Sunday, December 30, 2007

Steady Climb

I am formulating a post in my head about loss but am not ready to write it down yet.

It has become apparent to me that I carried this grief for many many years. Just one loss after another, with no time to integrate anything and certainly no support of even acknowledgement of the losses I experienced. They were so frequent it is hardly surprising I couldn't deal with them. The fact I was an emotionally abandoned child certainly didn't help me either. I brought myself up and it just took an awfully long time to deal with this stuff.

It is also true that I could not have healed the parts I have healed all at once. It would have killed me I think. The experience of 94(severe flashbacks which got me into therapy with the right person), the experiencing of feelings in 95 - intense fear brought about because I had 'told' at last, then again in September - December 98 when I realised the depth of my suffering and also that I could no longer suppress it, nothing worked anymore. If it did, I would still be stuck back there. Then the grieving of my losses and once again intense fear this year, strangely September - December. The sorrow is of such depth I cannot even find the words to express it. It cannot be put right. Yet I know I can live well despite it. I shall do.

I am doing much better as regards my guts - no where near the same level of discomfort and pain. It hasn't yet gone altogether. I hope it does and that this is not going to be the way I experience stress from now on.

Today has been the worst with my gut for a while and even that has been mild but disconcerting.

This morning, at the pool, I was harassed. It was a length swimming session for an hour. 4 elderly people got in the lane I was swimming in. Two of them moved whenever I was swimming toward them. One however, the youngest and biggest, did not. He literally stood in my way. He also made comments to me but I couldn't hear what precisely except it had something to do with him wanting to 'walk' in that lane. He was belligerent. Eventually I was forced to move into the centre of the pool, away from the safety of the edge wall,(in case I spasm). I was infuriated by the bullying-this is NOT SCHOOL!!!!!! And more so because the lifeguard stood and watched me being harassed and did nothing. So yet gain, I find myself being in the situation of having to complain to the manager, which I did AFTER I had done my mile because a lot of my energy was sapped by then and I knew I would talk calmly. Whether or not it will have paid dividends or not I have yet to see. Perhaps I was just being handled. I truly cannot believe the behaviour of 'adults' and that quite clearly no one else complains about such bullying tactics. It is bad enough that the disabled changing room is cold, has an appallingly weak shower and is dirty. No, I have not complained. I cannot be bothered to go thru that again. It was enough that I could swim in peace there. Now I wonder.....

I too am beginning to see a connection with my guts and what I experience, even if the stressor is not so obvious as it was today.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

As threatened.......

As promised, me in my 'Superman' outfit! I now know that to avoid terrible itching, to wear the pants under the hose!

Edit: so many have asked why my head is cropped. Simple. I am vain and the look my face was awful!


2kg (2.2 lbs) of stash enchancement.....
Blue suede shoes.....on sale.
I do not like shoes that look like trainers however I made an exception for these. I really like them. They too were on 50% off sale.
Charcoal hat from C&A. Inexpensive.
An Australian made bought at the Xmas market in Heidelberg. The most expensive I bought and the most expensive hat of all that I own.
The size showing is Euro size not US or UK!!! On sale again, about £30 or $60(US).
I love the Bavarian style shirts.

Friends in Sandhausen

Lia and Jane.
Gordon (Jane's husband) and John at lap tops.....

Lui, Lia's husband, cooking our meal. He is an excellent cook.


These were all taken in Mannheim city centre. Yes, I couldn't believe what I saw either!


These two pictures were taken outside our hotel in Charleroi, Belgium, en route to Mannheim.
This is just outside the train station in Heidelberg on the Saturday morning, where we met Diana.
Out side the train station, in Heidelberg, picture above and below.

John and Diana in Heidelberg at the Xmas market. Diana was very good company and I look forward to meeting with her again.
John and I at the same market. It was FREEZING!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

My best wishes to you all. Thank you for reading and for your comments and support.

We will soon be leaving Lia and Lui's home where we have had a good meal and company. Jane and Gordon(Americans) are wtih us from their home in Holland.

We drive home tomorrow and I am hoping as it is Xmas day that the roads will be quiet.

It is not as cold now but still below 0 celsius.

I have had a good time but will be glad to be home. I am tired and I miss my dogs.

