Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Well I guess the thing that inspires me most at the moment is Rachel!

That was a rather obvious statement and a rather cheesy prelude to what is a shameful plug; Rachel and the rest of the team, notably Jo and many contributors, have put together the alpha version of the webzine that will form part of Random Acts family of sites.

So, please do have a look at to see the start of something fab!

Also Rachel did another photoshoot on Sunday and the pictures from that are available from the DeviantART site under the Tigg-Stock user. The new photos are the ones labelled "Urban Mystique" and "Court Mystique". Here are two of my favorite ones:

Urban mystique 8 by *Tigg-stock on deviantART

Court mystique stock 16 by *Tigg-stock on deviantART

Friday, 25 September 2009

The Elephant in the room

I'm not entirely sure where I heard this phrase first or who it was that mentioned it but I know it was in the context of a transgender discussion and I suspect it is something that is referred to quite alot.

Over the past few weeks I've had cause to contemplate this phrase numerous times when I consider the number of interactions I've had with people where there could indeed be alot of things that go unsaid or unasked. In some ways it's good that these things have remained that way, there should be no need to refer to me being trans since it has no real affect on my skills, intelligence, abilities, etc. Then again there is the nagging feeling that by trying to ignore such a big issue only makes others more uncomfortable.

My approach before has generally to try and be open and honest and maybe even go completely over-the-top by enthusiastically pointing out the elephant and describing it in, sometimes excrutiating, detail. Now I don't feel that need to do that nor do I want to be that explicit about intimate information about myself with people on a face-to-face basis (this blog is fine, I'm sure most people have got bored of reading it now lol).

So I guess that I'm going to have to learn to live with this large elephant in the room for a while because I think that is the best approach now, I know if I do point it out both of us are going to feel embarassed and in some ways just knowing that I have my large, grey, friend with me gives me some comfort and strength. I think I do still need to put people at their ease as well so I propose to get a little friend for my elephant:

which will hopefully make everyone smile at the three of us.

P.S. Suggestions of *original* names for this, and his larger friend would be very much appreciated. Obvious aliterations are to be avoided!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Think of the Children

The recent stories of the young transgendered children have received a fair amount of coverage in the press and in the blogsphere so I won't go into a huge amount of depth on the details as they are so widely available (though I guess of dubious accuracy). There are a few points I would like to make from my own perspective.

First of all, while it's possible the schools concerned had little notice about these pupils, if the reports are true regarding how they handled things then they really do need to have a rapid re-think of their approach. You can't simply ban the other kids from being mean and nasty and hope that works, it simply won't - I was bullied at school (not directly trans-related in my case) and I doubt such directions would have stopped the imbeciles involved from picking on me.

Even worse such an approach sends the wrong message to those slightly more thoughtful and compassionate children (and parents) who would benefit from having a little more explanation and information so they can begin to understand and maybe even support what these kids are going through. The 'newspaper' (I use the term loosely) articles did nothing to redress the balance either, taking the sensationalist angle rather than doing some decent research and attempting to educate the masses in the ways of understanding and tolerance.

Which brings me to the supposed reactions from the parents of other children at the schools concerned. These seem to have been largely expressed as shock and the underlying concern that their own kids may make similar choices. As we all know transgenderism is extremely contagious and can be passed on to others so make sure you keep well away from these children in case you catch anything! Sound silly? I would bet the idea has crossed the minds of some of the parents.

If you can't consider the trauma that these children have gone through, and are going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives, and you can't appreciate their suffering and feelings as human beings then you're a pretty pathetic individual yourself. Just because you may think of someone as 'weird' or 'not normal' does not mean that aren't human and are devoid of feelings, quite the contrary, they probably have an over-abundance of the latter.

If derogatory labels are the best you can come up with then it's maybe you that has the problem not them. For once I would agree with the mantra "think of the children"; don't persecute people so young and certainly don't teach your own offspring such intolerance and bigotry.


Thankfully this is Deviant as in the site DeviantART which I've wandered across before but really got to use a bit more since going out with Rachel as it's where a vast number of the photographs by and of her are.

For those that don't know, the site is for sharing art works and is, for basic service, entirely free and you can upload an unlimited number of items at the present time though of course it's only one at a time and no bulk submit unless you pay which seems fair enough. However, even the basic service seems much better than that provided by Flickr or Picassa.

So far I've only got a few of the shots from London, and these are available at:

It has occurred to me that I have a rather public online presence, what with this blog, pictures on sites like DeviantART, LinkedIN, FaceBook (though that is partially restrited in what can be seen/read). I'm not entirely sure whether this is good or bad or if it really matters much at all. I do feel that be being open and honest seems a better approach than trying to hide away or be secretive about my life. I think this is something to mention further with the recent spate of stories in the news about transsexualism and children, worth covering in a seperate post.

