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!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


It's hard to find a decent image of a female working on a
radio programme that isn't also the presenter. This is the
best I could do. And, yes, I am jealous.
On the way home tonight I was listening to the radio, because my hand is still comically swollen I was driving slowly and too involved to hit the CD button, and I heard the story that a Deputy Head in a Primary School in the UK has killed himself. After Police visited him three months ago regarding the possible receipt of child pornography it appears that this man attempted to destroy some 1,000 photographs of boys in changing rooms at the school and other places, of which 500 were said to be 'indecent', and failed. Then he killed himself. And it got me thinking. First and foremost, as the climate is what it is, can I state that I am not in favour of paedophilia (though question the definition at least) and have no personal interest, sexual or otherwise, in minors. In my job I am expected to care for them, but that's a job. Also, my children, they are young and I have absolutely no sexual interest in them. Like, at all.

Point made, methinks.
Nor do I condone the sharing of pictures of minors with strangers, especially not ones that are actually sexual in nature, but I recognise that sharing pictures of one's children on social media is rife and that there are a small minority who use them for all manner of sexual acts. In much the same way I cannot judge too harshly, however much I don't agree with it, because I'm sure the women in many of the captions, illustrated stories and BDSM poses truly know what they are being used for by people like myself.

And that's the thing. In the morning, on the same radio channel, there was a thought for the day talking about the right to a private, secret life. An MP had been forced to resign after sharing images with what he thought was a willing woman on facebook but who turned out to be a male investigative reporter. Now, let's be honest, women online receive huge amounts of unsolicited mail from males. I know this as my alter-ego joined a dating site (ish) to connect with someone she met on G+ and exchange views. Since that time, with a neutral image, Joanna has been hit by about twelve potential suitors who all seem to be following a script. That I refuse to pay any subscription and don't pay much attention to the site beyond connecting with my author friend means that I haven't received much attention generally, but the overall nature of what has happened has been... well, I understand why women can get uptight about blokes being a bit rubbish and rude.

And this image turned up when I searched
for Google images of 'Joanna Atkins'.
Gee, I wonder why?
Then there's the fact that I actually do have a secret, private life. Online. Here and on Google+ and on Milovana and on GetDare I am known as Joanna Atkins. In some areas of this online life I am treated and known as a female and in others I am known as a male with a female moniker. On Google+ I have seen, firsthand, how being assumed to be female is to assumed stupid, submissive and ill-informed. Opinions are smacked down, facts are ignored and pats on the head are dispensed when faced with actual evidence. So, my point, the MP was likely far from blameless, he himself has at least blamed no one but himself, but his case highlights something interesting. As did the female doing the thought for the day about it.

I believe that it pertains to the paedophilia of the man who committed suicide too. At one point do behaviours considered deviant by the majority become a crime. I'm fairly sure that paedophilia acted upon is a dangerous place to be and I really, really, have no idea what to do about it. Criminalising it seems very safe and secure, almost a moral prerogative and necessary but that clearly doesn't entirely work. I must bear in mind that cross-dressing is seen, in many cases, as morally wrong and dangerous too, open to abuse and deviant from the norms enough to cause disgust. How much was the dead man allowed to have a private life? It's all very well saying "if it harms no one it can be done" but any student of Politics knows that this is a ridiculous and impossible statement. Every action taken, if significant, will harm someone somewhere. One cannot draw the necessary line with 'common sense' and one must make some arbitrary judgements.

Because memes are good.
If it were to pass that cross-dressing or gender-fluidity were to be seen as harmful to minors then one could reasonably state that those who take part in such activities ought not to be in positions in loco parentis with children. Except that I am. So, where does my right to a private, secret life end and where is the line? I am, in many ways, more at risk than the MP, whose almost-affair is deeply embarrassing and likely to be part of a wider and obviously known behaviour - he may lose his family, may lose his job but will still find other work easily enough., In the goldfish bowl of modern politics there are benefits regardless of the scandal picked up in the meantime as everyone recognises the stresses and the difficulties of being clean or whiter than white. I am, in many ways, less at risk than the dead man who engaged in paedophilic photography as that is, well, kind of against the law and seen almost universally as morally repugnant. But, in trying to compassionate, one must ask why the man did what he did and we can't ask him as he's dead.

