Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Man in a Skirt - Another Time Lapse between Blogs.

As I said in my last blog, it is several weeks before I reappear. I don't spend my life on social media. I have since early 2013 spent about an hour daily, very, very rarely at weekends on Twitter promoting men in skirts but I do get fed up with that as well. About a year ago it dropped to every two or three days, then week, some times two weeks. Since my last blog here I didn't go on Twitter for over 3 weeks.

Social media has its place, it also has very good debates but on the whole it is simply a platform to many to speak one sided and narrow minded propaganda for themselves. They can hide behind a computer screen and not face those they critisise. They never stop and look at themselves or accept that in the real world everybody has a fault in the eyes of everybody. Recently I heard this statement from an MP on UK television:

"I don't want a tolerant society anymore, I want a society of respect because tolerance just sounds as if you are prepared to put up with people who disagree with you. Respect is when you genuinely admire others for their difference" Chris Bryant MP 11th June 2015 BBC Questiontime.

Many on social media as well as a few in the real world should note this but as is usually with human intelligence it can get too much to cope with. A new buzz phrase is now appearing on some media programs especially when on gender is that humans were built and designed for social interaction, to compete, lead and dominate. This is the "get out of jail free card" to justify human behaviour as normal and acceptable. We may be built like that but we have intelligence to learn, adapt and be accommodating.

In the real world I do not experience as much as social media portrays. Yes I do accept the real world does contain those who dominate, the aggressors, the narrow minded and selfish people. In the real world only a handful can say what appears on social media when face to face. It is mostly at a distance, away from you. The exception are the hardline and tough nosed males and females who express their ethos with violence. You can spot them and as an intelligent person maneuver away from them.

Out and about in the real world I see many, many, many just get on with life. No doubt passing comment privately if they see something that they think is odd. Only a very small minority will make negative overtones via body language because they see something different or what they consider not normal. What is normal? It is different in the eyes of everyone. For example Friday/Saturday nights is normal for many to get blind drunk. I don't!

As you know, I wear skirts 365 days a year regardless of weather. The exceptions are my commercial gardening, hill walking and certain aspects of my serious DIY. I do low level walks in a skirt, like in country parks, canals etc. I do our own garden in a skirt because unlike commercial I'm not scrambling over fences, dealing with banks of long growth including nettles and brambles. I'm not lifting petrol mower in and out of the back of a vehicle.
On the whole 99.9% pass by when in a skirt, quite a few giving momentary glances and then the 0.1% or thereabouts give negative body language but, and I have said this before, I get far more compliments than those who give negative overtones. Recently I have had quite a few culminating with many in a recent weeks holiday in Somerset UK. I have had on more than one occasion what I would describe as very macho, manly looking, calling to me to get my attention in a polite way complimenting my appearance by voice or thumbs up. While out and about cloths shopping with my wife I do not hide when attending the checkouts. I confidently walk up with my skirt or top and 99.9% of the time engage in banter with the shop attendant. Occasionally they compliment my choice and this happened three or four times whilst on a shopping excursion whilst in Somerset. In several stores when I walked in, in my skirt, top and scarf, many female attendants didn't just give the standard acknowledgment from training but a positive nod and wink. My wife had seen a particular skirt on a shop web site and and wanted to see it in reality. Whilst waiting as usual I mooched around and a female attendant came over and said "excuse me Sir, are you looking for anything in particular". My reply was "not on this occasion I'm waiting for my wife who s trying on in the changing room." She followed with "that's OK, I can see you have taste in fashion I thought I might be able to assist if you were looking". We then engaged in general conversation about the area, our holiday, where we are from etc. During that week I did get the usual quota of brief stares and the odd one or two who had to take it further but that's humans but they paled into insignificance compared to the rest.

A recent example of negative overtones was a few weeks back whilst on our weekly grocery shop. Entering an isle two men and two women were in conversation. One woman had to look at me whilst still engaging in conversation. We continued down the isle stopping here and there to collect items and I was aware on one occasion their conversation had finished and this woman and her partner had come down the isle and she was once again looking at me. I ignored and continued my way. At the end of the isle my wife realised she had forgotten something which was back in the next isle so I waited at the end of the current isle and as this couple came along side she said in loud clear voice "I do not agree. I simply do not agree". I turned to look and both were looking at me and I was about to say "are you talking about me" when her partner said "I have told you, live and let live, move on" and he ushered her onwards. Needless to say her hair style was typical male, tight tee shirt on, very casual trousers and trainers. All these clothing items are and were traditionally male clothing if we are to remain in society stereotypical clothing. I didn't see them again. They either had a short list or I was simply too much for her. Her problem.

