd been saving this for a special occasion and, well, one arrived in a manner of speaking. Still thinking about one of the oddest day trips I have ever taken (that would be my day trip to Auschwitz, which I shall blog about soon, still trying to process it) and whatnot along with finishing a tranche of marking at crunch time meant that it was special occasion enough. Tonight then I bring you: Thornbridge's Halcyon Imperial IPA.

At 7.4% ABV this was going to be no slouch and, given the previous entries from this particular stable, I reckoned I had much to look forward to. I had been forewarned that the bouquet of this particular one could be a bit over powering but I was hopeful that, like Dark Raven, it almost wouldn't matter. Sure enough the aroma on opening was powerful, so full of different tones and scents that I confess that I was totally unable to get anywhere with analysing it. It was fruity. I can do no better than that. Fruity and with a great deal of citrus. On pouring, that just increased, it pretty much filled the glass and the room. Colour was more in the straw vicinity than pale ale, but this has been done before and so I see no great harm in it. A vigorous head greeted me on pouring and stayed around a while as if to get to know me. The aroma made me hold back from tasting for a while, just because it was so strong and vaguely intoxicating.

Not too long though, I was tired and ready to move onto a second beer (such a thing was not to be however and that never happened). It tasted strong. I mean, it was nice enough and I can't fault it in any p[articular way but nor can I rightly say what it tasted like. Very fruity, again, but with so many different flavours I was simply unable to tie anything down enough to comment. It started fruity, stayed fruity in the middle and ended fruity with a fruity aftertaste. There was citrus, pineapple, mango and orange that I could place but I have no idea when each one of those hit. It was a melange. Tilly suggested that it was more like Rekorderlig fruit cider (that is, fruit-flavoured cider) in character and I have to say I don't know enough to comment on the veracity. Simply put, this is a very fruity ale.

When is best to have this? Probably a summer barbeque and make sure you sip it. This is not a sessioning ale and it is not one that can really share space with food. Have this whilst setting up the fire and the cooking, it's strong enough to withstand the smoke and the smell of lighter fluid. It is the sort of colour that would be best in sunlight, the dying embers of the sun's glow would sparkle nicely in this. Then you'd switch to something a little less complex for the main meal and finish up with Dark Raven or Ilkley Black to match the coming night. Yeah, this is the beginning of an adventure rather than one in and of itself.

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Wake

At Christmas Tilly bought me a book that I've been babbling about for a good year or so. It's taken three years to come to fruition and I am now the proud owner of the Wake by Paul Kingsnorth. An odd book that bills itself as a post apocalyptic novel set one thousand years ago and, in that, I can't argue. It arrived in our house about three weeks ago and so it is only the second book I've read in the past four years.

I love the way that he has chosen to write this in the ghost language set halfway between Old English and modern English and, I think I've said before, I should love to emulate that a little more. And Kingsnorth clearly knows his stuff, he has studied linguistics well.

Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Focussing flamboyance?

It can't have escaped anyone's notice that I have a job that involves a fair amount of pootling around in History. It also can't be far from obvious that I enjoy this and that I am my own exponent of Godwin's Law. I have made multiple references to the Nazis even in this blog, and most of them were historical in nature. I am an observer with my own perspective of the world in which I live, which is not the same world as everyone else.

The title is my attempt to cleverly pun on 'concentration camp' BTW. Yeah, I never claimed it was any good.

A friend of my family may have been part of the SS and so I have analysed (and yes, that is a proper term, I don't believe I imbued it with emotion, in a negative way) the interrelationship inherent in the transaction. How can a loving, supportive, interesting and all round nice old man have been part of something that we happily denounce as evil? He was not brainwashed, he had never been brainwashed. He maintained a healthy respect for German language, German ideals and Germany. Bear in mind the shift that has happened there too and the more liberal approaches they have than, well, virtually anywhere else in the world. In short, this person, this old man, was as down with jazz and infidelity as he was with the Pakistani community. And yes, in his past, this self-same man at a different part of his journey took part in horrors that we dismiss as evil. In dismissing things thus we deny our own ability to do the same.