How safe am I? How safe are we?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Balloon animals

The truest depiction of the motif of the
book in a film poster I could find.
We've played chess (I posted about it) and we watched Ender's Game last night. I was surprised how well the book translated to the big screen, if truth be told. I missed reading the book when I first had a chance back in GCSE English and I wish I could turn back the clock and fix that. I read the book just after University and then, unusually for me, I read it again in my first year of teaching. Why? It was apposite and reminded me that, in schools, often the perception is that the adults are the enemy and that this is totally for valid reasons. I also loved the pace and the immediacy of the book. So, how could they condense all that into a single film that was less than two hours long and maintain any sense of the source material?

The first thing that they can do is cast a child actor who looks and sounds not a little unlike Edward Norton to play the lead. Seriously, Norton has the acting chops to make even Ang Lee's The Hulk bearable to watch for an evening and so anything in his sort of range will have me watching it. And in Ender Wiggin it just makes the whole thing a little more believable. I had a hard time parsing the extra tech on the film with what I remembered from the book and yet it worked just fine. So I was aware that they had changed something early on and I couldn't put my finger on it at all. Rereading the book I realised it was the situation with the Buggers, sorry, Formix and how humanity had been attacked and then retaliated. Also, having Harrison Ford reading out lines from the book verbatim did wonders. No, really, that was well played.

Edward Norton is Ender Wiggin.
Played by someone else.
Then you need to focus on the character of Ender. So none of Valentine and Peter slowly taking over the world via opinion on the internet over social media and none of the battle sequences in the battle room where Ender trains his own troops. But that makes a bit of sense. When we get to see some of the battles you realise just how hard it would be to render those sequences without making them a montage without emotional impact or else destroying the context. They also had to close down a great deal of the mind game and the different alliances that shift and change throughout the book so that we can get to follow something of Ender as a person.

With Valentine.

She doesn't use Facebook and Twitter to conquer the planet with
Peter, but hey, it's a short film.
A number of times I thought they were going to mess up the twist, which is fantastic by the way, and at one point I thought they had. But Tilly was sat next to me the whole time and never guessed the ending, except by rampant blanket guessing as she twigged that something was up. In this way she is never wrong and can always claim that she saw a twist coming, which is fair enough but you can tell my thoughts on the matter. In any case, the film captures the feeling very well toward the end and, because it didn't faff about with the battle school, we had investment in the person of Ender and his crew of misfits, allowing us to get a montage sequence until the last battle. By extending the latter pages of the book to fill a good twenty minutes they also manage to bury the twist a little more effectively - or else audiences would know that the final battle was the final battle, if you see what I mean.

In short, despite the fact that Orson Scott Card is an odious individual, the film is really good and really faithful to the original (occasional asides about Mormonism that I never really spotted before the film elected not to show them aside). If you are looking for a decent film on DVD, rent this or get it on netflix or, better yet, borrow from a library so that there aren't any royalties supporting OSC from your end. Then get the book from a charity shop and read it. Read it good, and read it before watching the film, you shan't be disappointed.

Oh, the balloon animal is my hand. Swelled up like a balloon today and is still pretty puffy. I may be getting the bus into work in the morning. Deep joy. I love buses, I do, but tomorrow is a busy day (all Mondays will be this year, last year was nicer in that regard with a different timetable) and so it'll make me on edge even though the route (and the timing) is fairly straightforward.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Sport and why I shouldn't...

Before the coffee.
After a late night playing chess with Tilly, which she claims to have enjoyed (I did, for what it's worth), I spent a day playing 2048 rather than marking in my free time. Having had a coffee, always a bad plan, I had a fraught but eerily easy day. I went to play football feeling pretty good about myself and the world (having blocked some people on another forum rather than enter into arguments that make me frustrated in the morning). There I had a good time, I even scored a goal, and then near the end of the game I leapt up for some reason. And was accidentally knocked in the air, sending me crashing down against the wall, head and elbows cracking, and landing heavily on my left hand. Driving home was achieved by dint of adrenaline. And the car needs to go to the garage as something is loose and vibrating loudly an annoying (not whilst turning left, for some reason) and it's getting worse. Vanessa bounced in a ditch on the edge of a carpark at the beach over the holiday season and obviously something broke away and has been getting steadily worse. At present the whole car vibrates alarmingly and loudly over 15mph.