Whilst in Somerset recently I did not put any trousers in my suitcase. Regardless of weather or events I was in a skirt and similar clothing as depicted on my web site All my skirts are a minimum 90cm in length.
I do have some that are better for windy weather so on the day we were to do Wells, Cheddar Gorge culminating ascending Glastonbury Tor I was in a more straighter skirt. At 5pm on Glastonbury Tor top, it was very warm but fairly breezy. My decision for the straighter skirt was wise. Met several people on the top and no issue but I'm positive one or two re-positioned themselves in possibility of a "Marilyn Monroe" experience but sadly for them I knew it wouldn't happen even though the skirt was flapping and I didn't have to take any precautionary action.
On the way up we got talking to a local out walking his dog. No reference to my skirt but he tipped us off on a suitable circular walk to maximise the event and make a circular route. Now when we went to Bath the plan was to do the Roman Baths, the Cathedral, walk to the Royal Crescent and catch a bus from the city centre out to Prior Park Landscape Garden. It was a warm sunny day so I put on a not so straight skirt. At the Cathedral we both opted to do the tower and Belfry tour, 212 steps to the top of the tower via the Belfry and along the Nave roof edge on the outside. The group was about 18 people and yes only me and my wife were in skirts. The group was a good cross reference of age group. Nobody made any comment or body language towards me, certainly not at the time. Going up was not a problem, the people behind going up spiral tower steps were not giggling or tried to take advantage of being behind, in fact very accommodating. Along the roof edge was fine, we have a stone parapet on one side and I simply kept my shoulder bag down my side. Along the internal roof walkways bending over double due to its height and me being 6ft 6 was not a problem, neither the Belfry. There were no ladders!!!! On top of the tower the view over Bath was worth the climb. I took 4 photos in each main direction. The rather more fuller skirt was lifting but I knew I had a very good lining attached to it which wouldn't lift. For the first time one or two in this group I felt were just waiting for the inevitable but even a fuller skirt with a sensible lining never lets you down. I took my photos had a brief look, bearing in mind heights in such circumstances are not my favourite and decided to squash against the wall near to the doorway waiting to go. The two female guides were great although I do consider that one did find me interesting but gave nothing really away. I was always conscious out of the whole group she was always looking at me. On the way down she led so I made sure I was the next one behind and although they were both open to questions on the tour I started up general conversations on the way down. Part of my conversation was about heights on edges and towers not so good for me but I am getting better. She said I showed no sign of it and had done well and asked why do I put myself through it.
I try to face my fears was my reply and also somethings I just need to achieve. Others like the top of the Shard or going above stone gallery of St Paul's is still too much for me as to flying. Need to to really prepare mentally to even fly to central France from UK and does stress me out.

We stayed in a Hotel whilst down there the deal, booked last minute, like 3 days before departure was good. No problems in the hotel with public from anything different to being out and about. Yes one night in the bar a group of four you knew were talking about you but to me I gave them something to entertain that night! The following night a mother and two daughters came in, daughters being late teen and mid 20's. They kept themselves to themselves for a while and then asked if we were on holiday. Conversation grew and shortly we all re-located around one table. My skirt wearing was queried but in a good way. Curiosity only and all three thought it was good and were disappointed to hear about the reaction of some members of the public especially from women. In the conversation it was very evident that they were very open minded on many aspects of life and also felt that the 'gender wars' in society were stupid. We are all human beings with the same emotions and feelings. Freedom of choice, expression and opportunity applies to all. At 2 am in the morning, some 4 hours later with the bar tender asking if he could retire we all dispersed. As my wife said it was very refreshing to hear two young people with such open and mature thoughts on many aspects of life.

On our departure day we stopped off at Dyrham House. One of many National Trust Properties. It is currently under going a 12 month restoration of new roof, and making good roof parapets and chimneys so consequently the house is packed up. The park, gardens and adjacent church are open as are 3 of the downstairs rooms to the front. Some of the rooms to the back down stairs are open via a guided tour but to show how conservation is taken during major repair work with items boxed up and large pictures covered. One or two specific items are on full view but basically the whole of the upstairs is downstairs. Seeing three rooms complete and how items are mananged under such circumstances is interesting but to compensate for not being able to see the house complete since early May 2015 the scaffolding that encompasses the whole house under one big tent has a dual role. It gives the builders full access to the roof obviously but above them is another platform and a good ten feet wide. It circumnavigates the whole house at high level looking down onto the roof, chimneys and the work to be done fully under cover. Two specific viewing platforms on the scaffolding have been created looking out to the front over the deer park and to the rear over looking the gardens giving access to views not normally available. Being a serious DIYer I was keen to experience this, knowing that the scaffolding will be much superior to the ones I have been use to on our house whilst pointing a gable and doing our house roof.
Despite my not having a head for heights on towers and ridges, scaffolding on our two story house has never been an issue. At the entrance what's available, to do and see is explained and we are told the roof experience is a must to see. So of we go, both my wife and I in skirts to venture and explore. We go up in the professional heavy duty workers lift with HighVis jackets on. The builders have their own separate lift and walking around above was fascinating, even my wife had to comment on it. I was so busy taking it in, taking photos that I forgot to take one of me in my skirt on the scaffolding aloft Dyrham House! It wasn't too windy, the sheeting over all the scaffolding helped but even if it was a windy day the multi coloured long skirt with good lining would not have been a problem. Getting back to the entrance to continue our journey home we were asked if we had had a good time and had we enjoyed the "roof experience". On arrival they kept on about the "roof experience" being a once in a life time experience so I could resist my reply as we returned back to the car when they asked about the "roof experience" and I replied I don't know if I had the "roof experience" or the builders had an experience. Going around many were simply staring back at me! There was no answer from the female National Trust attendants obviously they had never had such a reply to their question. After a moments silence conversation continued but not about the "roof experience"!

