Full-time life as a woman – Week 10… including historical house hunting

Wow, I am now into double digits in terms of my new life living as a woman, and in fact as I write I am into week 11. It has been a short working week owing to Easter… but it has felt long, partly due to having to get up at 5.50am two mornings in order to get a seat on the train, and also due to my boss’s insensitivity.

  • Tuesday – the train to work was packed with families on Easter holiday days out… and so I had to sit on the floor all the way to work. During the day I caught up with quite a few ladies that I am friendly with, including Mary who said my new H&M blouse was very nice.
  • Wednesday – I felt wrecked by the time I got to work, I had woken at 4.00am with my hand realAndrea at Hills. lakely sore and swollen, and Fiona and Natalie both said it looked bad… so I went to a pharmacist who reckoned it is an allergic reaction to either a plant or insect sting, and gave me some cream; personally I think it is a strain, I don’t consider it can be broken as I have not banged it into anything, even if I annoy myself by being rather a clumsy cow. I had a chat with Fiona about weddings and eye make-up… and something top secret that she had not told anyone else – it is nice to be trusted… so I can’t tell you! On the busy train home I chatted for 50 minutes to the woman sitting next to me, who said it was nice to meet me when she got off. It was a lovely evening weather-wise so after a quick Tesco-stop I drove to Hillsborough Lake and walked around it… pausing for a selfie in my new Oasis dress. Then I met up with my two friends for a coffee, sandwich, and huge crème-egg muffin at Ground in Next.
  • Thursday – several people were nice enough to ask about my hand, including the girl on reception who has not chatted to me much before. Other than that, a pretty normal day.
  • Friday was overshadowed by my boss once again slipping up in respect of my life-change; this time he phoned me on my work mobile and a few minutes into the conversation he called me by my old, male name! My heart sank to the floor L After a second or two he corrected himself, but there was no apology… but I have regularly thought his level of manners are unsatisfactory. The main purpose of the call was that he has assigned two people for me to manage, one of them is Fiona and I hope that it won’t mean that she is any less friendly to me, I enjoy all of the chat with her and I don’t want her to think of me any differently but just someone who can help her with her career and any work issues. Liesa came over to me with some samples for her wedding invitation envelopes, it was nice that she sought my opinion over her wonderful creative efforts.
  • Saturday – quite a few weeks ago I invited my friend Michelle to stay one Saturday night… and owing to a fortuitous turn of events it turned out to quite suddenly be the weekend just gone. We met at 1.15pm in Sprucefield shopping centre, and as Michelle had been on the go for some hours we decided on a bite to eat; she had sandwiches, while I ordered a tea cake which was whisked off to be toasted. We sat with our hot drinks and took off coats; Michelle was looking well, in a nice red top which suited her in colour and style – I can never decided whether most reds really suit me, apart from the M&S cardigan I wore that day. Out at the car park we transferred to Michelle’s car a??????????nd headed off to visit a National Trust property, a historical old house and gardens, called The Argory near Moy. We arrived at the car park and a girl in a Woolie hat emerged from a shed – she asked if we were members and I said that I was, she asked if it was a family membership and I said it was a one-adult card, then she looked at Michelle and said “Ah, I think you look under 12”! We laughed, then she went off to get us a map and returned saying “There you are ladies” and gave us directions. We had a very pleasant walk around the gardens as the sun was out, and then got tickets for a tour of the house, only having to wait for five minutes. The tour of several rooms was very interesting, including a sumptuous ladies room which was so much more pleasant than the Gentleman’s billiards room; I asked one or two questions as we went. At the end of the tour one of the guides said “Thank you ladies” and we in turn thanked them. Upon leaving the house it was raining and we hurried for shelter, eventually to a book shop, until the shower was over, then had another garden walk before driving back to Lisburn. We got therePlough 11042015 with much time to spare, so I popped into Sainsburys… and got addressed as ‘madam’ over half a dozen times in the space of three minutes by a very cheery girl who I chatted with while returning a couple of clothing items. I hurriedly changed at support group HQ where my friends Kirsty and Michelle were. I enjoyed a delicious meal at The Plough with my friends, wearing the most expensive dress I have ever bought… and the boldest lipstick I have worn out too; the food was once again great as was the company, we were addressed as ‘ladies’ a number of times, and it was wonderful to not have to put up with obtrusive music. Once the meal was over Michelle followed me home for her overnight stay; we had a really good chat until gone 1.30am over a glass or three of wine, quite a bit of which was surprisingly, for me, about music.
  • Sunday – Michelle and I woke up quite early considering chatting into the early hours and, after showering and re-applying our faces, met in the kitchen at maybe 10.30. I cooked scrambled egg and, of course (see October posts), mushrooms… which she has thankfully survived. We poured through tourist brochures and after a while decided to visit another historical National Trust property, called Ardress House; this was 30-40 minutes from my home, the route passing through Tandraghee where my BFF and I had been only a week before. We had a little walk in the gardens before entering the house for an interesting tour – the guide was very informative, though it was slightly disappointing that much of the furniture was not an original feature of the house owing to a family auction many years ago; as a result we were also not allowed to take any photos inside. I asked a couple of questions of the guide and, in the bedroom we viewed, also had a little chat to another female visitor where we compared bed sizes to?????????? properties we had each visited in the past week. After the tour, Michelle popped to the ladies while I waited, nearly getting attacked by a chicken (which I batted away with my umbrella) who got impatient that I had not fed it. We had a walk around a longer path, though wet weather curtailed it in order to preserve our footwear, and then Michelle returned to my house where, after a cup of tea, we hugged and she left. I spent the rest of the day tidying my house and doing washing in preparation for the arrival of my parents… though the ironing pile grows sadly ever higher.

