February ends with love and happiness


Today was not going to be just any other day and I’ve already written about how much has happened this month

20180206_084932It’s the early evening of the 28th here. The snow has begun to fall and settle across the valley behind my house. I will discuss further on about meeting my sister and her husband after 20 plus years, the progression in my life and a little more. But today in particular was going to make me feel happy whatever happened… two days ago I received a message to my phone advising me that my long awaited passport was on it’s way to me. Sure enough today around 1.00pm, I heard the door bell – DHL delivery!!!

I was actually having some lunch at the time and while I was excited I did not wish to risk an accident involing my dinner and a new passport. So I sat down and finished my meal.  No sooner had I finished, I spun around on my chair, picked up the two envelopes. The first one contained my original documents and old passport. The second contained only one item – my passport!

“I was taken by surprise and overwhelmed with emotion”

I was taken by surprise and overwhelmed with emotion upon opening it at the photo ID page to discover that it described me as ‘Female’. You may find that comment very odd, but read on. After making phone calls at the beginning of my application and resupplying papers that had been additioally requested, I was told that my documents were not sufficient for me to acquire my passport with a gender change as requested. So, I really wasn’t expecting to receive it as it arrived today! PassportCompMy last and relectant communication with the UK passport office was to agree to a ‘Male’ classification. Something I could change at a later date when able. While I am delighted to say the least, having my passport exactly as requested I also find that I am a little angry. I was misinformed and experienced unecessary delay and stress during the process.  I will be writing a letter of complaint, partly to address the situtation correctly, as I will not be treated in such a manner without a response. Secondly, to ensure that the poor way this was dealt with by the staff at the Passport office may not happen again with another person.

“we may be with you about 2.30pm”

Rewind back to Wednesday 22 – my sister’s message
I received a message on my phone that read ‘Don’t want to freak you out, but we may be with you about 2.30pm’. My sister and her husband were on their way to visit me after a snap decision to drive over. My sister wanted to see me sooner rather than later and her husband did no more than say, right, let’s go tomorrow! Well after 20+ years, I kind of get that. They drove from Norfolk to Dover, a channel ferry crossing and then down to the Limousin.  Originally with the intention of stopping overnight at a bed and breakfast. However, they never managed to find one open! They had a short break on route and a delay of a couple of hours at the ferry port before the crossing. Luckily the weather was good and the roads as safe as possible.

Around 2.30pm and while cooking a meal for their imminent arrival, the chimes of the door bell rang out! I quickly walked to the front door taking a brief moment to compose myself before pulling it open. There stood my sister. It was difficult not to let the emotions run riot at that point. I stepped forward to greet her and we both hugged immediately. At that moment the feelings were simply too powerful to hold back the tears and we both wept for a moment. Niether wished to loose control and we walked into my home. It’s slighty fuzzy around that point as so much was spinning around in my head, but the main feeling was of happiness that my sister and husband had travelled so far to visit me prevailed. I had a bottle of champagne chilled, ready and waiting for this grand ocassion. John arrived after parking their car and joined my sister Baraba and I for a celebratory glass of champagne. Although we had so much to catch up on, the conversation flowed freely. This was the start of our family reunion and it felt right and good. They stayed with me until midday on Sunday when the set off on their long journey home with a weather forecast of heavy snow back in England. During the short stay, Barbara and I had learned a great deal about our past, ourselves and each other. It was a very productive visit. I had felt a little selfish before they arrived, as I had made contact for my own personal reasons. I was at a stage where I needed to resolve some life issues while I am still capable. It was time to confront certain things that had remained in the shadows of my life for too long. There are some still to resolve and I can only hope that I am successful in this area.

