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!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Reach Out and Touch Faith

Caffeine. Busy times. Leadership.

Reflection follows: in the mirror of a morning after waking up before or after a bath, before getting dressed, as I try to make my hair behave normally, as I brush my teeth. And, as usual, no real idea how to react or interact with what I see there. I mean, it's my face sure enough - the unkempt beard, the shaggy mop of hair lank and greasy (even if just washed and dried), the pigeon chest atop an increasingly rotund stomach. Not quite body hair: longer and darker than really consistent at the nipples and around the Hellmouth that is the belly-button. Nowhere else. Forests of Hell in the armpits, tangled thorns across the legs and about the middle region. Scrawny neck. Tied eyes, in pools of deep darkness. Unhealthy.

Clothes. Necessary. Suits mainly - from the 1940s or 50s, from Greenwoods, but not me, never me. Friends over at the weekend with a compliment after visiting a pub for an actual real-life 'swift half' (Chocolate Malt in my case), Jeremy, for twas he, suggested that I would be one of the best known people if I ever turned up to a reunion from my old school as I was one of the few "genuine individuals" in our school. Apparently, according to him, I was known by pretty much everybody and continue to be a "genuine individual" in a way that few matched, including him. Very flattering. Not sure what it means.

And reliving the old days. I was reminded at work by a young colleague of the power of Command and Conquer which, apparently, was released after my father left meaning that I must have owned it afterward too, something I had not really considered. I was surprised to find myself remembering it all so clearly and deeply when faced with some playthroughs, to the point where I was getting actively frustrated with these professional gamers for missing obvious tactics and better and more efficient ways to win (seriously, they get leadership ratings of 18%! I used to worry if I fell below 40%!). So, that was different. The soundtrack is also worth a listen, though I found that it was improved in my mind by sound effects from the game over the top - so I haven't linked any videos here in favour of letting it live on my head as I heard it when I played. It's why the CD I do have never quite does what I need it to, I fear.

Why all the Marilyn Mansun videos? I can rely on him and his music to project the kind of image that repulses and fascinates. The kind that makes people want to stare for longer with a look on their face that maybe he's trying too hard or not hard enough to be something he is or is trying hard not to be. He's a clever man but has he sold out? Oh, definitely, but is that not just the ultimate expression of anarchism or has he become a corporate shill selling youthful ideas of rebellion at a knock down rate that can be controlled and channelled for the good of the controlling and vested interests in global society? An enigma, a fusion of some decent tunes (these are mostly cover versions) and some difficult to follow posturing. What is that if not an accurate portrayal of my cross-dressing efforts?

Because some people know who they are better than I know what or who I am. Some people want to appear as women or would prefer to be physically female to match their brain chemistry or want the outer and inner to align better. I don't like my outer or my inner and they do not align. Forever certainly but is that just a word? Toby once gave me forever written down to symbolise what she said I feared the most - the impermanence of a relationship - by trying to push that fear away that we might live. It didn't work. When I use the word I have no real understanding or concept of what it actually means so I suppose she was right and her attempt to allay my fears was always doomed to fail. Because I know what I mean by failure more than I know what I mean by success.

Monday, 20 April 2015


And I would play Pet Shop Boys, of course, with the many
club remixes. Because I am so hip (replacement).
Looking back, I think that this little blog may be slowly dying. It's getting attention from bots that now outweighs the attention from good people who read here and I rather suspect that its content has evolved beyond what I started with. I have become more confident, I suppose, and aware of who I am and what that means. When I came here I was struggling to understand myself, my feelings (or lack thereof) and the fleeting periods or snapshots of happiness. I was wrestling with my cross-dressing and wondering if it was something that was a part of me or something created as a stress-response.

Full-frontal nudit- wait, no, just me in a dress
with a beard.

How avant garde. Or gauche. Whatevs.
I have answers to the questions I came here with. I know that I am happy having a penis, happy being attracted to people who form the illusion of a binary opposite to what I front as most of the time. I know that I have kinks and fetishes that are beyond the norm, that are beyond what people can find acceptable, and that are highly unlikely to ever be fulfilled. I am sanguine about that. I know now that, creative as I can be, I am not cut out for being a writer or a captioneer because I simply can't commit to it and often run out of steam or attention. I now know that my worth cannot be measured and analysed as I would like nor cast in things done or avenues explored, as much as I would like it to be.

