January 30th was the first day of the rest of my life, and the following day I woke up very happy, with much on the agenda for the weekend, the first of my RLE as a full-time woman.
Saturday morning was the next walk with my group and, after the usual 90 minutes of getting ready, I set off for Belfast Zoo which is where the walk was to start. I had to stop off along the way for the ladies, and yet again once I arrived after a quick hello to group leader, and I emerged just as the group set off. I joined near the rear, seeing Kerry (who I have spoken to on a few walks) and a lady called Janet that I never met before, and for quite a way up towards Cave Hill I had a really good chat with them. Further up I chatted to a few others, including Alan (who still seems to have a place in his heart for me, as per a recent Meetup message) and David… and then a girl I had met quite a while ago (who I eventually found out was called Ann) started chatting to me and we had LOADS to talk about – as we emerged on the plateau of Cave Hill the wind was horrendous and threatened to blow us over the edge, and so Ann linked arms with me and we had lots of jokes about going together if we went over; the views were great though, and with snow the landscape looked magical. I complimented Ann on her scarf and it turned out that she had made it herself, and then I remembered she had brought some hats that she had made several months ago and so she is going to bring some next time for me to look at. Owing to the severe wind we re-traced out steps back down more or less the same route, with lots more good chat, and once back at the cars we drove a short distance to a restaurant for tea and scones where I said hello and chatted with lots more ladies. At this stage I have lost track of the number of walks I have been on with this group… and it just keeps on getting better.
I changed in the restaurant into my favourite H&M day dress and then went to Belfast city centre and parked in Castle Court. I went into a few shops, including Superdrug (where a guy talked me into sampling a couple of perfumes) and New Look (where I bought the dress I have been looking for for ages in my size… which was only £6 in the sale), then went to my bank to initiate the change of my name details with them. I had to sit and wait, and a guy welcoming people brought me a black tea, then a female assistant started to take a young couple with her when a guy said “No, that lady is next” (me) and so she said “would you follow me please madam” and took me to her desk. Of course, once I had produced my Deed Poll and change of name form my transsexual gender was obvious… but she was totally respectful, she was on the phone to my online bank about the change and it was “she” this, “she” that, etc. Next I went to the Ulster Hall where I bought tickets for a classical concert for Lynda and I, where the lady was really nice, and it was lovely to be able to give my new name to her. Then onto the tourist office for lots of ideas on what to do with my weekend where I passed an oriental guy handing out tour literature who asked if I was a tourist, I said “Well, I live here, but I do love doing touristy things” which made him have a good laugh. After browsing a few shops I was a bit weary and so drove home, having had a pretty good and constructive day.
Sunday I had arranged to meet up with Kirsty. I left the house at around 1.00 and popped into Lisburn to get my eyebrows threaded (ready for starting work as Andrea) before meeting up with Kirsty at support group HQ. Following our successful trip to the Titanic centre our naval theme continued with a suggestion from Kirsty to visit the Nomadic tender ship, the last surviving ship of the White Star Line. We parked in the Titanic centre, then walked over to the Nomadic and, after a few selfies, bought tickets and went onto the boat. After a short wait, we were greeted by a pleasant guide called Leo who introduced the tour (with quite a lot of repetition) and, when nobody else turned up, our personal tour commenced. We had an interesting 45 minutes with him, with lots of information imparted with enthusiasm to us; I asked him loads of questions, chatty girl that I now am. Once the tour had ended we headed along one of the decks ourselves, to where some allegedly traditional clothes were available for visitors to slip into period-appearance; when my ex- was married to me she always fancied dressing in period costume, so I don’t see why I should not have any interest in doing this… but once Kirsty had slipped on a purple curtain-like long-skirt suit it was apparent that the costumes were dreadful quality (albeit deliberately hard-wearing) and I lost all enthusiasm for doing the same, all visions of period elegance evaporating. Alas, just at that wrong moment, one of the guides came around the corner and saw us, and offered to help – I didn’t like to say ‘no’ when she offered to see if a girl’s costume jacket might fit, and so tried it on, feeling a bit awkward in it… and then the low point of the afternoon came when she mis-gendered my lovely BF when suggesting that ‘he’ join me in a photo, and although she quickly corrected herself the damage was done and I felt a bit sick inside and wished we had never bothered the costume thing. Alas, being a transsexual woman, one has to put up with occasional slips now and again, and one can put it down to the perpetrator being a total ignoramus (she said politely), but it is still disappointing when one or both of us is read at all. At that point I totally lost interest in the tour and, after a quick look on the upper deck, we left and decided to go to Costa in Lisburn for a coffee, eats, and a good chat, although it was rather noisy in there from other peoples chat and a loud smoothy maker; Kirsty had a nice episode in the ladies toilet (which she can elaborate on in her own blog) which made up for the earlier low, and went onto have a great evening while I went home.
So, overall, a reasonable weekend… with a hectic Monday to come.