Monday, 11 February 2013

Man in a Skirt - It's Snowing Again Here

Another week flies by. What a week, and it ends with snow. 5 cm this evening, with around 2.5 cm during the day. Looks like I'll be snow clearing again in the morning. This gives us around 40 cm so far this Winter. Not a lot compared to some areas but higher than our average bearing in mind we are in the hills of the Yorkshire Dales and on top of one of the medium ones!

So what has the skirted man done this week. Well I've been skirted most of the time. Done a lot of paperwork this week taking our research for our move to France up another notch. So as my garden season is still stalled until April, and I have not yet gone into the barn to get the last bedroom to first fix, I've done no real dirty work. Taken the dogs out for some walks with my wife but that's as far as it has gone to make skirts not practical.

There are only about 10 days work to do in this last bedroom of the barn. Chisel out with a hammer drill the old lime mortar of four walls, rough point two ready for cement rendering after electrics/plumbing goes in - first fix - and fine point the two internal gable walls. Re-lay a stone window sill in what was a former west facing window before it was blocked up a good hundred or so years ago when the larger stone barn was added to that end of the house. Put in place 2 oak wall plates and mount 7 oak ceiling beams, having sanded them down first and Danish oiled. All work well within my ability but obviously not in a skirt! To be honest I'm not a hardened DIY builder so the cold temperatures in the barn do not inspire me to get out there, but also with selling the house and our future plans really coming in line I have lost interest. Still all the paperwork this week is essential to our plans especially as yesterday we had our 6th viewing, which for this time of the year is good going when the main housing market in the UK starts in March and drops off Oct/Nov depending upon the weather. One of these viewers came back last weekend as I mentioned in my blog last week with a builder and this week told our Estate Agents they are still interested just waiting for figures. We are not showing any excitement or pushing because at the end of the day we have no pressure to sell and we would also like to give this summer its full opportunity before we feel pressured to move against our wishes.

Wednesday we both went to Harrogate for the day, both skirted as I am depicted on the photographs of my site, Dentist, Opticians and a wander around some of our favourite shops. Talked to our Dentist staff, patients in the waiting room, likewise at Opticians and no problems at the pub for lunch. Monday we went to our solicitor in Barnard Castle with regards our house sale. Handing over the paperwork he would need for when a buyer eventually makes contact and finding out what he needs us to do so when that day comes we are ready. We were both skirted for that to. Friday we needed to go back to Harrogate as my wife needed updated glasses so we did our weekly shop down there as well. Yes we were both skirted and again no problems. On these three excursions we had two young and obviously immature late school girls who thought seeing a man in a skirt was funny but as is the case in this extremely rare situation did not not stop to think how others, or even me, thought of them in their chosen attire, which was clearly not a traditional female. Apart from one or two quick second glance, "did I see right, oh, yes a man in a skirt" and then continue with their agenda, and one woman in the supermarket dressed with leather bomber style jacket, baseball cap, jeans and heavy, unfeminine boots, gave a second glance and shook her head, this must equate to around 0.1 or less percent of the hundreds I have seen over those three days of public outings.

With regards France, spoken to the necessary bodies in the UK and checked out the French Governments information site on the French Healthcare so we know exactly what to do and who to contact when the day comes. Sent an email to the French DVLA equivalent about our Land Rover Defender and having it registered in France when we get there. It is possible to register a UK car over there if you have a French address, but our Defender has been slightly altered since manufacture and with this modification and our proposed alteration from a right hand drive to a left hand drive, we need to make sure this is OK with them. The change will cost around £2500, and as we have had this car since new it is cost effective especially as second hand French cars hold value and have a high price. Sent an email to a French solicitor who speaks English (sourced in our chosen area by our own research), as although we have tourist French language, dealing with legal documents is slightly different and English speaking will help until we become more liberal in French. French bank account has been sourced and will be applied for on the 11th Feb. You need a French bank account if you intend buying or renting in France. We feel it is necessary to get this sorted before any would be purchaser starts distracting us. After that, my wife has been rechecking the housing market in our chosen area and I've been reading up on Embassy web sites, French Government websites, including the French Tax, and any other relevant information.

