changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Comedy of dietry errors November 20, 2012

Filed under: cancer,home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 8:51 pm
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My diet over the last few months has been ever changing… based on what I thought was wrong with me, best advice at the time, internet gleanings and pure whim.

The advice from the medical world has varied from the sublime (the latest which seems to be -anything you CAN eat but avoid roughage at al costs -and if thats eggs and chocolate so be it) to the ridiculous (“well baked potatoes are always healthy”).

But take all the good advice and last week I shortsightedly went fridge grazing one evening to see if there was anything i fancied and could eat…. came accross some mini fillets of crumbed chicken and ate one whilst waiting for my hot chocolate to ping in the microwave.

It tasted a bit shit… so I just ate the one.

Turns out it tasted thus as it was raw chicken and in teeny tiny writing on the back said it needed cooking.

Roll forward about three days and Jane made the effort, pulled out the stops and made a nice easy digestible chicken and (well cooked) brocolli in creamy sauce…. at first bite I was disappointed to find she’d put cheese in it… on second bite I realised the chicken was off and shouted to everyone not to eat the chicken.

Nice to know I find it easier to detect off meat than raw meat…. or maybe it was some sort of sensory learning curve.

I don’t think either episode gave me salmonella (which says a lot for cheap chicken with yellow stickers on it from Tesco’s) but then as the bacteria thingy is absorbed through your colon wall and can cause liver failure and shit like that; I could just be a walking salmonella time bomb….. but moving swiftly on…..

Following the meaty episodes and taking the colder weather (and lack of central heating [yes STILL]) I got the urge for daal/dahl (which is it?) and having been pointed at vedic cookery by my good foody friend Barry (who’s blog is somewhere in a sidebar on the rights) I decided daal was possible without onions and garlic and my sister even thoughtfully brought asasfotoeda/hing/devils dung to my sickbed.

Now there are pulses that are very easily digested… it says so in my new vedic cookery book…. but what I had in the cupboard possibly weren’t the right ones…. but there they were… they were already deskinned and I really wanted daal.

Two bowls later…and then half an hour after that I was in pain.

Crawling round my bed singing childhood songs trying to block the pain.

Eventally at about 2am I gave in and let Jane ring an ambulance…. given the last couple of attempts to get an ambulance out to me with this sort of pain (and vomiting) had proved impossible I wasn’t hopeful… but this time we had the password.


Oh we still had to answer all the stock questions to find out if my leg had fallen off, if i was underneath a bus or merely ringing for pizza…

but within twenty minutes we not only had a swift response bloke round looking in my bucket of sick…. but also an ambulance.

Better still and ambulance who took me for a ride (a first…and a slight disappointment as I was too distraught and uncomfortable to ask for the siren).

to be continued……


Radio(2)Therapy November 14, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 4:27 pm
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Well, I really craved a spinach and feta parcel and a piece of cake from the bakery in Stamford today and as Jane was doing her banking she tried her best… they’d sold out of spinachy parcels so I had spinach and ricotta pasta from M&S instead. Nothing like what I wanted…. but I ate it without complaint becuase it was well meant and I’m trying to be easy to look after.

After lunch watching the news I lay down on the sofa and suddenly realised how comfortable it was and asked if there was a blanket handy – there wasn’t but Jane went and got one and threw it over me…. mmm warm and comfortable. Quite a rare combination in our house at the moment.

As I started to drift off she changed the television from the news to Radio 2, playing at a level usually chosen by old deaf people whilst drying their hair with a washing machine on spin cycle in the same room…. normally I’d have asked for it to be turned down….

but I was so warm…. so comfortable….

me and my innards resonated to Neil Diamond and I slept.

Solid… for two hours when I woke up to Donny Osmonds voice and the whirlwind that is the boy and Jane returning from the school run… and at the same time the phone rang….

…amidst all this (as the phone was for me) I got up very groggy and picked up my left over chocolate cake from lunch for company and realised I felt groggy but really quite strange.

I talked on the phone (college ringing and no I’m not going in I just woke up) and Jane spoke to me and I snapped at her as I felt so weird.

And then I realised what it was….and promptly burst into tears.

No pain.

Not a bit…

I apologised to Jane and had a cup of tea.

I think I cried becuase crying before has come in very short bursts becuase it hurt more to cry than not to…. I apologised to Jane becuase she’s being brilliant and doing her best and I had a cup of tea becuase theres never a bad time to have a cup of tea.

It just feels very strange and lovely to be totally pain free for the first time in weeks… as I type I can feel it creeping back. Whether the sofa is just comfortable…. whether the new pain killers are kicking in a bit or whether it really was the healing art of radio 2 on full belt… I dunno.

But it felt good.


Communionisation. June 10, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 3:41 pm
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I was up early this morning to commune with my own gods walking the dog, feeling the sun and listening to the birds….