“My heart was telling me to look after him”

dsc_0095.jpgOn the Saturday, something happened that I really had not expected at all. While going outside the house to place some rubbish in the communal waste bin I noticed a little ginger tabby cat that had lived in the house next to me. It had been extremely cold over the past few days down to -9C and forecast to continue for a while. The cat was not allowed out of the house and on most days could be seen sitting at a window on the first floor of my neighbour’s house. I knew they had recently moved away and I was concerned that this pretty little cat had been left behind to deal with the harsh weather. No home or food. I returned to my house and brought a dish of biscuits and placed them inside a recess by my french doors at the front of the house. He began to eat with a ferocious appetite. My heart was telling me to look after him but my head was challenging that thought. I went inside and looked at him through the window where he jumped up and began meowing at me. I resisted and left him to eat. After several minutes I looked out the window again to see if he was still there. Only to discover a big white and grey cat eating the food. I rushed outside to drive him away when the little ginger tabby ran back down to my house and ran inside without stopping! He has remained with me since that day, I now have two beautiful cats. He has been a ‘house cat’ and is quite happy to remain inside. dsc_0110.jpgHugo as he is now known, is so affectionate and has chosen to sleep snuggled up to me at night. Sometimes with his face against mine and purring with contentment. I know I am a big softy, but this did feel the right thing to do. My older cat Bertie has been good with Hugo and Bertie may have rediscovered a little bit of life again. He has changed his behaviour and habits slightly since Hugo’s arrival. For the better and it’s great to see him more lively.20180303_092610This entry had drifted into the start of March. It’s Sunday 3rd and I have a list of things I need to deal with. Being in possession of my passport, I can now update my ID here and have a long list to work through in changing documents, policies etc. I have already set in motion changes to my driving licence and bank account plus a few others. Some I can update online and others it will be easier to go to an office and deal with this in person. It is such a great feeling to finally resolve this part of my life and will leave me free to continue with one less major issue to deal with. I can feel safe when driving and dealing with anything legal now.

The way things are contining to move forward I will be back at my laptop writing the next installment before long. I already have a few of things to write about. I have been creative and have ideas for some projects. One that I hope to begin this coming week…


February – recovery, decisions, reconnections and exercise


I didn’t expect to begin writing the next chapter here for some while, but life is full of surprises, so here am I again on February 1st.

Since Christmas I have had a cold, what I think may have been food poisoning and then a flu type bug which after four weeks is beginning to fade at long last. When I awoke this morning at 6.30, I really didn’t feel so good. I made an effort to get out of bed and fed my cat hoping that perhaps once I had showered I might have felt refreshed. Well, I never got to the shower. I went back to bed and slept for another hour. When I woke for the second time I messaged my yoga tutor and informed him that I would not be joining the class that day. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t go. But when the delivery of my repaired new laptop arrived around 10am it compensated a little. .

It’s been a lazy day, taking pills for headaches and feeling a little sorry for myself. Something I am really not in the habit of doing and dislike. So I have had time to dwell on a few things while setting up the new laptop for the second time – sigh! But happy to say it’s working better with a fault free hard drive now. Especially after installing some files they really should have done before they sent it back to me set up for French use with an English keyboard – grrrr!

I have an older sister who I haven’t had any real contact with since moving to France in 2005. Today I decided it was time to move forward with my life and on many levels. I have always been a believer that if you hang on to things they can drag you down or worse, they eat away at you until they become bigger issues.  In all honesty, I don’t think that I let it eat away any part of me, but it has been underneath my skin for quite a few years. I had wondered from time to time if my sister had issues herself as a result of our childhood experiences. Anything is possible – isn’t it? I felt that I should deal with this part of my life now! As my sister, I felt I owed it to her to be honest and put her in the picture. Neither of us are getting younger and she is just over two years older than me.

So today – Thursday, I sent a message informing her my issues life and of the changes in my life here in France. I have no idea how she will react to the news. She is a more religious individual from what I understand then when we were in contact many years ago.

FBchatFour days later, here I am on Sunday morning and I have read my sister’s reply. I shed tears, they rolled down my cheeks as her kind words began to sink in. She said that she was just delighted that I had made contact with her and hoped that we could meet in France or England. I am very happy that I made that choice and am in contact with her now. I think this may be a key stage in my life now and interested to see where this goes.

It’s now the 4th and I am two days into my regular exercise which is long overdue! I see this and the desire to play my guitar and write more songs as an indication that I am beginning to be more settled and happier with my life. Neither activity is easy for me if I am not in a good place in my head. It’s reassuring to see these interests drifting back into my daily consciousness and I feel good about both.

