Living Full-Time as a Woman – Weeks 20 & 21… including health appointments, good experiences at work… and I have “turned my daughter’s life to hell”

Dear Diary… and readers, here are the highlights of weeks 20 & 21 living full-time as my true female self… into RLE week 5:

Wednesday 17th June

I had a lovely girlie lunch with some of my favourite women at work… though sadly half of the purpose of the lunch was to say farewell to two of them who are leaving the company. I had a delicious pizza, and fab chat with the three ladies for an hour and a half, and Natalie hugged me goodbye as her last day was the next day and I was unlikely to see her again. I was addressed as ‘madam’ or ‘miss’ by the two female waiting and counter staff numerous times, and of course enjoyed it all. Back at my car at the station, just before setting off for home I tied a dog lead (that had been left at my house by daughter) around a nearby tree for my ex- to pick up… such is her keenness to not meet the new me.

Thursday 18th June

I popped in to see Natalie on the way to my own office to drop a little good luck card off with her, as she has been so nice to me and helpful in my early days living full-time as my true female self that I wanted to show my gratitude as such, and wish her well too; we had a hug, and she wished me well with everything too. Liesa was over at lunchtime, and popped over to my desk for a nice chat, so we arranged a lunch for the next week.

Friday 19th June

cup cake work 20150619Another cheery hello from a station employee, who says hello to me every morning now. The train was rather busy, and I ended up moving to another carriage because my seat was behind a crowd of very loud women knocking back vodka at 9.00 in the morning; sorry, but I think that’s a disgrace, and I couldn’t stand the din. I had pondered my outfit for the day, but my attitude was “what the hell, go for it”… and so it was fab to be rewarded with positive comments from young Fiona, who loved my almost-knee-length suede wedge-boots and black disco pants. Late-morning I went to a charity book/DVD sale at work, and came away with some bargains, as well as a yummy cup cake. I left the office early and went to bed once home, as by early afternoon was feeling rather dizzy and generally not right; this was partly due to the office temperature rising to unpalatable levels in the afternoon, but also due to exhaustion.

Weekend 20th/ 21st June

A generally lonely weekend. I did quite a lot of shopping, though have no recollection what I bought (clothes, probably), and early evening went to the cinema with five other people from a meetup group – we saw Mr Holmes, rather not what I was expecting, but a nice film all the same. Sunday I spent over three and a half hours ironing! Never before have I spent nearly so long ironing, but when one finally has so many nice clothes that one is so pleased with then the effort is worth it… and it passed the time while watching television. I also phoned my parents, mainly to wish my Dad a happy father’s day – he misgendered me just once… but that was probably my mother’s fault, because he was talking to her while on the phone about herbal sleep aids for me and it is almost certainly the case that she said “tell him to take…”.

Tuesday 23rd June

Another day of health appointments – three in total – though before the two main ones I went to my local electoral office MandS afternoon tea 20150623to confirm my change of name and then ended up in a half-hour call with my ex- who spent half the time criticising me for something that was a result of her poor communication with me and the other half we talked about my daughter, where she mentioned the counselling sessions that she goes to where she “spends most of the time in tears which is heart-breaking to watch” – this isn’t the indication I got form her counsellor so, following an email of wise advice from my friend Michelle, I have since emailed the counsellor to see what the real story is. However, one plus with the phone calls was that when trying to get through to ex- a colleague of ex- answered the phone a couple of times and seemed to take me for any other girl… especially the second time when she said “Is that Hazel?” – no, it’s Andrea again, I said.

Early afternoon I was at speech therapy again, where the lady could see I was down-hearted from the conversation with my ex-, and so half the time we had a general chat, and the other half went through a few techniques. I left there nearly two hours later, a bit dizzy from not having lunch, so ended up in M&S where I had afternoon tea… which really was rather good, and just the thing to perk up my mood a bit – well done M&S! Then onto Gender Clinic for my monthly session, where she concluded that all is generally going well… which it is.

Wednesday 24th June

I left home in the morning almost in tears, having had a text during the night from my ex- saying the following

I hope you enjoy the rest of your life because you have turned our lives to hell.

Makes me realise how lucky I am to no longer me in a marriage with such a person… who, in my opinion, is another hypocrite in my situation where she preaches to a woman at work about her gay son and how there is nothing wrong with that, but when it is me then it’s a different story – another case of “it is fine to be LGB or T providing it doesn’t affect anyone you know”!