Aaand after.

Obviously, I've had a beer. I was almost surprised to find that a nice hot bath did my wrist the world of good too. But then I have a theory that humans must have evolved near hot volcanic springs - which is why we swim, bathe and give birth in water so well. Baby steps, eh?

Big bruise, and swelling...

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Don't have to be...

Oh look, there's the blog title!

Happy to report that the wobble is past now. Doesn't mean the issues won't be circulating for a while yet but, for the moment, there is an equilibrium. It means I'm being fiercer with things I would ordinarily only be passingly frustrated with, but at least I'm not jumping into some dark gaping maw of numbness.

Tilly suggested playing chess tonight after she's finished writing. I am up for that. We haven't played any game together, not counting occasional games with children, since mid-2007. Is that a step forward? I still don't know what to do to 'woo' her and I don't think we're really heading to anything approaching a sex-life per se but I can't argue with the limited progress on being affectionate with one another. I mean, she's still not awake most mornings so my kiss goodbye is meaningless, and hugs are only used to say hello about 50% of the time. And I've been to bed earlier than her every night since work started back - which means I am completely asleep when she comes up about an hour or so later, so there's nothing happening in bed at all - but I can't complain.

Oh, I wish I looked like that playing chess.

That's it. Apart from a moan about how MRAs use Men's Issues like there's a thing big and important enough to derail conversations from issues affecting women. But that, like most things, is perennial and just on the right side of irritating that I can ignore it. I'm looking forward to a beer tomorrow.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Ain't That The Truth

Tilly suggested that I embrace my sock-puppet life and use it to find support and help for my issues. On another forum I was talking with someone about being in a sexless marriage and, bless their heart, they were trying to be helpful. It is fairly prominent on the profile I have there that I am a cross-dresser. It came up.

They didn't know. Conversation politely, but firmly, ended.


I'm not proud of myself. Again.

How can accepting myself ever be of any use when no one else wants to do that? I mean, it's easy to do in the anonymity of the intertubes to some extent, especially when a blog like this fits into the community of bloggers dedicated to GID, cross-dressing and gender experimentation. In real life this sort of thing just plays less well. As my conversation partner put it: "I could be your friend, but I could never be your lover (not that you were asking)." Yes. I think she hit the nail on the head.

And that's the rub. My issues stem from that.

If that is the real me, how can anyone ever love the real me?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A week in politics...

Another vision of femininity in the past and north of the
border. Well, I am nothing if not a romantic in these matters.
This was the week of the Scottish Referendum. I'm actually one of those that would have been saddened to see the back of Scotland, their input to the UK is very much one I appreciate and a moderating one in these times of neo-liberalism running rampant. Furthermore, I grew up in the Borders and so I have a sentimental attachment to being able to nip over the border and back as well as something of a penchant for the history that is on offer there. There's much more the locals of my childhood haunts have in common with people just across the border than they do with the southerners with whom they share a geographical area. That said, as the campaigns wound down, the constant lies that were being bandied around made me want the Scots to leave, they deserve better and greater respect from Westminster, if I'm honest, and independence may get them out while they can still do it - as well as blazing a trail with renewables, NHS spending and equality. Even if Salmond had got into bed with Souter and Murdoch - odious creatures - at least the Scots could assert their own views and maybe replace them with the Scottish Greens. It wasn't to be. Whilst a part of me is glad, another part is very disappointed. Still, Cameron seems pleased that 45% of Scots clearly see him as a twat, which is always amusing.

We call this a den.

Do people in the USA call it a 'pillow fort'?

Anyway, the Boy would prefer a knitted blanket as, and I
quote: "it 'as 'oles in it so I can see out and 'ight 'an 'um eeen!"
It's also the week where Tilly and I had another in depth conversation about our sexless status and I generally fell down a lot trying to recover my sleepless night earlier in the week. The Girlie has calmed again, we put in her new bed this weekend and she is as pleased as punch. We're still getting flashes of insanity but she is, at least, sleeping better and enjoying her new bed. The Boy is also very pleased to have his old bed back with space for a den on the upper bunk - now a nest for reading but he wants a blanket to make it a proper den (who am I to argue?). On the child front, then, the war is winding down and maybe I can get a better run at the week than last. The exam results have loomed large in discussions with the Head and some decisions that have had to be made, but I have tried to stick to my guns and we shall see where we end up. It's going to be a tougher year than last year and my imposter syndrome is rampant also - mind you, I may just be showing my true colours again.