Friday, 18 September 2009

... And they sit outside at ...

Greenwich tearoom actually! Just had a lovely meal of warm goat's cheese salad, glass of white wine and chocolate fudge cake ( have picture, will try and upload later).

Greenwich is lovely and glowing in this gorgeous sunny weather. I've been doing the whole tourist thing today and have taken lots of pictures.

Apart from the amazing locations the trip here was fab, took the clipper and giggled with glee when it accelerated away. I wish I could capture the sense of speed and power either with a photo or a suitable description. All I can say is that I loved it!

More exploring follows this afternoon and I have to say I am really falling for this city, contrary to my previous opinions years ago, it would be a dream come true to work, live, and explore here.

Magical place

Now, if I had been more organised there would be a fantastic picture of Canary Wharf at night to illustrate this blog post (update: I've added it now!). I did take some pictures and I might be lucky and have got some good ones (Rachel would definitely have done a good job and I wish she had have been here) but what I don't have is the cable to transfer them from camera to computer! D'OH! Will update this when I do!

As you may have guessed, I was down in London (again), for another interview and this time I decided to make the most of the trip and stay the night so as not to have to rush back and also to enjoy a day out afterwards.

The interviewing started at around 5:30pm and I didn't get out until going on 8pm, by which time it was already dark and everything was lit up and looked just amazing (I was searching for a suitable simile but none came to me). I stood in one of the squares and just looked around at all the lights and really was quite taken with it. I know by day is maybe doesn't look as attractive (particularly when working away busily in one of the offices), but really, at night you should stop and just look at how magical it looks.

I actually ended up standing there for about an hour talking on the phone to friends about how the interview had gone and telling them all how wonderful it looked here and what a dream come true it would be to actually manage to get a job here (in case you are curious, the interview seemed to go okay and I certainly tried my best so can only wait and see now).

I finally got back to the hotel, did a quick change out of the interview suit and into comfy trainers and set off armed with camera and tripod for a walk. I hope the pictures I took do look good when finally processed, they seem okay from the viewing of them on the tiny screen on the camera but I know that can be misleading. There are one or two that will, if processed correctly look fantastic I think (hope).

I actually lost track of time and spent about 2hrs wandering around and snapping and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I did get stopped twice, first but a guy in a suit who warned me that I might need permission to take pictures and the second time by a policeman who said that using a tripod required a permit "because they think you are a professional". I explained that I was far from professional and he, very kindly, said "I haven't seen you".

[ I'm going to look into this issue, I've read and been told before that standing on public highways/paths means you can take any pictures you like and no-one can stop you. The permit for a tripod thing kind of makes sense but really seems unenforceable, particularly with the number of tourists from far flung countries, laden with high tech camera equipment. ]

I finally started to head back around 11:30pm and felt a bit hungry and in need of, I'm ashamed to admit, a McDonalds. This was probably helped by the large subliminal message on the place stating that it was open until 2am. However, what I hadn't absorbed from this subtle signage was that it was the drive through open until that point. I kind of wondered what to do when I saw a guy walk up to the drive-through and place his order. So I did the same. It was a very surreal experience queuing with a few cars to collect our food!

Overall a very fun, and hopefully productive day. Looking outside now the weather seems fantastic so I'm hoping to have a nice day exploring bits of London and maybe getting some nice pictures. Again, would be better if Rachel was here for many reasons.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Minor operation

My son had to go into hospital today for a relatively minor operation on his thumb and wrist, nothing serious (was under general anaesthetic though) but obviously still something I wanted to be present for and thankfully B agreed to that.

I should first say that my son was, from my point of view, extremely brave. I personally have a terrible fear of hospitals and the thought of needles, being put under anaesthetic and even the procedures themselves really fill me with dread. But I don't have any frame of reference on which to base this fear, I've only ever had one operation and that was to remove a mole, which was probably on the same scale as having a tooth out but much less painful and uncomfortable!

My son does have some memories of the last time he was in hospital when he was 4 years old and had scalded skin syndrome which was, in itself, very uncomfortable and painful for him and wasn't helped by the difficulty that they had in getting a cannula in him to administer the antibiotics. I was in hospital for several days and it was pretty traumatic for B and myself and I guess left a lasting impression on him too.

Anyway, he was amazingly brave in the face of all of this and the operation went well and he was in recovery in less than an hour. He was a little tearful and B lay with him on the trolley, but at one point he did reach out to me and gave me a big hug and that was one of the most moving things ever - just to feel that he really wanted me there for that moment brought tears to my eyes.

This is the longest time that B and I have spent together since splitting up last year, and I know that seeing me and having me around wasn't easy. I did thank her for allowing me to be there, though I'm not sure I can put into words how grateful I am.