If they are any would be male skirt wearers reading these blogs or even my web site, please have the courage of your convictions. Yes you do get the occasional negative overtones from some but so too they many others for many other reasons, like looks, hair styles, etc even due to a disability. Be confident with yourself. The more who do it the more it becomes 'normal' in the simple minds of the many.

What else have I been doing. We have been out with friends including a day over on the East Coast for a change along the beach. Both of us skirted, but our friends weren't! Both myself and my wife have socialised by attending classical concerts and yes both in skirts. We avoid classical singing and harp playing. We avoid large music festivals/concerts simply because we do not like large crowds. Never have, even when in trousers and depicting the "grey male". We both like most pop, rock country & folk music as well as classical. We find classical and folk music can be found at small venues. Good orchestras appear at large churches as well as small quartets. In our area within 1.5 hours were are well catered for in this respect. We do like rock and pop but these attract huge crowds. Having heard Chris Bonington talk not long after my last blog we have booked to hear mountaineer Simon Yates speak. Talks like this I find very interesting with human behaviour. I've heard Chris Bonington talk several times over the years, even had a one to one talk with him but unlike many I do not go to idolise, to follow like so many in society do with celebrities. They are just another human being, like you and I. Yes better well known and perhaps at times with more money but that's it. I will attend or listen to them purely because I find their topic interesting to hear and learn from. I fell walk in the mountains of the UK but I could never do what these moutaineers do so by listening to them and looking at their photos I can participate in their experiences. I cannot abide idolisation! So Simon Yates is our next moutaineer to listen too and will add to my list of other moutaineers who have given talks. The other interesting aspect of human nature is the dress style at social events. When we go to mountaineering talks we both go in skirts etc, as if we are going out for a social evening. To us we are, and I do not doubt that everyone else is too. 99.9% of attendees could easily go for a walk out in the hills, just missing backpacks. It's like weddings and funerals. Funerals, majority turn up in black, doom and gloom atmosphere. Rarely look upon as a celebration of that persons life. Why black? I don't and it is frowned upon by those who do. If you want to go black and gloomy even if I do not understand that's your choice but please do not lecture me. I'm not religious but according to religion of the West we are here only temporary as we progress to the next life, heaven and glory. Why then does the ceremony have to be so morbid. Celebrate the persons life on the planet and if you are religious celebrate moving onto the next life. It's like weddings. The majority of females dress in male style clothing day in day out, and their behaviour and expectations is to shed the image of being feminine or anything that associates with the label of yesteryear of being secondary, yet come the wedding, that's all out of the window and yes the men in their penguin suits. Oh, humans and their intelligence.

Simon Weston is another individual with an interesting life story. We are to go and hear him speak in due course as well as going to an interesting Brass Band concert. Supposedly the best in the UK based in the US. Over here on tour. We thought we would give them a whirl. We have heard Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band who are regarded as the leading band in brass in the UK. When we heard them they didn't stick to traditional Brass Band music and it was amazing what they could get the instruments to do.

We've watched one or two films recently. Interstella is perhaps not too every taste but it's sci-fi which I like and with Sci-fi and the involvement of Black Holes lateral thinking can come into play. It's not your traditional story line but this is a film based around known science facts, jumbled together to make the story. It also covers, and this I also like in films, human behaviour. Like music we have a good general cross reference so from Interstella we have seen Unbroken, a true story of WW2, Exodus Gods & Kings, a bible based film, The Theory of Everything and the Imitation Game, both excellent films through to light hearted and very entertaining Paddington and a Night at the Museum 3.

Work on the house has now stopped due to my seasonal work being in full flow. I do need to do some small DIY jobs in the summer months due to being outside. One is a faulty lead tray above the window in the west facing gable. Most rains it's fine but driving winter rains it doesn't leak into the room but does leave a damp patch which dries with a stain. I hadn't pointed the gable until March 2014 so was convinced that was the cause but last winter it let me know that I may need to look at the lead tray. This means taking out part of the wall above the window to inspect. A good days work.

Even though the garden season came upon me quickly this year I did over a few weeks into May get the Kitchen and Utility fully finished. I have placed below 6 replacement finished photos of the kitchen now it is tiled and the cooker hood up. You will have to look at my last blog if you need to see what it was like beforehand.