So robot?

OK, lets start off with the amusing moment today, the first of my wig ‘collection’ arrived today, the cheapest I’m buying (though NHS backed one will be free, as on benefits), the silver bob wig. In truth, its what you would expect for £7, or there about, it will do fine as a fun wig, but its not going to win any prizes for quality, thats for sure. I was actually going to put it on today, and see if Eric (the landlord) even noticed, but because my hair hasnt been cut for just over 7 months, its now too long for a bob length wig, and too full for a wig to sit over it, so never mind… But yes, I will have to wait for the better quality redhead wigs to arrive in next few days, before getting shorn of hair, for sure. The last, the blonde bob wig, care of NHS/McMillan Cancer service, not until the 24th, when next on a definite visit to Leeds hospital before radiotherapy begins, as meeting team treating me that day. In theory I have a Occupational Therapy session before then, but as I dont yet have the rearranged date for that, taken the safe option on date.

I could go to my usual hairdresser round the corner, and get my hair done by her, but in truth, the weather around here recently has been wetter than what Noah faced aboard the Ark, and also, despite my mobility improving slightly lately, its not perfect, and is about 400-600 yards each way, so probably beyond me at the moment. 100-200 yards to the post box, yes, can now manage, but hairdresser far…?

The thing is, I was thinking that I was only likely to do the full robot look indoors with the wig, in which case a new (all my current ones are old, and in less than perfect condition) shiny Zentai/Lycra suit would have been fine, as figure hugging wouldnt matter all that much, but then someone suggested I should go outside, a la robot, and fine, that sort of challenge to an actress like me, oh please…how can I resist?

Snag is, at 61, with a bit of middle aged tummy, going out, even to the front gate, let alone further, in a figure hugging outfit, well…? Oh fine, I joke about wearing a latex catsuit, and would in private, given the chance, but winter is coming, and that would be in public, so… Dont get me wrong, I’ll do it, in the right robot suit, but something like that needs something not figure hugging, and at this time of year, probably with some lining too, all of which is going to be far more complex to get, to put it mildly. But if I can find, or be provided with such an item, oh yes, would be great fun to do.

I have to admit it, my friend Angie posted a great picture of a 6 ft tall beaver suit this morning, full body enclosing, which looked great fun. Now, if that had been a similar suit, in robot look, I might have been tempted, even at a price I really, really cant afford, but anyway… Still, if anyone knows of such a robot suit, in the UK, then please, an old lady, even if just to wear it once, well…?

Right, video time. I actually have a Police (pop group) story I can tell, that might amuse some. Back around 1979 (judging by singles discography) some friends of mine at the time were asked to be the band for one of those singers (cant remember who) who could sing, but had no touring band to do a few little concerts, which they did. The thing is, for reasons best known to the promoters, the last concert was an outdoor one in Inverness, so they were looking for a band to play a short set before the star turn, and my friends were asked if they knew anyone who might be interested in doing so. Well, they’d worked with this group who had released 2 or 3 singles previously, with little to no chart success (highest reached 42), called, yes, you’ve guessed it, Police.

Concert was done, Roxanne was re-released, got to number 12 in the charts second time round, and the rest was history! This isnt Roxanne, but one of those other early singles, with a one word tweak for the blog title, lol

 

 

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Part 2 of the year, and the passing of the pre code baton

And so to the second half of the year.

In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.

One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.

September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.

At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.

Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!

Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!

Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…

Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.

OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!

Making America Stupid again,and a probable farewell to Inverness

Oh fine, I wasnt going to post again tonight, but enough has happened today to make it worthwhile, so lets roll with it.

The day started with some amusement, and helped to convince me that Trump followers really are idiots, or some of them, anyway. It actually started positively (if you ignore the earlier sighting on news of Trump doing a fist pump at a 9/11 memorial service, for heavens sake. Is he, and his fans complete idiots? Oh fine, seemingly, but more on that shortly.

Some very efficient service from a nice man at Scotrail assistance, means Eric will not need to walk miles at Edinburgh Waverley on the return journey, assistance arranged! But then to today’s journey, and the moment of idiocy. There were at least 2 signs, that I noticed, advising customers that there were no seat reservations on the train we were catching to Aviemore, due to, as I found out later, a printer issue.

So fine, no great fuss, got in a pair of seats, ready for the journey, and then… This American elderly man, wearing, you’ve guessed it, one of the dreaded M.A.G.A hats came up to us, and told us we were in his reserved seats. I politely explained, just as the conductor was again confirming it over the speaker system, that there were no reserved seats. His only reply (and its fair to comment, there was little sign of intelligence in his eyes, was to repeat what he said, and glare at us again. After 3 rounds of this, I decided that beating my head against a Trump fan, with an IQ roughly around zero, was a pointless exercise, so we gave up, and moved.

