I said in my last blog it may be a few weeks before I appear again. Sorting out my website Joomla upgrade was a problem. It offered to upgrade from 2.59 to 3.0.3 but when I tried it said the php on my server was to old! A few emails with my web host provider could not solve problem and they do not offer Joomla support. I already obtained the domain www.theskirtedman.eu ready for when my wife and I relocate to France. Our house has not sold and in this area the market has more than dropped off the cliff edge. At least we have no pressures to move, simply a desire to change our lives now that my wife has retired and my self employment is movable.
Anyhow, back to the php problem. I could do a fresh Joomla 3.0.3 on the new domain so that was done and decided to move my entire site over and restructure it. The database on the 2.59 version is not compatible with the 3.0.3 version. It needed a rebuild and copy and pasting. Many hours later it is up and running. That was completed at the end of April. I have today made a start on the new structure of my libminded.co.uk domain. Both are connected via links but the libminded domain is about what is normal and quotes I have come across that I find interesting. This will be added to as time goes by.
What else has been going on. Summer had arrived, and hit a high of 24 degrees for us 6th/7th May. However this week turned wet, cold and windy, hitting 70 mph on Thursday taking down our for sale sign. That's been rectified but tonight the forecasters are hinting snow on the hills of Northern England! By Wednesday temperature could be as low as 6 degrees centigrade during the day.
Since my last blog my seasonal self employment of garden maintenance is in full flow but this last week will have slowed them down. Myself and my wife have also been getting on with some outside jobs on the house that we couldn't do over the Winter. Gate repairs and repainting, fence repainting, tidying and giving the garden a boost. With the house being built into the hillside we do not have a lot of land to the rear. That side is also north facing. Many years ago the previous owner had it dug out so the 10 ft width is stepped with a 2 meter retaining wall. We were going to block and beam this to make one area spanning the retaining wall to the house. On top of the retaining wall the house is like a single level so even on the shortest day of the year we get sun at that point. Our plan was to place a 2 m high green house and 5m long and 1.5 m wide but as we have decided to sell this will not be done. So now that 'summer' has arrived we are tidying this area up. Kerb edging has been placed on the concrete top area and back filled with limestone chippings. As to the area at the foot of the retaining wall. The 2 m block boundary wall has one coat of white masonary paint on but the weather this week has prevented the second coat and even starting to paint the retaining wall. Even so, it looks dramatically different especially as we have 6 large pots their with established plants in. Where the retaining wall wraps around the house, it was covered when the steel shed was put up a few years back. This left a whole about 1 m wide and 1.5m high. I use to prop up a piece of ply here to stop animals nesting. Yesterday this has been sealed much more sensibly and tidy to the eye. We just need some good weather not only for my garden business but to get the masonary paint finished.
My other job outside I would like to get done is to complete the pointing of the West Gable. This will take me about 4 days to do but I need scaffolding so I can only do this once other jobs are finished so I can concentrate on it and my garden business. I'll probably wait until June now. Then we shall put the house on hold. The Estate Agents are convinced ours will go by the end of the summer due to its location and commanding views within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We are not so sure, so despite the agents telling us to sell the house with the 2 bed attached barn annex at first fix, we will finish the Barn Annex. They say selling as it is although it has dropped the asking price of the house allows buyers to personalise to how they want rather than undo what is there and then personalise. We have decided that if not sold by 1st October 2013, we'll take the house off the market, complete to our specification, but it back on April 2014, obviously revalued to reflect a finished job and then in the mean time run the barn annex as a Bed and Breakfast, and yes if we do get to that point I will be skirted as a B&B proprietor.
As for my recent public skirting activities, this has been busy. My wife's long standing friend has terminal cancer and 4 weeks ago all treatment was abandoned and now in a hospice. She is still very positive and talks about life and often inquiries about my skirting activities. So visiting has entailed in return home via a pub for an evening meal. Last week when we entered a woman sat by the window saw me arrive and literally stood up, pointing and you could see her eyes popping out of her head. Her husband turned to look as well. So I stopped to allow her a better look and moved my body to indicate 'so what'. this type of reaction doesn't happen to often, in fact it is quite rare as to the odd giggle. these are significantly out numbered by the positive comments and gestures I receive. Still 99.9% of the public just ignore me or talk as we all wait. What they think privately I don't know but don't we all have private thoughts on something we think is different or do not agree with.
Had a day in the Lake District incorporating a visit to Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside. Needed a few plants to replace some lost over the last Winter but also to fill in holes as we have put some plants into pots, to brighten up he back courtyard of the house. I was skirted. No problems, in fact talked to to women whilst in the checkout queue.
Weekly, shopping, walking the dogs down the country lane from our house when the roads are dry etc. Went to the Metro Centre in Newcastle last Thursday. Not the first time skirted but no problem. However, whilst my wife and I were in the children's department - looking for an item for our niece - in the same isle was a woman and her child. We both heard the woman say to her child "Thomas, stop looking at girls clothing, you are a boy not a girl". I turned to look and thought, one, what else can he look at at that point in time, two, so what if he was and three, the mother was in a T-Shirt, jeans and trainers all items of clothing originally designed for men in the USA at the onset of the oil industry. The child was aged about 7 years old. We both carried on looking for our item, I smiled to myself and we both remarked about it later on. The other point here is that women do not like gender barriers being placed in their direction. Why should gender barriers for men apply?
I find the retail staff quite talkative especially when I walk up with a new skirt, top or cardigan. Our weekly shop is always skirted at a supermarket, likewise refilling the car at petrol stations and going out and about with friends. To me, my wife and our friends it is no different to the modern woman who these days embraces male style clothing on a routine basis for almost all aspects of their lives, unlike pre-1990's. Ubuntu philosophy. I am because you are. This is now on the front page of my web site. I have put a couple of new links on it as well.
My wife and I went to a pub not to far from home for an evening meal, and I was skirted. Been here on numerous occasions skirted, apart from the occasional brief stare and a few seconds of private talk between one or two people nothing happens. On this particular occasion nothing happened again except upon my arrival. a wom,an and a man were sat next to a large floor to ceiling window. She was facing, he wasn't. As soon as she saw me, she stood up, pointed and put her other hand to her mouth. The man turned round for a few seconds then turned back. She remained standing. Noting this I stood still, and made a body movement basically indicating, so what. When we got inside this woman was in a T-Shirt, jean like trousers and trainers. Need I say more if I'm supposed to remain traditionally dressed.
The new style of my site about men in skirts is at www.theskirtedman.eu. My photo gallery is restructured and I now have 5 categories covering myself skirted in public, but also other aspects of my life in trousers! just to indicate I am no different to any one else. To try and establish that it is not a fetish or sexual as some claim about men who want to be individuals and wear skirts or embrace a traditional womanswear wardrobe but never applied to women who now have 'anywear'. Also Psychiatrists class men who want to wear skirts as disfunctional, but never a woman who wants to trousers. Just many of the hypocritical statements within the intelligent human life.
Next time I write a blog here I hopefully will have something very interesting to talk about being skirted in public. In fact over the summer months there are one or two very interesting skirted events in public for me coming up. I'll save these for later.