Monthly Archives: July 2013
The weekend of Friday, 26th July – Saturday, 27th July 2013 saw the GBLT community celebrate what it means to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered at the second Balchder Gogledd Cymru / North Wales Pride at Hendre Hall, Tal-Y-Bont, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Hendre is a grade 2* listed Victorian farmyard built in 1860 by the Penrhyn estate. The buildings form a unique venue, hosting a wide variety of events, from live music to weddings and private functions. The candlelit great hall with its huge open fire and mezanine gallery is reminiscent of a medieval banqueting hall – a favourite at christmas.
The long barn is licensed for civil weddings – a lovely beamed room with doors opening onto cobbled courtyard. Located between the coastal village of Llanfairfechan and the University of Bangor on the A55 expressway.
Hendre is ideally placed on the foothills of the spectacular Snowdonia mountain range.
Those who were camping over the weekend began to arrive at 4pm on Friday afternoon, with the entertainment kicking off at 8pm with James from Re-edit productions blasting out some top tunes which included those that coincided with the weekend’s theme – DECADES and cabaret.
The cost of the weekend was as follows:
£15 – Weekender ticket (Friday & Saturday)
£5 – Friday night only
£5 – Saturday day
£8 -Saturday night only
£5 – Camping per person
Saturday morning started off like Friday – glorious sunshine and very hot. I got myself ready – I didn’t dress up in fancy dress because I could not afford to do so this year, and I wore a sleeveless top and denim skirt and my flowery Trilby. I left home shortly before 11am to meet up with a Mirraelle (whose car we were going in) and Eric, before picking up Mirraelle’s sister Ezme in Holywell. We thought we were going to be delayed when 10 minutes past LLanelwy, we hit slow-moving traffic on the A55. Fortunately, the traffic was only staggered for a mere 5 minutes – reason unknown. We arrived at Hendre Hall at 12.35pm – half an hour after the opening by Roxy Fart and Crystal Bawls.
I had asked for my ticket to be reserved at reception as I had meant to purchase one from Rascals Bar on Friday 19th July, seeing how I was in Bangor anyway for an appointment at Ysbyty Gwynedd. However, I had forgotten to go in to town due to the heatwave on the day and I just wanted to get home in to shade. Even though I had not attended the Friday night, I still had to purchase a day and evening ticket costing me £13. Inside the room off reception were several information stalls covering the needs of the GBLT community – health, workplace, support groups and also Unions. I am a member of Denbighshire & Flintshire outdoor group called Rustic Rainbow who shared the Unique stall. So, if you live in north Wales, why join and come along to one to the events. I picked up a free hessian Balchder Gogledd Cymru tote bag, rainbow ribbon (50p) too (pictures at bottom of page).
1pm, in the courtyard was a performance by the Batala Drum Band from Bangor who are celebrating 10 years this year. There is a video section on their website. They performed for about half an hour – totally brilliant they are and a must see for sure. Once they had finished, I grabbed myself a Chipstick with a Portuguese Peri Peri sprinkling. What is a chipstick I hear you ask? Good question and I shall explain what it is. The stall is run by a couple of young Welsh lads and they have one of only seven Chipstick machine. They put a baking potato on to a wooden skewer and place in to this device which tops and tails the potato and unravels it so that it looks like what I call a helter skelter. They then place in to a bath of hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes before removing the skewered potato and adding a floured sprinkle of your choice. The Portuguese peri peri is extremely hot and would only recommend this favouring if you like your food very spicy and hot! Tasted lovely all the same.
In the main hall, I caught the tail end of Awen Haf‘s performance before watching Meinir Gwylim‘s half hour set. She sang in Welsh which is fantastic to hear and promoting welsh music, and then The L-Project performed their official GBLT charity single – ‘It Gets Better’. the single is still available for download and please download and help raise funds, thank you. Inside,, I caught up with a number of familiar faces both old and new (Rustic Rainbow and Prestatyn based Rainbow 25 ), before heading back towards reception to get my face painted…
I haven’t had my hair cut short (even though it does appear as though I have), it is tied back. Looking at the photo now, I should have worn it down but, at least i know I would look OK if I ever chose to have my hair short. Plus, I have kind of started to contemplate contact lenses again. It has been a few years since I last tried them but I found them uncomfortable at the time. I did wear contacts back in the 1990’s for several years. However, the majority say I suit wearing glasses. I was wearing my glasses but I took them off to show off the facial art.