I received a cheery ‘hello’ from two guys working at the railway station, including one I have known for over 15 years… although whether he has matched the new me to the old one I have no idea. In the evening I met Michelle and Kirsty at Sprucefield for a nice supper and chat… and a bit of a shop.

Thursday 25th June

I had a really good day at work – my PM was off sick, I think partly because he was just run down after working at inhumane hours the previous weekend, and so I looked after some things he would normally have done… and I think I did a pretty good job… as did he, with a nice email later on. My boss also seemed very pleased, as I held a meeting with another guy that my boss failed to turn up to, and I thought of everything that he tried to fire at me afterwards. The highlight of the day was a lovely lunch with Liesa at the National Art Gallery in Dublin, where we sat and chatted for around an hour and a half over tasty vegetable lasagne; we talked a bit about my daughter and my journey, and she was very understanding and said some thoughtful things.

Friday 26th June

Another really good day at work, despite getting in early to check on a software release, when I thought I did very well… and so did my PM, he was off sick but monitoring emails and he sent me one at the end of the day saying “Smashing day, well done”; it’s nice to be complimented so well for my work. However, I couldn’t stand staying there beyond 4.30 because my boss and another guy were, off and on, on a conference call in our office for the best part of three hours, with the volume inconsiderately loud… such that I ended up with a headache. All I can say is, read the staff handbook guys!!!! Or, think about other people!!!

Once off the train I hit the shops in the Quays at Newry with the objective of finding a smart coat for summer… and ended up trying on trousers in Next, and a lot of other clothes in Monsoon and Debenhams, though coming away with only four items from the latter two, including a gorgeous John Rocha dress half price. As for Monsoon, although I think they have quite nice things, they are over-prices and the sizes and lengths are all over the place!

Saturday 27th June

A very active day, starting with a group-walking event… though thankfully starting at 11.00 so a bit of a lie-in – I was slightly late, owing to an inevitable loo-stop, but luckily the walks rarely start exactly on time. There were several people there I have met before, and so had a good chat with them during the walk, which was from Holywood to a bird reserve near Belfast called WOW, where we observed colonies of, mostly, black-headed gulls… though I was lucky to see a male sparrowhawk, even if the group leader tried to convince me (as he had not seen it) that it might have been a pigeon – excuse me, but I’m not that stupid, I think I can tell the difference… and a member of the RSPB staff confirmed that a sparrowhawk did indeed frequent the place. On our return we had a lovely lunch at The Dirty Duck pub, and I walked back to the car with a couple of the group, one of whom I have chatted to at length several times… and on this walk when we spotted a convertible I said that I had never been in one and she said “Well Andrea, you’ve gotta find yourself a man!”.

After over two hours of somewhat rushed shopping, I hurtled albeit-legally Nigella Mansell style to Hillsborough for a reasonable meal at the Parsons Nose with my friend Kirsty… although my starter was a bit bland, the main vegetarian course was a bit over-broccolied, and I ended up sending the dessert back as the meringue in the Eton Mess was rock hard and more like plaster of Paris… though I did end up with a replacement sticky toffee pudding which was acceptable (and free); we also got ‘ladied’ a few times by one of the waitresses. We then went for coffee in Costa followed by a trip to the cinema to see Spy – definitely recommend seeing it, really amusing, and well-done spoof spy movie about an over-weight woman who becomes unexpectedly active in the field… and really does rather well at it; however, the swearing was totally over-the-top, and generally not necessary – showing my age with that comment, I suppose.

Sunday 28th June

Just pottering around at home, taking things slow, not achieving all that much… and blog-writing. With my commuting-heavy life, now and again I need to take it easy and try to recharge….

Living Full-Time as a Woman – Weeks 18 & 19

Thursday 4th June

This was the first day in my new office, after yet another office move for my team back to the main building. I bumped into Karen for a chat who said “You’re SOOO happy!” and later “You’re in a frisky mood today” as we had a bit of light teasing! After a couple of meetings I had a chat with Fiona, including over the wording in an email, and she said something like “Well, I could tell them that my friend Andrea…” and, well, it would be nice if she really did think of me as a friend, I’d much rather she think of me like that and not as someone that she just happens to report to, as she is very nice, and good to chat to. Later I forced someone to talk to me who I consider has avoided any communication with me since I began life as the real-me – he was perfectly civil, and that is as much as I can ask.

