Thursday, 22 May 2014

Time Slows for No One, Not Even a Man in a Skirt

Approaching 8 weeks since my last blog. Each time I say I'll not leave it as long but not by intention, time passes by. Hence my title! Obviously my life is very full and active, as too for my wife. We do most things together but also separate quite often working in different areas of the house but we have a lot in common and we do work as a team bouncing off each others strengths and weaknesses. My wife has a good female friend whom she meets once, twice a year in York, but over the latter years that has gravitated towards staying at each others house and involving her husband and myself. I'll chat and banter with her husband who like me does not like large groups and most of male activities like pub drinking, sport, bawdiness, bad language etc. My wife meets occasionally for coffee at their respective homes with a woman she got to know whilst at work and both had similar work experiences. She also meets a small group of former parents (my wife is a retired Headteacher) but this is only about three times a year again for coffee.

So what has TheSkirtedMan been doing recently. As always this is just a cross section. On the 28th April my garden seasonal work started and all my clients are still keen to keep me, even though we are trying to move to France. That says a lot about my work as well as me. My wife helps out in this gardening activity. This takes up most of our time Monday to Friday allowing one day for wet weather and in week two of the fortnightly cycle on top of one day for wet weather another day for ad-hoc personal events like Opticians, Dentists, other appointments etc. I am very keen within my business that I am prompt, reliable and ensure that what I need to achieve in the five days I do so. The season is very active, in fact the first fortnight is really just to get on top of the gardens, going back to one or two two or three times so that by the end of the fortnight I have the cycle set up and most jobs on top of, ensuing that outstanding jobs can be undertaken within the cycle. Here roughly 4 weeks on the cycle is flowing smoothly and all requested ad-hoc jobs undertaken. This will keep me very busy now until early October when it will settle down to about one or two in November and completely stop by mid November. Anytime away has to be carefully thought about and planned. It is not a business like a shop owner, or manufacturer etc but it is still a business and everything is above board and declared. I maintain my account and submit everything with the Inland Revenue. All is declared, even the clients who pay cash. I live my life honorably and honestly. I know some don't but that is there affair. Some will say I'm stupid, rules are here to be broken but I don't believe in that. Like with individuals, if I don't agree, like or believe in then I simply stay away. Let them get on with their lives. I'm happy with mine, I am content it may be simple, not flashy etc but do I care, no. Since 2011 I do not back down or stay quiet when others voice views and opinions, those days are long gone. For to long in my personal life and work life I let others direct, dictate and influence my life. I ignore those I do not need to deal with and those who need to be within my life yet dominate or make their ethos/views know upon me or us then I give a reply. I respect others right to views/opinions and will listen, at times you can learn, but I refuse to be walked on or over just because they feel everyone should jump to their command. I,  my wife, have views and opinions too and quite often those that spout at us seem surprised that others have views! Obviously society laws are an exemption, agree or not with some of them that is part of being a member of society and rules stop society falling apart.

In the run up to 28th April 2014 since my last blog we worked on the barn. We know it wouldn't be complete but we needed to have all the big jobs done. I landscaped the septic tank area which now just needs time to mature and grow. It may look a little "twee" at the moment but it will not in due course. I needed a few stones for this and I saved some around the back of the house for a few years but I was short by one so just before the builders departed with waste in the dumper truck I reclaimed one large stone. This is a picture of it.
So what is specially about it you may ask. It is just a rock but as I said to my wife this rock has been buried in the ground since the Dale we live in, in fact look down into and along with our 18 mile East/West view, has been carved out by the last Ice Age some 12000 years ago. In fact it could have not seen day light for a lot longer if the glacier hadn't even disturbed it then. I find this type of information fascinating, perhaps that's why I like a bit of history, old history, not modern.

I made 8 internal solid oak doors from scratch and hung them on my previously made oak door frames put in during the winter months. Here are some photos, of me making one and two of finished doors.
My wife has got all eight rooms of the barn annex painted out except for the staircase. She starts that on the 23rd May 2014, tomorrow at the time of writing this. I have one cupboard door to make which I will do on the 23rd May and then just put in place 12 electrical accessories. For us the barn is finished at that point. We have not plumbed the two En-suites or tiled them and the shower room. The Estate Agent agrees this should be left as suites and tiles are very personal choices. All the rooms have skirting boards on, again another job done my myself.
We can put on our choice of tiles and plain white average white bathroom fittings but in the housing market it is known that 98% of buyers change bathrooms and kitchens. Taking out what we have put in and taking tiles off walls will only damage the wall surface which will need to be remade before re-tiling. The annex is complete basically. Put a floor covering down, furnish it is what everyone needs to do so that is no different. Getting a plumber in to fit your choice of tiles and fittings is what the majority do. Everyone barters down a house price, too far and they are rejected and these two En-suites and shower room painted, and fitted out with electrics is a good blank canvass. If I'm asked to finish then it can only be done to our specification as if it had been done previously. I cannot provide guarantees etc and working to someones request brings me into a different aspect of laws and legality so again another good reason not to put the plumbing in place. The picture below shows two doors, one front and the from the back. Also all the oak, the ceilings, the pointed wall and block wall behind the plaster is my handy work, the man who wears a skirt. By the way skirting boards are now on since these photos were taken.