So, overall, a pretty good week, one where I was very pleased to be able to provide Michelle with the opportunity to actually live life as herself for the longest period in her life; please come again.

x

My first holiday as 100% me! (Part 7) – Homeward Bound… Eventually

The morning of Tuesday 21st October was just a teensy bit sad… because it really was the last day of Kirsty’s and my holiday break away. A long journey beckoned… but so did more positive experiences.

After a pretty good night of sleep I broke my world record for getting ready… which, including shaving my wretched facial hair, came to 68 minutes. Kirsty and I went down to a quiet breakfast room all to ourselves and discovered a good variety of food to keep us going –  a wide selection of cereals, a lovely fresh fruit salad, what turned out to be delicious local fruit yoghurts, and a cooked breakfast menu. With mushrooms proudly mentioned, the full breakfast (sans baked beans) was an obvious choice to set us up for the day… and our B&B host Paul delivered a superb meal – everything was delicious, especially local sausages, yummy fresh bread, but also lovely mushrooms, and as we finished off we complimented Paul on his efforts. We retired to our rooms to finish packing, then paid for the rooms and bid farewell to Paul… and I told him not to change a thing, it was a lovely B&B worth staying again at and he said that he hoped we would come again.

Our first port of call was only a short drive away on the A5… when the first positive experience of the day arrived with haste. We had decided to make a stop at Swallow Falls, a series of waterfalls on the local river. Kirsty parked the car and we strolled to the entrance, where I was slightly surprised to have to pay to see a waterfall… but for a couple of reasWaterfall girlsons we were so glad that we did. I walked to the ticket booth and saw quite an old man, and I wondered if he would sense anything untoward with us with his age and be perturbed by it… but NO, he was very nice, and once I had asked for the tickets he said “Don’t worry about your shoes, love, the paths are very good all the way down!”. I was very pleased with that remark and, after instructions from him as to the order in which we should do things, we set off to the higher viewpoint… from where the selfie to the right was taken. The waterfalls were absolutely astonishing, the river itself did not seem that wide but the volume and power of the water were stunning. There was a fair amount of spray thrown up by the powerful falls, as well as a bit of a wind which hardly did wonders for my hair, but the visit was worth it for the views we witnessed – see below for the most impressive of the falls.

