changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

The day has come March 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 11:30 am
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When I was pregnant with the boy our two girls (one each from our marriages) were 11, moving on to secondary school, in fact learning about reproduction and foetal development and Meg handed in my scan pics as part of her Biology homework.

It’s not been the same as having siblings close together and there is a theory that if there is more than a six year age gap between siblings they each count as ‘only children’. But I think they’ve all got ‘something’ out of that age gap, even if it was, for the girls the determination not to get pregnant and have kids at a silly young age as the sleepless nights and hard work of having a baby in the house was fresh in their minds when they hit their mid teen years.

On the boys part he’s grown up around much older siblings, he’s learnt to hold his own and most usefully perhaps being, he has no fear of teenage girls, he’s happy in older company, comfortable chatting to the girls friends and if the raging hormones of puberty don’t knock him too much for six I can see him being ‘quite’ the ladies man.

But what struck me this morning was remembering back to when I was pregnant and thinking ‘wow – by the time he’s 7 or 8 the girls will be away at Uni and he’ll have really cool big sisters to go and stay with’. It all seemed so far in the furture…. both for the girls Uni and the boy being 7 or 8.

And now that day has come, off Meg and the boy drove yesterday in her little red car to Sheffield for three nights, to a house full of gaming equipment and a city to explore.

I’d be enjoying the peace and quiet if I didn’t have workmen in.


chick and chocks away! September 18, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 9:23 pm
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My eldest chick has flown the nest again for another year at Uni… this year even more than last year feels like her really leaving home. Although I miss her company I like that she’s gone – becuase she’s happy being independent. She is well ready for it and yet (I hope) still knows where to come if she needs something.

Knowing her she won’t need much….she’s resourceful and can cope with most things life throws at her… though sometimes she needs to take a step back..have a good ponder before getting her head down and getting on with task in hand.

Nice to to see that student houses haven’t changed much over the years… its a bit rough and ready. But thats fine… she’s lived in rougher and not so ready. Strange for her generation she grew up sans central heating and mostly televisionless… though I think she might pine away and die now if her playstation or computer doesn’t work.

The trip up to Sheffield went well… we drove a car each and it made me hark back to our early days of cycling where I’d cycle behind her and pull out earlier as a human buffer…we drove the same way… me pulling out and making a space for her to fill. I missed her being in the passenger seat as we do good car journeys together… she can even read a map.

It was a bit of a shock to find that my hand-brake really wasn’t operative as I pulled up at the first hill top roundabout and attempted a hill start…. teatime traffic crawling out on the long uphill road out towards Glossop really wasn’t fun… I shouted quite a lot at people who thought I’d stop for them to pull in…. or school kids thinking I might stop for them crossing.

Luckily our final destination was only on a slight hill… and like any decent student house there were a couple of bricks in the front garden as a riot starter kit…or handy chocks for my wheels.

Being the only girl in the house she brought a coffee table and rugs to the house…. and coloured crockery….a food mixer… tea pot…. cake stand… yanno… girly touches.

Catastrophe soon soon hit in unpacking the first box in the bedroom… she forgot it contained her sea monkeys and was distraught to upset it and to see them sinking into the carpet along with their watery home…


…and a housemate ran for a spoon whilst we watched them wriggle into the carpetty void.

Frantic scooping and some fresh water and we saved a couple of sea monkeys (both with egg sacs) – so hopefully her sea monkey empire will grow once again.

A cup of tea… and time to leave her to it.

Chocks away!!!!… and the journey out of Sheffield was luckily all downhill.

Home and tired…. and unable to just eat ‘instant food’ I made noodles and smoked tofu with pak choi… dry fried with soy sauce (thanks Annie)… it was yummy… the sort of thing I’d have thoroughly turned my nose up at before… but now?

Lovely stuff.

I’m becoming scarily vegan 🙂


Not so busy as expected…. July 1, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 12:28 pm
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This weekend was all set to be hellish busy, I was due to pick my daughter and the bulk of her stuff up from Uni in Sheffield and then on saturday had a wedding reception to go to down in Brighton.

It started off to plan, I arrived, met daughter just back from a days digging (she’s an archaeology student) and we sat and had fish finger sandwiches to fortify us for the task ahead…. a small room it appears can hold an awful lot of stuff and in the name of getting in with a chance of getting her deposit back the communal kitchen was in need of a lot of cleaning (it seems the knack is not to be the last to leave… or don’t give a stuff about your deposit). She isn’t the last to leave…. quite…. but both being concientious and of a mind that £150 is worth a bit of elbow grease… we set to.

We managed to fit everything in the car – just. Bearing in mind I removed several boxes two weeks ago I have no idea how we did it in one car load last September. I carried all the light stuff as my back has had a hard couple of weeks strimming the garden… and my daughter managed to do the hefty final boot slam that pushed everything into place.