…and then home for the more formal version.

The boy did look totally dapper in his three piece suit, white shirt and silver grey tie… Jane polished up his shoes and I broke open Janes old bottle of Eau de Sauvage (one of my all time favourite smells)…if my boy was going to look good – he was certainly going to smell good too… AND I’ve been teaching him to hitch his trouser knees when he sits down… I want him to have all the masculine habits that make men attractive… when he grows up i hope he wet shaves and wears cufflinks.

No doubt I’ll have to instill this stuff in him myself….

In the meantime back to religion… instilled by Jane and the holy roman catholic church.

My sister turned up en famille… impressive as we don’t ‘do’ religion in my family much but even moreso as at midnight last night she was collapsing at Liverpool airport from a post flight perforated ear-drum!!!

Long service…. not bad hymns… it went on a bit….

…but it was lovely watching the boy carry the box up the aisle containing a special 300 year old chalice (my brother-in-law wondered if the box contained the priests 45s… it was the right size and shape). The boy managed to get back to his seat before complaining about the wine and my mother (a non catholic, although confirmed in the CofE) decided she’d like to do communion but had to be reminded to put the wafer in her mouth and skipped the wine altogether.

Watching the congregation accepting the eucharist, watching their faces made me wish I did do belief… it would be lovely to find such easy peace… but no…. much as I appreciate the rituals, the singing, architecture, community et al… I just don’t have it in me to believe… which is weird..I believe in ghosts… but then i’ve seen a ghost…. at least I leave some waver room nowadays and describe myself as agnostic as opposed to the atheist I used to be.

Released into the wild at the end of mass… the boy went mad… it was a long mass to sit still for. They’d laid out a post communion tea for the kids and there were refreshments for everyone who wanted to hang around – but even the priest trying to force feed the boy cake couldn’t keep him in place… he needed grass beneath his feet and the sky above his head.. and the voice of his mother echoing distantly “get up off that grass with your bloody suit on”.



the wrong boots May 10, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 10:08 pm
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Well… there you go… Jane took me to an event in London.

I thought it wholey appropriate to wear inappropriate footwear… and they were the only boots I had that would go with the outfit I thought I’d wear for an exhibition opening. Jane assured me it would be full of alternative types so perverse as usual I dressed conservatively.

We rode on a train…and a tube and being early arriving in the area Jane decided the two time wasting choices were Hamleys or Topshop…. I opted for Hamleys becuase they were more likely to have a toilet and only had a slight grump when I noticed my options could have included Liberty’s.

Then to the gallery… Hayhills… the exhibition was Jamie McCartney’s (he of vagina casting fame).  Supposedly one of the vjs on the wall tonight was Janes… or maybe not… we studied them all pretty carefully…well I did and Jane moved away in embarrassment every time I declared “well its not one of those ones”.

The whole vagina casting thing reminds me of a film I watched back in the early eighties…. it was probably a feminist statement of some sort…it was a film of vaginas… though they probably called them cunts as the whole concept was rather more aggressive than Jamies softly three dimensional assorted vaginas. I remember being pinned back in my seat as cunt after cunt was thrust at me… it was a visual assault…each different but after many…all the same.

(anyone remembereing what this film was or having a link please let me know).

But back to this evening…. Jamie’s other works on display were a series of naked and semi naked models probably life size…. not photographed but built from sections scanned onto a computer scanner. An idea I can’t believe no-one has done before…its certainly something I’ve contemplated… it builds on the lo-fi art of old fashioned photo booths and an advancement on the old body parts on a photocopier (that I managed to build into a foundation stage art curriculum at one point). The pieces were very effective…. personally I’d have preferred a little more flesh distortion… there were some points where the flesh was compressed against the scanner maybe to bring enough depth into focus.

By far my favourite pieces were a body armour breastplate made of fur (I once talked to Jamie about an entire transparant plastic body suit of armour… ) and a wonderful vaginal casting in glass that not only cast the outside but also the inside…a strangely mis-shapen sac with the convexivity of the cervix at the back…. you could look into the vagina… through…. see the cervix from the inside…. fascinating stuff.

But looking at all that took about fifteen minutes tops…. but we had to hang out drinking apple juice and wine… becuase thats what you do… especially once you’ve realised your wearing inappropriate footwear and can’t go anywhere else.

And then we left… I think the real highlight of the evening was farting rather louder than i would have hoped on the windowsill of the louis vuitton shop (where i was resting my feet whilst Jane worked out which way up her map app was meant to be).

and so to home… no seat on the train of course.

All in all… I think I might have preferred a meal out locally (probably cheaper and less painful). But if nothing else its reminded me why I don’t like going to London for arty farty events…. so Janes solo nights out to the bright lights big city are probably safe again for a while.