Swallow Falls 1

So, with tourist attraction number one already ticked off, we headed onwards through impressive mountainous countryside to our next one, Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust property near the coast. After our first National Trust visit the day before we hoped for another positive experience… and it seriously did not disappoint! We had quite a chat with the girl at the ticket office, who desperately tried to get Kirsty to join, and then we walked up to the castle entrance, and trotted inside as it started to rain. We were greeted by a friendly guide who gave us a map and explained the route through the main sites, and then we headed over to the first room, the library and games room for the “gentlemen” at that time. We had a lovely talk with the guide who explained all manor of things, and then went onto the ladies drawing room where a guide was already talking to some AmPenrhyn 1ericans – as he finished off I made a quip which seemed to amuse, and then Kirsty and I had another long chat with this guide, and again I ended up making a joke which he genuinely laughed at… and once again I was in my new-found element, Little Miss Chatterbox having the time of my life. With time getting short, we headed through a number of rooms, having more detailed chat with a number of guides, including a woman at the top of a staircase who said about ladies sliding down the banister in evening dresses… and I said “If only we hadn’t left them in the car”! Sadly we had to depart after an hour at the castle as our ferry beckoned – we trotted through the rain back to the car… only for me to discover a text from Irish Ferries saying that due to poor weather (high winds) the service was delayed and we should check in an hour later than expected.

Well, we could hardly go back into the castle again, so we looked on the map for other attractions… and it turned out that the village with the longest place in Great Britain was conveniently nearby:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Apparently, this means “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpooLlanPG Signl and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”, a rather pointlessly long name. Anyway, having lived in Wales growing up for many years I had never been to this place, so off we went. Kirsty recounted her visit there many years ago and before long we arrived at a car park next to the railway station. After photos of us standing underneath the rather long signs (see right) we went to a large “department” store… where it soon turned out to be a bit like a large Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and we felt a bit out of place where most other people had silvery grey hair. But I bought a lovely pair of gloves… and, contrary to some people of North Wales being a bit unfriendly, the girl who served me was very nice and, during a nice bit of chat with me, said she hoped our ferry would not be delayed too long.

20-30 minutes later we arrived at the ferry port and joined quite a long queue of cars… that soon appeared to be going absolutely nowhere. After a while a port staff member approached and advised us of at least an hour delay, and that was only if the ferry could dock in the high winds (it had already failed once)… so Kirsty reversed onto the roundabout and we went shopping nearby. We popped into a Peacocks clothing store but nothing immediately grabbed me and, as Kirsty was keen to shoe-shop, we went next door… only to receive what was probably our only piece of negative TS attention the whole five days, from a late-teenage girl with awful orangey-red hair who found one or both of us curiously-amusing. But her more senior staff member was very helpful, and treated us like any other women.

Back at the port, we parked at the ferry terminal where I asked about the status of things… and the ferry had still not docked and I was told to come back 15 minutes later. To kill time we had a coffee, then went to the loo… by which time an announcement stated that the ferry could be boarded. So we returned to the vehicle queue and before too long we were aboard the boat. As we entered the Club Class lounge a staff member I remember from the outbound trip greeted us very nicely, saying “Welcome back ladies”. That was a good start… to a very long stay onboard – due to weather issues, and problems with another boat docking, we departed over four hours late and arrived in Dublin five hours late; but we had a good time on the ferry, with plenty of snacks and drinks… and no bother at all. And about an hour and three quarters later, with a petrol and loo stop on the way, Kirsty was dropping me home… and I couldn’t believe that that was it – THE END of our trip. I hugged Kirsty goodbye in my house after all my luggage was inside… and after a minute started to run out for one further, slightly tearful hug… but I was too late, Kirsty was just driving off, and so I watched her go and then retreated inside… to sadly wipe my face away for the final time of my holiday.