I embrace that. I fully appreciate and recognise that, given the right set of circumstances, I do close my eyes to suffering and I plough on. I happily ignore the humanity and the shared experience of people around me, the Other, and I am happy to tar people with a brush in broad strokes. I live the disconnect, the ability to differentiate between nice old mister Goldstein downstairs and all the other Jews who probably deserve relocation because I don't know them and they are, thus, the Other. I don't mean to say that any of this is right or that I shouldn't challenge these views just that I recognise that I can have them.

So it is that I am visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau with some students. Updates will freeze for a long while methinks. And I am usually logical and cold. I suspect this will be like watching Threads on repeat for a long period, over several days. And I know how I get watching that film. I can live the disconnect, I can comment that my grandfather is still warm after he has died and feel nothing giving a eulogy at my grandmother's funeral (one in which I can act the emotions and speak clearly as I act in the classroom). I can be impassioned if called upon to be so but I can live inside myself and watch the world around me quietly.

I'll never win any philosophical arguments as I recognise my flaws too readily, but only in ways that support my argument at any given time. Please don't think I'm suggesting what I do is a good thing. I also speak without engaging my brain and often go too far in what I say.

And, at Auschwitz-Birkenau, I shall be wearing a camisole as a vest because it will be cold. I may even wear tights under my socks and trousers. I wonder what my family friend would make of that?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Pick up the Pieces

Awww yiii-eah!

Once upon a time there was a tape in the family car (showing how far back this was) and it had a piece of music on it that I rather enjoyed. The whole tape was pure awesome, but this particular music put me in mind of that part of Superman II (I think) where Superman had gone evil? Maybe that diner in the first film where he gets punched and then goes back at the end and socks the bully? I think. Anyway, today's activities very much are picking up the pieces (the music was called Pick up the Pieces).

My predecessor has left a mountain of shit. Basically, badly marked work that is to be assessed on a national level. This wouldn't be so bad, I can mark quickly and accurately after all, but for the fact that they've completely fucked up the mark scheme and thus taught the students the wrong method. This means students who ought to be hitting top marks (and they really should) are... uh... hitting the kind of marks that mean they fail. And I must fix this. We also have a sleepover ongoing. Boy is still ill (so is the Girlie for that matter, but we're ignoring that so she gets her friend to sleep over). Tilly is still ill. I'm dosed up on energy drink and two pints of Pepsi, hence my blogging tonight.

EDIT - Ah! It was Superman II. The fight and the end of the film!

If you come here just to check on my status, that's probably all you'll need from my following rant. Hence the line break to save your sanity!

Friday, 7 March 2014


Because, yeah, who wouldn't?
My last posts are weighing heavily on my mind. I was planning a post on Matilda, the character created by Roald Dahl, and how everyone wanted to be her, myself included. I mean, obviously! She was intelligent, polite, faced adversity and could move shit with her mind alone! We'd have to wait until Firefly until we were presented with another character who was so comfortable with their mind and intelligent that they could kill people with it to look up to. I refer, of course, to Summer Gl- wait, no, River Tam. And I had this long complicated explanation as to why I, in particular, wanted to be Matilda even now. I think I mentioned dressing up as her for the last fancy-dress day at my place of work - something that I bottled (duh) and have not returned to. But, then, I am snowed under with marking (own fault), and the children are ill and the conversations from my last posts were shooting round in my head. I am dressed in my new (male) clothes and ruminating on the comments made about them being too feminine. I went on youtube to find the video of the mash-up of Astley and Aviicii (sp?) and was directed elsewhere.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 2 March 2014


