Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Getting Out

Well I managed to get through yesterday's performance without getting too wet, we did play outside, and we did have a few drops of precipitation, but not enough to force us inside.   It was a fun job in a lovely setting, and even better there was a tab for the band behind the bar ~ the only trouble was that I had to drive home.

Way back in the dim and distant past I made a pact with myself that I would take at least one day a month off to indulge myself with something cultural.   For many months I would regularly go and visit a gallery, take in a lunch time concert or maybe walk around a special garden ~ like so many of the things that are important I have let this slip, well last week I had the chance to make up for some lost time as I had the opportunity to go to a live performance of Pricilla Queen of the Dessert at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley.   A good friend of mine has started working there and gets the occasional ticket.

It was an am dram production, but you wouldn't have known it from the performances, or the production values, the possible giveaways were that a couple of times some of the blokes in the chorus looked a bit uncomfortable in some of the costumes.   The live show is much more of a musical than the film, and all the performances were excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and actually teared up a couple of times.   I am so grateful to my friend for getting me out and doing this, I will now make sure that I do get to more things where I'm not performing; whether it's concerts, plays, exhibitions or what, I will do it!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Two Down

Today is the Monday of our late May Bank Holiday Weekend, I actually worked on the last Bank Holiday Monday at the beginning of the month, and if the weather holds I will be doing some work this afternoon as well.   It's not that I', some kind of glutton, it's just that time of year when there is a lot of work to do, and if I am to live any sort of life the rest of the week I sometimes have to do a few hours gardening while the rest of the Country relaxes.   The rest of the Country that doesn't work in retail, or hospitality, or waste management, or..... well you get the idea.

ASCB in their natural environment
It has been an eventful weekend, on Saturday I played with the All Saints Concert Band at the Crystal Palace Beer Festival at Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace F.C.   A fun event although not many of our "audience" were too concerned about the standard of our performance.   In the afternoon I finished off a small landscaping job, which I am rather proud of, but still managed to forget to take any photos.

Sunday was a lot less sunny, but still pretty warm, for my lunch time performance at the St Christopher's Hospice, about once a month or so my little Jazz/Blues band "Cross The Line" play there at lunch time in the restaurant while patients and their families enjoy a Sunday Lunch together. Over the last year this band has been slowly improving and we are now at a standard where we feel we can go out and do more public playing ~ I must be mad to take on any more commitments, but at the same time it is rather exciting as it's the only band I play the electric bass with.

With Biggin Hill a few years ago
Two down, one to go, in a moment I will be going over to the Metropolitan Police's sports club where I will be playing with the Biggin Hill Concert Band.

If it were a sunny day then the plan was to play outdoors, now I'm not sure where we will be playing, or what to wear, either way I will have to dash home afterwards to get changed before going off to cut some grass.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

My Office Today

Yesterday I gave lots of good advice about watering, looking at my shoulders this morning maybe I should have given and taken some good advice about sun lotion!   I did remember to put some factor 50 on my face, but the freckles on my shoulders now have an underlying shade of pink!

My first garden yesterday is a large garden primarily laid to grass (it took me about and hour and half just cutting the grass) but with some lovely shrubs, the Weigela is currently in it's full pomp, and the new leaves on the Dog Wood behind it make me understand why the owners didn't want me to prune it this year.   Both are getting a bit too big for their boots though and will need substantial pruning later.

They have some lovely specimen plants including this rose, I'm not at all sure what variety it is but it is absolutely covered in flowers, with dead heading it will flower continuously,  and then later in the year if they are left it will form bright red hips as well.   All this and it smells wonderful!


It is days like this that remind me just why I do what I do.  The beans I planted two week sago were alive and growing well, I spent the day doing work I enjoy, in places I like exposing my legs and shoulders to some wonderful sun ~ what's not to like? (apart from the poverty)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Baby it's Hot Outside

Well it seems as though summer has come in with a real bang here in the UK, I hear that temperatures may reach 30 degrees in Scotland today, IN SCOTLAND!   Certainly as I look out my window this morning I can only see blue sky and sunshine.  I shall shortly be going out to work and this week that has meant shorts, it is truly liberating getting out my shorts and sun tops again, but I am constantly aware that I need to avoid burning or over exposure.