Well, I lol'd.
I'm still hopelessly addicted to pornography and GetDare, where I am getting a little ahead of myself, and using some faproulettes. I'd like to claim that it was because of the 8 months since the last attempt at sexual relations but I would be lying. I managed two years without succumbing in the past so it's just that I'm a bit shit. I've had a long discussion online with someone who claims to have been cured of being a TS with GID, I am skeptical, and am questioning my own desires to dress in clothes that society has deemed are for people that are physically different to me. Not sure whether that's because of society and the forbidden or whether I am truly a tad autistic in this so that it's more a lack of understanding as to why any human body wrapping would be different. Meh, who knows. Does God hate me for it? No. Does God consider cross-dressing a sin? Jury remains out. For me. There's a verse in the Bible calls it a detestable practice, which seems pretty unequivocal, but I also had pre-marital hanky-panky with my wife.

From here on in we're back to TMI, so there's a line break.

Loving the curtsey, but I'd rather identify with her on the left.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Just this

You can find the very cool comic here, but, in the meantime, I share this rather interesting story. I wonder why this aspect of cross-dressing isn't better known or appreciated.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Pardon the alarmist title. There's a lot of family stuff here, not any images. Sorry.

Except that we were all male.

Of course I would have preferred it this way and any of the
women would be fine. But I like the colour of the beer in
the middle the most, so let's say I identify with the one in
red, because why not?
On Saturday I went to meet some former colleagues for a beer night. It was very nice. But I got quite drunk and thus revealed my sexless marriage to one of my colleagues. Who, bless him as a true Christian, listened and made supportive noises when required without attempting to offer solutions or judgement. It was cathartic and interesting to hear someone in real life say what others have said - that our sexless marriage was not normal and must be very frustrating. We did not discuss it when fully sober (and I should point out that, while drunk, I wasn't horrifically so - I was very much in control of things and took the choice to reveal what I did. I think I've ruminated before on the lack of effect that alcohol genuinely has on our mental states and it being down to the belief that it will alter things - go go signs of autism).

Also, it reminded me just how sad the whole thing is making me. Bear in mind it was on this trip that I had bought the sex toy earlier, it was in the car whilst we went beering and then had our discussion. So, there's that background to consider.

Except she's six.
During the holidays relations with our eldest have been on a knife edge. At six she is embracing the anger of most teens and gets hysterical, quite deliberately, when faced with something she doesn't like. Once she's hyperventilated a bit and repeatedly yelled a short phrase ("Go away!"; "I want my Mummy!"; "I want X"; You're scaring me!"; "Don't make me cry!") a few times there's no getting through to her. She screams over anything that is said and any move to hold her or hug her is met with screams about how we're hitting her, hurting her or she can't breathe and we're killing her. These tantrums have been weathered.

Then I went back to work. Then I went back to where we used to live for a night. Our Girlie does not deal well with transitions.

From here on in, we're TMI. So, a line break.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Questions Questions

Perhaps with more frowning.
On another part of the interwebs I was talking to someone who claims that they stopped being a cross-dresser. They claimed that they had written a letter, to themselves, about how they had wanted to be a woman and then thrown it away. It was discovered by a family member who then withdrew from them and had them put in therapy. The therapist then revealed that the reason for this person being in therapy was the discovery of the letter. A course then followed that showed the errors of the behaviour and the person 'prayed properly for the first time' (which is a statement that is truly frightening in its implications for someone who is a Christian). Thus, supported by God, their church and family, they put the past behind them.

Now, looking back, they claim that cross-dressing is an addiction on the same level as alcoholism. That we, as cross-dressers, need to hit rock-bottom in order to see how much damage we are doing to ourselves and those around us and thus get into therapy to fix this dangerous part of ourselves.