A quick reality check: When I played my guitar, I broke a nail and cried when singing two of the songs I wrote last year. I didn’t cry over my nail I hasten to add, just a little annoyed. I am finding exercise tough going as I am so out of condition. In the past it has taken me up to three to four weeks to reach one hour a day with a warm up on the bike and then cross-trainer. But, nothing of worth is gained easily or without pain in life.


It snowed last night and winter has definitely arrived. -3C tonight and -4, -5 & -5 for the next three nights – brrrrr!

Wow this is certainly a busy month! I have cancelled my appointment at the hospital that I have waited three months for. I had discovered that the psychiatrist that I was going to see was not suitable to interact with me. He is part of a team that deals with “sexual deviants” and believes he can cure the likes of me. I have been advised by another professional, not to engage with the psychiatrist at any cost.  I needed to find alternatives and fast. I have lost three months waiting and was very upset that night. The following day it I felt that I need to take some action which resulted in making contact with a French friend I have recently had exchanges with via Facebook chat. We haven’t met but she was kind enough to give me contact info she beleived would be of great help to me. I now have an appointment next Thursday which I am led to understand will allow me to connect with good reputable services for medical assistance and allow me to progress safely and quickly. This has given me a boost but until I actually have the meeting I am holding back a little, as a second disappointment could be too much for me to handle right now. Fingers crossed it delivers what I am expecting.

This month is turning into an eventful period, so I am ending this entry here and will begin the second article for February….


My oldest and dearest friend meets Sophie


The New Year has passed and 2018 is getting underway. The weather has not been so cold as expected but very wet and windy. Life is settling into a kind of routine now and I am making efforts to rebuild my life in a new town. Health-wise, not so good! A cold before Christmas, another after. Food poisoning and then a flu type bug that has taken three weeks to begin to feel as if I am recovering.

The meeting
The highlight of January was my oldest friend Chris from London coming to visit me at the weekend. He was in France for a conference and made time to come and meet Sophie on Saturday evening until Monday morning. His visit meant a great deal to me as he is the first person from my old life who’s been able to meet Sophie. So that was quite a landmark weekend for me and for him too I believe. I met him at Limoges station 45 minutes away, the drive home was relaxed and we chatted about many things. I had a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge for this special occasion and opened it as soon as we were home. But there was also another reason for celebrating! Chris had told me that he was getting married in two weeks time to his partner Jo of several years. I was delighted at the news and we were both in good spirit. He will soon be one marriage ahead of me as this will be his third.

20180124_170532Before his arrival, I had prepared one of the spare bedrooms for his stay and was quite pleased with how it looked considering it had not been redecorated. It was nice to have a reason to make me organise another part of the house and make it feel more like my home too.

That evening I cooked a nice meal which we enjoyed while sat at the kitchen table, where we continued drinking and talking until the early hours of the morning. Chris had woken earlier than me and cleared up in the kitchen before I emerged on Sunday morning.   After a light breakfast we went out for some fresh air and a walk which was a good idea. Chris remarked that he liked the town, the views and my house which made me happy to hear. We returned home for a very French light lunch of charcuterie and drinks, an evening roast chicken dinner and more drinks continuing until late that night. The whole visit was very enjoyable and I was so happy that my oldest and dearest friend was able to accept my life albeit somewhat strange for him. But he was supportive and simply content with the knowledge that I was very happy. However, I am a little sad that I will not be at their wedding, but it will be a very low key affair and understand.

During the week ahead I intend to make an effort to restart my exercise and get my fitness levels back to where they were last year. I began a yoga class about a ten minute walk from my house last week. So I met Robert, a yoga teacher, photographer and owner of a lovely home with a superb yoga studio in the attic of his old French house. There were five other women, myself and Robert who spent the next hour and a half contorting our bodies in the pursuit of better health and fitness. The following day I discovered which muscles had been tested the most as my abs, shoulder and back were a little tender after that first session. I have since bought my own yoga mat and will be at the next class tomorrow morning.

I went to the cinema last night to see the Star Wars release in original version with Karen. We decided to go for a kebab trestaurant very close to my house before the film. On our arrival I noticed how the owner and only person working there, immediately focused on me, asking my name and engaging me in conversation. He enquired where I lived and complimenting me on my good French. It wasn’t very long before he boldly invited me to meet him for a drink. I could only giggle at the thought of that. Karen and I laughed about his attempt at chatting me up while we waited for our meals to be cooked. He was very interested in my opinion on his food which I unfortunately had to tell him that it was only ok and his sauces were not great.