Weekend 6th/7th June

It was a very quiet weekend, with nobody to spend any of it with, and no Meetup grouAir display June 2015 LRp events to go to. Saturday I managed to spend over five hours in and around Banbridge, which is no mean achievement considering the size of the place! Still, clothes shopping quickly passes the time! Sunday I stayed home, and just after midday rang my parents – quite a bit of the conversation was about the health of my Dad, as he has developed a heart condition, which worries me much… especially when he talked about documenting things for my mum in case he is no longer around! I also asked them about my brother who, as I mentioned in recent posts, finally talked to my parents about me following their visit to me in mid-April… but, in summary, he still “can’t get his head around it”… and then my mum said “I can’t either really”, which rather got me down as it seems a step backwards considering the visit seemed to go so well. In the afternoon an air display at a nearby country fair, which ended up being within half a mile of my house, provided an uplift – free entertainment on my back door step!

Monday 8th June

I can’t remember much about Monday… which is probably good, because it means that nothing much out of the usual happened… and that is the case pretty much every day at work, everything is pretty much normal (but GOOD normal, with bursts of positivity raising things now and again)… which is how I always wanted it to be. I was wearing what I think is a lovely cream, almost white, floaty top that I bought from Wallis on Saturday, and both Fiona and Mary said it was very nice, the fluted sleeves are just perfect, the way they split one each side around my elbows. I also had my annual appraisal with my boss, which I was dreading… and it turned out okay, we both agreed it wasn’t my best-ever year, due not only to exceptional work challenges but also due to immense personal challenges, that I have deliberately mentioned for the record on my form, but he was positive, said I “look so much happier which is a benefit to both me and everyone around” me.

Tuesday 9th June

Met Debbie on the platform just as the train was arriving…. so I slowed as I came up to her to she if she might say hello or anything after my initial “here-I-am” introduction of Andrea to her a few weeks ago… and she did! We walked to the train having a nice bit of superficial chat, and it was all very nice, and really not too different from ever before, even if I have a new slant on things. The train was quite busy so we didn’t sit together (and she likes to laptop-work on the train anyway), but I caught up with her once off the train and we chatted a little bit more before we went our separate ways to work.

Last week, as per previous blog, as I went out to lunch with Kenny I met three guys coming the other way, including a guy called Richie who I have known at work for many years (and was a bit shocked when he first heard the news about me), and although Emanuele gave me a cheery hello (he has always been really nice to me) Richie seemed to barely mumble anything at all, so I wondered whether he has a problem with me. Anyway, as I got to my office he was outside the back entrance having a smoke and so I said hello to him and got a muffled response… BUT then it registered with him who I was, and he rushed over and we had a good little chat, and he said we could do lunch with Emanuele in a few days… so hopefully all is good with him. Further to that, in the afternoon I ended up having a catch-up with Emanuele while I was waiting for someone to become free to meet them, and he said that after we had passed each other on the Friday Emanuele then said to Richie “Aren’t you going to say hello to Andrea then?” and apparently he said something along the lines of “God, was that her?? I didn’t recognise her!” – so, it hopefully doesn’t seem to have been a question of discomfort over me at all, one of unrecognition! Cool!!

Wednesday 10th June

I awoke very early, at a small-something past five o’clock in the morning and, as it soon became apparent I would never get back to sleep I got up to make the earlier train into work. For some reason, I was quite speedy getting ready… and had time to ponder for around five minutes just what to wear… and to completely change outfits after it appeared that the trousers in my first outfit were a bit tight (well, they are a UK 8) and also quite heavy for what was forecast to be a warm, sunny day. So I ended up in a summery, flowery dress in a thin, floaty material… which  by the time I got to work turned out to be a great choice as, teamed with a black cardy for commuting, it was just the right amount of clothing for a lovely day.

To reward me for coming in early my PM Pat took me out for a coffee at a nearby Italian café, and we ended up having scones too. We had an enjoyable chat, some of which was work-orientated and some not. One of the things which filled me with joy was a tale he told me about one of his daughters – he was getting ready for work one morning recently and, putting on aftershave, his daughter said “Are you trying to smell nice for Andrea?” and he said “You bet I am!”. Also they ask him quite often “How is Andrea?” It was SO nice to hear a little conversation recounted between them where his daughter sees me as a woman… because, when I asked him later, he has told them about my history and my journey – initially once he had told them I think the youngest asked him “Does he come into work in a dress?”, and of course at her age of nine that is a fair question to ask, with no knowledge of transsexuality, but Pat has done a really good job of educating them and he quite obviously SO fully grasps the concept of gender dysphoria that it is heart-warming. So now, hopefully like others, they just think of me as a woman, and automatically think of me as a ‘she’… because that is what I am… and as each day passes I am more and more sure of this, if that is possible.