Yeah, that's more like it.
Quite apart from the worrying mashing together of cross-dressing and desire for SRS, or the frightening aspect of Christianity being used as a hammer to beat people with and the depressing lack of open relationship with this person's family member (and the implications that has); there is the enthusiasm of the newly-converted. And the way logic is being deployed has me thinking. How can I, or should I even, respond to that argument in an effective manner? I mean, I've said it before and I shall say it again, I am a Christian and I believe that the part of me that cross-dresses is as much a created aspect of me as any other part - God doesn't make mistakes, right? So that part of me isn't a mistake to be rectified or 'fixed', it's something God meant for me.

Mind you, my own logic runs into difficulties with cancer and genetic illnesses and deformities etc, I am fully aware of this. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can't ever judge someone for something that stems from how they were made (or developed in the womb at least). On that level, does that mean cross-dressing is something we should seek to 'cure' or alleviate the same way we do with congenital diseases?

Imponderable. For me.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Don't you remember?

Our guest was older. And on medication.
And this is pure softcore porn.
Recently we've had a guest over from Canada. Somewhat set in her ways, she's an old friend of Tilly's and we couldn't really say no. It's been... interesting. I was just ruing the fact that this was meaning even less physical connection, when combined with me going back to work and the later nights watching shiz on the DVDs that Tilly did with her, when Tilly ended up initiating full body hugs two nights ago. She ended up bona fide sleeping on me, but in a romantical sense. I was a little stunned, but pleasantly so.

However, it also brought out some of the frustrations physically. I can't dissipate them by dressing (the guest room is where my wardrobe is and now I'm likely to be in bed earlier than Tilly as she picks up book stuff missed whilst we were entertaining) and the opportunities to do it myself, always limited, are dwindling to naught. So it was that, in the bath this morning (we have no shower), I ended up thinking about the efficacy of buying something to... remove temptation? Basically, I have now seriously considered chastity devices but not as part of some sexual play, quite the opposite.

Not sure if they'd work, if I'm honest, but it may well be worth investing in.

Ah, a positive beer drinking woman.
Work continues to be good, if busy and not helped by the fact I know I'm being lazy about things, and my colleagues continue to be nice. My only concern is that, with our own office and facilities, we may end up being shut-ins! I managed to get some football in last Friday, which was much needed given my rotund stature, and this weekend I'm bobbing back to visit some ex-colleagues to exchange homebrews and have a night sampling city beers.

But Eye'm a LAY-di!
I also read an interesting take on transvestism from someone who claimed to have 'given it all up' after his mother found out. This through prayer and really wanting to because it was hurting his family and a selfish addiction. I really don't know what to make of it, on the one hand I can see in the story the same sort of feelings I remember being expressed by people who went to psychiatrists in the USA to be 'cured' of their homosexuality (and thus afterward repudiating it, when they came back to their senses) and, on the other, there's the definite playing of low self-esteem that probably needs a boost. It was... enlightening in its own way. I just keep coming back to the fact that of all the people I have spoken to in real life about my own cross-dressing, those connected most with the church have been the most caring and supportive without judgement. None of them have ever suggested that cross-dressing is a sin. It is to them I owe a great deal of my current view of what I do - that it is a huge part of who I am that I can no more deny than I deny the fact I read science fiction and enjoy films. Sure, I can cut either of those parts of me off, let them wither, but they'll just be holes where a part of me used to live and I would be poorer without them.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Book List - Part 2

Ah, the final part. I said 'top three' in my last post and, well, I lied. I implied that I had a 'top' of anything. Again, these are just ten of the books that stayed with me "for some reason" and some of them are for different reasons. So far, most of them have been fiction (and I suspect that will remain so) but I ought to explain this apparent bias.

Factual books I love, I do, but I view them as a means to an end - a way to acquire more knowledge or to think in a new way. As a consequence I am strictly utilitarian, mostly, when reading them. Some, like one in this installment, make me think so much in a new way that they stay with me. Most, I dip in and out of chasing references or sources. I am an historian and I read like that all the time. I said before that I do not prize a clever narrative over facts, and I don't, so 'great literature' to me can rarely be factual - mostly I chase information through labyrinthine corridors left by dry academics, and I like that. See a clever bit of prose and I get suspicious - what angle are they going for and why would they want me to focus on the prose rather than the facts?

However, I do respect the fact that some factual books are simply mind-blowing. Here I must plead the arrogance of youth and of my profession. I have worked so long and so hard to appear unfazed that I usually convince myself that mind-blowing information isn't. Now, I have already cited The Politics of Breastfeeding as one of my books and tonight I shall cite two more factual tomes that did blow my mind. But, hopefully, this explains why fiction has such a lasting hold on me.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Books that stayed with me - Part 1

Someone asked me what my top ten books were recently.