In short, I do not deny that I am a cross-dresser and Tilly still has not accepted (nor ever shall) this aspect of me beyond knowing that I do it from time to time. She, and most other people I know, have no desire to know more about this aspect of me and, frankly, my urge to talk about it seems to be dying off too. Not in a bad way, the fact that I am still posting here and even sharing pictures shows that I am more than willing to show off, just in the sense that I think I am more balanced now than those dark days that prompted the start of the blog.

And, no matter how well my marriage goes, I shall never have
anything like this. But that is life, is it not, in the modern
world - the subtle disappointment of compromise.

As Cary Elwes very astutely said in Princess Bride: "Get used
to disappointment!"
My marriage is changing, so far for the better, and though there have been crises they all stemmed from the same point. I can't claim that I am totally happy with things but nor can I claim existential angst any more as at least things are out in the open. They may not end up where I would like them, all the progress made so far may evaporate over time, but I am now in a position where I am resigned to the path and searching my way forward to see what can be done by me and being realistic about what is beyond my control.

I know what I want, I know most of it is forever out of reach; I know who I am, and who I would have preferred to be; I know what I can do, and what I have decided is beyond me (as well as what is actually beyond me). I still strive toward the title of the blog, but not in the same raw and wounded way I felt in 2011.

It's hard to know exactly how to respond: this is as close as I could get.
Along the way I have been blessed to make some excellent friends whose timely messages, comments and e-mails have allowed me to survive, understand and grow as a person. And I'm not being flippant. Without these patient and wonderful people (Leslie-Ann, Elle, Calvin, Dee, Rhiannon, Linda, JamieLin) I don't think I could have accepted any of the things that I have written down on here nor made the moves that appear to be slowly making my life a little more positive. As verbose as I am, I lack the words to adequately express my thoughts and feelings about this and the help that you have provided: the support, the sounding board, the metaphysical hugs... It's enough to make someone cry in gratitude and, well, happiness. Thank you.


Sorry, but no one should really be
voting UKIP.
This is not a valedictory post, a goodbye or even a farewell. No, this is just an observation on my dying post rate (occasional diary-style entries and reviews don't count) and the slow decline of my involvement and engagement across the board. For the first time since starting this blog these two have come at the same time.

Maybe this feeling is a flash itself, a clam before a new storm or anticipation before the next great whirlwind. A General Election looms in the UK, I shall be voting with my conscience as I do and I shall therefore be unrepresented at Westminster for another five years, that much I know. I can see the UK becoming more right-wing. I can see people mistaking recent minor economic changes to be successes for one party, a global financial crisis being blamed on another (and their mishandling of PFI - always toxic - and privatisation doesn't exactly do them any favours in that regard), the rise of something distasteful, arrogant and quasi-evil being hailed as wonderful and the derision heaped upon nationalist parties (who have their own problems). I see the loons, the fruit-cakes, the deluded and the starry eyed idealists. Perhaps as society shifts again I shall have another kind of blog to make here. I don't think I'm stopping posting, but I am seeing my blog changing focus.

And it feels like twilight.

Friday, 17 April 2015

How Autism Works

Debating is a passion that few can master, I find.

I can't.
It may not be immediately apparent but I like debate. I like challenge, both being challenging and being challenged. I am also hyper-aware of issues surrounding gender for what are, perhaps, rather obvious reasons. I am also, I realise, a poor choice of ally or poster-person for such conversations and debates surrounding this issue. As someone who is intensely private in real-life about my own identity, playing a role most of the time and switching it around often so people can't tell what is act and what is real, I am a bad person to take the high-road on getting others to express themselves authentically. Equally, as a beard-wearing masculine heteronormative privileged white middle-class person, I am a poor advocate of most things on the trans-spectrum; not least given the fact that I even managed to court controversy with a photograph on Stana's blog where people are pretty good at being open, honest and supportive even when faced with things outside their own comfort zone. I am no stranger to controversy.