I have some photographs I will post, including one of a man and an Alpaca(or Llama) in the centre of Mannheim. We have met plenty of dogs and I got licke todeath by a deightful Jack Russel puppy on it's first outing. Dogs are allowed in shops and restaurants here. So civilised.
We alsosawastreet amn with a dalmation and a 2 month old bunny! No photo as I got the feelign this man would not be happy if I took his picture with them. I did make sure I put some Euro in his tin.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Brass Monkies

It is cold enough here to freeze the b***s off a brass monkey! Although everything looks beautiful and we have had a great time, the cold has caused me a of of pain. we know that 1. the idea of going somewhere for a white Xmas is out of the question and 2. we ought to avoid winter holidays altogether because either is will be cold like now or wet!

We had a lovely day with Diana yesterday. She took us around Heidelberg. It really helps to have a local with you. I bought the most expensive hat I have ever bought. I buy what I want but when it costs a lot I always ask John first and he said to go ahead if you like it. He likes it too.

Of course we visited a yarn shop and bought some sock yarn. Diana has made me a bag on a belt clip which is just big enough to hold a 100gm ball and needles and gave me large yoghurt pot with a sock yarn ball in it. Both items very handy indeed.

John and I ate in a traditional Gasthouse (restaurant/pub) last night and had a wonderful fish dinner.

I fell asleep early at 10.30pm so was up at 6am. This is one reason I saty in hotels rather than as guests in friend's homes. If I can't sleep or have much pain, I am not going to disturb anyone by getting up. Besides, I always get up to pee!

Jane, from Socknitters, is about to arrive here at Lia and Lui's.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I am in Lia and Lui's home. The weather is beautiful, -6c to -4c as we drove here. Everywhere is covered in white frost. No snow. I adore this weather.

Last night the drive to Charleroi(Belgium) was awful. 40mph all the way from Calais because of fog.

Now we are going to Globus any minute now....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Heading for Germany

We just spent a night in a house empty of dogs. Very weird. It made me think of how people who have children who then leave home must feel. The house just felt so quiet and still. I kept thinking I must put the dogs out, or bring Nechung up to bed or...the usual things I do.

Apart from seeing friends and seeing another country and it's delights, I also rather enjoy the break from having to do stuff. No cooking. No dogs to walk, feed, groom, bath. Nothing to take care of.

The people who are taking care of the dogs are such that I know I will not have to worry about them, though I still will of course! Lorraine has the four adults, Mary who bought one the girls has Lui and Gail who bought Vienna from me 4 years ago has Lia and Dougless.

We drive down to the Chunnel in a few hours. The drive takes 3 hours. Then we drive onto the train which drives us under the English Channel and we drive off the train France 30 minutes later. We then drive to our destination.

My birthday was really good. I enjoyed it very much. We got to Queensgate just before 10am and there was a disabled bay for my car just outside the doors of the floor we needed to be on.
It was as well we did arrive when we did because the place was soon very full of people.

We wandered around and I mainly bought essentials-thermal tights, a night shirt and two lounge trousers. Oh, and a novel, The Sword of God. I am pleased to say that John bought several films and books. He doesn't often buy stuff. It's his Scottish Presbyterian background. Makes him frugal.

We had lunch at Sundays which does traditional roast dinners. Very good.

The only fly in the ointment was the few people were just downright ignorant and rude. I got hit several times by bags and in one instance by a large stomach just because people could not be bothered to wait until I had wheeled out of the way, or because they didn't even notice me. I tell you, if you want to become invisible, sit in a wheelchair!

Later we went to the service at the Spalding Spiritualist Church, Little Acorns where they all sang Happy Birthday for me.

I had a really good day. It was the first time I have ever done anything for my birthday. I have always ignored it. I think I might do something next year too.

I also think we might also go away for Xmas again next year.....lets see how this one goes.

Going away very much depends on who we can get to dog sit and whether or not I have pups. If my pups had only been up to 6 week sold, we couldn't be going.

I will probably be able to update this blog whilst I am away but the pictures of the trip will have to wait until I get back.

Perhaps you'd like to see one of me in my pantihose, Superman style?

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Today it is my birthday. I normally ignore it. Not today. I decided last week that I wanted to go out for the day and have lunch out. That is what we are doing. We will finish off by attending a Spiritualist church service this evening.

We normally ignore Xmas too.(And ignore it we do-no tree, no decorations, no presents, no special cooking, no nothing.) This time of year is not a happy time for me. John doesn't like it either. However, this year we are not ignoring it. We are going to Germany and will spend the time with new friends, including Xmas Eve which is the time for doing things.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Superman Style

When I first realised that people knitted socks, I thought they must be very sad creatures indeed. I like a challenge though and decided I would give them a go.

