Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Back and still standing!

I did 50km in just over 2hours! Bum is slightly sore and I'm a little tired but, I DID IT! Selby and back, which was one of the trips I wanted to make during my hols, just to prove I could still manage such a distance and that there is some life left in the old bird!

Now, time to make some pasta to recharge my energy levels! I need to go out tomorrow on my bike to make sure I don't seize up!

Me at Selby...

just to prove I'm here too and not just taking pics of my bike lol

Cycling to Selby ...

Took an hour and 10mins for 25km! Time for 2 drink and then set off back home :-)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

"Oh, what a night ..."

... and day!

I should first cover the sacrifices made for the day/night to be so good; my feet for a start (think those shoes needed wearing-in first!), and the screen on my N900 phone (though the camera survived me dropping the bag which I am immensely relieved about obviously!). Will have to put in an insurance claim for the phone and rest my feet!

Okay, now the good stuff: Afternoon at York races curtesy of my fabulous and stunning friend, Jane who invited me along. This was the, sometimes dreaded and infamous, girls-day-out, comprising Jane's sister, cousins and friends. I mentioned what I was doing to (male) friends at work and they immediately decided that York was not the place to be on Saturday!

But the group was just fantastic and while we were definitely loud, drunk, and sometimes pretty boisterous and maybe even verging on crude and more unruly than some of the guys, we looked gorgeous and just had soooooooo much fun! I think only Jane won anything on the horses and the ones that the group picked all failed to make it across the line first (though there were some that were close ... sadly this doesn't appear to count, oh well, live and learn lol).

I've never been to the races before and it was a wonderful experience that I completely enjoyed! Just a nice atmosphere. I took quite a few pictures (could have taken more there was so many stunning people and outfits) which I'll have to add to the pile I need to process so don't expect an update anytime soon.

One rather irritating thing was some particularly obnoxious guys who kept pestering our little group. They were just annoying, making comments, staring, pointing and being generally the mindless and laddish in every possible bad sense of those words. Really, this is not the way to impress the ladies, it just shows what an idiot your are. Thankfully after Jane had a little word with them they left us alone. Considering the guys we met later I can only conclude that these idiots were childish little boys.

So, moving onto the X factor performance - there was a stage they'd set up that became the focus of attention after the racing finished. Everyone seemed to know who the people were that sang but I've lost interest in the X Factor so I had no idea. Was pretty entertaining and we had a good dance (more photos of course), and were joined by a lovely group of guys who turned out to be quite photogenic and fun (can you have phonetic alliteration?). See above for contrast by the way!

After the dancing fun it was time to get some junk food to soak up some alcohol and then head into town on the extremely over-subscribed shuttle buses; the queues being fueled by the torrent of people streaming from the race course. Feet got a bit of a rest at this point and once we got off we all realised that, while our shoes may look fantastic, they aren't designed to cover the miles in comfort! Several shoes ended up having a little rest as feet got to feel the slightly cold (and damp - brief shower) pavement.

Found a bar (Varsity as it happens) and got more drinks. Ended up talking to a guys out on a stag night who couldn't decide if they were Fireman or bin-men or both. Either way they were lovely to chat to and we ended up following them to Reflex which is an 80s bar, where the remainder of the stag party and Jane and I danced solidly from when we got in until when we left (the guys carried on, I finally succumbed to my feet's wishes so we had to leave). Thanks guys, we had a fantastic time x

Back home by taxi, then time for bacon sandwiches before crashing into bed. Up at stupid o'clock this morning (Jane had to get away and I'm genetically cursed with waking up early irrespective of when I go to bed). Thankfully I'm not hung-over but I suspect I'm going to be very tired later on; today is therefore a 'duvet day' and I'm going to chill in front of the telly!

Now, just a note for regular reader(s): I've mentioned guys lots here so I better clarify; no, I'm not turning straight of anything like that, I have no interest in men apart from as friends. However, I do really, really appreciate guys who are polite, respectful, and charming. I would happily go on a 'date' with a nice guy who would be a total gentleman (I've even got a mental list of people who I'd pick given a choice - it mainly includes actors and the likes but there are some others on there). Guys do get a bad press (because of the f***-wits I described earlier) but really most of the men I encounter are pretty much normal, nice, fun, interesting and just wonderful human beings.