Wait, what did you just say?
At work there is a trans* person who has decided to identify as their actual feelings rather than as what is represented on their birth certificate. I have found it challenging to refer to them by their desired gender without making a thing of it (look, I'm doing it right) or making the whole thing uncomfortable. So, naturally, I have been challenging myself to get it right and not to be a complete ass. When another colleague insists on using their assigned gender to refer to them, correcting any 'slips' when they agree with the person's self-identity, I naturally spoke up and challenged it. Another colleague then started a debate about how my protection of the pronouns meant that I was making the issue impossible to discuss as I was "wrapping it in cotton-wool" and started applying it to race. I debated back, this is linguistics between professionals, neither of us would be arguing actual deep-seated beliefs (as we were both very much on-board and supportive of the trans* person in question and recognised that the whole thing was fine and laudable).

You can call a spade whatever the fuck
you want to call it, because a spade is a
fucking inanimate object without an
internal sense of identity.
Au contraire. Except that I did take issue too. What did it for me was the analogy my colleague used to illustrate the difficulties faced if we went down my line of reasoning, it was called 'stretching a point' until it broke to illustrate the absurdity of my position, apparently. The analogy was this: if a person wishes to identify as a different gender to what was on the birth certificate it was similar as saying one's car was a Ferrari but it was a Peugeot - no amount of linguistic protection would change that a "spade is a spade" and that we would call it a Peugeot in order to explain things. I'll admit I did see red. Under the guise of having an unconnected debate I attacked: the analogy pre-supposed that reality was different from what was being presented. If we defined gender by sexual organs then what of people who had them removed or damaged or were born without - were they less of that gender as a consequence? Genetics were brought in, I pointed out that brain chemistry, as far as I understand the root cause of gender dysmorphia, was based on genetics and so that did not offer as objective a reality as we would like.

My colleague agreed that gender binary was an issue but to try and use preferred pronouns when in conversation away from the trans* person was confusing and shouldn't be pursued as it didn't allow a reasonable conversation about the issues. I was angry at this, I felt a bit betrayed by my colleague who I had always assumed was morally better than I and whose previous pronouncements had suggested that they would be arguing on my side rather than against it. I countered that objectivity may well exist but I couldn't presume to know it for myself, anything that I took as objective was necessarily subjective as being through me. I'm not a post-modernist, I believe that there is objective reality and I aspire to learn it but I am always willing to be told where I am wrong. This was apparently "telling me what I think" to my colleague who then made the, frankly, bullshit comparison that my way of thinking wouldn't allow a child to name a toaster a blender and refer to them both as the same item. I told my colleague that this was a "bollocks comparison" as it was not rooted in reality and made the bogus suggestion that my use of linguistics precluded reality - the same flaw as with the original Ferrari analogy - it assumed in the premise that reality was automatically different from the trans* person feelings and identity, which I believe to be dangerous. My colleague was riled, so I took the deflationary route here and apologised.

Or, to put it another way, #sorrynotsorry
But, and here's my autism, I do not believe that my colleague had the right to be upset. They made a shitty analogy, implied a whole welter of privilege in their views and refused to be called on it. They were angry with me for being over protective of a tiny minority who challenge the societal preconception of gender which I had heard my colleague despair over many times. No, I had the right to be angry with them. They were mollified, offered mitigations, but no return apology.

In role, to Tilly and to my colleagues around us in the pub, I professed upset that I had offended my colleague. Gave apologies. Made out that the debate was "for fun" and that I had not realised that I was offending my colleague. I sought calm, I sought an end to the confrontation. I had gone too far. Without revealed more of myself there was no way of showing what was going on in that debate and why I felt it was important to have it. So I backed down and apologised. But I remain angered by it. Fuck my colleague. Fuck all of them for letting the analogy stand as a 'reasonable' way to have discourse on transfolk.

Or, is this just my autism. Is this just my giant inflated ego and sense of self-important entitlement? Should I even have forced the debate? Should I have got my head down and moved on to the next topic of silliness? Or, having forced the debate, let it lie and not challenge the implicit privilege in the initial analogy (that still has me spitting feathers) in the interests of not poisoning such an important topic in the eyes of people who are struggling to deal with the implications of someone else going through it in their own reality?