Wednesday evening, after a20150610_221713 Sainsburys shop, I went with my BFF to a charity event at the salon of my fab hairdresser Paul Meekin, the event was for the Shaping Futures program, where hairdressers go to poor communities in other countries to train young people and give them a skill. So this time Paul is off to Jordan, and so the theme of the evening was Arabian Nights – this meant a Jordanian buffet, a belly dancer, a prize drawer, fancy dress, and a fire-eater! Thankfully the fancy dress was optional (as I was coming straight from work), but I ate from the buffet, watched the belly dancer (but did NOT join in when beckoned), did not win any prizes (as usual), and marvelled at the fire-eater. On the whole it was a fun evening once it got going, and I was so glad Kirsty was there to chat to before things started, it was also very nice to see Paul and the rest of his staff, his partner, and Lynda my former-laser-lady.

Thursday 11th June

During my journey to work the train inspector came round to check our tickets… and said “That’s fine, Madam” when I showed him my annual ticket; that’s the first time I’ve been madam’ed on the train! Had a long chat with Liesa at lunch time… and was VERY sad to hear that she is leaving in a few weeks time – the guy she works for is the most objectionable and disagreeable person I have ever come across, who gets angry and swears at people when things aren’t going well, and she decided she had had enough. And worse was to come, she then told me that Natalie is leaving at the end of next week! I will be VERY dismayed when they are gone, we have loads of nice chat and they are both really nice girls.

Friday 12th June

On the way into work on the early train I alas received an email from Natalie confirming that she is leaving the company in only a week… though it is a good move for her… considering the way my company treats people (over-worked, unrewarded, poor life-work balance). I had a meeting in her building first thing, and so stopped by her desk to say ‘hi’ and catch up – I was wearing a short leather biker jacket over a butterfly day-dress with ankle boots and she said I looked “absolutely gorgeous” and “really rockin’ with my boots” which really cheered me up for the day. After the meeting with Mary, and another guy, Mary walked over to our building with me, and she said I looked good too. There was an email to our department announcing Karen’s birthday, so when I saw her I wished her a happy birthday and had a nice chat… and then went up a floor and grabbed a pink cup cake to put on her desk, as she wasn’t sure whether her partner would be buying her a cake or not. I left early to go to a walk with my main group, and managed to get there just in time, at 6.00; I had been really tired on the train and had been wondering whether to bother going, but I am glad I did as I had some good chat with a few women… although dull chat with one guy who is quite loud and asks me nothing at all, so the only way to keep a conversation going is to keep asking him questions… which I just couldn’t be bothered to do after a while.

Saturday 13th June

Stayed home most of the day, tiring myself in my garden for over three and a half hours. AfteGinger June 2015r a nap I went grocery shopping, and then met up with my friends Kirsty and Michelle for a meal out at Ginger in Belfast – couldn’t be bothered to dress particularly glam, so wore a dress suitable for both occasions. The meal with my friends was enjoyable, it was nice to see them and the food was very good, with lots of fish on the menu; the staff were all very friendly, especially a woman who addressed us as “ladies” several times, also the guy who saw us to our table and attended to us some of the time insisted on making me a mocha personally when I reported that that was the only let down of the meal.

Sunday 14th June

I went for a walk with one of my Meetup groups; this one started at 1.00pm, giving me a lie-in… or just a leisurely morning as it turned out, at my age my body doesn’t really do lie-ins any more, I just get bored. The walk was seven miles, mostly along a path which used to be a steam railway from Belfast to Comber, before it was suspended in the 1950s; now there is just a tarmac pathway, although it does cross some of the former railway bridges and there are one or two rail track pieces used in fencing. The walk itself was nice enough, though alas it was all on tarmac and my legs were very achy at the end; however, I had a nice chat with several women along the way, and one of them, a girl recently over from French-Canada, asked me “What are the men like over here?”… which was quite fun, and nice to think that she either considers me a genetic woman or at least one who would be looking for a man like she is! In Comber we went to a café where I ate a nice bread and butter pudding, and chatted to another woman and also a nice guy who is fairly quiet and not overbearing like some on these groups. We took a bus journey back to Belfast, during which one girl asked the rest of us what breed of dog would we be were we a dog – I’m not into dogs that much so, after a few replies, I said ‘Beagle’ as I think they look like cute, and the girl said “That’s right for you, because you’ve got good eyes”, which is a kinda nice thing to say. At Belfast we said our goodbyes… and 45 minutes later, by the time I got home, three people had already said it was good to see me.