The film wasn’t a great and possibly too long. But it was nice to go out for the evening. There were only seven of us in the cinema, so perhaps that says something about the film too!

20180105_224238.jpgMy home is becoming more organised and is feeling very much like my home now. I am starting to feel that I would like to get my guitar out and reconnect with my music again. Like my exercise, I have not engaged in either since the summer of last year and I am missing both. My ambition with my music it to play again in public but as Sophie. That would be a clear indication of my self confidence about who I am.

In two weeks time I have my first consultation at the hospital. Long overdue, but at least I am now about to embark on the next stage of my new life. I am excited and anxious. But happy to say that the positives are clearly ahead on that one. It will also have an impact on the level of passport I will be able to obtain. I need to acquire a letter to support my application to get a passport with the details I would prefer it to include. I may have to be content with a lesser option if I am unsuccessful in obtaining the letter, but it will allow me to change all my legal papers and registrations in France.

Updates: I did break out my guitar and also broke a nail much to my disappointment. I tried playing a few of the songs I had written last year. Two of them made me cry and I had to stop, I need to try again soon. My lounge/dining room is quite functional now and I hope to begin entertaining soon. One bedroom is looking good and I feel that I want to begin decorating in the house. Work at the restaurant has come to an end until the season begins to pick up again, perhaps at Easter. But that suits me right now as I need to progress with things in the house. The situation with my daughter is good and I will try to be more flexible in my approach to see if I can establish the right conditions for her to visit this year. Thanks to my friend Chris for his input on that subject. Money is disappearing too fast and I need to be prudent with my spending. If things take longer, it’s not really an issue. I’m pleased that my weight is returning to the pre-Christmas figures and I feel better in myself.

Tomorrow is the 1st of February – I have no idea what is in store for me! Other than – the new laptop I bought at the start of January had to be returned due to hard drive failure, should arrive tomorrow fully repaired. The rest I guess will reveal itself to me all in good time.

One year on – 2018


Sitting by my window looking out over the valley on this wet and windy December morning, I am thinking of how far I have come in one year and how much my life has changed – and for the better. From learning to love myself for the first time in my life and the real key – accepting who I am, to living as Sophie every minute of every day.

December has been a good month. I have progressed with a few jobs around the house and it’s most certainly feeling like home now. Lots to do but no real rush.

25344641_179053772683770_1340000895_oIt was my friend Karen’s birthday early in the month and I took her for a Chinese meal and a little shopping. A week later, followed by another lunch in a lovely local restaurant with two of her friends for a belated birthday meal. I made their acquaintance that day and have two new friends now. We had lots of laughs that day together.

Karen had found herself alone for Christmas at the last minute and was unhappy at that outcome. So, I offered to share the goodies I had bought with her. I went to her house on Christmas eve and again on Christmas day laden with bags of food. The 24th, we had a very traditional French festive meal of delicious seafood: oysters followed by crab, prawns and a little salad. The last main course was a small lobster each with some  mixed rice with vegetables. We had planned a two course dessert but neither of us was capable of the second. But that didn’t prevent us from having a slice of a seasonal Bouche with some fresh cream and a few strawberries. A version of chocolate log made from a chocolate mousse with a salted caramel biscuit and vanilla mousse in the centre with chocolate sauce over the exterior – highly recommended


The 25th was more an  English traditional lunch with pan fried scallops in garlic butter and a green salad. Main course: Roast turkey, pigs-in-blankets, stuffing, roast potatoes and mixed vegetables. Finished with profiteroles, chocolate sauce and cream – no room for the cheese course. An after dinner coffee and brandy finished off the day perfectly.

For New year I have bought more oysters and still have sparkling wine, so sure to celebrate whatever happens on the night. I may even have another turkey dinner on New Year’s day…

On a more day-to-day basis, I find myself shopping for all kinds of things from a new kettle, clock and bedding to a new set of pots and pans. Due to the demise of my computer, one unexpected purchase has been a new laptop that arrives in about two weeks. I am writing this on an old and donated Win7 laptop that crashes at some point during the day at least once and needs to be left alone for a while before it will work. A laptop with stress issues perhaps?

