changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Edumakashun October 15, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout,thinks — eclectic chicken @ 10:31 am
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I’ve long been a believer in education dumbing down…. and now being back in the throes of it, first hand, for the first time in erm…26 years I’m beginning to get a real sense of it.

The massage course I’m doing is supposedly ‘A’ level standard…. I began to suspect this was not ‘A’ level standard as I remembered it when we were given our first piece of homework.

‘How much shall we write’? we asked.

“There’s no set amount just remember you are ‘level 3’ students” came the reply.

“Yes but what does that mean”?!?

“Well I want at least a sentence for each question”.

At least a sentence!!!!

So I probably over wrote as my homework came in at just over 1100 words for perhaps a dozen definitions of skin conditions, diseases and disorders. But I got interested, enjoy writing and want to do well.

The course has three levels of achievement. Pass. Merit. Distinction.

I’m not aiming for anything in particular, I’m just trying to do the best I can as i’m a tad rusty on the academic front… some of the stuff we are being pointed towards to learn is pretty tricky… cell structure, physiology… and then at the other end of the spectrum stuff that you could teach monkeys like be nice to clients and a plug wire is a trip hazard.

It feels like a course you can approach from pretty much a wide range of academic ability bacuase, after all, it’s a massage course and there is a large practical component.

So… last week we were given our first assessment piece… plenty of clues as to what the questions meant and we’ve done lots of exercises in class that fit in with the assessment… its about professionalism and client care.

We were shown the grading criteria… pass, merit, distinction.

The class was divided into those who had heard of Harvard referencing and those who needed to be patted and told a bibliography was all that was required. And again we are told there is no word count requirement… but being level 3 students we shouldn’t be just writing a sentence. (ooooh a step up from homework)

…and then at the bottom of the criteria sheet was the phrase.

“certificates will just show a pass” (or words to that effect)

So…. those who work hard… are academically inclined… just get a certificate that shows a ‘pass’ even if they get a distinction. Its not even a different colour certificate? There’s no reward for hard work or intelligence?


There’s self satisfaction.

hmmmm…. I get that. And being of a concientous bent (my school reports all said so) I’ll probably be doing my best regardless of outcome.

But….it galls me… that theres no acknowledgement for hard work…. intelligence… diligence… no distinction between a pass and erm… a distinction.

It’s the modern…everyone gets a prize just for taking part method…. several goes at handing your work in to get the best mark possible… and then… however much effort you put in, chances are you ‘just’ pass.

I can hear my teenage self saying ‘what’s the point’?


well fuck me sideways…. September 3, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 9:18 am
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Did I tell you I’m starting a massage course in a couple of weeks?


Well…I’m starting a massage course in a couple of weeks at my local college…evening class…come away hopefully with a level 3 thing with lots of letters…NCVQTI…oh… the QTI is something else…well…its a qualification of sorts.

My sticking point arrived this week when a letter arrived making me feel like a school kid telling me what I could and couldn’t wear for practical classes. I decided to just go along with it… not make a fuss…. no… not even about the screaming sexual inequality of  ‘students’ having to go with a pre-decided uniform (it has a diagonal fastening in turquoise) and the ‘male students’ (I suspect night classes won’t be much in the way of a pick up joint for me)… can have a ‘professional tunic’ – non-specified.

But…I’m ignoring that… just ordering what’s recommended and hopefully getting through the course.

So I’m a bit late getting uniform sorted…think I’ll order by phone… hate buying clothes mail order as unlike most women I rarely have much of an idea what size will fit me. I had a lovely phone conversation with the girl on the phone… told her I’m old… I’ve no idea what size I am as I’ve recently lost a couple of stone but can give her my measurements.. see what she thinks.

She in turn rings her sewing department and comes back and tells me that other than my waist measurement I’m a size 10… so how about we do a size 12 to be on the safe side as thats what my waist measurement is?

Are you sure? I says.


I check their returns policy and order a size 12 tunic and trousers.

I guess thats consistant with size 14 stuff needing pinning and me being able to take off my Next size 16 jeans without unfastening them.. but gosh.

Gosh indeed.

I await my uniform with interest.


Interior emasculation and massage July 1, 2012

Filed under: thinks — eclectic chicken @ 12:03 pm
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One of the things that saddened me when I worked at an estate agency (apart from brown tiled bathrooms, leylandii, and the whole farce of pretending selling houses was for the good of anyone other than the estate agent) was master bedrooms.

The clue is in the name… the Master bedroom… where the man of the house sleeps.