Of the only trouble with showing so much flesh is that as my work can be a bit dirty I do find all the dust sticks to the sweat and by the time I get home I truly need that shower.

After photo from 6th May
It's not just the gardener who is feeling the heat, the plants will be as well. We haven't had that much rain, although last week's was welcome, so many of you plants will be needing so water, my tip is not to water every day, but give them a good soaking every three or four days.   If you have a sprinkler and are not on a water meter now is the time to use, a couple of hours in the evening will keep your garden green and healthy, just remember, again more water less often is better than little and frequent.

The exception will be in the productive garden, I planted some runner beans for one of my customers two weeks ago, that's the photo here, I am going back there this morning and half expect them to be withering ~ lets hope!

Monday, 22 May 2017

A little problem

I have not been around much the last week or so, I have had I.T. and other problems, I have also just realised that unless I work a ridiculous number of hours I simply am not making enough money.   I have decided to put up my hourly rate ~ to something still pretty low, especially compared with a plumber! Having made the decision I then couldn't act on it as I needed the computer to write the letter to my customers putting up my charges!

Well I now I have my computer back, but am reminded of another problem.   This machine was provided for me by one of my customers, from time to time I have been doing consultancy work for him, but have known him for nearly 25 years.   However for the last couple of years since I started my transition he is the only person who has refused to accept me, and has been continuing to use my "Dead name" (Jargon buster! the "dead name" is the name a trans person was given at birth alongside their assigned gender, when we have transitioned we take on a new name to reflect our authentic gender).   It is possible that he does not realise just how upsetting this is, however it is not possible that it is anything other than a deliberate act, and one that I now find profoundly upsetting.

In short I have decided that I am no longer prepared to accept this behaviour, and so I sending an e-mail today explaining why this is so insulting, undermining my whole sense of self, and telling him firmly that I will no longer respond to that name.   This may be another bridge burnt, I hope not, but by now I was not anticipating still having these sorts of battles.   I think it just serves to underline my assertion that coming out, and transition are both processes not actions.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A, B, C,....................................

I started writing this post last Sunday, a series of hectic events, and computer problems has meant that I haven't been able to complete it until today, but it is still very relevant.

Those of you who were with me last night may not be surprised to find out that I didn't manage to get an early start this morning.   This meant that I was going to be late for Church, I don't go to Church religiously, but when I can I do like to.   When my wife left and I started my transition I had to change my Church, it took me a little while to find a Church where I was comfortable, and they were comfortable with me.   By some strange co-incidence both Churches are called Christ Church!

Maybe not such a co-incidence since I am an Anglican Evangelical, and Christ Church is a popular name for evangelical Churches in the Church of England.

Christ Church Beckenham
I have been very happy at Christ Church Beckenham, they are a warm, friendly and loving Church family, the building is very fine (although some modernisation of the halls would serve the community better), and there is a drive to build the kingdom of God in Beckenham.   The trouble is that since moving there is a drive for me on Sunday morning!

This morning I wanted to go to Church but when I got to my car I realised that it would take me at least half an hour to get there, meaning I would be around 20 minutes late, I don't like being late, even though I often am, the alternatives were to miss out all together, or to go to my local Parish Church, which just happens to be called.... Christ Church.  

Christ Church Croydon
Unsurprisingly this is an evangelical Church with a membership that reflects the local community, a very different community to Beckenham.   I thoroughly enjoyed the service, although since it was both an "All Age" service, and a Baptism it was not typical.   The preaching seems sound, the people friendly and accepting, and a Worship Team whose enthusiasm maybe outweighs their abilities a little.

I have been thinking for sometime that it was about time that I worship in the community I am living in rather than commute to a nice middle class community.   I am just not sure yet whether I am ready to make this step.   I will not rush into anything but contemplate prayerfully on this, it's not easy.

Christ Church Anerley
It has also made me think, I started at Christ Church Anerley CCA, then I moved to Christ Church Beckenham CCB, and now I'm contemplating a move to Christ Church Croydon CCC. Will my next move be to Dunstable?

This morning I visited CCC again, and was once again impressed by the enthusiasm and friendliness of everyone I met. When I say they reflect the local community I understand they have 26 different nationalities within the congregation, and that is my local community!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Holding on

My laptop has been getting progressively worse over the last week or so, everything I use it for more than a couple of minutes it will switch itself off. So, I have now put it in hospital for a check up, repair or replacement.