Monday, 13 April 2015

I'm a player in the Continental Game

It wasn't long ago that I lived all of my life with musical accompaniment. I would rise to a radio playing, tuned to music stations, and then would get ready in the morning to a CD in the CD player. On my way to work I would listen to a tape in the car recorded specifically for that purpose or any of the hundreds of tapes I had lying around recorded for various reasons. I would work, usually without music it has to be said, and then return home to that same tape or others. Then I would mark to a selection of CDs that were stacked by the player - usually albums - and then retire to the internet for an hour or two and do the pots and things, all to music. I would then go to bed with a set of earphones and listen to other tracks and read before sleep.

Over the years I developed different music for different jobs and I would regularly break from whatever mundane task I was doing to jerk spasmodically to the music, I can't claim to dance, and sometimes, if I was really into it, I would close my eyes and move about in sweeping movements. Dependent on location and level of embarrassment I may crank up the CD player to loud or use earphones and close the curtains to dance. In short, my life was a constantly evolving soundtrack of various types of music and artists, mainly Pet Shop Boys but also plenty of others, all of which were placed on at random and on a whim. I may listen to an entire album, several times, or cherry pick tracks and repeat those or just a single song that I wanted to play the shit out of for whatever reason I had at that time.

Sometimes it was heavy and hard-hitting tracks like Amazing Grace by thebandwithnoname, sometimes it was mellow choral stuff like Libera and sometimes it was poppy dance stuff like Discoteca-Single by the Pet Shop Boys. The point was that music surrounded me so much that I sort of forgot how rare and beautiful it can be to lose oneself in the pounding synth or the mellow strings or the intricacies of guitars and drums and piano. Like from Keane or from some ensemble group. How one can simply breathe the beat and close eyes and be somewhere else. Nowhere specific, just somewhere,

I was washing the pots this evening to the strains of Discoteca and the other songs on the further listening CD of the Bilingual re-release by the Pet Shop Boys and had to dance to a section. I realised that I had not done this since sometime in 2010 and hadn't done it regularly since 2007 when Tilly moved in. I have never actually danced in front of her or even in her presence. Partly this is my natural embarrassment but it also stems from Toby's statement back in 2005 that she was embarrassed by my dancing and that I ought to be embarrassed too. It was further confirmed by the awful experience in the club that first Christmas in 2006 and compounded by a dance class taken in the summer of 2007 where I singularly failed to meet any of the cues, follow any directions properly and was asked by Tilly how it was I could have no sense of rhythm. Like most people she can't quite understand what it is that prevents me singing any actual notes at any point - I am perpetually out of tune and can't seem to hit actual real notes in any kind of progression, certainly not consistently.

But, when I was alone and the music was loud, it never fucking mattered.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Family v.7.2

You know where I'm going with this by now.
Tilly's mother left yesterday, and I got to go out with some friends from work (I have friends from work) in the local town for a few halves and a decent chat about, well, nothing much. Today we went out with another home educating family to see some prehistoric monuments, and I enjoyed mentally destroying the chronologies and theories that were placed on the boards, and have a ramble in the wilds and the sunshine. It's been a good family holiday this Easter all round actually. The fortnight has been marked by broken sleep however on all sides and Tilly has foresworn all sexual contact.

Surprisingly common among people I know at work,
Last night there was a conversation about how couples interact when sleeping. I did not partake but I did listen with interest. There were couples that couldn't sleep unless they were hugging tightly, others that were always playful and silly and still others that "touched buttocks" so that they knew the other one was there but no more. All agreed that sleeping with a partner close by, in whatever guise, trumped sleeping alone and that physical contact was necessary. Indeed, the only debate was around how much, for how long and whether or not it changed. I was further surprised that all couples present spooned regularly, playfully and, from the sound of it, amusingly. Mind you, I did not say anything about my own situation so the others present could have been fronting and being liberal with obfustication or parsimonious with the truth, hard to say. It was interesting but also a little depressing. I think I hid that well. Apropos of nothing Tilly shared with me today that she has had her time of the month coming on for a week now and it's still not here. She is apparently back to being unpredictable and irregular following the problems over Christmas (which, by the by, has not been consistent as a position since Christmas).

