Sunday, 2 February 2014

Man in a Skirt - Barn Conversion & Encounters.

I have said this before, but it is amazing how time passes especially when busy. Some 6 weeks since.

So, what has this SkirtedMan been doing? Well the "obsession" and main focus is our barn conversion. You will note from my earlier blogs that my wife & I have decided back in 2012 to relocate to France, wife retired, and start a new life over there. Why not, a change is as good as a rest. We are both very resourceful and practical people. I learn new techniques literally "on the job" and much prefer to be practical. The only aspect of life I am dependent upon is the medical profession.

Back in 2012 Estate Agents in our area, we contacted four, all said don't finish the barn, let new owners have the opportunity to personalise, that and the price drop for not completing was the only two things they agreed on. Even the listing price all varied widely. Anyhow, nothing happened so at the end of my work season I and my wife set to and the pace of the barn completion, like 11 years to get it to electrics, plumb and plaster, was dramatically changed to it will be completed by April 2014.

My wife is not a DIY person but will happily paint and decorate even though neither of us like that job. Since she retired she has got more involved in the other side of DIY even though not her chosen hobby, but sees the advantage my knowledge and practical ability has for us as a team, and yes we do operate as a team so she does get stuck in. Mid November to end December 2013 she was sawing, nailing etc, although at a more slower pace but did take over dog walking and keep the running of the house in order, relieving me of my duties in that area. At the end of December one bedroom and en-suite has been plastered out so once dry my wife is now primarily on painting duties only whilst running the house. I continued at a non-stop rate to get the landing, shower room, second bedroom & en-suite ready for plastering as we have employed a plasterer.
I think I have mentioned I cannot plaster and although that means there are two areas in life I am dependent upon, plastering can be learnt if I put myself into night class which was an option as the barn progressed before we accelerated the relaxed hobby timeline approach.

The six rooms up stairs are all plastered out. I need another 3 days to finish one of the downstairs rooms but the plasterer is starting that room on Monday. He'll soon need to take time out as my wife finds the hard physical preparation side difficult and there is only so many hours in a day for one person to take a building from a shell to completion. I should have completed all downstairs preparation by mid February therefore plastering will be about a week later. I then go upstairs to start to cut and miter 100 m plus of skirting board and construct 10 oak doors for the barn conversion. Then I put in the en-suite & shower room fittings as well as place the electric fronts. We'll both be busy until mid April when my seasonal work starts again. My wife has got one bedroom and en-suite with two coats of white emulsion to "blind" the dominant plaster colour.
The landing is well on. It is amazing all the hidden work that is involved for us both but the end result is good. We are the Key Holders for our neighbour who needed repair work on the central heating system. The plumber was very impressed with the work he saw and complemented the standard of work. This also happened with the Architect who came for the key as next door are planning an extension.

We are both hard at it all the time, and since Christmas only had one weekend off for going to friends and this next weekend coming when other friends come to us. Our weekly shop and evenings are our only breaks. You look at a job and think I'll do this, this and that but when you start many other jobs or problems appear. Working on it today I realised I have used some 1200 screws so far and still one and a half room to do before all is plastered. I have also purchased a third box of dry wall screws, 1000 in each, so a good 2500 of these will be used before finished.

As the skirted man I have been active publicly, Harrogate, Darlington, and at our friends. We have had a meal out one evening, so although low key publicly, I am still active and despite the wind and rain. I do have skirts that are not prone to blow up! I have the odd smirk and indirect comment with finger pointing but they are few and far between. Many talk to me/us and some don't but we experienced that when in trousers and quite honestly it shows the true character of humans. But we are not bothered. As I say on my site they should ponder on what others say or think about them rather than dictating what others should do. When we went for the meal, one couple came to the table near us, but it wasn't long before they moved. I thought it was me, my wife said not but on leaving we had to pass their new location, the man commented to her and she turned so her back was to me. It was me. She wasn't startling herself from my view, and she was in chunky shoes, trousers and very short hair. So if you are reading this, which I doubt, if you want traditionalism then practice it yourself.