And what have I got out of this holiday? A number of things… including:

  • The joy of meeting Ruth, and enjoying many adventures as the super-glue three.
  • Many good memories that I will relish forever.
  • A level of confidence that I have never attained before… such that I have probably been at my most talkative in my entire life!
  • A similarly high level of happiness and contentment, that I just CANNOT keep on packing away – to me, more than ANYTHING, it is important to be as happy as I can… and so why would I keep on doing anything to stop that level of happiness from becoming an ongoing, permanent reality.
  • Spending my longest time as 100% Andrea, at peace with my exterior matching my interior.
  • Having attended a weekend aimed at a wide TG spectrum I have certainly realised just how far I have travelled along this spectrum and just how different the “categorisations” within this spectrum are. There is room for us all of course, but where I feel I am so different from many at the event is how I can simply not present to anyone in two different modes, how clothing is now such a tiny piece of my equation, how every single thing that I do more than ever (having witnessed brash and gruff male behaviour exhibited by some CDs present) must be done in a ladylike fashion that really IS me, how blend-in (NOT outrageousness) and elegance are important… and how I have an equilibrium that is only ever attained when I am presenting as my inner, female self.

My first holiday as 100% me! (Part 6) – Mushrooms, Tearful goodbyes, National Trust… and Kirsty’s Legs

The morning of Monday, October 20th, was just slightly subdued, as the main part of my holiday was coming to an end… even if there was more to come. As usual, I was the last down to breakfast… and what a sight it was – lots of blokes on seats where on previous mornings there had been girls. And THIS really hit home the MASSIVE difference between them and my friends and I – many of them seemed totally agreeable presenting as both female and male… and yet the thought of me doing that just would fill me with utter horror, and would be something I avoid at all cost, which is why I changed the arrangements of my journey so that I could do 100% of it as Andrea. However, such is the nature of the TG spectrum… but I was thankfully able to sit at the breakfast table in a different seat than normal and was facing away from the majority of the “Bob’s”; I caught quick, unfortunate glimpses of a couple of them and I then had to avoid all glances around, it was just awful and NOT right… at least for me.

So, readers of my previous posts may have gathered at this stage that I am just a teensy bit particular about what I eat, and so far I had been most disappointed with the total lack of agreement to cook any mushrooms to accompany my cooked breakfast… so when the waiter arrived I asked him if mushrooms were possible for breakfast, and once again it was a “no”. I asked him why not, was it that there were simply no mushrooms available, or what? Anyway, cheeky madam that I aMushroomsm, I produced my little bag of mushrooms that I had bought the previous evening and asked the waiter if he would kindly ask chef if he could cook them for me – he looked a little uncomfortable, but went away with them. Before too long my breakfast arrived, WITH my mushrooms which were perfectly cooked and delicious – chef was apparently not happy at all, probably because he had had to face the significant and unusual challenge of cooking fresh produce at the hotel, so I thanked the waiter profusely and when he cleared the plates I asked him to tell chef that the mushrooms were lovely. Once we had finished breakfast I tipped the waiter for looking after us, and he cheerfully bid us goodbye.

Up in our room we packed the last of our belongings, though before I was done I received a text from Ruth saying that she had to depart, so I rushed downstairs to say goodbye… and when I saw her in the lobby I fell in to a hug and burst into tears! I was SO sad to have to say goodbye to Ruth and I blubbed my farewells and said how wonderful it had been to see her – the past two days had been such a marvellous time with Kirsty and her, it just seemed SO sad that it had to end. Ruth joined in with a few tears, and I don’t think to just sympathise with the emotional wreck that was hugging her. Eventually she had to go and, after a chat with Jaye from Transliving who has helped me a lot with advice, I returned to finish packing; Kirsty helped me with my luggage to the car and, after goodbyes to the organisers Stacy and Shane, we headed to the car and set off on the next part of our adventure.

We had a long drive ahead of us, with lots of motorway, though thankfully the traffic was rather lighter than on the arrival. We stopped for lunch at a Starbucks at a service station, for a toasted sandwich and a mocha, and then carried on until we reached our afternoon tourist spot, a huge house with 10,000s of acres of land called Charlecote Park. The weather had deteriorated since our departure from Eastbourne, and so I changed into leggings and ankle boots in the car – it was a little reminder as to how convenient it us being a girl, being able to change from skirt to trousers or vice versa without any indecency at all! We went through the ticket office, Kirsty paying and me with my National Trust card; the staff were very nice there, and showed us the main attractions to see on the map.