I know, it's a click-bait list article thing, and I can't really rank the books that I like easily. However, I think I can give you ten books that have stayed with me for "some reason" and briefly explain why. I can't promise any order to the list, any rhyme or reason to the inclusion of books or any great themes that I shall be exploring. Equally, there will be books that are missing simply by dint of me having read them too recently for them to have stayed with me yet, like How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day, which are both brilliant books in their own rights and will no doubt make me think for a long while yet but, having only been read in the last few weeks, can't really qualify for the list.

Then there's the influential books that shaped who I am today: Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, Tom Clancy's books, Colin Dann's Animals of Farthing Wood series or pretty much anything by John Wyndham (his short story Consider Her Ways was very much part of making me who I am, as was The Trouble with Lichen and, of course, Chocky). Obviously not all of those can make a list of ten books that have stayed with me, so the list will be culled and will be pretty random. Without any further ado then, the list continues after the line break. But only the first 7, top three will have to wait for another day.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Whispered Aside

Either, or both, it doesn't matter.
I have been fascinated by the mesolithic and pre-Conquest angland all summer but for different reasons. The pre-Conquest stuff is down to the equality of the genders and the relative freedom from interference enjoyed by the vast majority of society in that political and social system. All the more fascinating as the cultural shift brought about by the Normans led to inevitable friction - and yet the continental system with women as property and land ownership and reliance on agriculture based on crops rather than herding prevailed. The quality of life was reduced, the productivity and basic health of individuals declined more ferociously and then we hit industrialisation. Mesolithic society seems to have lived in as close to a paradise as can be imagined, with relatively little work needed to gather and maintain food stocks and a way of life that seems to have left plenty of time for contemplation, copulation and oral culture. We're still learning much about this but, in particular, the end of the land-mass known as Doggerland meant that those on modern Britain maintained a way of life closer to that enjoyed pre-inundation of what is now the North Sea whereas those on the continent gradually shifted to agriculture and the lower standard of living that this entailed (and increasingly harder work for those attempting to grow things).

This is a Viking, but they lived in the north
of angland long enough to stop being
ingengas, so it'll count.
All of this is, essentially, my pub-quiz style knowledge based on the smattering of reading over the last few weeks (and a bit before then too). Th reason I spurt it all out in one long pile of guff here is because some chat bot left a comment on a post from November of last year. But what I found fascinating was the choice of obviously cut and pasted text that it left, and so I share this quote:

"This suggests two different waves of immigrations betwixt the two cultures, ere The Iron Age Hallstatt and La Tene cultures (probably during the exodus of some Pelasgian peoples fleeing The Aegean in the 2nd century B."

I have no idea what this actually means (there are two other equally impenetrable sentences) but the fact that it fits with some of the reading in the physical world that I have done lately is bizarre. No way ad profiles can be created by stuff I've picked up and browsed in second-hand bookshops, but there you have it.

In other news, I have started back at work today with my two new members of staff and my existing newb from last year. I am hoping that this will allow us to work together and do some pretty nifty things, maybe even hit our grade targets (Ha!), but we shall see. They seem like nice people with plenty of good (and insane) ideas, and that's the kind of mix I like to see. Also, the new digs are looking alright and despite the poor showing of my Department in results we haven't been unduly pressured yet. It will come, I know it will come, but I'm enjoying the meantime and the chance to try and do better this year under my own steam. Even if my stress levels are rising (but it's a different kind of stress, more like last year but without the negativity surrounding being separated from my family).

Eh, it's a warrior-style curtsey.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The woman in me shouts out

The man in me just smiles

A conversation piece.

Recently, Tilly has changed her working patterns so that she writes with her literary buddy every other night. On the 'off' nights she can work on her novel, her blog presence (to create the market to sell her work later and create her own circle of friends online) and have 'her' time. Once a fortnight we shall have a Friday night together. We have had two of these 'date-nights' thus far. They consist of some film/DVD and wine for her, beer for me, and sitting together on the sofa. They are nice, we actually touch a bit, she has her legs on mine and we have a watch of something. All of this is a definite step forward from earlier in the year and I'm not going to knock it.