In the evening I do the occasional search for blogs on men in skirts, and defend Men in skirts on Twitter. I can be found @TheSkirtedMan I spend roughly 60 minutes, Monday to Friday, occasionally on a Sunday evening if we have been out over the weekend. I and my wife have a life and although since 2010/11 I now make a stand I will put some time into my cause but not dominate my life.

In early January I thought I would start the new year be being more chatty on Twitter, but I am not a 'chatty' person, I need a purpose or sensible conversation, perhaps I am serious rather than laid back, may be, but that is my personality. I am very chatty with friends but I do not find making conversation easy among people. Anyhow I noted a tweeter promoting gender equality, a soap box issue for me, but noted tweets were pro women and some negative on men. I replied by what I thought was not lambasting women but basically saying women do it too. Well the tweets passed by over two/three days and my observations were dismissed as not being structural and my experience as an individual with a bunch of ladies not relevant. I was also described as being a white Anglo Saxon male who occupies the highest place in society. Well quite honestly this didn't just upset me, it p***** me **f. I stopped following, tightened up any thoughts of being "chatty" and started following a few tweeters I was aware of who speak for equality but with regard men as well, both male and female tweeters. Twitter was for me simply a platform to promote my views and matters that I feel are important. After all the majority of Tweeters are no different so for once I have joined the herd of human society so I'll try and remain an individual within the Twitter world. Chatter is done between friends and acquaintances either in person, or via email.

After this experience I am to create an extension to my web site on Mysogony and Misandry. I certainly do not intend being one sided, that is not me. I have always been fair, open and consider all aspects even though in the past others, especially at work take advantage. Since 2011 I still hold the same values but I am more active with replies and standing up for myself as an individual. I am a firm believer in gender equality for all, in all aspects of life. I do not believe in gender stereo typing of either gender as society does by both men and women. I do not believe any one should prosper in life simply because they claim discrimination or racism, but simply by merit. My wife & I work together as a team bouncing off each others strengths and weaknesses, and so do our friends. We are very selective who comes within our inner "onion ring circles" of our personal lives those on the outer and those that do not qualify. This applies to family members as well. We both have an honest, open and balanced way of life, respecting others but a line is drawn if this is abused by others towards us. There are over 6 billion on this planet, you cannot be friends with everyone and we certainly cannot have the same beliefs and ethos. Live and let live.

This section of my site may not appear for a week or so, I am still very busy and I put thought into my subject. It will not be one sided, dogmatic, anti women etc, but it will be a balanced section reflecting on both men and women and the problems society with it labels and those with single minded obsessions brings. I acknowledge women still have issues within the Western World but I also believe men in this modern society do to and many shared with women, perhaps in a lesser volume, but shared they do. Domestic violence for example affects 1 in 6 men in the UK yet you would not think so. I have many inequality examples where women get preference to men. Language and behaviour of some men, not all men is the same as language and behaviour of some women in some aspects, even murder and criminal acts which do not get the same lime light in the media as men.

I acknowledge Feminism as a movement to enable women get equality, something they should have regardless but I step back when it appears to push mens rights out of the way. My wife says I cannot change the world, she is right, I don't expect to, but many droplets make an ocean. Also as a man I do feel this modern society does at times and in certain areas discriminate and I do find it hard to sit back since 2011 when others are very negative on men and generalise and label all men the same. Some are and justify the title as do some women but we all don't. Just like women, we too are individuals and have rights.

Ending on a more positive note, Spring is on it's way, only 6 weeks to the Spring Equinox, the nights are getting lighter and we must be near the end to the UK's current run since early December 2013 of this very persistent extremely windy and heavy rain. I do feel sorry for those caught in the massive and deep floods of the Somerset Levels.

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