We walked along the lengthy driveway, through an elaborate gatehouse, and reached the immense houseCharlecote1 where a nice lady greeted us, relieved us of our umbrellas to avoid them dripping all over the precious furniture and carpets, and let us proceed. In summary, we went through quite a good number of rooms of the house which were all very interesting… but I can honestly say that it was the most enjoyable National Trust visit I have ever encountered, and I think that it was because I interacted SO much with staff in pretty much every room, I really could NOT shut up! And that is SO not the person I used to be, but it is SO me now – I have really come out of my shell, and I feel have started blossoming. I think my voice was reasonable, and I asked SO many questions – about art work, furniture, history, and so on – and the conversations were just SO enjoyable and fulfilling. With some of the guides I shared humour which genuinely seemed to be reciprocated – it makes me feel SO good to make people laugh as Andrea, it is like the icing on the cake of a communication which seems to show genuine acceptance… and that is supposing that they even realised I was not a biological girl. Kirsty also talked more to those around her than I have ever seen her do before, and that was very pleasing to see. In fact, we showed so much interest that we were the last to leave the house. We had a wander around some of the outbuildings, a quick browse of the NT shop (that sold pretty much the same items as any other NT shop), and then Back along the driveway to return to the car.

Our journey continued Northwest, as did our chat. We stopped at a service station as the darkness B&Bquashed the day, and got a hot drink from a Starbucks. We continued into Wales, on roads sadly bereft of toilets which does not suit a girl like me at all! We stopped in one small town and found toilets at a car park, but there were some lads larking about outside, and the girl in me told me that it was not safe enough and so we carried on. After an eventual loo stop, where I almost burst, half an hour later we reached our destination for the night, our B&B at Betws-Y-Coed in Snowdonia, called Dolweunydd. I had texted Paul, the owner, an hour earlier to let him know of our late arrival, and he answered the door and seemed very nice and welcoming – we registered our details, had some chat with him about where to eat, and then he showed us to our rooms, carrying our heavy bags for us; it was nice to hear him calling me Andrea too – I KNOW it’s my name, but I DO like people using is. As it was approaching 9.00 we quickly checked make up and set off, walking through the rain into the town.

We dined at a place called the Stables Bar at the Royal Oak Hotel. For a wet Monday evening it was really quite busy; we sat at a quiet table well away from the sports TV, browsed the menus, and then I ordered food and drinks at the bar and we returned to our table. After a while it became obvious that we were getting quite a bit of attention from a late-50s guy a few tables away – nobody else was paying us any attention whatsoever, even people passing close by to go to the toilet. I gave him a long pointed stare at one point, and he looked away. Our food arrived, which turned out to be rather uninteresting… although perhaps the attention didn’t help. But as we talked about it we started to wonder about the guys attention… and concluded that it was not because we were TS at all, it was because my BF was displaying quite an amount of hosiery-clad leg below a fairly short (though not remotely indecent) denim skirt. and her admirer had not had so much excitement in some time. So it seemed as though it was our first lesson as girls in getting an excessive amount of unwanted lecherous attention, but all the same I didn’t like it a lot.

We returned to the B&B and after a quick chat with Paul relaxed on the sofa in the living room and had a hot drink and biscuits before retiring to very comfortable beds.

My first holiday as 100% me! (Part 3) – Tourist Girls: Kirsty, Andrea, and our physically-new old-friend Ruth

I awoke on Saturday (18th October) morning feeling a bit bleary eyed after a late night and little sleep the night before… but at the same time full of excitement for the next day of my Andrea-holiday. As usual, I took an age to get ready, with several changes of mind about clothing, and a crick in my side after having leant sideways to do my make up over the bathroom sink as the  mirror was bizarrely not over the sink but to the side. So I was the last to join my table of four for breakfast… and I soon started annoying the waiters with the peculiar ways that I like things… even the simplest thing like juice, most people would be happy with a glass of orange juice but I had to ask for a glass of half orange and half grapefruit mixed together. We had a good chat over cooked breakfast and once eating was over started to plan our day ahead. Claire was due a makeover, but more than ever Kirsty, Ruth (our physically-new friend… who at that stage already felt like an old friend), and I yearned to get out and about and lost all interest over anything that was going on in the hotel. At around 10.45 I think we were ready, and we set off in the Kirstymobile.