Around 5 /5.30pm, Mirraelle was taken in to the ambulance as she was not looking too well – heat had got to her and the cobbles were difficult for her too. By 6.30pm, the Paramedics had suggested that I take her home, which I did. After all, her health is more important than the event. Eric and I stayed with her for a while and, after talking about it; we would return to Pride and let Mirralle sleep – which she truly needed. I went home to change before picking Eric up at 8.20pm and we arrived back at Pride by 9.15pm, which was pretty good going to be fair.
The evening partying was well under way and those that had left to go home and change for the evening had returned and were now enjoying the party atmosphere. I asked for a bitter shandy at the bar, as I had noticed they had Tetley bitter on draught. The guy behind the bar told me they didn’t have bitter but could do a lager shandy; which I chose to opt for instead. Big mistake! I am not a fan of lager these days and never really have and despite feeling a tad icky with it, I drank over 3/4s of it considering I had paid near on £3 for it. Rest of the evening I was on water – much better. The evening headliner was The X-Factor contestant from a couple of years ago Kitty Brucknell. I had not seen her on The X-Factor as the show never interested me in the 10 years it has been on ITV. She was enthusiastic and one can see why the gays like her. However, during her act, I began to wonder whether she was miming in parts (?). After reading comments on the Cymru Pride Wales Facebook page on Sunday, I am not the only one who thought so. That said, I did enjoy her performance to be fair. After Kitty, was Craig Cavannah who really got things swinging and also me on the dance floor – completely sober I must add!
11.45pm – Eric and I decided to head off back home as it would take 45 minutes to drive from one end of the country to the other. Before leaving though, I required food. I had two options – burger van selling hot dogs at £3.50 or the Chipstick lads selling hot dogs at £2. I chose the latter and saved myself £1.50 i9n the deal. Earlier in the day, I had tried a chipstick off them and I also had barbecue pork fifty-fifty. If you do not know what I mean by fifty-fifty, quite simply it is half chips and half rice. Got to say – total yummi! So, once I had noshed down my hot dog, gone the loo, we headed back to the car and drove home. By now, the heavens had opened up and it lashed down and thus, I took my time driving home.
Brilliant event and I thoroughly enjoyed myself no end. It has been so so long since I have partied like I had on Saturday at Hendre Hall. Roll on 2014 for the next one!
Looking a tad worn from the dancing 🙂
(( Cwtch ))
Thursday, 18th July 2013 – After my last visit to WLMHT (West London Mental Health Trust) back in March, July seemed to come around ever so slowly. 18 weeks in fact. When they gave me the date for the second appointment, this time to see Dr Penny Lenihan, I was disappointed and yet, not surprised that it was July and not sooner. Mind you, once the 18th July arrived, it only seemed a mere few weeks since my last visit down south. Wales and England are currently in the middle of a heatwave hitting 90°F or 32°C. The hottest since 2006. Down London, it was ridiculously hot – even in the shade! I was in denim shorts and sleeveless top and open sandals and I was still melting like a bucket!
My appointment was for 1.15pm (same as in March), and had to be at the clinic 1/2 an hour before my appointment so that they can check all my details. I was there for 12. 40pm. So, what did Dr Penny Lenihan have to say? Well, she said that she would go over what Dr Stuart Lorimer had with me at last visit but just ask a few similar questions and discuss next steps – surgery. She asked about my medications and only two had changed since March, and one of the was propranolol from 80mg to 120mg a day to help with headaches and a change from oral to gel estrogen (Sandrena 3mg). How supportive are my family? I told her that my mam and dad had come down to London with me and that they were going to make a weekend stay of it, whilst I returned home later that day because I had to be in Bangor the following afternoon. Was I working? No, made redundant at the end of November 2012. Did I transition at work? Yes. 2009 when I change my name too via Deed Poll. That I had no harassment from work colleagues nor from people out and about on the streets in my home village / town.