First year over.

The car had been making a funny squeely noise on the way up… and on the way back  I got daughter to listen to it too and her solution was almost identical to mine…. shut the window and put some music on… thus rendering the worrying sound inaudible and therefore a lot less worrying.

It was way passed midnight when we landed home… and my back hadn’t enjoyed the drive… this act then went on to free up the rest of the weekend as I know of old to listen to my back (if not my car)…. there is a way of shutting the windows and turning on the stereo for my spine… its called co-codamol and diazipam… but I try and avoid getting to that stage.

So having winced my way round a woodland walk on saturday morning, my daughter hazzarded that I may not be up to driving to Brighton and back in a day (have you seen how expensive hotels are at the weekend in Brighton)? And I had to say I felt relief at her thoughtfulness… especially as it meant she’s miss the wedding too as she didn’t feel up to dealing with the M25 and Brighton traffic solo.

I rang my apologies to the groom, went for a pint of cider down the pub with my daughter and then watched the technological wonder which is a live streamed wedding on the internet… from brighton to the relative comort of my own sofa.

Today, I’m taking it very easy… and a gentle dog walk later today… the last thing i want is my back to go properly which would lay me out or a goodly chunk of the school summer holiday….

oh…hold on….

where’s all that rubble that still needs shifting 🙂


kids, dog and sporadic r’s June 17, 2012

Filed under: out'n'bout — eclectic chicken @ 6:41 pm
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Apologies fist fo lapsing again to those who cae about such things… when things bubble to top of my mind i need to be nea a compute and it needs to, of couse, be a woking compute.

Now… some of you may have noticed my ‘r’ isn’t woking (well it did THEN becuase i paused and pessed it eally had…. this takes away the spontineity of witing… hence no blog of late.

That key on my laptop isn’t active (see…i’m avoiding that key now)… becuase Jane and the boy have been knocking out a chimney beast… the boy has taken to hitting the wall with a hamme when thees nothing much on tv, and Jane tends to wait fo me to go away fo a night o weekend befoe knocking geat chunks out of the house. Unfotunately neithe of them thinksof things like emoving electrical equipment fom the vicinity…so i suspect down the back of the tv is a bit of a mess and thee do seem to be some cunchy bits unde my keypad that have moe esistance than the usual biscuit and toast cumbs.

(actually avoiding the key was almost as tiesome as pausing to pess the dodgy key eally had)!

So whee did i go to my lovelys that allowed the knocking about of the sitting oom in my absence?

I took my daughte back up to Uni… she’s finished he fist yea but has stuff still to do up thee … we had a lovely evening, we ate Tukish food… vey wondeful Turkish food… in a lovely restauant whee they kept giving us free things and so much food i started stashing the free things in my handbag for later… small filo olls filled with vine leaves and chilli curd cheese ae very good cold for breakfast.

This followed a very long game of ‘top 3s’ that took up the entire journey… top three trees…top three pizza toppings… top three languages you’d like to be able to speak…. we do good travel games me and my daughter.

Anyway…. we followed food with a horror film (session 9… quite good but a bit confusing) and chocolate ice-cream.

I like visiting my daughter… shes blossomed into a daughter to be proud of… an adult in her own right who is out there and coping with life the universe and everything…well…. most things.

We got up early (bloody hell the r key has stated working again of its own accord) and went to Cakes r Us for beakfast… its a chinese shop that sells cake by the pound (or by the slice) – and very good they are too. But also sells pastry parcels with various fillings…some stranger than others… and also steamed buns…. like eating clouds with fillings in… the custard filled one is the ultimate comfot food.

They also sell things I’ve never heard of like ‘bubble tea‘ – we nearly bought some but we had a communication breakdown and ended up without one… but having googled it – next time i’m up thee i’m on cloud buns and bubble tea.

In other news… Jane has gone off to a book launch (my getting home early in the afternoon saved the boy from having to traipse to London for it) and yesterday at the local church fete Lucky and the boy won the ‘junior handler’ section of the dog show…. mostly becuase Lucky managed to walk without sniffing or weeing for more than ten metres and i ‘think’ he even sat to command… the dog that is, not the boy.

I’m very proud… six months ago i don’t think the boy would have had the confidence to enter… but with a small scruffy dog by his side he can conquer the world… well… as long as it doesn’t involve too much travelling as the dog of course gets car sick and the boy doesn’t like ‘the facilities’ on trains. (o at least thats his excuse for not wanting to go to london).