My first, and almost last, attempt was using 4 dpn's. I couldn't get beyond cast on. far too fiddly for me, like trying to knit with a hedgehog. I may well have a problem cos of the RA in my hands.

A year later, I came across the two circs method and I completed my first pair. That was that. I had achieved it. I still couldn't see the point of knitting my own.

Then I started seeing sock yarn everywhere and in beautiful colours. Not only that but 1 x 100 gm ball would make me pair. I am hooked of course and many pairs later still am. Only now I use just one circ.

Not only that but they keep my feet warm. In the cold, if I am not warm in my lower half I am stuffed. My legs stop working,

I take ages to dress in winter. First my underwear, then 100 denier tights(black), then long john's, then jeans. My socks on my feet of course and then my shoes. Now, shop bought socks would not keep my feet warm and I would have to wear 2-3 pairs and wear lined boots. Not now. Just one pair of my woolly socks does the trick.

Now I am sure you would love a laugh at the expense of a mere male was first suggested to me last winter that I wear women's pantyhose. I baulked at the idea. Besides, how would something so thin help to keep me warm? Well, I swallowed my pride and started to wear them. It was murder for a week.Terrible crotch itch. How did women wear these things, I cursed? Not just the itching, the ability to pull out hair in sensitive parts too when I took them off.

I was about to give in and chuck them away when I had a light bulb moment...I wonder if I am supposed to put my underpants on first and not be wearing them superman style? DUH! Problem solved.

Why did no one tell me?

So, next time I hear anyone suggest that sock knitting is for sad lonely people with nothing better to do, I shall tell them that I might well be sad and lonely with nout to do but at least my feet are warm....

Home and Away

I have been going to a different pool, 10 miles away, because my regular pool is closed for renovation.

I really like this pool. The staff are much nicer. The atmosphere is so much more comfortable for me. I don't have to go so early. I also don't have to put up with those b*****s who think the pool I normally go to is theirs.

However, it is going to cost me £11 a week in diesel to get there and back every week day.

I think the added expense is probably worth it because it is much less stressful to go there. Part of me feels I ought not allow the witches (including two staff members who are obnoxious) to drive me away but you know, what the hell, I can't fight every battle and I think it is more important that I enjoy my outing and am not stressed by these dreadful people. I can well imagine these two women were the school bullies in their childhoods and now in their 60's they have not changed a bit!

Only 6 days now until John and I go to Germany. I am really excited about it. We will be seeing Lia and Lui again and also Diana and get to meet Jayne and her Gordon for the first time. I just know this is going to be wonderful. 5 days of shopping till John drops. Ooooh"!

We drive out on the Thursday, thru the Chunnel and sleep the night in an hotel in Charleroi (Belgium). Leaving there early Friday morning and arriving in Mannheim at about 1-2pm. Book in and then go str8 to Lia and Lui's place so that Lia can take us to Globus where we will spend hours shopping for stuff not readily available here, or cheaper there. Coffee Beans, salad dressings, mustards, spices and sauces. They also sell clothes and what else? Oh, yes, sock and good quality! Not that it matters to me of course, I am going for the food stuff....ermmhum.

Then we shall go to Lidl for more of the same.

On the Saturday we will do the Xmas market in Heidelberg with Diana. On the Sunday we will do Mannheim markets and meet Jayne and Gordon at Lia and Lui's in the afternoon.

On Xmas eve we will go back to Heidelberg with Lia and Lui and Jayne and Gordon. This time, hopefully, we will manage to see the castle and use the funicular to ge tup there. we reckon that between all of us, I'll manage with my sticks/chair. We may be attending a concert in the evening.

We will drive home on Xmas day. I chose this day because every other f****r will be at home!

It Would Be Nice.....

...if I could just sit and relax and watch a film on dvd without having to move constantly. I am never comfortable. I do relaxation exercises, meditation and deep breathing but that just sends me to sleep. Even when I was given the diazepam to relax my muscles, it didn't stop me fidgeting. I am not in serious pain, haven't been for a while, but that doesn't mean I am comfortable.

I do not know if there is something I can learn that will enable me to just keep still and stop hurting so I can relax and do nothing but watch something I want to watch. I love my knitting but it would be nice to not HAVE to do it. I'd like to just do nothing. If it isn't my legs that hurt and jerk about , it's my back especially when I am leaning on the back of armchair, which is what one is suppose dot do-but it goes into spasm and i have to move yet again. arrgghh!