I'll admit it came out of nowhere. Tilly wanted to clear up that she did not have am issue with the receipt yesterday. After all, as she pointed out, it's not like I was getting all in her face about it. She still feels that the guilt and the sneaking around means that the activity is wrong and would prefer it if I stopped and hates the people that say "I wouldn't mind if my husband did it" because they would but she wanted me to know that she wasn't getting at me. She is just worried you see, I bought the skirt when out with the Boy and, well, what if he noticed? What if he wondered why Daddy was buying a skirt? And, if I said it was for her, then the shop assistants might remember and ask Tilly about it and then, when she denied knowledge of any purchase, then the shop assistant would know. And the Boy would know. And it may embarrass me. And, you know, she was worried that, if I was buying clothes regularly from the same shop, then they would recognise me and know I was buying for myself. And when I went in with the Boy then he might get tarred with the same brush. And he could be hurt. You know?

Seriously. This is what she said.

She also said that she wanted to apologise for acting unreasonably back in July 2011 when I opened up to her fully about dressing. She was out of line but I made her feel stupid. I made her feel guilty. I made her feel lied to when I said I hadn't worn her clothes because I had, the ones that she threw out six months previous to my wearing them. She hates being made to feel stupid and guilty about things and reacts badly to that. She is quite prepared to talk academically about cross-dressing and, indeed, me cross-dressing. Before we moved, when she mentioned she knew what I had in my bag? She was fine with that, right? She just felt I should use my bag. And it's not like I dress when she's around and she really doesn't want to know any details, and if I was really trying to hide it then I would have thrown the receipt away. It's not anything at all to do with her.

It worries her that I might pass it on to the Boy because I don't remember my formative years and it's perfectly possible that something happened to make me a transvestite. Maybe I saw my father buying female clothes or maybe I saw him dressed up or maybe... Anyway, I have to be careful, or I'll pass it on to my Boy. And saying that it could be down to genetics is like a way of absolving any blame or guilt from what is, still, socially unacceptable behaviour. There can't be any reputable scientific studies done on it because everyone has an agenda and so I can't trust anything they propose to explain it. After all, any such study could only be done on people willing to come forward and, she reckons, most people would not. Oh, and women can't cross-dress because it's socially acceptable for women to wear trousers now.

This was all actually coming out of her mouth. Two separate conversations. From a woman who is adamant that she was born bisexual (genetic) and that she has stopped being bisexual (choice).

Well, at least we're talking about it. I, uh, didn't manage to call her on any of this. Like I say, I was unprepared. So....

Does anyone have any studies I can read? I have researched it a bit already, but you're likely to have avenues I haven't considered or at least articles I haven't seen. Why are some people cross-dressers? (As opposed to all, not why are some subsets of cross-dressers cross-dressers).

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Triumphs or Phantasms?

Ah yes... guilt.

I'm so used to it these days I'm not even sure what
it's about this time.
It's quite something when you score an own goal. On Friday I went along to football, as has become my custom, and played along. I can't claim to really do sport very well. On Thursday I had had an energy drink and then had unguarded conversation with some students about marking standards (my ultimate boss marks considerably more leniently than anyone else, sometimes up to three grades more positive - however, as examiners, myself and another member of staff know that we are accurate, realistic and supportive. Understandably, my students want me to up my grades to match my boss's, even though his are unrealistic and won't match the standardised results). Naturally, in my current mood, I ended up guilty and feeling scared. Given my past, I also ended up with the familiar stress/fear loop all Thursday night and Friday morning.

See, this should be just as normal as any other image
of people doing sports. Here, in the community that
reads this blog, it probably is.

Alas, not so in the world.
Anyway, in the game my immediate boss (as opposed to my ultimate boss) was also playing and, at one point when I was in goal, passed back to me. I wasn't expecting the move and hadn't actually got to the middle of the goal yet. I dived but arrived just too late to do anything more than have the ball bounce over my hand and into the net. It was amusing, and in my autistic way I shrugged it off and thought no more about it. However, my boss mentioned it again, and then again at the end of the evening, adding (as he thought I was out of earshot) "why wasn't he back in goal by then anyway?" I suspect that this will bite me on the ass quicker and more violently than the other situation but, in both cases, I feel very guilty.

Would you like to know more?