Away days…more hotpot….and the road to Wales October 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 5:33 pm
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I’ve been to Cheshire, started off with a visit to my cigar smoking bear, which apart from talking about hotpot needs its own anonymous ‘X’ rated blog somewhere…. but i will mention the food at the Cholmondeley Arms where we cosied up by a fire, with a somewhat pretentious sign on the mantleshelf telling us what sort of wood they were burning (but no information on how long it had seasoned for or from whence it came)…we shared something called a ‘starting plate to share’ which contained delights such as whitebait, sausages and potted rabbit and pheasant and only just had enough room after to share a chocolate brownie and ice cream between us.

Then on to stay with my relatives…. which was fine. I managed a night out with my sister which is something we probably havn’t done since we both had children a year apart and spent lots of time with my mother who I’ll kindly describe as ‘confused’ or in my sons words ‘totally bonkers’. My sister is amazing for coping with mum on a daily basis without resorting to matricide…. I manage to maintain some sort of calm amidst the mandlebrot spirals of conversation for a couple of days….

do you want toast Andrea?

yes please

{mother puts toast in toaster}

would you like some toast?

theres some in the toaster mum

oh yes {pops it up}

its not done

no you just put it in

would you like some toast?

{pops toast down}

yes please

i’ll put some in

{looks down}

oh theres some in there already…would you like this toast?

etc etc

We then decided to have a run out to a garden centre and buy a plant for my daughters university room (as consolation for my reducing her bonsai to a twig again – though i am just hoping its merely Autumn)…. its a seven mile trip ending a few hundred yards from my cousins house, where we hoped to have coffee and a visit.

After about 15 miles I began to suspect my mother had lost her way, though she wouldn’t admit we may have gone ‘a bit wrong’ until the roadsigns turned into Welsh.

That evening I started digging an escape tunnel to see my bear…. but gave up and used a walk to the bank as subterfuge. He picked me up on the corner of the road…. took me home…. put me in bed and put a cup of coffee in one hand and a bowl of trifle in the other…. and after forty minutes I felt sane enough to go back.

And then today…. a beautiful sunny day… the boy and I drove over the Snake Pass to Sheffield… Alabama3 loud and the windows open… I couldn’t have been happier. The boy was awe inspired by hills (poor little lowland lad he is) and learnt that when two people go for a wee in the wood… the one on the high ground has the upper hand and then was delighted to be told that his wee with any luck would filter through to the reservoir and people in the cities would drink it…. who knows what boys wee in homeopathic quantities could do to a towns population.

It was lovely but brief seeing the daughter…. I need to spend time in Sheffield… not only for the joy of my daughters company but also the chinese bakery and there is a museum of glass I believe and the boy spotted a museum of police and fire as we were leaving.

We ended the day in MacDonalds back in Stamford…. my daughter still won’t set foot in one having been brought up by me in my first incarnation of a parent (no Disney, no Barbie, no CocaCola…no MacDonalds)… the boy does them all except Barbie. Sometimes it feels like my son (with his 12 year age gap from his sister) is some sort of control experiment.

But we are home now….and that always feels good.


Potatoes and Hotpot October 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 6:42 pm
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I visited my old friend Annie earlier this week…. and we talked long into the night…. she made me think about how, as you grow older you tend to feel as though you’ve lost yourself. Especially when you have children, a partner, paticulary if you are home based and doubley so as the menopause looms and you start to become an invisible woman of a certain age…. and sometimes you run away to find yourself and sometimes its worth staying put and trying to remember all the things that made you you.

She reckons… and I happen to think she’s right that I’m far more than the partner of a transwoman. That may have taken over my life for the last couple of years… but actually I’ve come through it the same way I’ve come through everything in my life with humour intact and a usually quirky outlook.

She wonders why I don’t blog about the stuff in my life that isn’t Jane…. Jane can have a bit part. After all she’s central to her own life, her own blog… so I should be central to mine.

Okay… the paltry number of you out there who follow this blog may wander off when it ceases to be a ‘trans experience blog’ but actually the trans experience…everyones experience is that life goes on…. until it doesn’t.

She reckons I should have blogged about taking my daughter to Uni in Sheffield – how we packed the car to the rafters (that would make so much more sense in a Morris traveller as opposed to a Mondeo) and set off North. How she took such random items as a sewing machine, a piano accordian, a sword, a cake stand and a sack of potatoes. (a thoughtful but heavy farewell gift from a local farmer).

She said how I should blog about the poor young man I commandeered into helping unload the car, who blithely said he’d carry a bag of spuds and when I opened the boot said words to the effect of ‘fucking hell i thought it’d be a 3 kilo bag from Morrisons’… but bless him he gamely carried it regardless.

And then I ended the same day with a drive over the moors and by eating hotpot off Dean Friedman’s piano.

See, she’s right: there are more interesting things in my life than who I live with.



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