This'll do. It was a decent enough establishment and the
staff were really on the ball. But the food was... well, what
you'd expect from a chain pub and not all that well done at
that. I don't do meeting new people well, so Tilly was keen
that we do something to put me at ease beforehand.
We've also been down to celebrate her mother's 60th birthday. I was having a conversation with my father's wife about his sixtieth and how we were going to celebrate it. With him having his birthday on Christmas Eve it's always a bit difficult to organise anything and, though I remember cards and presents for both, he is a bit hung up about the fact that the two are very close. For my father's fiftieth we had a posh meal in some country hall in full smart dress, evening dress, and then retired to a hotel afterward. I hate dressing up in suits. My brother and I attended, but I know that I wasn't really present in mind and was a bit of a poor son to have there. This was a mere week before I hooked up with my Mad-Ex, so that may have had something to do with it. Therefore, this sixtieth is being planned a little more in advance and, at Tilly's urging, with a bit more involvement from me. It was after a conversation about it that Tilly remembered her own mother's sixtieth and we came up with the wheeze of going down, about 200+ miles, to surprise her with some family and have a meal. It went really well, it really did.

This will do.
Anxious that I got something from the trip, Tilly arranged it so that we could go to an experimental ancient farm covering everything from the Neolithic to the early Iron Age first the day before the meal. I confess that I liked the place, though both of the children were being a bit strange. Then, that night, she insisted that I go whilst she settled the children to sleep. They did not go easily and so I was in the bar downstairs (not having drinks) until about 11pm. I managed to read my book on Prehistoric cookery that I'd bought that day (fascinating) and play a great deal on the tablets we'd taken for the children in the car. I felt bad about having fun whilst the hellish time was had by Tilly but she assured me that she would sooner that than have me miss sleep. It was thus a hard meal trying to keep the children happy during the meal as they were tired and grotty. They continued to be so all the trip back and some dodgy seafood that I'd had meant that we had many stops for my bladder.

Doggerland, before and after the great slide that caused
a tsunami to devastate the islands that remained at the time.
During the mesolithic much of what is now the North Sea was a plain with pretty much paradise on it. Food was plentiful, abundant and easily gained. The people that lived there weren't so much hunter-gatherers as we understand them but people who could hunt if they chose, eat when they liked and pretty much what they liked with little effort. They were few in number, had a pretty steady-state population (indicating high health and satisfaction) and this maintained in some areas until the Romas turned up. Of course, their land was gone by 6500BC and then the slow adoption of agriculture was forced around the same time, and life became harder but still not as hard as it would become during the time of the Romans and afterward: Climate Change, soil change, vegetation change and population growth all had their part to play, along with the loss of large game due to those environmental changes. Why am I linking this? It seems that the power-play between society's genders and restrictions imposed thusly are quite modern in origin. We knew that anyway, but to see it so starkly as this was something of an eye-opener.

And we're considerably less close than this couple here.
Definitely less touchy-feely.
I do like the direction things are going with our relationship at the moment. But we don't talk directly about sex, even when watching comedy or films that are directly about it, and we don't really discuss anything of any great gravity. We are slipping into loving one another rather than being in love with one another and it scares me. There is a fondness that one may see between good roomies but no spark of anything more or else. There is less time now for me to indulge, which is fine if balanced, but nothing else is happening. Okay, I'm being unrealistic, I know, one does not repair six years of brokenness in a few short weeks. But I worry that we're never going to fix things to a high enough standard to risk the suspension on a rocky road again and what will we be left with when the children grow up? Is this all I want?

Not long ago, when we were talking about physical intimacy, Tilly got a little heated (she wasn't alone). She spat: "all you really need is for some woman to spread her legs for you!" Right there, I feel, we have the nub of the issue. Tilly views pretty much anything sexual as being dirty and undesirable, something that is devoid of closeness or love. I could just get the sex and be happy and then we could go on and forget about it. She's wrong. I view the sex as being part of something else, something larger, but still a part of it. What if she's partly right, but not the way she intended, and there is nothing bigger for the sex to be a part of? This isn't existential angst about the relationship, just a musing. It would explain a great deal.

Hmm, rapidly becoming unfocussed. I shall sign off here.