Prior to seeing Dr Lenihan, the clinical nurse Iffy Middleton was grabbing everyone attending the clinic to do the basics – height, weight, waist measurement, asked whether had any hormone related issues. At the end of the consultation with Dr Lenihan, she wanted me to see Iffy before I left the clinic to check whether I needed genital electrolysis prior to surgery. So, I had to get on the examination bed, reveal my genitalia for her to check. Iffy said that I did not require any electrolysis and was OK to go ahead for vaginoplasty when the surgeons are ready. I told my mam and dad about the whole appointment, and mam said “Bet that was embarrassing?” To which I replied, “No, not at all”. After all, the whole point is to convert my penis to a vagina. I would have been apprehensive seeing a gynaecologist had I been born with correct anatomy rather than with having a medical person examine my male genitalia.
After leaving the clinic, we headed to Charing Cross Hospital so that I could claim back my travel expenses, what with being on JSA (Job Seekers Allowance), before heading to Euston train station. Had a bite to eat at Nando’s – mild piri piri chicken wrap and mango juice – nice 🙂 The train was late leaving due to their being an off track fire on way down apparently. Was only 10 minutes departing London. I nodded off for a while on way home due to the heat and ever so glad of having a bottle of water with me. Got home around 7.30pm – good timing to be fair.
Friday, 19th July 2013 – Heatwave persists. 30°C 82°F in North Wales.
My Psychosexual Therapist, Dr Martin Riley had made an appointment for me to see Clinical Psychologist Dr Kenny Midence (Mid-ence not My-dence) after I had informed him that my Gp Dr Elizabeth Shaheir had completed section 2 of the medical section for my GRC application (Gender Recognition Certificate). Dr Midence is the only member of the GRC board who is resident in all of Wales!
Living in rural Wales, one has to travel miles to see all these gender specialist or any specialst for that matter because the majority, it seems, are based across the border in England or down in South Wales even. On this occasion however, Dr Kenny Midence is based at the Psychology Department which is in the Hergest Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.
I left home at 10.45 am as I needed to nick into town first – stick a repeat prescription in Lloyds for my mam, and I thought I would have a leisurely drive down the A55 to Bangor, as it was such a glorious sunny day. So, by the time I had actually left Flint, it had gone 11am.
I arrived handier than I thought at 12.20pm and despite being able to see Ysbyty Gwynedd on approaching Bangor, I didn’t know where exactly I had to drive from within the town itself. Therefore, I drove round and followed the signs for the hospital, which did not take me long to locate to be fair. I decided to get something to eat; I spotted a McDonald’s on entering the town and grabbed me a cheese burger and fries at the drive thru and ate them in the car park. Not my usual choice of grub but it suited my purpose at the time. By now it was 12.40pm and I had just under an hour and a half before my appointment with Dr Midence – no point going round town as I had initially planned to do. So, I drove round and up to the hospital and sat in the car for half an hour before walking round the right hand side of the main hospital building towards the Hergest Unit.
The unit must be fairly new as it looked so from the outside and from within. I was 35 minutes early and only had to wait 5 minutes for Dr Midence to come for me. He had been phoning earlier to ask if I could attend earlier than my appointment but, it went straight to answer machine on both my home and mobile phones, the latter because I was driving at the time.
I had an A4 envelope with the GRC form (several pages long) all completed and just required Dr Midence to complete and sign PArt 1 of the medical proof. As he is on the GRC board, he asked the usual questions as well – At what age had I first ‘cross-dressed (as he put it) and whose clothes were they’? When was the next time? How did my ex-wife feel about my doing so? Had I self harmed? How supportive are my family and friends? Work environment? Home life – live alone or in a relationship? How do I identify – lesbian, straight, trans-female? Do I suffer any harassment? Answers I had already given to Drs Riley, Lorimer and Lenihan. I was with him for long – half an hour or just over. I have to say, such a lovely guy, foreign and had a bit of a laugh with him too. He is completing what he needs to do for me, post it back to me and then I can send it off and get my GRC; and then I will be 100% legally female!
After leaving Ysyty Gwynedd, I drove straight home but I should have had a wander around Bangor as I had driven all the way to the other side of the country! Mind you, I will be back in Bangor on Saturday, 27th July for Balchder Cymru Pride 2013!! I am so looking forward to it 🙂
((( Cwtch )))