Given that on Friday my car has it's MOT this could all prove rather costly.

It also means that I can't pick up any emails,  although I do now have a smartphone,  indeed it is what I am using for this post, it is deliberately not set up to collect emails.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible . 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

It's not always Easy

Although this started out as a Transgender Blog, it is an area of my life that I talk about less and less.   As my Wife has been known to comment "Not everything is about Gender", however it is often hard to relax and accept that even though I may not be everybody's idea of a "normal" woman this is me.   Increasingly I find that once I am up and going I rarely think about gender, just every now and then when I am struck with the incongruous.

When I am working I dress accordingly ~ jeans and sweater/ shirt or tee shirt ~ I do not wear make up or jewelry, it just wouldn't be sensible so when on occasion I am miss gendered I try to take it in my stride and not appear too offended.   But it does hurt, and when I am dressed up with the full shlap and sparkles then it really hurts!   It really hurts when people get my name wrong, and when it is deliberate I find it antagonistic, and I hate confrontations.

Perhaps I have been sending the wrong messages by not pulling people up when they get it wrong, maybe I have been sending the wrong messages by not writing about these things here; but generally I prefer to look on the up side and present a happy face.


The other morning I was sat at my dressing table and all I could see looking back at me was this old bloke, with big hands and thick muscular arms, it's difficult to explain how this feels, but it depresses, it undermines self confidence, it makes me want to hide and not go out; but work has to be done and life has to go on.   I pull on my big girl's pants and get on with it, then the episode of dysphoria passes and I get back to my normal fabulousness.

I'm having a course of facial electrolysis, which hurts, it also means that some hair has to be allowed to grow long enough to be pulled out. My next treatment is on Monday and I am having to allow the hair on my top lip grow, so it will look like I'm growing a moustache over the next few days, if you see me please don't ask, just pretend not to notice.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

It's all in the name III

I know there has been a bit of a gap, but in conclusion, I think "Big Shinny" is a bit obvious, and not just as a name. This is my Conn International CC Orchestral Contra Bass Tuba

For many I suspect that "Baby Besson" is a lot less obvious. This is the name that has been acquired by my Besson EEb tuba, Originally made in sharp pitch by Boosey & Hawkes, but unusually they used their premium brand of the time "Besson, New Standard".  

Later it was adapted to modern pitch with the addition of some extra plumbing, I further customised her with an even more modern mouth piece receiver from a Sovereign and updated the valves to make them quieter and quicker.   Indeed I suspect that she is quite unique, certainly I enjoying playing this instrument, I like the much more focused sound I get as opposed to the darker wider sound of the modern instruments.

Yet perhaps silliest of all, is the Salamander brooch I bought for a couple of quid from the Scope Charity shop in Beckenham, the brooch is now known as "Berwick" simply because it lives on my tweed jacket.

Do I need help?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Absence Report

Hard at work, "after" photos to follow
I know it is quite a while since I have posted, but I am still alive and kicking, well mostly working actually!   Now, first I need to explain that I tend consider my work to be all those things I do that don't come under the heading of hobby, personal or home maintenance.   So although this does include some things I enjoy and don't get paid for, like some of many music performances, it does not include some things I have to do and don't enjoy, like grocery shopping.

Today I will be playing with the astounding Linden Wind Orchestra, I certainly won't be getting rich out of it, and I will be thoroughly enjoying myself; but since it is an obligation I consider it as work, much as an artist will talk of their work.   Indeed I expect this concert to be highlight of my month, all of the music is challenging and the standard of all of the musicians, and the band itself is very high.   This will be a concert when there will be no piece I can relax in, I will need to be "on the edge of my chair" concentrating hard and playing to my best the whole time.

I found that last month I performed with four different band ~ that rehearsed on Monday evenings! I have had performances, recordings, rehearsals, meetings all on top of the day the job, which last month meant over 130 chargeable hours.   With the driving in between, maintenance of vehicles and tools, and admin I have had very little time for anything other than the essentials, of food and laundry!

I know I need to do less, I know I need to give something up, the problem is that I want to do everything that I do, so how do I decide what to drop.   One thing I have decided will not drop will be this blog and all my "Blogging Buddies"