Surprisingly common in our marriage. No, for once, I am not
identifying with the woman in the image.
I have to say, I am detecting a certain element of hypochondria in both Tilly and our daughter. Both of them have had headaches, upset stomachs, elevated temperatures and coughs for the whole holiday. I mean, so have I, but I haven't said anything about it. So has the Boy and he hasn't complained so much as joined us in bed twice and carried a bowl in the car when driving places. I think there's a split in the family with how we deal with illness and it is interesting to see that both of our children have followed the family member with whom they share an outward physical appearance in terms of gender. Of course, even I refer to them as the Boy and Little Girl, so it follows that they identify a binary in their parents and emulate what they see as being their destiny. Natural for their ages and the Boy is just coming into this, so his stoicism in illness, for example, is how he sees me dealing with illness and the Girlie's constant references to what feels bad and when and how much (with plenty of repetition and deployment at times judged to be best for getting something cancelled or gaining something) is modeled on Tilly.

Hmm. Nothing new here then.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Something like this, the flames were more out of control than
this however.
Is lighting bonfires and then using them to roast marshmallows manly? If so, then I have been more manly than usual. A great deal of dry woody stuff was carted off our garden today and then put in a hole I dug in the ground and then I lit it and the children roasted marshmallows. It was a bit bigger at first than I had anticipated but the application of some decent wood told me that this fire pit thing what I made may well actually be useful for the cooking of dead flesh come the time. Yes, it has been sunny and warm and my mother-in-law is up and thus our children are looked after whilst I do the heavy lifting. Hence the title of this post, I am now smelling faintly of woodsmoke, which Tilly tells me is not necessarily a bad thing (and this after mentioning the fact that she jumped on me a few weeks ago, so that's nice).

We've been to and got back from my father's, which went rather well in the end. There were no discussions about home education, nothing on how we ought to be sorting support for the Boy's speaking and it was a very pleasant day all round. The children had been well-primed to behave according to the rules of the house, rather than our rules, and we ate around the table well enough and then went for a walk and a play in a local park. It was nice. It did mean I ended up sacking off the marking I was planning to do that evening, I am thus a bit behind. But I have had a decent ale (Mocha, if you're interested) today and so I can't complain. Tomorrow we head out on a day trip to a big town with a large cathedral.

I still stop and stare when I pass.
And that's all I have for the moment. I stopped in a few charity shops today as I went about the quick shopping to prepare for the arrival of Tilly's mother and had a look at skirts and things but nothing major. The urge is still there and I would love to get a top that isn't a blouse or a sweater but I'll have to find a way to layer effectively and in a way that doesn't make me look like a complete berk. Or, at least, that feels nice. There's a lovely wedding dress in one shop but I lack the means to even hope that it would be in my size. I wonder what it is about bridal dresses in particular that have me looking at them in such yearning. Or dresses full stop actually. I have no real compunction to buy tight jeans or leggings or jeggings or trousers, it's mainly skirts and such. It may be because there is no male equivalent to these items, but there may be more to it than that as I much prefer dresses to skirts and the longer the better (in both) so there may be something else at play there. I've blogged about it often enough so there's probably even an answer that I have forgotten.
Thus, here I am, still flawed, still wanting to dress and being unable but, otherwise, pretty happy and feeling like I spent a day well doing the garden. We'll see if I can keep this up and still manage to actually do my marking and not come a cropper in the new term. I had a dream with the usual scenario of worrying about missing teaching a lesson but, this time, the complication was trying to visit an island whilst living in a house that had bloodstains that wouldn't clear up, the cleaners were very apologetic, owned by the school. It was all dark, dirty and foreboding and I knew that Tilly and the children were coming to visit. I also couldn't find a copy of my timetable and was unable to work out if I was supposed to be teaching whilst sorting all this out. It was a pretty easy one to interpret.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Doll House