A weekend in the Wicklow Mountains with my old Uni Friend

The last time I met my friend Tim, who I have known now for 29 years, was in late-2012 – at that time I was rather fat, rather unhappy… and rather male-looking, at least to him, even though by that time I had recognised my gender dysphoria for exactly what it was, even if I had not decided upon the name of Andrea a few months after that. Now, of course, things are a little different – I am 10 inches thinner in the waist, and much happier… now living as my true female self Andrea.  As per my posts in January, when I wrote to Tim and told him about the real-me, informing him that his old friend would be starting to live full-time as a woman within a few weeks and I hoped he would still want me as a friend, he was immediately accepting… and in letters and emails since then we agreed and planned a long weekend together, and the weekend right at the end of this May was the one that was agreed upon.

I packed for my four-night break away with Tim during the week leading up to it, and on Saturday morning got ready and packed the last few things. With a bit of time to spare before my train, I popped to my nearby shopping outlet and bought a pair of waterproof ladies walking trousers, wanting to be kitted out well as my friend is an avid walker. At 11.30 I lugged my bag onto the train and began my journey; I guess it seems a bit ludicrous that my bag weighed 21 kilos, considering that I was only going away for four nights… but a girl likes to be prepared for all eventualities, and have a choice of outfits too. As is typical of UK rail networks, weekend rail travel is beset by disruption and substitutions, and so the train that arrived was a tiny thing with standing room only… though thankfully at the next station there was a relief train that would leave a few minutes later, so I boarded that. As Tim is a vegetarian I had visions of consuming a meat-heavy lunch when I got to Dublin, but because of the travel disruption, by the time I had bought my rail ticket there was no time to do more than walk to the correct platform and board the local DART service to take me to my destination south of Dublin, a coastal town called Greystones… which I arrived at almost an hour later. Once out of the station I sat on a seat and waited – a couple of texts went backwards and forwards and, after a bit of confusion, Tim appeared around the corner and said “Andrea, there you are!”… so even though he had only seen one photo of the new-me, back in January, he still recognised me. I followed him to his car, hefted my bag onto the back seat, and then we drove to a nearby supermarket to stock up with supplies for the next few days… whichLarragh Cottage soon served to highlight to me just how expensive groceries are in Ireland. We drove nearly an hour to our cottage, outside a place called Larragh and near the tourist hotspot of Glendalough, in the Wicklow mountains. The cottage owner showed us around the cottage and, after we unpacked a few things and I had gone round to the owner to get a spare mirror for my bedroom to do my make up, Tim and I settled in, had dinner, chatting non-stop the whole time… and even though in some ways I am very different now (especially looks-wise… and inner-gender-wise, of course) things between us didn’t seem that different from before, even if an amount of the conversation centred around my transition.