We headed west out of Eastbourne and soon reached out first stop, Beachy Head car park which offered, just a short walk away, splendid views of the Beachy Head lighthouse below steep chalk cliffs (see picture below-right)??????????. It was a lovely warm, sunny day, just perfect for our day out… except that it was rather windy and I soon had to put my hair up into a little pony tail so that I didn’t spend the whole day eating it or un-gluing it from my lip glossed-mouth. After a bit of walking and picture taking we returned to the car park and into the visitor centre, where there was quite an interesting exhibition which we had a look around, with a few giggles, before being enticed into the gift shop – I noticed a stand with some tea towels with some alarmingly poignant phrases on them and, after some debate, I bought one with the moto “If you really want to be happy, nobody can stop you” – for me, the most important thing in life is to attain true happiness within and the only way I can do that is by becoming ME full-time and not have to pretend to be that wretched bloke! This journey has already touched and crossed many people’s lives, and those that I have been fortunate enough to make friends with are the kind of people who will stick with one through thick-and-thin… and those who know me but have a problem with me, who cannot see that I am the same (but, I feel, finally a BETTER) person, I can only assume do not want me to be happy. Ruth bought me 20141018_122842eda lovely bookmark too.

We drove on just a little way and, after parking, ascended a fairly steep hill up to another lighthouse, and then walked beyond for a way, with much ongoing chat though we were slightly wary of the time our car parking ticket had on it. This second photo (left) is of Kirsty and Ruth, squinting and smiling in the sun, with the impressive chalk cliff coastline beyond… which, after driving a little further, we reached, parking at a very busy car park with a viewpoint looking across the beach:

??????????

After another walk along the coastline we decided it was time for lunch. At the car park we went into the National Trust centre where I first repaired my hair (a fairly pointless exercise because as soon as I went outside again it blew all over the place), but the restaurant was packed and so we drove on. On the road map I spotted another National Trust property at a village called Alfriston, so we headed towards that… and as we entered the place it soon became apparent what a beautifully quaint village it was, with Tudor-style houses, numerous tearooms, and many other old buildings. Leaving a car park at the far edge of the village we headed back into town, and soon passed a Dad with a toddler holding his hand who said to his child “Let the ladies past” with a pleasant smile for us! After a wander around the village to check out the plethora of tea rooms and the village green we returned along the main street and settled for the very firstIMG_1951ed one that we had passed. We took a table in the garden and after waiting almost long enough for the ingredients of our lunch to actually grow we ate, I had a lovely toasted brie and bacon sandwich with salad (on the side, of course); here is a photo of Ruth and I patiently waiting for our lunch to arrive.

After our late lunch we returned to Eastbourne and went for a girlie shopping trip into one of the Eastbourne shopping centres. Sadly, or should I say from the point-of-view of my purse thankfully, all I bought were a pair of cheap gold earrings, though Kirsty splashed out on a jumper in a lovely berry colour and one or two other items. But time was marching on, and a gala dinner evening of, as it turned out, overwhelming emotion beckoned, so we headed back to base…

The whole day was just absolute bliss, three friends doing the tourist sites of the South Downs coast, blending in and having fun, chatting away like we had known each other for years and years… and I can only hope that we WILL be friends for years and years because my two girl friends that I spent so much time with while away are truly special!

XXX

I ate a real Cornish pastie… and my makeup lived to tell the tale

September 14th – day two of Andrea’s little vacation, a day with Cornish Claire.