….and breathe January 21, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 2:47 pm
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…but no ‘the conversation’ hasn’t happened yet.. it now feels like one of those things built up to be bigger and more important than it can ever be in reality.

But we do have central heating back on and not only a new (definitely more effective) boiler and pump [the latter really wasn’t meant to be making ‘those’ noises] we also have two new radiators where none existed before… One in the dining room which used to have some weird sort of semi comatose convector heater on the wall (no wonder we rarely eat in there in Winter) and one in the main bathroom!!!!! yay!!!! There used to just be a heated shiny towel rail thingy but it really didn’t come anywhere close to heating the actual room – which with two teenage girls was actually no bad thing as it kept them from living in there. Nowadays the boy and I use that bathroom (leaving the en suite to Jane and her objets de trans and her increasing clutter of female ecoutrements) and it’s sheer bliss having it a)warm enough to be naked in for more than 3 seconds and b)warm enough not to instantly and totally condense up the whole room at the merest sniff of hot water.

So thats the minutiae of our heating solutions which you all obviously called by to catch up on.

What else is going down in the house.

Things are back on with the cigar smoking bear… What’s that? I hadn’t told you they were off?

Sheesh, I can’t tell you everything…. a misunderstanding….some confusion… a lack of faith in my own judgement. See thats another thing all this hooha with Jane has done…a long term thing…. I’ve always prided myself on my instincts with people and in my ability to trust and to just bounce when trust gets broken. But by god …things have changed.

I’ve found it harder to trust… I’m always looking for what may be going on under the surface that I don’t see… I always suspect maybe I’m wrong… like I was with Jane. I find it so much harder to take what people do and say at face value.

No doubt it’ll take time… and time (I’m told) is something we have lots of.

So those of you who have noticed a lack of tales of hotpot and cigars can rest assured there will be more.

And I should be a bit more cheery again.


Off to a stumbling start. January 17, 2012

Filed under: home stuff,out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 7:51 pm
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So after my last post the intention was to find some time where Jane and I could sit down and have a ‘proper talk’. Possibly even a ‘Proper Talk’ if not a PROPER TALK.

But first we needed to get the boy back to school…always good for gaining space for uninterrupted conversation as evenings are still very much the domain of the insomniac seven year old.

And let’s get his birthday party out of the way and the enslaught of friends and relatives that come with such an event. (it was a roller skating party and although i hadn’t been on roller skates for about twenty years, i did okay and even better quit while i was ahead before i fell over and did something nasty to my back).

And then I needed to get my daughter back to Uni… which was followed by a couple of days over with the cigar smoking bear.

And then home…. and space…and back to a solo double bed…and maybe…yes maybe the time and space to talk.

But then on Saturday morning we woke up to no electric…and oh! a waterfall down the garage wall, easily sourced to the boiler hanging on said wall.

We managed to get a plumber out…and had the forethought (eventually) to turn off the water in the street (thanks to Mike next door… though what the neighbours thought seeing him coming out of my house with us both in pj’s on a cold saturday morning – i have no idea)… and we also ran as many taps as we could to try and distribute the water fall.

We were both kinda stressed…. even though we managed to get a plumber out… and even better a plumber who was booked to come and see us on Tuesday anyway to sort out a couple of radiators. Rafe pointed out that listening to waterfalls and birds is good for stress…. so listening to the water pouring into the garage and  our chickens clucking in the garden MUST be relaxing. 🙂

Plumber left…. we had electric and gas….but no heating…. in the first real cold snap of the year.

So the boy and I decamped to Annies over in Leicestershire…. the boy skived off school a couple of days and Jane stayed to man the fort with a borrowed heater and hopefully several layers of jumpers.

So here we are at Annies…its bitter out there… but the woodburner is ticking over nicely… Henry dog is contentedly harumphing in front of it and i have a sofa of blue to sit and type on. We’ve been well fed (Annie makes not just edible vegetarian food…but desirable veggie food {three helpings of veg and macaroni bake down tonight})… and looked after…and have had the run of her new guest room and en suite (one of the best toilet views i know; out over the Vale of Belvoir).

But I want to go home.

After all the kerfuffle of Christmas and visits and upsets… I just need the peace of being at home. Part of me wants that peace so much i no longer want ‘the conversation’ let alone a ‘Proper Talk’…. after all… anniversary over things will probably settle down to pottering along again.

But we do need to have the talk.

Especially when I read janes blogs…. she’s exploring herself, her politics, her sexuality…. and it just feels like every exploration she makes takes her further away from any sort of solution we could have as a couple.

So home tomorrow… cold or no.

And then…. we shall see.


Two years on. January 4, 2012

Filed under: home stuff,trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 11:27 am
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Two years since Jane told me she has ‘gender issues’. Actually the anniversary was about a week ago… its not the sort of anniversary that I’ll ever remember the exact date of… it’s just the awful thing that happened in that crazy time between Christmas and New year two years ago.

