Friday, 27 May 2011

Steamy women....

Readers may remember that I have revealed before that I am a volunteer on Britain’s heritage steam railways.  This is a very male environment.   I volunteer as a signalman.  We have around 80 volunteer signalmen with 4 or 5 signalboxes to ‘man’ every operating day and in the 35 years the heritage railway has been open, we have only had two lady signalmen.  One was some considerable number of years ago, and the other more recently when the manager of our supporters association a (youthfully) retired ex US airforce logistics half-Colonel who decided that for credibility she should have a voluntary qualification.
I am well known amongst our volunteers not least because I am our second-longest qualified signalmen (first passed to work a signal box in 1986) and secondly because I have held a number of posts over the years, including ChairMAN of our supporter’s association.  My transition is, therefore, unlikely to go unnoticed.....
Britain’s railways had a noticeable influx of women into front line roles during the Second World War but they left again when servicemen came back into civilian life as the war ended and significant numbers of women have started to work on the railways only in very recent years.  Fortunately that influx of women in WW2 produced a useful collection of photos and I have a tailor, a milliner and a cobbler working to produce me suitable uniform, headgear and footwear for August on.  This hasn’t been cheap but it is how I spend a good part of my free time and I do want to get the image right.
Coincidentally, a really good friend of mine, from the time I worked for British Railways in the 1980’s before re-inventing myself as a lawyer is a really effective train crew (drivers and guards) manager who has been working part time for a few years whilst her children were young and is just about to go back to full-time work as they are now approaching school age.
It is now only 34 days until my trip to Belgium and I received my new passport last week, so one more hurdle down.  Tomorrow I should pick up the blood test results from my doctor’s surgery to check that all will be well under general anaesthetic.  It is all now starting to feel very real......

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Out with the old and in with the new

Life at the moment seems to be marked by comings and goings.  It is now only 40 days until I head off to Belgium for facial cosmetic surgery and begin to live full time as a woman.

Going are the male facets of my life.  It is the little things like the fact that I haven't bought any new socks in a year and they wear out, so my stock is getting smaller all the time.  More crucially, my male shoes are fast wearing out.  I just hope they last the remaining 40 days.  My wallet got beyond the pale a short while ago and I am too mean to buy a new one for 40 days (there is plenty else to spend my money on at the moment....) so my purse is now in use.  Most folks at work know what is coming, so that has not caused comment but there are some practical difficulties like the fact that it does not fit into my suit pocket, and I have to remember where I am carrying it.  The temptation to carry my handbag now is very great....

On the female front it is just wonderful (and wonderfully comfortable) to have pierced ears and I have a small and carefully chosen (but growing!) selection of earings.  The tyranny of clip earings is now over - hooray.  I do love jewellery

My hair is doing REALLY well, so there will be no need to bother with wigs from July on (hooray again) and I have offered my four expensive wigs for sale (at a vast reduction on their cost) on a social networking site for transgendered folk in the hope that they can find a good home. (I know, it does rather sound like disposing of a well-loved pet.)

There are still plenty of difficulties ahead but I am now SO HAPPY it isnt true.  Life is jsut great, great, great.



Sunday, 8 May 2011

Steady as she goes....

I haven’t posted an update for a while as nothing major seemed to have happened, until I took a step back and thought about it….

I had a bit of time off over the Easter / Royal Wedding/ May Bank Holiday period and, yes, I dressed as a girl most of the time, during which my good (girl) friend from Cardiff  came to stay at my holiday home on the coast for a couple of days.  The lovely weather we have had (and last winter’s laser treatment) has allowed me to start working on a ‘female’ sun tan.  Cutting the grass in pink shorts and a white vest top was a particularly memorable hour or so.  I have a WW2 Jeep that I use around town and I am well known because of it in our High Street and at the local refuse site where the grass cuttings go, so, I presume my change is now well known around town here in the English west country.  I did drive the Jeep in vest top, new cleavage, pink shorts, long, long legs and sandals...

A minor landmark was that my wallet got just too worn out to use and I haven’t bothered to replace it for the just over 50 male days I have left, so my new purse / wallet is now in full time use.  This is a hint inconvenient as it doesn’t fit easily into a suit pocket and unless I start carrying my handbag I have to fit it into whatever else I am carrying.

On reflection, the BIG change is that I am now spending so much time as a girl that it is the ‘boy’ time that feels very wrong, especially collar-and-tie.  Sure, my features are a little masculine (hence the facial surgery shortly) but my hair is now a workable length (about 4 inches) and with a slick of eyeliner and some mascara I don’t seem to rate a second glance in the supermarket.  My lovely neighbours have now met the alternative version of me and not turned a hair, so all goes well.

I took some photos for a new passport in the booth in my local Post Office yesterday and boy! (sorry, ‘girl!’) do I look different from the photo in my old passport from 2001.  Frustratingly, my passport ran out in January and I need a new one for my trip to Belgium for surgery in July.  That will alter my appearance, so I will need a new passport…..Ho hum, £77 for a passport that will only be useable for 6 weeks.

I am, however, now floating along on the cloud of delight generated by the idea  that in only just over 50 days now I will be having my surgery and then gong full-time.  Hooray!  Hooray!  Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!