Now that's basically the last 8 weeks and why another blog hasn't appeared before now. We have met up on a few weekends with friends and unlike working on the barn and my gardening business I am skirted at other times. Some times these are specific events pre-arranged others like last weekend impromptu. We met one friend and walked about 9 miles on the Lancaster Canal from Lancaster to south of Galgate. Our friend went home to attend to her cat but we went on to an area of Morecambe Bay, north of Morecambe where the dogs can run and we can watch the sunset over the Bay and the Lakeland Fells with a packed up tea.

One weekend when a male friend of ours came to stay, he too is not into big fell walking. Big fell walking I wear trousers, but strolls along canals, parks, estates etc I'm in a skirt. We took him on such a walk and moved onto a cafe which we had not been too before, after which we had a stroll around the estate it was situated on. I entered the cafe first, followed by my wife then our friend. As soon as I entered the whole noise in the cafe went quiet and all looked. The power of the skirt I thought. I simply said "Hi everyone" and carried on walking in. The noise resumed and the staff were fine. If they had thoughts none was shown. The odd customer had quick look but life went on. This is the first time this has happened to me in a skirt but not the first in my life. Yes it has happened before, just as bad on two previous occasions and I was in trousers and stereotypical clothing society deem as menswear so it is not the skirt. It is the people. It's like entering the saloon in the wild west. A stranger in a place not seen before and in the three years of skirt wearing in public it is the first. I muttered something under my brief and my male friend said quietly, "now, now Jeremy". I scanned the room moving towards a table and noted only myself, my wife and one other woman was in a skirt and she never gave any impression good, bad or indifferent. The other women were in jeans, trousers, trainers, chunky shoes, many had short hair, some had tattoos, chunky tops, sweatshirt style tops etc. Once sat I said to my male friend, taking only the two of us into account, who is the cross dresser here. "Why you" he exclaimed. "Are you sure" I replied. I continued "taking all the males into account here including myself in a skirt, you and the other males are all dressed in clothing styles that is now taken as normal and standard for women, so me, a man in a skirt cannot be the cross dresser, but you are."  He muttered under his breath.

We have recently had 3 days in London, preceded by my wife and I meeting our niece from my side of the family over from Canada. As we were to catch the train in York on the Sunday morning, we met them near to where they were staying on the Saturday and I was skirted as depicted on my site  the whole of the 4 days 24/7, hotels, cafes, tourist attractions, trains, tubes, buses, theaters etc etc. Not the first time I've been to a theater in a skirt, been to Sunderland twice, Edinburgh Tattoo as well. One or two looked, but so did we and very, very few women in stereotypical clothing of tradition which is expected of men. Many many women were in modern day womens clothing styles, very similar to men, quite a few in jeans and trainers and some of those had frayed holes in the legs of their jeans as well, so some may have thought I was out of place but based upon others freedom of choice I didn't. The two couples sat either side of myself and my wife were happy to talk to us both before, during the interval and the couple on my side did so after the performance. In fact the theater was getting almost empty! We had a good time in London. Went to the Viking Exhibition at the British Museum, that was very good.
Met up with the son and his wife of my wifes best friend and had an evening meal with them, did St Pauls and the Tower of London, both attractions neither of us had done since the mid 1970's! We did the Whispering Gallery and the outside Stone Gallery of St Pauls - skirted. We had two full days in London, but to keep the train costs down we caught the 8 am trains both Sunday and Tuesday mornings so arriving in York mid morning we went to Benningborogh Hall for lunch did our grocery shopping as we went to collect our dogs from the kennels.

A busy busy time. Not seen many films but one in particular does stand out. The Railway Man. Very moving, well acted and very well portrayed. A true story abut a British soldier and his experiences of his time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp and the after affects of him, his buddies and respective partners. I'll not tell the ending just in case you haven't seen it and intend to do so. It should have been Oscar nominated and awarded but don't get me on my soap box on the Oscars, it's just like politics and big business.

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