The usual daily house chores etc and this week flew by. Got a funeral tomorrow for the husband of one of my gardening clients. He was 94, she is 92. I'll not be skirted for that. Although they know and accept my skirt wearing there could well be one or two there who would not and I would not want a scene created just in case someone objected to a man not being traditional even though they will be some women there in trousers.

All in all a good week. Arranged two visits with two of our friends and had yet another viewing on the 9th. Although no obvious negativity they do have, like so many, a house to sell. The Euro's increase against the Pound seems to have steadied at 1.15, having been 1.25 last November. That was another good piece of news as we would prefer it back in the mid 1.20's when we move! Selfish no doubt, but no more selfish than Society as a whole who simply want what they want or believe in.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Man in a Skirt - February 2013. How Time Flies

3rd February 2013 and I can recall events over Christmas 2012 as if it were last week. Just tried to make contact with a friend tonight. Last time I saw him was pre Christmas and as we both had a lot on decided to wait until the New Year! I know he's busy at the moment, he too is leaving our area.

Leaving the area. Ours is still pending although we had three viewings this week which my wife and I both consider very good for January when snow, ice rain and wind is normally on the agenda. The last of these three is their third visit this time with a builder to give a price to take our barn conversion from first fix to completion. This makes the fifth separate viewer since 1st January 2013, we were not expecting any before late February. Not too bothered if the current viewings do not come to fruition as we both feel that the market has not been fully tested and this will not happen before March, or for the UK we finally get some settled and sunny weather. The mid January cold snap and snow that hung around for two weeks has all gone only to be replaced with wind, rain, rain, more rain, and then some more wind. Yesterday was good. Very still, very sunny and bright blue sky. Now we've not had blue sky for a few weeks in our neck of the woods.

We have both decided that I should not wear skirts when conducting viewings. As I have said before and on my web site we get only a very small, lets say microscopically small, bearing on the numbers I meet skirted out and about in public who will pass an objectionable look or comment but never directly. Back to viewings, we've decided  that I'll not be skirted on viewings because although the huge majority make no noise about my skirts you never know what they say behind closed doors. My wife and I will quite often make a remark about somebody's dress, behaviour looks etc but only between us both and in our own company. Its human nature, after all we are the most intelligent beings on this planet or so we are told, so why should anybody else not be the same. So, on a viewing we would expect no comment about me but yes with regards the house, only to leave, get in their car and say 'not buying that queers house, it might be contagious' or some other statement.

I had my Building Control Inspector round this last week. I was in my mucky clothes/trousers. Why, well skirts are not ideal in what is a building site, with dust etc around. Not because of the Inspectors thoughts, after all they are tied to rules and regulations, so the other human intelligent behaviour of being awkward towards another because you do not like them for whatever reason cannot apply. Anyhow, skirts have their places and a building site is not one. First time I had met this guy and he did his job very professionally and as he had never seen this site before we went over all aspects of Building requirements so he could get a comprehensive grounding on this particular site. My first inspector was great, followed the rules but applied common sense and lived in a real world. This guy was the same. My first inspector left to become a private inspector, and between 2010 and 2012 I have done no work on the barn. Why, well because firstly I had some personal problems and also needed to support my wife with her work problems. Secondly, we put up a large steel shed, 20ft by 30ft. Steel erectors did the steel work and roof, I did all the block work, footings for the block walls, drainage, flooring and making good the site around this shed. Being so close to the house, in fact abutting it, it needed Building Control so I went with my ex-local council Building Control officer under his new private role.

Selling the house I thought it was wise to make contact with the local council Building Control officer, to bring them up to speed on subsequent work and of the future of this house. In 2012 I had put in a stone stair case and laid the final concrete floor in the barn conversion with the help of a friend who is a builder by profession. I then laid original stone flags throughout the ground floor of the barn and tied up outstanding jobs in other areas leaving just one bedroom to fine point the internal gable walls and rough point the stone outer walls. Once this is done and placed the solid oak ceiling beams in-situe the whole barn is at 1st/2nd fix. I should have got on with this last room in January, but I'm not a hardened builder so going into an unheated stone barn with outside temperatures below zero did not appeal to me so I did my Tax form instead, in the warmth at my desk in a skirt!