Friday, 11 September 2009


There have been plenty of picture of Rachel and myself on FaceBook but since she obviously is on a very public website, Random Acts, as well as many others in relation to photography, and I have this blog, there seems to be no reason why I can't post a picture of both of us.

I don't think I look that good in this picture, Rachel does however. There are some very good pictures of other people taken on the same night (by Rachel) and I think we managed to get individual photos of each other that are pretty good - I do need to practice more with everything to do with the camera and low-light conditions in particular.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Model Behaviour

Rachel does alot of photo shoots and this afternoon she had one in Manchester which obviously gave us a chance to meet up as well as for me to see her 'at work' and get a tiny glimpse into this whole area.

There are lots of websites where models, photographers, make-up artists, and all sorts of creative people can get in touch and arrange to work together. And that's how Rachel had found the model she was photographing today. I have to say as well as looking stunning she was also absolutely lovely and happily chatted to us both.

Rachel had picked out outfits (two fab dresses), did some tweaking of make-up, as well as obviously suggesting the locations (inside a bar on Canal Street as well as outside) and the poses. The girl she worked with really just seemed to do all of this so naturally and the resulting photos were amazing; clear, colourful, detailed, striking, and very real and just different in style to what I expected. I'll try and remember to add a link here once the pictures are processed and on Rachel's website.

After that we had a few brief hours to have some food, talk, and just enjoying being together. Obviously we've not been going out for long so lots to cover I guess and the time did seem to fly by and only too quickly was it time to go our seperate ways home, thought not before making plans to meet up again soon.

So an interesting, educational, and above all fun evening out.

Winter Hill - again!

Not to be completely beaten and in desperate need of exercise and just getting out in the glorious sunshine yesterday I decided to make another attempt at Winter Hill!

The result? Well close, but still not close enough! I think it's not actually a matter of endurance but of planning; I don't have an exact route that I know will take me to the base of the transmitter and I ended up essentially guessing the way to go! I think if I really studied the map I might be able to get there! Anyway, this is a section of the route I took yesterday:

This was a much tougher route than last time and was almost all uphill with very little in the way of breaks where the road became easier. Also I took a footpath and bridleway at one point which kind of justified the mountain bike! This was the bridleway that I came along:

The views were, I have to say, stunning and I did reach an altitude 350m (1148ft) having travelled just over 17km (10.5miles) and could actually see much more of the transmitter across the valley.

I actually cycled back the exact way I came which is something I usually try and avoid doing. I did actually follow a rather muddy public footpath for a while (that's the tail end of the route shown in the Google Earth image at the top) but I had to turn back because of my fear of heights!

To explain that I little; I reached a sign which detailed the walking routes on Winter Hill and the one I was heading along would have taken me right next to a (from what I remember) large quarry. The mere thought of possibly cycling near something so big, high, and potentially dangerous was just too much. I am a little strange like that; not only do heights often scare me but the scale of things can also be unnerving. For example I find bridges intimidating both due to how high they are from the ground but also the size of the structure itself.

Anyway, the route back did give me a chance to see a quite spectacular panoramic view of parts of Lancashire looking towards Bolton and maybe even as far as Manchester (it was a clear day). I don't think this photo really captures the view properly (if only I'd had my girlfriend Rachel with me, I'm sure she would have been able to take a much better picture).

So, do I make a third attempt to reach the base of the Winter Hill transmitter or is this just going to be difficult or even scary based on the proximity to large quarries and equally menacing drops? Well, I'm pretty sure I know the exact route I need to take now so I may consider a third attempt if the weather holds up next week. Of course this does depend on interviews and the other commitments in my life!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Note to self ...

... don't do interviews in London and Edinburgh back to back, it's insane and you just end up very tired and running on adrenaline! I have certainly covered some miles over the past few days and I'm looking forward to having maybe a day or so to relax!

Things have been kind of manic since the weekend in actual fact and I have crammed so much into this time that I really do need to catch my breath!

I guess the mania started on Friday when I spent about 5hrs chatting online to someone I'd met briefly at Manchester Pride. I asked her to come along to a birthday party I was going to in Manchester but since she lives in York it makes the logistics a little complicated and costly particularly coming so soon after Pride weekend - in fact I was considering not going for the same reasons. Anyway, we got on so well and had so much in common that it got to the point where 'no' was not an acceptable response, she HAD to come along.

So she did. And we did get on really well and just, as we both agreed, 'clicked'.

It's early days so I'm not going to go into vast amounts of detail about her and our relationship, I personally think intimate information is best kept private and not something I ever want to publish to the world at large (I've put more details on FaceBook for friends but even there a line must be drawn). I think some the recent experiences might be worth discussion though.