Woah, hey, it's been a while since we
had one of these on here!
It is Easter. It's that time of the year where people who are Christian-flavoured like to call to mind the true celebration of Christianity as being the point when a random aramaic rabbi rose from death and conquered the grave. Of course we celebrated this religious and orthodox belief by rolling eggs (which I am given to believe is something peculiar to the city my family hales from: Preston, specifically those who could walk to Haslam Park, pronounced azhlam park) in a stone circle. Yes, we finally found Doll Tor, which we went looking for over summer, by clever application of google maps and a lot of tramping around in fields. The weather was sunny and warm and the children seemed to enjoy it all generally. Well, the Boy did. He also commented that he wanted trees and woods "like the old place" and seemed revitalised by the Sylvan idyll of the setting - I'll admit that I, too, miss the old woods behind our house and this confirmed the effect that they had on my mood and on the early days recounted in this blog.

Here is the circle. No, not a photo I took. It's the wrong time
of year. The holt was in those grasses to the left.

It was well-built, actually, bet it was dry and warm too. I
once made such a thing in Scouts but I have never had the
chance to actually use one!
Nevertheless, we found ourselves spending an afternoon in a stone circle, very well preserved but a tad small, bearing the marks of a clearly neo-pagan ritual undertaken to mark the recent partial eclipse in the area. With Tilly wearing a colourful patchwork skirt and me in my 'Michigan' t-shirt it must have appeared to the few who passed us by that we were the hippie type - given the time of year and the usual propensity of such types to claim Easter back as a rite of Spring and changing of the seasons (hence the egg rolling I suppose). There was a star-shaped glass bead with some offering of some sort burned in the centre of the circle and a holt built off to one side and clearly having been used to sleep overnight (I suspect two bodies and copulation). And yes, a few people did pass us and wonder at our antics, clearly thinking we were the ones so desecrating the scheduled monument with our mad ways. Whoever did leave the offering knew their stuff, however, as the site has yielded a star-shaped glass bead as one of the odder finds from it, created in the Bronze Age and dating back some 1,500 years BCE.

Just a picture of an apparently
sexual deviant. According to the
original posting of the image.
I don't believe it, personally.
It's another tale of family idyll. But for the fact that the Boy vomited on the way home, and the day before we brave the lion's den of my father. Same old same old, he and his wife don't approve of the way we home-ed our children, nor the fact that Tilly doesn't work. The wife thinks I have somehow prevented Tilly from working and shut into a world of domestic Hell and the father believes that we over-indulge our children and leave them ill-equipped to deal with a world "that isn't all about them" - because that's what we do when we home educate of course.

In other news, I haven't kicked my habit of visiting GetDare, and have continued to take dares and rules and such for my own amusement. Mostly, and this brings to mind my abortive session with the psychotherapist way back when, I play-act and write what makes people feel good about themselves. I consider my activities there to be mainly about role-playing and pretend rather than about actual reality. It is a place to be someone I am not and someone who is a little more sexually active than I am in a way that would be considered 'deviant' in the real world. The fact that Tilly and I are closer physically than before does offer a little more disquiet (though this is on hold since the vomiting daughter in London).

In our last bout of physicality Tilly did ask, specifically, whether I was happy now. I think she meant it well but it is telling after the rocky conversations around February. Like was said at the time, not by me, Tilly is now aware that she cannot take me for granted and that I do have limits but these sound awfully patriarchal and, well, not me. I do, I have limits, but I do wonder at them. I also wonder at how far there has been a real change. I'm not denying that I enjoy the experiences but I still find it very hard indeed to complete my end of the bargain (not in a bad way) and that must rankle with Tilly and they are still pretty rare overall (two or three occasions since mid-February). In short, we're still moving, I think, in the right direction but we aren't out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination. There's a lot to repair.

Or, you know, I'm displacing stress about marking, which is stressing me out too at the moment.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Good Day

Like this actually. Except a slightly
older boy, a poorer roundabout and
a much less attractive parent.