The weather forecast for Sunday Glendalough tower 1was not good… though it turned out to be generally dry with an amount of sun, good-enough weather for an outing I had been looking forward to for a long time, to Glendalough. It is known for its monastic ‘city’ with a tall round tower, though it soon became apparent that there was a stunning amount of scenery in the area. Over breakfast Tim got my name wrong for the only time during my stay, which is pretty good going, and he immediately said “I KNEW I would do it!” We parked in the main car park, then crossed the nearby river and made a quick stop at the ‘city’… which was little more than a church, a graveyard with the impressive tower in it, and one other ruined building; around the tower were quite a large number of tourists so I kept my distance, took a few photos, and then we headed on, soon walking along the shore of the lower lake, with some very picturesque scenery. Not too far beyond that was the much large upper lake, with very choppy water and blustery winds; luckily I had seen sense to put my hair into a little pony tail. We walked along the far shore of the upper lake to a ruined and thus disused mining village, the purpose of which many years ago I assume was for ‘harvesting’ thGlendalough upper valley falls 1e immense boulders there and reducing them to more manageable sizes for construction purposes elsewhere. We paused there for a little snack, then started to ascend the mountainous area beyond that, climbing several hundred metres, passing impressive waterfalls, often admiring the impressive scenery behind us. At the top of our main climb on a plateau we crossed the river and, after a picnic lunch sheltering from the wind behind a rock, we carried on, across a board walk over bog land… where two unexpected things happened, firstly a short hail storm which we were caught in, and secondly shortly after that a deer crossed the path right behind us, soon bouncing off like Bambi! Sun soon arrived again for the rest of our walk, as we returned to the lakes, albeit separately owing to differing photo stops and my loo break where I had to find a discreet place to squat (too much detail I know, but Ruth loves a loo-mention), and when I caught up with Tim he said “I was thinking to myself, I bet that is what she’s up to”… so it was nice to hear him thinking of me as ‘she’; we returned to the cottage rather tired, after 8 miles of walking. I have posted a number of my photos from this walk, and the rest of our break, on my flickr page andrealough34… if anyone is interested.

Glendalough falls above upper lake 1

Monday was a very wet day, raining from 8.00am for literally twelve hours, so no walking was feasible, only a drive around, and a visit to an old mill… with some very frumpy clothing products and dreadfully tacky Irish souvenirs! At lunch time on the way back to the cottage we stopped at a restaurant called the Wicklow Heather that I had found highly-rated on Google/Tripadvisor and booked a table there for the evening, and the woman saidFalls above cottage “I look forward to seeing you later”, which was nice. As it turned out this place turned out to be somewhere lacking in gentlemanly behaviour towards a woman (well, me anyway) – firstly, as I was about to exit the place after making my booking a Chinese couple were coming in and the husband behind his wife barged through before I could exit, and secondly my friend did not seem the gentleman either with me that evening… but then again being with me now as Andrea is very new to him so maybe it is nothing more than that. The food turned out to be very good in both of our opinions, and the waitress did address me as ‘madam’ at one point, which as usual I liked. We exited the restaurant to thankfully dry weather and drove beyond our cottage to a waterfall at the end of the valley, in anticipation of increased flow due to all the rain… and we were not disappointed. Back at the cottage we chatted again, and I had an overwhelming feeling that there I was, a soft, girlie-girl, talking to a guy… the way it always should have been.

Me on river glen walkThe next day the weather was better, and we did a long walk around the Devils Glen, a steep river valley a few miles south west of our cottage. The walk was rather badly sign-posted, and we ended up walking rather more than we should have done, but eventually we managed to get to a pleasant river, with flower-lined pathways, and reached a waterfall at its end. Leaving at around 3.00 there was still plenty of the day left so, after a small food shop, we drove a long loop around two lakes and into the depths of the Wicklow mountains experiencing some lovely scenery, but also very changeable weather, with icy winds, sun, and short rain showers.

On the final day, once I had packed, we visited Powerscourt, a large country house (which, oddly, it is not possible to experience its interior apart from some modern, over-priced shops and a cafe) with splendid gardens which we explored at length, the highlight being the immensely beautiful, and authentic, Japanese Gardens. We lunched at the terrace café insidPowerscourt Japanese Gardene the house, which has a good range of tasty treats… although I had to complain about my hot chocolate, which was cold. After a further garden-walk, past Italian Gardens and the walled garden, we visited the shops (with very expensive clothing that I could not persuade myself to buy) on the way to the car. With time left before my planned train home we did a forest walk and a lakeside walk, then Tim dropped me at Greystones railway station where we said farewells – I thanked him for a lovely weekend, and he said it was good to meet me…

…but I departed feeling a bit down emotionally – the weekend DID go well, to me we seemed to get on very similar to how we have always done, but I have no idea at all what he thinks of the new-me… and, being a girl, it would have been nice to have just one compliment during our meet-up. But does it matter what he thinks of me? Provided I am happy with myself, and we are getting on as friends, that is the main thing.

On the first train home I finally connected to wifi, for the first time in days, and fond an email from my daughter’s counsellor with a draft of a letter that she was about to send to my daughter following my visit with her, so I suggested one or two small changes. On the express train home I struggled a bit with my bag, and a guy said “take your time” as I held him up getting on the train, and then offered to help me with my bag, which was nice… and finally felt like I was being treated like a lady for a moment.

Mountains above Larragh 1