So what’s with all the pinky, peachy, light and fluffy? What’s with all the cushions on beds, efusive drapery and flouncy valances?

What sort of woman would make her man sleep in a room like that?

Whats that?

What sort of man would let himself? …. any man…. most men probably shrug and say they’ll be asleep mostly in there, it’s very nice dear….mmmm whatever you think… and other stock phrases that maketh for a quieter and easier life.

When we decorated our bedroom I couldn’t bring myself to have anything other than a gender neutral…erring heavily towards the masculine room…. so its dark wood, off white and a wall of dark purplish red.

Knowing what I do now…. I could have gone for a mixture between Barbara Cartlands boudoir and Dolly Partons powder room and Jane would have loved it… but I’d have hated it.

I lived once upon a time in a wing of a house built in 1634…. we had the run of the rest of the house and the Master suite made sense (I guess historically as much as any other way) – the master bedroom was huge and had painted panelling… it lead through to an ensuite bathroom, which led through to a dressing room, which then in turn led through a door into a second bedroom… a lighter brighter frillier bedroom for the lady of the house.

Seperate rooms.. with visitation rights…. how damn civilised.

The reason I’ve been pondering gendered rooms of late is becuase I’ve just signed up to do a Swedish massage course… and massage too has its gendered stereotypes. At the male end is sports massage… or sexual massage… massage with a purpose. At the female end…. lavendar walls, mood lighting, whale music and pampering.

I also know a lot of men who don’t feel totally comfortable at either end… they aren’t dealing with a sports injury, don’t want to be (openly) associated with sleaze… but don’t feel at home with the touchy feelyness of aromatherapy and warm pebbles.

When…if…. I qualify I’d like to do sensory massage that appeals to men… a womb room…dark and warm, lit by candle light… music chosen by the client that ‘they’ feel relaxes them.

Or maybe thats just for me… maybe they’d  say it doesn’t matter what it looks like as they’ll be asleep and dribbling for most of the time they are there.


…destressed in various ways March 7, 2012

Filed under: trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 12:48 am
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I’ve had a wonderful few days getting rid of some of the stress I’d  built up before ‘the documentary’ aired.

Firstly I watched it over at Annies… i knew that way i’d get a hug if i got upset (which i only did once… the point that gets me every time – ‘Jane’s transition is more important than me’)… it also meant i could watch the whole thing and then talk about the whole thing as opposed to what Jane had been wearing…. how she came accross… what she said… and a million other conversation starters the terminally self centred have.

Then a few days over with my cigar smoking bear…. who actually with hindsight didn’t smoke any cigars. We had our usual bedcentric time, full of laughter and conversation…. his own insight on the documentary was that it was a tale of two halves… the NHS  and the private route. I’m not sure if that was an intended strand to follow by the director… but it was definitely there.

jane floating down harley street…. a pillar flanked shiny door

michelle…. staring at 1960s utilitarian prefab

I was horrified that our travelling 1st class to Brighton had added to this mimeme…it was clear from the seats- i’d like to clarify at this point that the only way they would let us film on the train was if we were in first class (farcical as it was in the same carriage as standard and consisted of six seats, one mended with yellow sticky tape – the only distinguishing feature being the paper headrests with 1st on).

It is also the case that a fair number of GR surgeries are done at the nuffield (where Jane went), by the same surgeon… and no doubt their patient care is consistent and they tell the visitors of NHS patients where the free hot chocolate machine is.

But I’m digressing….

Dissipated i dissipated some further nervous energy via the art of sleep… the first night, punching a glass off my bedside table and running like a lurcher after dream rabbits…legs going like billy-o. The second night…shouting… various things, but finally as morning came -“SIX BUTTONS”. (answers on a postcard if anyone knows what THAT was all about).

We had a day of sleet and snow and biting winds in York, and a drive in glorious sunshine to Widnes (sometimes the cookie really doesn’t crumble right does it)?

And then home again today in time for a massage…back and Indian head…. my massage lady can never find much muscle tension… maybe I always work my stresses out in my sleep in vigorous and violent ways.

So…life is back to ‘normal’ – onwards and upwards.

ps. thankyou to everyone who has sent, kind, loving, supportive messages over the last few days… much appreciated and the whole experience I think has helped click a few things into place for me. Best of all is that there have been lots of instances fed back to us, of the documentary acting as a catalyst for all sorts of positive moves forward for all manner of people and it started many many sensible conversations… thats heartening…thats what it was for.



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