Anyway, I best get on with chilling out and having a relaxing Sunday. Final word: to Jane and the rest of the girls, THANKS LOTS you're all FABULOUS xxx

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Why do my boobs shrink when ...

... I've been out cycling?! It's not exactly as if I've feeling my most gorgeous at the time, you'd think they could be a little more considerate and try and put a brave face on it. They haven't been doing any work at all either! I mean, I can understand my bum sighing with relief to be of the seat, it did at least get into the swing of things (I suspect given it's size lol) and was doing it's bit to encourage my legs!

I've noticed as well that may bum appears to be pulling my figure down - if I give it a bit of support I'm actually pretty curvy, left to it's own devices it goes and hides. I'm considering hanging upside down for length periods of time to fool it regarding the direction in which it should be growing.

Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it in case anyone was interested lol!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

That Sucks (or doesn't in this case)

It's rant about a big company time again: Curry's is in the firing line this time!

I bought a hoover last year when I moved over to York and I went for one of those little cyclone ones, a Hoover TFS 7202 to be exact, which seemed, according to the numbers/price to be suitable for whizzing around the relatively small house I'm in.

Well, it kinda worked okay but wasn't then best. Over the past 6 months we both used the hoover and each time we noticed more things that it wouldn't pick up and really how poor the suction was. To cut a long story short: I gave it a proper test and checked filters pipes etc at the weekend and came to the conclusion that it just wasn't very good. Maybe the design was faulty, maybe this hoover itself was just broken from the beginning, basically though I wanted to take it back.

So I tried. I was well past the 28days return period but I thought I'd simply ask to swap for a much more expensive one; after all Amazon sell alot of the same models for about £70 less so I reasoned Curry's wouldn't mind too much since they would have a happy customer.

Apparently that's not important to them, they have to follow policies and procedures and I had to phone up Hoover themselves and get an engineer to have a look at fixing it first. All this hassle for a £70 Hoover which I'm sure they must know is rather a low-end model (they don't sell them anymore). I pointed out that I could see nothing broken, it was useless from the start. No, no help at all. Even when I insisted and the customer service person went to talk to the manager, they wouldn't budge.

Very annoying in itself but really they just didn't seem to care, the woman kept saying she was sorry but that was their policy and there was nothing she could do. Why not offer to have a look at the hoover there and then and see what the problem is, maybe then deal with the manufacturer for the customer? Or at the very least offer to get the manufacturers service centre to phone me. Just anything to show that you aren't just being useless and apathetic towards your customers!

What really made this all the more laughable is that I phoned up Hoover directly, gave them the relevant details, explained the issue and they said I just need to provide a serial number and they will give me a code to have the Hoover returned to Curry's. I couldn't believe how efficient they were!

So, not shopping at Curry's again, they've annoyed me. Instead I'll just get my money back and I've already been to Argos to get the replacement cleaner: a Vax Mach Zen which seemed to work really well last night on it's first try! I now have really clean-looking carpets which has actually cheered me up a bit; I like having things nice and tidy and organised and the house was getting to look a bit of a mess. I suspect I'm going to be hoovering lots over the next month so I can really test the new gadget out ... as well as making sure the house is spotless!

Sunday, 18 July 2010


The catch-all come-back for any hardship I've had to endure as a result of transitioning is that it was my "choice". This has been thrown at me a few times, sometimes directly or maybe just implied in explanations of someone's upset, confusion, or recalcitrance at accepting my 'new' persona.

I usually give the pretty standard response about the facts of gender, sexuality, biology, chemistry, etc, the "science bit" as it where. Few people fully grasp or appreciate that approach, probably including me, as it's all very interesting, if ultimately quite complicated, but doesn't really get away from what happened in my life seeming like I took a choice. It's also very hard to convince someone that there is no aspect of free-will in it because there is nothing to compare it too; no-one has the frame of reference to deal with transition unless you go through it yourself (or are one of the few partners that stick it out when their other half flips).

So "your choice" gets applied to everything, and extended to the point of incredulity; what has followed has all been foreseeable and was part of the original "decision" that I made, every possible consequence was deemed to be included in my plan.

The reality is that I took a small degree of control in my life, I took a certain path based on what I knew, how I felt, and what seemed, to me at least to be the most sensible and practical thing to do. I put things off for a long long time and buried feelings (I'm *really* good at that now, what a wonderful skill to have) but eventually life had to change.

