As I closed on Part 1 of my holiday tale, our ship had just set sail. This was a first for me, and Kirsty too, boarding a boat (which was of significant size) and sailing as girls… and was it any bother? NOOO!!!! Three and half hours stuck on a boat, and all was completely well – very nice, courteous staff, and no negativity or curiosity that I noticed from any customers. As the boat docked at around 11.30 we joined a long queue of people and slowly made our way back to the car for the start of a long, 360 mile drive.
I booked the first element of this trip back in March (before I had even met my now-BF Kirsty) which was a three night stay at a hotel in Eastbourne, for a long weekend organised by Transliving exclusively for the Transgender spectrum. However, since making this booking my life-journey has picked up significant speed and I have gained much confidence during my progress, and thus this stay-away evolved a lot. I had always said that I wanted to be out and about a lot while there rather than being imprisoned in the safe haven of the hotel, however there was originally not going to be a drive at all and I was going to fly over as Bob… but once I got to know Kirsty and she booked too then I soon figured that doing this journey in any way other than TOTALLY Andrea was just not right so, despite having booked flights, wanting to continually push my boundaries I suggested a ferry crossing to Kirsty along with an overnight stay on the way back, and I was so pleased that she soon agreed. Another significant part of the weekend became Ruth – I virtually got to know Ruth initially on Angels, which I joined after meeting Kirsty, and subsequently by email, and have read her WordPress blog too… and as the months before Eastbourne turned into weeks I found myself REALLY looking forward to meeting her.
As some of you, including my friends will know, I am a bit of a worrier… and I do worry about the silliest of things…. as well as not-so-silly and very significant things which are the nature of my journey. Although Kirsty and I have enjoyed a mushrooming friendship for months I had been worrying whether after a six-and-a-half-hour drive Kirsty would be getting bored with me (that’s low self esteem for you, I suppose)… but the whole journey (which turned into nearly nine hours due to numerous instances of heavy queuing traffic) we chatted animatedly more or less the whole time. We stopped many times for the ladies loo (not enough times as far as my poor bladder was concerned, but the route had other ideas) and refreshments… and by the time we got to the M25 motorway around London it became clear that we would miss dinner and so, having already texted Ruth to warn her of our delay, she rang to check what we would like to eat for a late-arrival cold-plate. This was the first time I had spoken to Ruth – before our journey commenced I was convinced that Kirsty and I would get on with Ruth based on our emails… and as the conversation progressed it was obvious that we would get along just fine, she was really easy to talk to and sounded delightfully down-to-earth and light-hearted – we were soon joking and laughing away… and Ruth probably also got her first introduction as to just how particular I am about food!
We finally arrived at Eastbourne at 8.30pm and, once parked on the street, wheeled bags to the hotel, checked in, and, after a rapid change into smart black trousers and a pretty black top with a grey/purple flower pattern, I met Kirsty and we headed downstairs and met Ruth. After all this time it was really good to meet her; she had been very kind arranging things for us and, after some confusion around our food with the staff, Ruth showed us to a table (along with Claire, who she had met earlier) and we began to chat. After a very bad night of sleep on the Thursday night I considered an early night was in order… but once we had finished eating and adjourned to the bar we chatted, and chatted, and chatted, almost like old friends even though it was the first time we had ‘physically’ met. It really was a shame that the evening had to end at all, but in a way I didn’t mind, because I was SO looking forward to the next day with Kirsty and our newly-met friend Ruth…
…and, dear readers, my next instalment, coming soon, will cover some of the things we got up to the following day.