He then started bemoaning us to his wife, who miraculously pointed out to him that we were right, there were no reserved seats on the train. Anyway, one of his other companions/family members gave a face that was clean out of Redneck territory at the whole event, best described as a gurn. No, I’m not sure his IQ was as high as zero! Thankfully, we were only going one stop, so soon left them behind, about 35 minutes later.

The steam train ride was nice. Cant remember the last time before this I rode a steam train, definitely cant remember the last time I had a meal on one! Anyway, back to Aviemore at 14.08, and… we proceeded, after about 30 minutes wait, to get the 12.23 to Inverness! No, I’m not kidding, there was an issue with a freight train further down the line, it was running about 2 and a quarter hours late! Now, in this country, when you have this much of a delay, you get a refund on your ticket. Thing is, we were actually booked on an anytime ticket, which even though that wasnt our planned train, we could have claimed for the delay. Thing is, we had reserved seats for the 14.40, so if anyone checked, we werent actually delayed, but a few minutes early.

I’ll be honest, if worthwhile money was involved (£9.75 each), and I wasnt a civil servant, I probably would have gone for it anyway. But yeah, I can just see the headlines, if anyone found out, so for that much money, no go. Honest, but stupid, probably!

Lastly, after we got back to the hotel, and Eric settled down for a nap, I took a stroll back up into Inverness, one last time, probably. I cant see me being back anytime soon, and in truth, a few years after that, I probably, quite literally wont be going anywhere, lol! Body might last a few more years, but I suspect not many, and the odds on being back up here, not good.

So, when I was a child (as I have mentioned before), I had some distant relative who lived in the Highlands, at Kinlochleven, of a very similar age to me. She, as I suspect young Scottish children do, was from time to time, dressed in her clan colors, Maclaine of Lochbuie. At one time, I had a tie, and a plaque in said colors, but both have long since passed from my ownership in time, and moves. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look for a dress, or skirt in said clan colors, but unsurprisingly, I couldnt find any, its not one of the popular clans, shall we say? But those I did, well over £100, so definitely not going to happen, regardless! Oh fine, lets include the clan name as a category, I might get offered a skirt, or dress in clan colors, though I wont hold my breath on that!

And thats about it! Tomorrow we head back down south, end of the break. Lets just say I’m looking forward to some lay ins, in the morning, for the last 3 days of my break! Eric, please note, lol!

I dont know what to say about video suggestions, to be honest. Last Farewell, Roger Whitaker, maybe?

Edited to add the video at home

Painting the world with a rainbow, and other holiday musings

Totally confused? Oh, I hope so, as thats the plan to make you read this, lol.

OK, catching up on the week so far. Yesterday was more memorable for the things that didnt go to plan, whereas today, with one exception, went pretty well to plan.

So yesterday, lets start with the usual culprit, Trans Pennine, and their non-express service. OK, lets say wonderful service from a member of staff from same company! Even more confused? Oh good!

We arrived at Huddersfield yesterday morning, to find our train was running 13 minutes late. Then it got to 18 late, actually left 16 minutes late, so yes, they have as much clue as a certain US president does, lol. Not surprisingly, it lost more time before York, and basically, we werent going to make our train at Newcastle, and all plans could have gone haywire from there. So, I thought I’d buy a coffee, and at least enjoy that on the journey, when…the conductor told us our train was actually behind us going into York. It was probably going to overtake it en route to Newcastle (it did!), so he got us off there, wrote a sweet message for the guard of the other train, we got on it, and sorted.

Well, apart from my coffee, which was the item I then couldnt carry, and half got lost in the transfer, but anyway…

Next, Edinburgh! I had rashly assumed all platforms were pretty much in one area, and that the transfer, even with limited mobility on our parts (Eric even more than me), it wouldnt be that hard. Unfortunately we were dropped off on a platform about half a mile from the main area of the station, and it was a challenge to get there. Thankfully, we had plenty of time, so survived.

The rest was straightforward enough, other than the amusement on my part, when I saw they’d put Eric down as Mr Carpenter on the invoice. I know, one name on the booking, twin room, so…Still found it funny, but thats just me? Hotel is lovely by the way.