At no point did I have even an inkling of what really lay ahead, I just felt so strongly that I must proceed a certain way; we're talking beyond addiction or desire or something that one may be cured of or control, it's even getting past obsession and reaching the point where it's not fully understandable "why" but simply that by becoming what I was fixated on was the only way to have some peace. That seems rather dramatic and slightly exaggerated now but it's unimaginable to me to go back to how I was before; while I can't claim to be completely happy with me I certainly don't obsess in the same way with trying to achieve a result, rather about improving it instead.

I know there will be those people who will not accept the above; I will be the person who has chosen to break up families and destroy lives with my selfish choices, I deserve what I get. Dismissing the fact that I had previously been thought of as a kind, caring parent and partner makes it all the easier to condemn me; I obviously have no feelings any more so I deserve what I get. Really? Who actually made a choice about that?


I can't think of a title, there is too much whizzing around in my head that I could write about that I really don't know where to start. In fact I feel like I don't know where to start with anything at all. Today hasn't really helped either as I've just got nothing done and the things I've tried just have taken ages and not worked (sometimes computers are damn annoying).

I had a nice night out with a friend last night, lots of talking until the early hours of the morning, the upshot of which is that I didn't get home and into bed until 5am so I've felt pretty much wiped out all day. That said, I felt much the same on Friday given the split and just everything else in my head as well. I just feel drained and unmotivated.

I also feel fat, a mess, and totally unattractive. While the end of the relationship itself was upsetting the most scary thing is that I can't see me ever finding anyone else. I know that it's not the right time to start mad dating but I thought the idea of trying to come to terms with a split was that your friends can say "plenty more fish in the sea" and you should have some glimmer of hope that this is indeed the case. The fact is that the number of potential partners out there for me is pretty limited; really I have little to offer anyone except an awful lot of complications.

The above isn't me just being down, it's pretty much a fact. What also is a fact is that I do need some help with my confidence (that ability to overcome facts like that horrible one) as it's become clear than I really haven't got any at all. Staying with the theme of dating, I was discussing the whole thing about "pulling" people with the friend I saw last night. I have never been "out on the pull", I've never chatted someone up in a bar/club/anywhere, I just never could bring myself to try. I think the way all of my previous relationships started was by me being nice, chatty, mostly harmless and rambling quite alot. I did have a little bit of, misplaced, confidence then and more than enough naivety to compensate but now I have neither of these.

I think ... well, thinking is interrupted by watching "Up in the Air" ... hopefully give me a distraction or feel better.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Single Again

While it was an obvious shock for alot of our friends, Rachel and I were heading for yesterdays 'serious' talk for quite a while, the conclusion of which was that we have decided to split. We'd had a few discussions about things that we each wanted out of life, love and relationships, and it become more and more obvious that we were very different in many respects. So, in the end, there was little we could offer each other than simply friendship.

It all sounds very organised and clinical and, while there was alot of holding back tears from both of us last night, it was quite surreal at how quickly we decided things and then went about updating FaceBook to remove our relationship from there. That does make it official these days, once all the social networking sites have been updated then it's the truth, final, indisputable.

We slept apart last night and just started a fairly normal day this morning. I don't know how Rachel is dealing with this or what she feels at the moment. For my part I'm burying this among many other feelings and thoughts I have cluttering up my head. If I think too much about this, like any of the other things on my mind at the moment, tears pool in my eyes and I have to fight to get everything under control. I know that I will have a 'good' cry at some point soon, it's just a matter or time.

It is the right decision and I don't think either of us had been completely happy being in a relationship which we could probably see wasn't right for us. But it's still sad and it's still a shock to have life change so quickly. It's odd to now be single again, feeling a little direction-less and empty. Maybe that is why some people stay together because, even if things aren't perfect, it's better than the hollow feeling of loneliness.

Anyway, I best not ramble on too much, I need to focus on all the other plans in my life, the weekends away, seeing friends, holiday with my son, photo shoots, work and a myriad of other things I can keep busy with. Busy is better than thinking after all.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Motoring Through the Ages!

Sunday turned out to be rather a surreal day! We started off heading to Tatton Park to meet up with a friend who was at the BMW show. Sounded like a good excuse to get pictures of cars and of the fabulous park itself. We spent several photography-packed hours there, taking pictures of cars, army Jeep, and finally Deer. The picture above is obviously from the BMW show.