I have known Claire on a TG online support group since late last December and she kindly offered to drive me round the sights of Cornwall. I was rather more nervous than normal getting my face on, anxious I suppose on what Claire (who came out over two years ago) would think of me. Then I got nervous about going down to breakfast at my B&B… but only for a second coz I told myself to just get on with it, so down I went. The two guests at the table were quite old, the lady probably 70 and her husband at least 75… so I thought, oh dear, what will they think. But no! All was great, the hosts greeted me and asked what I wanted for breakfast, and I told them not much as I had to soon meet someone, then I sat down and just tried to be friendly…. and we had a lovely chat, they were from New Zealand and were doing a long trip taking in several countries. Eventually I had to dash, so wished them a good day, grabbed bags and headed to the harbour to meet Claire.

At the corner as I walked towards the harbour was a female foot sticking out from someone sitting just beyond, and it was Claire. We greeted with a hug, then headed towards her car… which could do with just a wee bit of a clean! But I am not royalty, it didn’t matter, we got in, and headed off, immediately chatting away just fine. After a while we got on a car ferry and I nipped to the ladies while Claire paid, then went to the upper level as it set off for a better view, then down again, excusing myself past a cyclist to take a photo. Then on we went, past lovely countryside, some local haunts of hers, and at lunchtime arrived at Marazion in order to visit St Michael’s Mount. The tide was in so we walked along the beach then went into the village for lunch, eventually settling on Cornish pasties – Claire told the girl at the counter what she wanted them I ordered the same, then asked what one of the cakes was on the counter, asked for one of those, then paid for it all; the till girl was pleasant. We sat in a nearby little park area overlooking the Mount and ate lunch; Cornish pasties are not the easiest thing to eat in a ladylike fashion, but I tried my best…. though the flaky pastry went all over the place! But my face survived, and after a bit of lip gloss we headed off and walked along the causeway. It had become a bit windy and my hair was all over the place, mostly stuck to my lip gloss! So I decided to tie it into a little pony tail.

St Michael’s Mount is a National Trust property, so I approached the till myself, eagerly used my new card for me and paid for Claire, with a bit of chat to the staff who were all nice. After a loo stop, to also further rescue my hair, we started to head up the hill and showed our tickets to a lovely girl who said my ring was very pretty! A compliment!! I told her where I got it from, in a sale, and she said it was a bargain, and I headed off with a smile. We climbed up the Mount, talking photos as we went and, after Claire kindly took a couple of me with my big camera, we went in the castle and church – a nice man greeted us and told us we could take photos without flash, which Claire was especially pleased about as she had been several times before and could not do so. A bit later on we were in a room and a cute toddler came towards me and I said hello to him sweetly (?), then he started climbing on something he shouldn’t and the mum rushed towards him – I joked that they (toddlers) are very good at doing that, and she laughed. We walked around all the rooms and church, I said ‘excuse me’ / ‘thank you’ / ‘you’re welcome’ several times when navigating around people, partly to be polite, partly to just keep using my girly voice. Then back down to the harbour and, after another stop at the ladies, returned along the causeway and beach to the car.

Claire then drove us to the North coast and near St Just we stopped at an area with some ruined mines, including a magnificent one perched halfway up cliffs. Then onto Lands End, where we arrived at around 6.00, a great time… as all the awful tourist paraphernalia had closed. So we absorbed the views and, after a few photos, walked to the ‘End’ itself where there are amazing views looking up the coast. We decided to have a take away and had just turned to go…. when we were greeted by a large-framed, big-hearted Italian guy who struck up an animated conversation with (mostly) me, and we had LOADS of really friendly chat, I just couldn’t help myself; I wonder what his wife next to him thought. Eventually we parted though, went to a nearby village, and bought supper at a fish and chip shop where the staff were nice enough, then returned to Lands End again to eat, then watched the sun set, a beautiful site.

The drive back was quite long, but full of ongoing nice chat, and eventually I was dropped at my b&b where we hugged and parted. So, I think owing to the reams of stuff I have written it is fairly obvious that I had a blissfully FAB day out, I was SO content and happy the whole time. Thank you Claire; if one is stuck for a tour guide, Claire is your woman! Her knowledge of the area and its history are amazing.

A brilliant day!