Today, to Kyle of Lochalsh. OK, this is where the title comes into play. You could call the Skye line, the LGBT line, because we saw rainbows both ways, a very spectacular one heading there, less so coming back. 2 of the stations, the platforms are so ‘large’ they only open 1 door on the train, because thats all thats on the platform!

OK, first the missing hotel. Eric has got one of those ‘drivers eyes’ videos of the Kyle line, but the thing is, it was made in 1987! It therefore showed a building I first saw as a child, the Achnasheen Inn Hotel, on the platform of Achnasheen station. So, someone was looking forward to seeing an old friend again, right? Wrong, seemingly, as it burnt down in 1995! I did wonder if I was missing something, until I found out the news at the museum on Kyle station! Just glad I didnt say anything at the time, as locals would have thought me crazy asking about something that burnt down 23 years ago!

Oh fine, the missing ferry. No, not the one at Kyle, though that is definitely gone. Funnily enough, there was a large boat moored where the ferry used to leave from today though. But further up the line…

The first time I saw this corner of the world, by road, was 1971. We were using an old road map (about 1968?), and it showed the road crossing to Stromeferry, by ferry. I was navigating just fine, until we approached the area, and the signpost said something totally different to my map. Thankfully, wisdom prevailed, I followed the signposts, not the map, as the ferry had been replaced by a new road the year before! In truth, today, nearly 50 years on, I couldnt make out either point where the road met the ferry, so to speak, on either side of the water. Passing of time, and all that!

Tomorrow, so to speak, we go back in time, on a steam train from Aviemore, to Boat of Garten, and back. Lunch booked on the train, ooh! No, I havent bought a flapper dress with me, though maybe I should have done? Thursday, we head back south. More on those 2 days at end of week, I’m sure.

Apologies, but no video tonight. We do have wi-fi at the hotel, but its not quick enough to play videos, from You Tube, for sure. Probably would have gone with the theme from Rainbow, for those who wish to find their own!

Edited to add the video. Yes, the full length version, a first for me

A couple of old friends, revisited

Its amazing to think that in just 6 weeks time, I might be doing a blog on a Sunday evening, but be 8 time zones away, in Seattle. Strictly, at this time in Seattle (about 12.25 pm at time of writing), everything permitting, I should be at the baseball park, about to watch my first Mariners game. Its not the first baseball park I saw, that honor goes to Fenway Park, 16 years earlier, though only from a distant observation tower, Seattle was the first I saw up close, and personal. That first trip there, back in 2003 began my love affair with Seattle that has gone on ever since. I’ve been back a few times since, though not recently, and never been there at the right time for a game. This year, I’m planning on 2! This time around, I sort of wonder if its the last time, because with my less strong body, old age, and only 1 trip to the US a year, it probably is, unless I get to Alaska in retirement year, as I would most likely transit through there, with a short break either way, if I get that far, in a healthy state.

In truth, Seattle probably now only ranks Number 2 in my heart, after Los Angeles, but long before I ever visited there, I fell in love with this place. Maybe its because the weather is just so British, with all that rain? Well, I guess all those coffee places help too, lol! I’m sure I will see some new sights (I plan to visit the Uni, now that the light rail runs out to it), and some old friends too, like the Space Needle, Pikes Place market, and oh, some of those coffee shops lol.

But yes, its going to feel strange this time, when I get to say goodbye at the end of the stop, because this time, it might be forever, not just for a few years? But hopefully, one more time, just after retirement…?

The other old friend I plan to visit this year, well, I’ve been away a lot longer than just under a decade. More like 3 decades, in fact, if not slightly more! But yes, given a lot of my childhood holidays seemed to end up in the Scottish Highlands, Inverness holds a special affection for me. And indeed, after those childhood holidays, I went back a few times on my own too! So landmarks like the Castle, the river, and the Northern Meeting Park are all ingrained in my memories. But I’ve never gone back since then, because as tastes, and flight prices changed, I’ve been going abroad pretty much since then!

This year of course, due to cutting back on my work hours, due to my crumbling back, I can only afford 1 US trip this year. But the week was booked in September, and I can afford a short trip, so I’m going back! Mainly for some rail journeys, but I’ve now decided to renew my acquaintance with the city. I know, I said after Newbury that I shouldnt do things like that, but in truth, after over 30 years, there’s barely any details I remember, so I dont really see any issues on that front, in truth. But yes, in this case, almost certainly will be the last time. Still, given I thought I was never going to return…?

OK, video time. Inverness seems not to have produced many pop stars over the years, if Wikipedia is to be believed. But I found Runrig, and when I saw the title, assumed it was a cover of the Public Image song, but it isnt, just the same name.