I should point out at this point that I've got nearly 1000 images to process and sort out from the weekend so it'll take me a while to get them all on the website and DeviantART, will post another blog entry when I finally manage to do that.

After Tatton Park it was back to York to quickly dump our things and then rush off to do a photoshoot that Rachel had organised with Maddy. The shoot was at Maddy's house and quickly evolved to include a harp, a cat, Maddy's Mum and then a rather amazing vintage car that her parents own!

I should explain that both Maddy and her parents are pretty cool (for want of a better expression). This shoot came about simply because Rachel was doing her usual thing of constantly keeping her eyes open for people who are particularly photogenic and who could fill a role in some creative idea that happens to be bouncing around in her head at the time.

Since Maddy is sixteen Rachel, of course, made sure that her parents were fine with doing the shoot and it was her Mum who arranged everything in the end and was so welcoming and enthusiastic about the whole thing. In fact, so much so, that she ended up participating in the shoot as you can see from the picture on the left (I've deliberately de-saturated the colours to try and make it look like an 'older' picture). For anyone that is interested, the location is the York Racecourse car park.

In itself this made for a perfect and rather amazing shoot ... and then it got even better, some friends of Maddy's parent's turned up in a, erm, new purchase.

I really didn't think the day was going to turn out so amazing and fantastical when I got up in the morning! It really was such an enjoyable day and certainly one to remember! Also further proof, not that it's really needed, that York has some amazing, hidden gems in and around the city; and not just the cars, the people too.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Sparkle 2010

Today Rachel and I went to Sparkle in Manchester, for those that don't know this is kind of like the Transgender version of pride but on a smaller scale (I guess due to the statistics; there's fewer of us who fall into that category, whereas the LGB bit of LGBT is quite alot).

I have to admit that I wasn't that bothered about going and the main aim was to do some photography and get a chance to see a few friends, I wasn't particularly interested in the event itself. The first time I ever went, 2 years ago, it was a big deal and something I guess I even needed to do. However, my life has moved on very quickly since then and I have so much that fills it that I no longer throw myself head-long into the T-scene (in fact I never really did).

So it was particularly moving and poignant that I got so many reminders of why an event such as this is not just a chance to dress up (or worry less about how you are dressed) or about, often outrageous, outfits, clothes and make-up; it really is about pride and humanity. First of all Joey Hateley (artistic director of TransAction Theatre) act on the stage in Sackville Gardens was hilarious, political, uplifting, funny, and touching. [ I got lots of pictures of the act, I'll get these in a gallery as soon as possible ]

Then there were all the friends, acquaintances and notable names that you end up bumping into. There were quite a few people I wanted to meet up with and it was fabulous to see them, then some I hadn't seen in so long and again, fabulous to get to catch up and chat. Then there was friends of friends or just complete strangers who were so open, happy, and fantastic. I made lots of new friends as well as renewing existing friendships.

And I think that's what I'd forgotten; how somewhere like Canal Street and an event like Sparkle can really foster such a wonderfully supportive and happy atmosphere. It really does strive to be so inclusive and welcoming and it reminded me that, while I have a fairly normal existance, there is, as many people put it, a wonderful tapestry of life out there and it's not "weird", or "wrong", or "dangerous" or even "evil" and some of the more nasty bigots would have you believe. People really do come in so many different shapes and sizes and, in this case, genders and sexualities. More importantly, and event like this also shows how tolerant people can be, how friendly, welcoming, understanding, and simply overflowing in humanity.

Really, I felt moved, happy, and inspired by the whole day ... now I just hope all the photos come out properly :)

One final point; for everyone I met today: thanks, you're all FAB, each and every one of you xxx

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Pictures and Prints

I'm slowly getting sorted out with my pictures and websites though I have some tinkering still to do. I've added more galleries to the website and very soon I'll make this the main destination for that domain and use it more for holding medium resolution versions of my pictures.

I've also started submitting prints on DeviantART, for example this one of a Poppy, which can be purchased and shipped to the UK. For the most part I'm going to keep providing images under the Creative Commons License, but for some I'm going to retain all rights and see if anyone is willing to part with their hard-earned cash. If you really like my pictures then do consider purchasing a print, it gives me a great ego boost as well as funding my shopping needs (well wants really).