Moan over.

Edit: the reason for this is FMS and RA and OA not anxiety! I have had this years-it is why I walk with sticks and use a wheelchair. I know it isn't going to go away but I am sure there must be a way I can get to have some still time without drugs and without falling asleep!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Moving Forward

I am feeling very much better in most ways now. My stomach has settled. My emotions have settled. The fear has abated. Still crippled, but you can't have it all.

Now I am through to the other side, I can say I am glad I went through this. I would not wish to again. That was the third time in 14 years, the last time being the same months in 98. Each time, it was different issues. I didn't see that at the time. It was just pain to me. Only in hindsight can I see what the pain was about and it was quite specific each time. I think I could not have expressed the pain of each issue all at once and remained alive.

I certainly recall that the during 98 episode I came very close to losing it altogether. This time, whilst I did feel I would die, seriously, I didn't at any point think I was losing my mind. Plus I still managed to do things like the dogs, knit, go swimming and to dogs shows.

The issues this time were very clear, after a while. I was grieving my losses which I had never done before. I do recall dreaming earlier this year that I had been 'banished' from the group, and was left out alone in the cold. A bit like a spaceman having his cord cut. In fact a medium put it this way: they cut the cord. I remember in that dream feeling the most dreadful feeling and when I awoke I didn't know what it had been about(!!!) but was very thankful I was not feeling that feeling because I felt it would kill me. Later of course, I did feel that feeling and it didn't kill me. It just felt like it would.

The other major issue was about myself. About me being me. It dawned on me, and I am 49 years old on the 16th of this month, that no matter who I was the abuse would still have happened. The abuse happened not because of who I was but because of who the abusers were. The problem was with them and not with me. I really was powerless to prevent it or control it. It really wasn't anything I did or anything that I was. I used to think , as regards my father anyway, that I wasn't boy enough, not macho enough, because in his eyes I was a sissy. It was so easy to accept the blame. Now I see that he had no business expecting anything of me other than to be who I am. That not boy enough or not, he had no business bullying me, terrifying me, hurting me, hitting me.

I have always been ashamed of being sensitive. Of being creative. Of being me. Not now. I am glad I am sensitive. It prevents me behaving in ways I see others behaving and treating others the way I was treated. I am grateful for being creative-it occupies my mind and satisfies me and brings pleasure to others.

This last couple of weeks, it keeps popping into my head how glad I am to be who I am. How I really like who I have become. How amazing that I have become me despite it all. Not only that, but I think of myself as man now, an adult, instead of a boy. I no longer feel that my grasp is so tenuous. I feel stronger each day.

On the 20th John and I are off the spend Xmas with friends in Germany, We will drive the 800 miles back on Xmas day (cos everyone else will be at home leaving the road to ME!).

Once again, thank you all for your support thought this very painful and distressing growth period.You maybe don't realise just how important your support was in keeping me alive and sane.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Tantra's Lia above and Tantra's Lui below, at 9 weeks. Named after Lia Kushner Nord and her husband , Lui, whom we met in August in Germany and will be visiting again this Xmas. Lia is on the Socknitters list.

Lia 's picture was very hard to get as she did not want it taken. Lia likes nothing better than to beat up her brothers.

Lui asks to go out and then asks to come in. When he comes in he rushes straight back to his pen even though he is allowed to stay out and play. He took to the lead right off and walks well where as Lia made a song and dance of it and took 3 days to walk. She must have read my mind cos I was thinking 'if this bitch doesn't walk....' and suddenly off she trotted, showing herself off to all and sundry even though the street was deserted. She stops dead to stare at cars that move by as she seems to think they have a nerve being anywhere near her. If she could make the cars wither with her look, she would.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chuck Berry

This is Chuck Berry. Knit on 2.25mm circular needle(Knitpicks 80cm). The yarn is scrummy- Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colour number 38. I am very pleased with this yarn. It feels really nice. After Ray at Knitivity's merino/nylon this is my favourite so far. Very soft. 80% merino and 20% nylon.

What is more, I was given this yarn free gratis! By a young woman on Ravelry who wasn't going to knit socks and knew I would. Very mid of her and very good for me. I love these. I have another colourway in this same yarn which I bought on Ebay.

I used my own heel again (Andersson Heel). I did the foot half an inch shorter than usual before I shaped the heel and it fits better for me. The pattern itself is a very simple 3 x3 rib which lends itself very well to this yarn and colourway I think.