For example we walked into Manchester city centre to see a film (a suitably sedentary activity with which to sober up) and we were walking along holding hands. Strangely this didn't seem in any way odd or 'wrong' too me and I was really rather too hung-over and tried to notice peoples reactions. It did occur to me that it might generate some stares though. In Vancouver I saw many gay men and women holding hands and being affectionate in public but it's not something I've seen alot in the UK, even for straight couples I think there is a distinctly more reserved attitude than in other parts of the world.

One of the things that I did struggle with in my head was how I would feel when dating someone female. I've always said that I am now technically a lesbian, I don't have any attraction to men at all. But the problem is how I would feel about my gender and sexuality when all my previous memories would put me in a very 'male' role in a relationship with someone female. This doesn't seem to be what I feel now, if anything I feel more feminine, not less, and definitely see this as what it is, a lesbian relationship.

So my tour of the UK also included a trip from Edinburgh to York to see the new woman in my life for one brief evening before she had to go to work and I had to return home to sort out the piles of washing and mess in the flat that accumulated due to all the rushing around! The train journey from York back to Preston was quite long but very beautiful. The slightly less beautiful picture to the left is me looking tired and the one below was of one of the many pretty train stations on the way back.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Canary Wharf

Had an interview in London today, I'm certainly getting to travel lots at the moment! The interview was in offices in Canary Wharf which I've not visited for a long long time.

The picture is of the building I visited, 1 Canada Square and I hope it captures some of the insane scale of the place!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Single Mother on the Verge

This is kind of an intermediate review since I'm only about a quarter of the way through the book and I suppose there are lots more pages to go. But I really am having such an enjoyable read that I thought it was worth mentioning it now.

I have to admit that I had put off reading this as I was concentrating on books that fit more into the fantasy genre for a bit of much needed escapism and fun. I have enjoyed the more biographical titles in the past but I guess I have to be in the right mood.

Anyway, I wish I'd got in the mood for this book sooner; it's funny, interesting, and written in a really accessible (couldn't think of a less pretentious word) style. It's so easy to read, it's almost like each word is carrying so much meaning and imagery that a few sentences are enough to complete make you feel like you're there.

I would highly recommend the book to anyone who wants a witty, interesting, and above all fun read!

I should of course state (as mentioned in a previous post) that a friend of mine actually knows the author (Maria Roberts) and was actually there at the launch event in Manchester so I guess I am ever so slightly biased.


I had a nice day out in Edinburgh yesterday as I had to go up there for an interview. I've been to the city a few times before but too be honest I'd forgotten just how beautiful it was.

I guess, too be fair, I did catch it on a good day, the sun was shining, there was blue sky and I had a lovely journey up there. Add to that I think I did my best in the interview and felt relatively relaxed and calm about it all. Of course that is no indication of success but it's better to try your hardest and fail than feel you let yourself down.

There was plenty of time to wander around a little bit of Edinburgh before and after the interview, though I was constrained somewhat by the choice of interview footwear, smart heels are hardly conducive to extensive exploration over rough (cobbled) terrain so I think most of the serious admiring of architecture, scenery and life was done in a sedentary fashion.

[ I seem to have got lots of long and convoluted words into that sentence - I'm not sure how, they just came to me, maybe I was hit by some 'inspiration particles' - cf the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett ]

On interesting experience was going to get some food from M&S (I'm sorry, I'm a snob, I can't help it - it's just I always head for M&S because they have nice clean toilets, friendly staff and lovely food - at a reasonable price). I expected the usual selection of sandwiches in the café but the Edinburgh store is different; it serves hot food only and looks smilar to a McDonalds in some ways (though more up-market of course).

So in the end I had singapore noodles and they came in a little cardboard box similar to those I've seen used for Chinese fast food in the US. It was quite cute!

I also had such a lovely train ride back as well, talking non-stop between Edinburgh and Carlisle to a totally fascinating woman and her sister about all sorts of things like mountain biking, camping, Bavaria, furniture making, Canal St, and many other topics. There are some people you meet who are just so wonderfully nice and interesting that they can't help but brighten your day!

So, overall a very fun, interesting, hopefully productive, but definitely tiring day - went to bed early and had a really good long sleep last night!

This was the very first interview I've done as 'me' and while I am never going to be happy with how I look or sound I at least can try to gain a small amount of confidence from the experience since I went out and did it and tried the best that I could. I would say that, for any other trans people out there who are, understandably, scared of doing such a thing; if I can do it anyone can, just be yourself.

Which only leaves one final question: just what on earth is going on with my hair! Seriously it's a curly nightmare! I think I'm going to attack it with the straightners this weekend and see if I can get it to behave any better!