I havn’t felt like writing about it before now becuase…. well… I needed to work out how I felt.

Two years from the man I loved to the woman I live with.

Do I still love her…. yes.

How much of that love is because she used to be the man I loved?

Nearly all of it.

Could that have been different?


There was a couple on morning telly a couple of months ago… a couple like us in many ways… staying together (although in their case the gender issues were known about i think from the start of their relationship and transition held back for the sake of children etc) but watching their body language… it was the transwoman taking care of her partner still. Aware what she’d put her partner through… comforting…. maybe even grateful.

With Jane… its hard to believe that once upon a time she was on the verge of getting therepy becuase she didn’t dare tell me in case I ran away.

But she doesn’t seem to realise the strain I’m still under…

Having a partner who transitions is like having a partner who dies… the process the partner goes through is very very similar (if not the same) as a grieving process. I can imagine if you split up and never see each other again its virtually identical.

Imagine having a partner who you are grieving except almost every day they appear….or you hear their voice…a cough… see a movement that is theirs.

It makes it very difficult to move on.

Imagine too that at the same time you are trying to support a new partner (who moved in immediately your old partner moved out) who is undergoing a huge life change and needs masses of support… needs to feel you accept and love them.. knowing you could be the only constant thing in their life.

Add to that that this means you yourself are undergoing the hugest of life changes and don’t have a partner to talk to about it.

I’m not sure if the above is overly complex…or over simplified.

I just know this has been the worst two years of my life and another anniversary hasn’t changed anything.

In some ways I wish Jane had told us and then just fucked off and done it all…. then come back as she is now and maybe met me as a ‘stranger’… maybe then there would be enough of the person I loved to love her again (without her having put me through the last two years).

I wish she could have slowed things down (I totally know why she felt she couldn’t) but I wish she had. Two feels like I’ve been avalanched into a new partner, a new life.

We’ve been together nearly nine years…. not long enough for Jane to commit to marriage… such a big life changing step after all.

But two years has been long enough to totally change the person I’d be getting married to…sorry…civilly partnerd to.

I’ve been googling around the grieving process… but nothing i can find covers my bases.

Grieving for a partner, child, parent, dog….. they all say the process just takes as long as it takes.

None of them say how much longer it will take when your partner hasn’t actually died…. just gone away for ever and you’ll never ever see them again.

Jane and I get on…. the household ticks along…. but I have a hollowness… and I still miss John.

I’ve tried so hard… I’m still trying so hard.

This isn’t about not accepting her transition… Ive supported her everystep of the way with that and there isn’t a single bit of me that thinks of her still as John.

But at the same time she’s my only reference point for my loss of him.

I don’t think she ‘gets’ it at all…. after all…I loved the man she couldn’t bear to live with.

I’ve coped by saying time after time that John and Jane are the same person…I’ve said that so many times it has to be true. And it is…. but it’s not.

Two years on and I’m tired and confused and lost.


Eat more pies. September 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 12:02 pm
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Thats what Jane is…. angular…my shoulders are rounded…on hers the skin goes from bone to bone.

I don’t think she eats enough….not enough to fuel the growth of body parts with a high fat content. So this morning i asked an important question.

‘Which is more important being thin or being female?’

Which upset her.

She can spend months examining her breasts for growth and asking me to check her arse and maintaining the body of a barely pubescent aspiring anorexic.

Or she can up her eating…. excercise to keep the bits toned she wants to tone… but see if we can kickstart some curves and squidgy bits in all the right places.

And later…she can always lose weight again… she’s lost 4 stone (ish) in the last eighteen months or so….

I think her body is trying its best…there are curves where there were no curves before…and breasts are definitely breasts converted from moobs… there just isn’t the fuel to make anything else.

Having female hormones raging through your body MAKES you hungry… that’s your body telling you something.

Take note…. eat!

It’s worth a try.


I am always next to you… January 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 9:50 pm
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and happy to stand in your shadow.

You are the one who has gone out and made a mark on the world. The one capable of making a mark on the world. Able to make money doing whatever you set your mind to do.

I am always happy to take the unsung, supportive, backroom roles.

I wish i could shine like you do.

But i can’t.

I don’t.

I shine…like the moon shines. It reflects the glare of the sun whilst quietly getting on with its own thing….tides, menstrual cycles, werewolves….small important shit that often gets overlooked.

But partly i’ve always put that down to you being a man.

I must have terribly traditionalist ingrained thought habits of male supremecy… patriarchy exists in a world inside my head.

I like to be supported and cared for…me and Doris Day (except i always tend towards presenting as Calamity Jane).

But….with Jane…i’m having to re-jig my reality.

Accept you are just better at so many things than i am.

And one of those things might be ‘being a woman’.

I think standing in your shadow then will be hard.



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