Sunday, 10 August 2014

Man in a Skirt - A Fresh Look at Life but not About Skirt Wearing.

Over these last few weeks we have both decided that we will stay here, where we are now and not move to France. Firstly what housing boom, where is it? Since the Bank of England reaction to the booming housing market and interest rate increases in 2015 the few viewings we had with regards the sale of our house dropped off the cliff. London and certain cities may be having a booming time but here in Northern England there are still many, many houses for sale and have been for a time. We have queried with the Agent about the price etc but they say it is not the property, its the situation of the UK housing market and they too said their is no boom except for certain cities and our property is among the top of the list for enquiries. Yes houses are selling a bit more than previous years since 2008 but only less than £250K. In our area the more you move above £250K you get less and less interest with Stamp Duty levy and talk of rising interest rates. Only houses with land, tired and in need of modernising or houses that will take low and 'cheeky' offers are moving north of £250K.

In May this year we went to a Living in France seminar where accountants, lawyers, agents etc attend to spout forth. The last time we went was mid 2012 when we first thought about entering retired life in France and running a gite business. The tax rules have changed far too much for us with the social charge slapped on everything and tax free savings reduced to a low level and nothing for share dealings except for company annuities. We would be paying more tax than the UK lower rate of 20% with the 6.5% social charge on their lower income tax band a reduced level before entering the 32% tax rate before the social charge, a 46% social charge on any profit made from the Gite business, and other aspects that for an ordinary couple on an ordinary income makes it very questionable especially when you start to take into account savings accrued over the years by doing without in preparation for the retirement stage of life. In France recognition of this has been severely reduced over the last 2 years. Second homes profit on resale by non-french residents now incur a 48% Capital Gains Tax on profit so so long as you do not sell and with a profit this is irrelevant, as to buying a house to live out their on a nominal pension and not be bothered about employment etc is also fine, but in our mid 50's we are to young to have a laid back life style so we'll stay here in the UK despite it's problems that officials seem to not to want to redress.

So we are staying here, we have a good location which suits our preference for life, i.e. greenery not concrete, quiet not noise. It's not for all but it suits us. My garden business has expanded this year. Last year I turned down new clients as according to the agent last year we were definitely be sold by the summer was out. We will expand and run this until such time as we cannot sustain the level and enthusiasm thrown at it then reduce or stop and take retirement more fully by stimulating brain and exercising legs by other means - possible in France.

We have been debating this decision since May. We both would like the challenge of moving to France but do not want to get embroiled in penny counting. We are not getting any interest in the house since the Bank of England rhetoric earlier this year after all we are not in ideal commuter location. Viewers that we get are very 'it's a buyers market' attitude, and one was banned from a second viewing having previously critisied the house for size and price and telling me on the first visit that we will take what ever is offered. The other tack we have noted from would be viewers is stipulating a specific date and time, take it or leave it. We all have lives and cannot sit around waiting and if possible to move an appointment we do but it is not reciprocated at times. We do not have to sell for any reason what so ever, so we are not.

Followers of these blogs may recall me saying that we may run a B&B here as a skirted man with my wife. Although we do viewings when for sale with me in stereotypical male clothing any long term dealings with members of the public would certainly have to take me as whom I have a right to be not what they expect or tell me I should be. After all who in the wider public spectrum consult others or me about there choice of dress or appearance when they enter my life or pass me out in public. No one does. I would be quite happy to tell any who arrived and made any negative sentiment directly or via body language that if I'm not good enough for them there are other B&B's to go to. This idea has also been shelved. The Barn conversion that I have done, been mentioned in earlier blogs, has taken some 11 years to do and B&B regulations changed in 2006. As it is only a two bedroom B&B possibility we are exempt still from many tight regulations but one or two do now apply and all can be got around. However, one in particular we are not happy with. I have hand built individual solid oak ledge and braced doors and door frames sort out authentic heavy duty, new but aged large T-hinges to take the weight of these doors which now have to be removed so modern day self closing chrome hinges can be put on. Bearing in mind that the door frames do not have self seal smoke retention strips in them which is not required we personally are not going to spoil these doors just to meet a regulation when smoke seal strips are not a requirement. This and noting that a B&B even run part time through the year is a 24/7 on site job and unlike gardening if the weather is good we can take out the odd ad-hoc day and have a day out in good weather rather than not work over the weekend, which I don't tend to do and have a wet weekend. Flexibility disappears with a B&B. Friends staying would need to be coordinated more and then their is the public. We are back to the minority again but a handful will be argumentative, nothing is right, damage because many public these days have the attitude 'I've paid for it, I'll have it' and we found ourselves saying, hang on, this is our home, our castle, our bit of England that is ours so no B&B here.

This has taken a huge cloud of uncertainty off us, and restriction on our lives.

I have made some minor updates to my site www.theskirtedman.eu here and there in the latter weeks, and done my usual 45 minutes approx most days on Twitter standing up for men in skirts. As I have said before on these blogs apart from fell walking, DIY and my self employment I am skirted all the time and this has continued. We have been in Lancashire doing canal walks and coastal walks skirted, we have done some hill walking not skirted, continued having the odd BBQ here and there but this last week not. The weather is changing here and I firmly believe we are heading for an early Autumn. I am cutting back in my gardens earlier than usual and the general feel of gardens and autumnal nips in the mornings so early in August does not bode well for me. Not sure about snow/frosts for this forth coming winter but I do think it is going to come early and be a 'long' one.