I don't get why, but this yarn went further than usual and I had a fair bit left after one sock from one skein. Yet the meterage is somewhat less(about 40 less) than my usual sock yarn. No it isn't thinner either. EDIT: the skein is 56 gms hence which makes this yarn even less yardage than say a 50gm ball of Regia. It says 215 yds per skein.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I used to walk the dogs for 50 minutes twice a day but not for the last 4 years since I became unable to do so. I had about 5 different routes which made it more interesting for me and , I thought, for them.

They really don't seem to care. I only do one route now, on good days, which would have taken about 20mins but now takes 35. The dogs love it. It amazes me how eager they are to sniff and leave their P-Mail. Girls and boys. Although Micah leaves more P-Mail than he sniffs. He leaves at least one P-Mail on anything that is stood still.

Today there will be no walking. It is pouring down outside. It is for days like this that my dogs are all paper trained.

I have the final show of 2007 on Friday and the way it looks now, I will not be going. I am still not right. Oh, I don't feel ill exactly. My cold is more or less gone although my nap yesterday was ruined by my coughing. The antibiotics finish today, just two more to take. They were needed as my sinuses and chest cleared.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Living It

I wrote part of this in reply to a dear net friend whom I would love to meet one day:

These people do not realise the alienation and hurt they cause those of us who are not as political as they are, or not according to their terms anyway.

I am a radical and it shows in how I live my life. I bet the way I live my life takes more guts and more 'radicalism' than any of them!

They seemed more intent on criticising and finding stuff to be offended by than making me feel welcome as one of them. Not one person did that. No welcome. Just alienation.

And yet I have always been OUT! Since I was a boy. I have never hidden who I am. I LIVE it. I am who I am. I live in an ordinary world surrounded by ordinary people and they either accept me or they don't but I don't hide or pretend I am what i am not.

The life I live is sort of like that of a traditional housewife! Now THAT takes courage. Now THAT is being really radical. THAT is political. THAT is standing up for my rights and the rights of my fellow 'queer' people. Yet my fellows have the gall to ostracise me because I am not queer enough!!! I don't live in a 'queer' ghetto or community. I live in an ordinary community and I do not conform to their ordinary standards. I walk as I talk, right in their face, I live in their midst, not surrounded by others like me. If I lived in a 'queer community' I would not have to and the challenge would not be there and I could pretend the world was different.

Instead, I everyday face the filthy looks, the derogatory comments, the sly lack of respect from service people(this is a small town) and yet I hold myself up and my head high and feel pity for their lack or spirit and intelligence. I might also add that they are the minority. The rest either ignore me or accept me. I am well know and there are many nice people here. Unlike at my main home, London, where we suffered abuse, physical violence and bricks through our windows and car being smashed on a regular basis.

Just as I have found that being disabled alters people's perceptions of me, and causes them to freeze me out, I have found less acceptance from my so called 'queer' brothers and sisters than I have from the str8 people I am surrounded by. My physical disability is much less acceptable to them(homosexuals), I have found, but I always knew that before I became disabled.

I am told that by referring to myself as gay man, I am being a middle class snob who alienates others. Never mind the fact that this dismissal of me was alienating! So I get turned into the enemy. Just like that. Just by using the term gay, I am looking down upon people of lower class, people who are transgendered and all sorts. Never mind the fact that snobbery seems to be on the other side as I never see people in terms of class or anything. I see people as people! I don't think in terms of normal and not normal.

It is one thing to expound on 'queer politics' and to be vociferous and seen to be right on. It is quite another to live it.

I LIVE IT. I always have. I always will. And NO ONE, absolutely no one, will stop me living the truth of who I am nor will they make me feel less than they are because I don't conform to their idea what I ought to be. It really really p's me off that those who know opression and live with it, can so lightly and easily alienate others who they see as not being what they think they ought to be.

F**k you! I am who I am and I will NOT hide for anyone. Certainly not for acceptance. Not being me is worse than death. Been there, done that and I can assure you death is preferable to living life pretending to be what I am not.

To quote whoever it was:


Edit: the term queer, which to me is offensive and means strange or abnormal, has been adopted by some and the meaning of the word has been changed. It is now used to describe anyone who doesn't fit the societal idea of normal , it seems. Well, I have never considered myself not normal! I don't now. I am a normal human being. Just like everyone else, I eat, I sleep, I laugh, I cry, I love. I don't buy into this not being normal.

I am who I am, not who you say I am.