Sunday, 18 June 2017

Father's day

My first without one. I knew it was going to be tough, but wasn't prepared for how tough.

I've been in, or close and fighting back the, tears a lot today. Family weekend away, which was amazing. But watching the presents was just too tough.

My heart goes outto all who have lost theirs, either taken away or not in contact.

For those who still have one - geneite ervan, elke dag!

(Enjoy your time with them, every day!)

Friday, 16 June 2017

Back on the road

Two weeks ago I posted a picture of the bike stranded at the side of this road. Whilst waiting for the truck I took a couple of other pictures to pass the time. If you look carefully you can just see the mirror in this picture.

Today I went to pick it up! A new battery and a new mass air flow sensor (well a second hand one) and a new battery (seriously, how much!) and I’m back on the road! It took their mechanics half a day to find the fault and fix so I’m glad I didn’t do it :)

I picked it up and took it for a quick blast. Slow twisty roads, fast motorways and  very slow neighbourhood roads to get home. I loved almost every second of it. Almost.

At the worst possible time, 4th lane of a 130 kmph / 85mph motorway I noticed some fluff in my helmet. I was about bro open my visor to try and get rid of it when I saw that the fluff was black and yellow. You can imagine the language that went through my head (though not out of my mouth, I wasn’t going to risk that!)

Hazards on, head down so it doesn’t fall on me and get to the hard shoulder ASAP!

Thankfully it was dazed and so when I opened the helmet it just dropped into the grass verge and didn’t fly into my face!

Writing short stories

Whilst in the car yesterday, listening to one of my favorite albums I started to write a story in my head based on the titles of the songs as they came up. Some of them were more difficult than others, but as a quick creative exercise I was quite happy with the results.

See if you can spot the album and band :)

"During my commute this morning I had traffic in a couple of places, but thankfully had music to keep me sane. It was a great album, made me feel new born to hear the songs again, absolute bliss! Not talking space dementia here, but hyper music! I just thought “oh, plug in, baby, and whack the volume up!” I felt sorry for anyone who I disturbed with the music, but for those songs I was a citizen erased! The problem with a loud stereo though is that after a couple of songs your ears feel like they have micro cuts in them! But I didn’t care I was glued to the music like a screenager is glued to a phone, I could feel the dark shines in my soul! It truly left me feeling good! Like we should embrace futurism, building the future together and ensuring that megalomania never takes hold!"

Monday, 12 June 2017

What is quintessentially English?

I got a request from my sister in law from a school on Sunday about whether I have anything that is quintessentially English​. She let slip that she had an English sister in law when they were talking about a current project for the children and she let slip that she had an English sister in law, and of course I was asked if I could help.

The only thing is what do I have that is quintessentially English? I wear 50s pinup fashion that is more American than English, drive a Swedish car and live in The Netherlands.

I do eat some English food, but is that really going to be seen as quintessential? Would a young child know that a particular brand of tea is English? Or a brand of pickle? Probably not…

I have a library full of books. But, again, that is not much use to a young child.

What I did have at my office is a flag bought for a world food fair that IT out on a few years ago. And a red phone box cookie tin that I got to treat the office with when I lastwent back to the UK.

Put them together and you do get something very English :) I’ll see what the audience think when they see it next week :)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Return to the hill

After disappearing for a week summer returned this weekend.

BBQ yesterday, and today a run through the same park as with the group. I didn’t go as nuts as then though. I limited it to a run up the 40m high staircase, running down, back up and down again. The staircase killed my legs and the hill pretty much finished me off, but it still managed 7.5km in my 50 mins.

Colour today, I took some monochrome shots as well, but this is a vista that screams for colours!

Saturday, 10 June 2017


The weather has been as good as expected so far this weekend and we have tried to make as much of it as we can whilst trying to deep clean the house.

Tomorrow we are taking the day off, and are going to enjoy the weather before it disappears at the end of the day to be replaced by thunder...

And, of course, what better way is there to enjoy the weather than a BBQ :)

Thursday, 8 June 2017


I was back at the hospital today for an emergency checkup on my hands. A ‘bobble’ has appeared on my knuckle and I’m was a little worried about it. 

After sending pictures to the hospital they decided that the surgeon should take another look.

So, another set of x-rays and off to see the surgeon. He was actually very happy with what he saw, the bones are rebuilding themselves nicely, the movement I have is better than he expected (I guess the pain of physiotherapy is worth it!) and the scars are looking much further along than expected after the three months it’s been since they were made.

And the bobble? Well, after the trauma that that bone has had during my life it’s to be expected, unfortunately. The bobble is simply deformation of the 2nd metacarpal. The x-ray is quite shocking, it’s three metacarpals looking normal, and one looking like a cork screw. 

I do find it sad, that and the scars across the hand, but it could be so much worse so I count myself lucky…
The picture? The orthopedic outpatient center, which like my hand, is currently undergoing some rebuilding work :)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Summer evening

BBQ tools, beer, Coca-Cola and baking soda paste.

After spending the day continuing with the bathroom and downstairs toilet (silicone for the shower is done, window is to be painted and siliconed tomorrow and Monday and the downstairs toilet has had the tiles painted, walls and ceiling to tomorrow and pictures from this blog to be out into frames) it was time for a beer and to start the BBQ. Then I tried on a honey bee (I feel a little guilty) which stung me between my toes (I feel a lot pained) and so the baking soda joined the beer to pack around the sting to try and neutralise it…

Not my greatest picture, but certainly relevant for today!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Bubble BB8

I was not expecting to get a picture today. This morning I was doing some interesting work figuring out how to use the TFS REST API to automatically do things based on the git pull requests over the last week. It's been seriously fun! A long way to go but I have a roadmap​ now :)

Then a trip to the DIY store for decorating supplies. That took an age as I have no idea what I'm doing!