My current building inspector was well pleased noting my subsequent work with that recorded on my file. He had a laugh with me by saying it does say on my file from the previous inspector 'slow job, not being rushed'. Yes I replied, it is a hobby for me. He said it was nice to see for once a strongly engineered conversion, not these wood stud walls and wooden first floor noting that all new walls were block (by my own fair hand) and the first floor was concrete block and beam (laid by me and my builder friend. This nearly cost us our friendship as these were man handled into place!). With the wind howling around outside he said you certainly feel safe in these old houses with massive thick walls.

With the three viewings, building control, and replenishing our chopped wood for this winter, I've only been skirted around 50% of my time this week. Our heating is solid fuel, coal and logs. The fire is on permanently mid October to mid April except until Dec and from mid March, when we will disappear for the odd weekend. Where we live, we can get very cold temperatures and ice on the single track road that is rarely treated by the County Council. A few snow flakes at sea level can produce a few inches at home which is 1100 ft above sea level, on an exposed hill. We therefore tend not to make firm bookings for more than several hours between Dec and mid March unless we know we are in a mild spell where letting the fire go out will not cause us any harm. Pre 2000 we have always had gas central heating. This solid fuel central heating we feel surpasses the conventional heating that society now considers as normal. Yes we have a draw back that in cold weather we cannot leave the house for more than a day but then our location we can get "locked" out/in with the weather anyhow. We source our wood locally by locals asking us to remove a blown down tree for no charge on either side. We feel the exercise is just like my gardening business, better than going to a gym. Our shed has enough wood for this winter and most if not all next winter, but we did need to get some chopped for the current winter. This we did yesterday and today. We have enough now to last until April.

My only public outing this week due to my other activities was our weekly shop at the supermarket. Yes as normal I was skirted, similar to the photos on my web site and nobody at all batted an eye. Life just got on.

Our planned social with some other friends was cancelled last minute last week so that skirted event is on hold. Suspected Kidney Stones, but until confirmed the patient is in considerable pain. Following my wife's Kidney Stones in 2012 we all feel that we know the outcome even though the Doctors are considering.

Next week is slightly different. The postponed social with friends may still be on hold but we both have Dentist and Optician appointments and yes we will both be skirted. Subject to Dentist treatment a pub visit is on the cards. Pub visits with myself in a skirt are not unusual and I've had no trouble. The last three Dentist and Optician appointments have been skirted. One or two other social events that have been put on the back burner for winter are starting to be talked about. We both must go and see our solicitor next week with regards our house sale. This will be skirted as well including the browsing that will take place afterwards.

Just started reading a book about a couple who moved from the UK in 1985 to France and giving a general synopsis of France and what they have learnt. This reminds me I haven't done my book blog yet. France has been on my mind this week as well. We may based upon viewings have to start some official balls rolling soon on this venture. I need to get this book finished as my wife has just finished the book 'The Cross in the Closet' by Timothy Kurek and has strongly recommend that I read it. Many things he raises in this book is what I say in my personal life. Unfortunately I'm not a fast reader and don't have a lot of reading time. I may have to adjust my life!

Before we know it the next 7 days will pass in the blink of an eye. I should say that although it is true no body publicly has said anything to me about my skirts/outfits, within my family three have. Mum, Dad and younger brother. My eldest brother who is deeply religious is fine with it. The mutterings and less family contact by the other three have rumbled on now for two years but my younger brother actually put his thoughts and spoken words previously said at me in writing. He made a written remark, I passed an opinion and he replied quite directly. When you look at the words/statements he clearly is a discriminating person and his arguments against me do not stack up as I retorted to them referring each one towards females with their clothing styles and demands of today. I also asked him how women including his wife and my mother can wear such clothing when not so long ago women were not allowed to wear trousers and it was a prisonable offence for them to do so. How was it changed and the first women to do so, who must have worn male clothing as there were no women's trousers then. I'm also at a loss as to how women's trousers differ to men's trousers. Being cut differently doesn't count as male trousers are also cut differently. I ended my email by saying "Well I have a life and a future and I will take on board the final piece of advice my Counsellor told me to settle my feelings. Avoid those who do not respect you there are plenty out there who will."

Off my soap box and into next week.