Well, that goes without saying.
Today has been a good day. The Boy and I have bonded as we ought and I think I have actually been a decent parent for once. We all slept in a little and the Girlie was feeling better after her illness in London, this manifested as dancing in the living room with costume changes whilst the Boy and I shared a bath. Then we went off on our adventure, standard for a Saturday, to eat at MacDonald's (I know) whilst the Girlie and Tilly went to the library. He and I stopped off at a shop to get water on the way (so that he could dip his chicken in it, no, seriously) and then ate and then, on the way back, decided to play in a park. We played on the roundabout and on the swings and made music on the tubular bells and played with a spinner game together before walking home. In all, we had a good time. The afternoon he played crafts with Tilly and the Girlie whilst I went shopping and did some limited gardening (at which I got carried away, of course) and took some things to the dump.

It was his laughter, his genuine joy and happiness, that I want to memorialise with this post. I don't get to see that very often, being the way I am (see the last post for evidence of my usual way of doing things), and that is a good thing to see. I feel that I have actually been a positive in his life in a way that I don't get to claim very often. I also feel I was actually present with him for a change.

Here's the promo. To me this makes the central nature of
Maria very clear. Meh, who knows...
I'm rambling. Basically, it all felt right today. He and I bonded, properly, and probably for one of the very rare times we have actually done so. It was a positive experience and I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. This afternoon he played crafts with Tilly and the Girlie whilst I went out shopping and did some gardening, which I did get carried away with, and then we sat together for tea and watched the rather brilliant Book of Life as a family. Well, almost as a family, Tilly was out researching a blog post as she made tea and ate it.

It's a great film, by the by: the actual plot centres on the female lead, not Manuolo as you are meant to believe, and that makes it a very clever little plotline. Of course, the whole thing seems to be a standard, and slightly broken, hero story about a male lead saving a village and getting the girl. But, interestingly, the role of Maria is really the one around which everything swirls - the reason for the slightly odd framing of the story is to draw this out and to show that this is not as straight-forward as it initially seems.

Tilly and I have also just watched Blackwood for the second time, a film in which the female lead seems to have more agency than would be expected from your standard thriller. Or, perhaps, we're just reading too much into it.

Yes, short and positive, that seems to be the way to go.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Our Nation's Capital

I'd happily wear that costume.

Maybe a different mask. It wouldn't do to
be too scary. Mind you, may be better than
my beard.
There's been a holiday, to London, and it went well enough I feel. A bit disappointed that the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum were not well-received by my offspring, but that's about me more than them so what can you do? I have also come back and done some marking and thus made myself a little more depressed, in that way I do. In the process I have also discovered the changes due to be made to what I shall be teaching in 2017 and found that everything that I teach is gone. I'll have to start again. When I last started from scratch I was single, boring and spent every hour of every day for about three years making lessons and running from pillar to post. I can't do that again. I have a family. I am despondent.

I have read a blog post by someone I know in a roundabout way, she's self-published and has a family, moaning about having a family. This is someone who has published a book, two, and who admits to "not reading" because she hasn't got the time or the inclination. Her books, by the way, stink. I heard the Leaders' Debate on TV last night as Tilly watched it on her laptop and I sat away pootling about and this morning's coverage in the media makes me wonder if they saw the same thing I heard. I heard Cameron sound awful and entitled, Clegg sound poor and Miliband sound the best of the 'main three'. But I also heard Sturgeon sound the best, Bennett come a close second and both of them beat the males hands down. And I'm not saying that because they were women, I'm saying that because they seemed to know their stuff and be able to present it. Oh, Farage sounded racist, bigoted and a twat. Worryingly, many media outlets suggest he was seen as the best of the rest behind the Big Two of Cameron and Miliband. This is disturbing. Very disturbing. Especially as the constituency where I live had BNP come fourth in 2010 (Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dem, BNP, UKIP, Green). Oh dear.

Whilst in London I was the shopping bloke and fetched the lunch each morning (all of two mornings) from the local supermarket. This meant passing a display in the window of one retailer whose name I have now forgotten with some lovely yellow dresses. Yellow is clearly 'in' this spring and, as it was London, I am confident enough in that prediction to feel that I have nailed fashion. Or, you know, I would have done had I ever actually bought anything yellow. Mostly I buy what I can get for under a fiver and, it will come as no surprise, that doesn't leave a lot of choice.

Still, I did get a night out sampling ales in the capital and running about on the Underground - which I did find somewhat exhilarating. I do rather like the Underground, I do.

Guh, this is a poor entry, I'm quitting it now.