And then the decorating. Silicone removed from the shower cubicle, letting it dry out so we can remove the limescale in the morning and re-silione it in the afternoon.

And... Decorating the downstairs toilet. Nothing too major, just paining the tiles more neutral colours and redoing the accents to bring it up to date.

But then! Playing in the garden with my other half and the little man with bubbles and caught this one against the sky...

Thursday, 1 June 2017


Today I applied for my first Dutch passport, of course for that you need a picture. Though I don't think they'll like this one :)

Another wonderful, though too hot, day here in Holland (yes, this picture is from Nord Holland so I can say that ;p) and a great sky looking from the train station next to the photo shop.

And the passport, such a simple process. 35 minutes from leaving home to cycle to the town hall, to completing the application (hand over the photo, prove who I am, sign a form and scan my fingerprints​) and cycle home. Considering the round trip was 5km for the cycle ride and whilst not slow, I'm not quick either, you can imagine how quick the process it! The UK can learn a lot from it - my last passport application was much more work, took more time to complete and get everything needed for the application and took 2 months to get the actual passport. 

I go back next week to pick up this one. And that isn't an express request!

Yes, I'm proud of my first NL passport, and more than impressed with the process sofar!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Technicolour Sunset

Running night, and with a lot on my mind and a painful hand that the surgeon wants to see again as it's swelling, I really didn't want to go. But, if you miss one week, the next is easier to miss, and I knew that I'd probably be happy at the end.

It was hard. Very hard. But I kept up with the group, pushed and in the end had a very enjoyable run / cross training.

And in the rest periods managed to get a few good shots. This colour one, I also have the same shot using the monochrome sensor, is bar far my favourite!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


After the last post, and with the (literally) painful one I am writing, I thought an upbeat post may be good.

Today I went for my run, only the 2nd find time after an 8 week hiatus (see upcoming post). The weather was great, my running group was great and whilst I ache, it was awesome :)


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Been a while

In fact, it's been fact too long. Which also describes this post... Too long. Sorry!

When I posted last year, on coming out day, about the journey that I had been on,  and where I had got to,  I really hasn't meant it to be a goodbye post.

I still stand by that,  though looking at my rate of posting you may not believe it...

A lot has happened in my life since then.  Unfortunately most of it isn't good. (But don't worry, I'm fine and happy enough)

Starting in September last year I started to make regular trips to the UK. I wasn't planning on regular trips... A family holiday in Centre Parcs Nottingham, with a trip to Leamington Spa for my brother's wedding and several days with my parents staying with us.  Doing things with mum, little dude playing with my dad - including playing football, which is something he really wanted to do - and watching him trying to do to much to make memories whilst he could. This was a great trip!

Back a month later to my cousin's wedding. Staying with a different cousin who I hadn't spent time with since before I transitioned. And had a great time. My cousin's wedding was fine, no Mrs Stace or little dude so it was a long night, but fun and I saw a whole raft of family who didn't make it to my brother'sday.

And a couple more days with my cousin before I went back that was amazing!

But, dad looked awful. In 4 weeks he went from looking good, if tired, to being a frail, old man before his time. I thought I'd never see him again.

So decided there and then I was taking a trip to see him at home.

Another few day weeks and I was there in Scotland. He slept most of the day, though we had fun chats when he was awake. The third day I was there he didn't make it out of bed. There was so much I wanted to say make to him, but choked every time I thought about it.  So I wrote him a letter, went to his bed and wept whilst he read it.  Which he told me of for and comforted me. He comforted me... And I felt so loved,  and at the same time so ashamed.  The pain he was in,  and as tired as he was,  and he cared more about looking after me than about himself...

After a few days I went home, in tears, knowing that I was going to be back soon.

I didn't realise how soon. I came home on the Thursday, spoke to my brother telling him that if he wanted to see dad again he needed to go quickly.  Monday came and I got the call I was dreading. Get to Scotland now. Considering that we are not that far away, just 1000 miles, it it not easy to travel between places. A last minute plane ticket, with stop overs, and as it turns out major delays, but I got there.

I spent the day with my mum, brother, his wife and dad. He was peaceful, and acknowledged us in the morning at least, at the end of the afternoon, just as my brother and I stepped out for fresh air he started to go - we swear he was waiting for us to leave the room, we ran back in time to hold his hand as he went. Letting go of his hand so the hospice nurses could get him cleaned is the single most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I took a long time, and my mum had to talk me through doing it.

I stayed with mum for the rest of the week,  coming home when she went back to Leicester to organise the funeral.

A few days later and we were on the road again, this time with Mrs Stace and the little man, to say our final good byes.

It sounds weird, and flippant - though it's not meant to be, but the funeral was is great. It wasn't religious and the guy leading it did his research so well and spoke about dad. Not facts and figures of his life, but about him. And dad picked the music before he went. Something that will forever put a smile on my face, even as the tears flow as they are doing now. We went in to 'I'm free' from Tommy, and left to "We've got to get out of this place" by the Animals.

A few days later we had a big family meal. My cousin, her husband and parents, my brother and his wife, my mum and us. Great closure, and we spent the day reminiscing.

All of was in November. Things have happened since, but as this has already turned I to a monster outpouring I'll stop there...

I'll just leave you with one of the last portraits I got of him before his health issues started.