Been out and about generally skirted like food shopping, locally for the weekly paper and odd provision run out of, etc. Been to Ripon, Durham and York for concerts based at the respective Cathedrals. The last two Saturdays were at York so went a bit earlier and did some shopping of clothes including skirts and if you have been to York you know how busy it can be on Saturdays especially with good weather. Had a couple of meals out with these concerts, not for all, but for York. So what about my skirt and public reaction. No different to usual. Vast majority carry on with no difference a few stares and a handful of negative looks but as always from women who have embraced the female forerunners who pushed for a change in their clothing expectations but I've said this before. People engage in general banter with you or as so often happens within a group of humans ignore you because that's the way they are or perhaps they don't like you for some reason or other and yes it could be the skirt but then it happens when I have trousers on and become the stereotypical male. This can be out and about in the street, at the checkout queue or even with the staff. This varies from store to store, place to place, not always one type of store and I find it is no different to me having trousers on or skirt. Humans being humans are on the whole very defensive about contact with strangers, the unknown etc and I find this even when in trousers. At the meals people nearby engage in general banter briefly but as usual, in trousers or not, concentrate within their own table. What about attending the Cathedrals after all I am entering the domain of Christians and I am basically a bloke in a skirt. Blogs on the internet from 'Christians' about men in skirts usually questions men but absolves everything for women but it wasn't going to stop me, it's a public place, a public advertised event and I am not breaking any laws of the land despite the church hypocrisy on many aspects. Durham has been the most osteer, with regards contact from officials but then I noted that was the same for others except for regular church goers they knew and you can tell by the conversation. York representatives have been chatty as too Ripon by some and others very reserved but from experience of churches, even when in trousers, the large majority of representatives of these churches are OK with you provided you do not show any sign of being non-religious or question the book etc but when a man appears in a skirt, well that's challenging the Christian strict rules of belief even though the Bible says 'God loves all" and in the human world the church accepts anything with regards dress and appearance from women. We have been to a few concerts at Ripon this year and going recently I noted one of its vicars, I apologise for not knowing the correct title, acknowledged us from a far and last week made contact with us, quite happy to engage in conversation with us both, not religious preaching within the talk and asking if we would join for the wine and chatter that followed the concert as it was part of the price. We declined saying we feel uncomfortable in these situations as with all human gatherings, the groups gather with those they know and the unknowns pushed on the side lines and it can be hard to break the initial ice. He understood. People attending the events are no different to other events elsewhere, the vast majority of humans keep to themselves or within their group, no doubt talking about others who are different or about what they have been doing etc and only those either side of you will either have a brief verbal contact or as can happen becoming more prolonged in talk. This happens with us with me in a skirt as well as trousers. We went to London earlier this year, went to the theater and I, in a skirt had long conversation before, interval and afterwards with the bloke sat next to me.

I really do not find being in a skirt makes it any more different with regards human contact. It is impossible to talk to all, be friends with all but as always from my experience 99.9% of the public just are not bothered  or if they do , like most of us, me included, will say to each other, did you see that etc etc. The only thing I found whilst in the Cathedrals, many are regular church goers and have this 'church atmosphere' around them and I find many from life experience are very judgmental and are far from perfect themselves.

I came across this sentence on a radio 4 Thought for the Day "...like societies of everywhere, we mock the taboos of others yet fail to see the absurdity of our own...". I think sums up society in most aspects. This appears on my Introduction page of my site with a link to the full Radio 4 article.

I have no photos for the last 3 weeks but I can assure you I do go about my day to day life wearing clothes that I have a right to wear under this modern era of equality and Feminism and I strongly advocate that any man can and should if they so wish.

Not seen many films just recently but have watched The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and despite the review of the critics both myself and my wife thoroughly enjoyed it and laughed a lot during but unlike the critics, I am a man in a skirt and it has been said on the internet you cannot take a man in a skirt seriously! Also seen Liam Neesons recent Non-Stop, like a good action movie, and have also watched Noah. Now Noah doesn't get a good critic review but like the recent remakes of Superman and Batman, and making them more believable, still being a comic book character, with reason and justification as to how they achieve their abilities I look at Noah as the same. It is basically a Bible story and the event of Noah took place, apparently a millenia or so before the Bible was actually written. According to the Bible it was all perfect, positive and good and Noah saved the day but in the real world why not have Noah with a partner, children and problems with life these are not recent additions to human life! Why not have other tribes, good and bad and aggressive human behaviour, humans have always been like it, still are. As the story is basically folklore, then why not have creatures that appear in the stories liker in the folklore of the Greeks, Vikings etc. Just because it's based upon a Christian story does not make it perfect, sweet, harmonious etc etc. That's similar to some films from Hollywood that portray the US as the masters and perfection of everything eg Argo when it was the Canadians who did the life threatening actions or even the Sound of Music when the male is made out to be the aggressor and the woman is perfect yet in real life it was the other way around! Now this could be a topic for another blog.