With the New Year rapidly approaching, the most exciting thing for me to look forward to in January is the long awaited arrival of my UK Passport. It should arrive in the early part of the month – YAAAAY!!! This will allow me to get my French ID all up-to-date. No more worries of a driving licence with the wrong photo and name on it among many other aspect of my life here in France.

If 2018 manages to be anything like 2017, I will be a very happy person. However there any many things I need to deal with and break new ground too in the foreseeable future. There’s nothing quite like a challenge! – an underlying motive when I decided to live in France. My French wasn’t great and my financial future was uncertain, but I have survived everything, and more so in the later part of the past 12 years.  There have been many highs and lows in that time and I am sure that will continue. It’s how you view everything that is important and that’s just life!

I added the photos to this article on New Year’s Day afternoon, the first day of 2018, and it’s still raining with a stronger wind than yesterday. But my outlook is full of sunshine!

I wish you all a Happy New and may your dreams come true. Whatever you are searching for in life becomes clearer.

Keep it simple…. love yourself and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself Be happy!!!


The week of my birthday


3CandlesOnce a year this time arrives for us all, but this year is a special one. I can now actually take full retirement. However, I am not quite sure that is going to happen. I have never thought that I would stop working or being active and I think that I am living proof of that now.

I have no issues about my age and will be the amazing age of 65 this November. I had planned an evening with the team that I worked with just before I moved house. I had such a great day working with them back in October and have seen a few of them since. I arranged for us to meet at Kenny’s restaurant for drinks and nibbles, under the premise of getting us all back together for an evening and invited them as it is my birthday the day before we meet. Not that I want anyone to bring gifts, just to celebrate with me at Kenny’s.

BDdrinksOut of the blue, I was asked to help out at the restaurant the same day as I had planned for my soirée, a  group of 20 had booked in for lunch. That changed how I was planning the day – cooking some food and then getting myself ready for the evening. I had some things prepared and had to pack it all to take with to finish and cook at the restaurant after the lunchtime service. But I was looking forward to getting myself dressed up for a night out and some good company.

I have already begun working one night a week in the restaurant as business was picking up and customers were arriving in their numbers – not surprisingly! I had already worked one evening and spoke with some of the customers. I am sure I will meet many more. in the weeks to follow.

On my birthday, my dear and sweet friend Karen took me out for a lunch at a Chinese restaurant and we also squeezed in some shopping too. Two consecutive days of birthday fun – yaay!.

Life in general has calmed down somewhat and I had been hit by a cold which I am now over. I have been tackling small but important jobs around the house. A leaking sink, faulty tap, dealing with drafts and putting up lights. I was intent on getting my lounge/dining room ready for Christmas and spent a day moving furniture around until I eventually found the best layout for the space. I bought some new lights for my Christmas tree and around the house as I want it to look pretty for my first Christmas here. Lights in the town are on every evening now and it’s feeling very seasonal. We even had some snow too!. My tree is decorated, new tv in place and although not free of the odd box of things, it’s now feels like home and festive.  It’s been at least five years since that I can truly say that I am looking forward to Christmas since living alone. I made a real effort to make my home look and feel nice. It will be Sophie’s first Christmas!20171203_192042

I have already begun to enjoy the dining room by inviting Karen over last Sunday for a nice roast dinner.  My first bit of entertaining and I enjoyed making the table look nice and cooking for a friend. I think 2018 will see more entertaining…

Some good news from my oldest and dearest friend in London, Chris. He will be in France for a work meeting and can visit in January. More importantly for me, meeting Sophie for the first time. I imagine it may be a little tense but I will be happy to deal with anything that transpires during the couple of days he is here. I am happy just to know that I have not lost my oldest and dearest friend

I have rediscovered the joys of working on a very old house. Many things break and repairs are just not straight forward. Walls and ceilings are not square or the floors, but it’s what makes this such an interesting home. No regrets, just a re-visit to living in an old house. But I am making progress and finding local specialists for things I cannot do.

Yesterday afternoon I went to my local beautician for a manicure. I was a little under whelmed by the thought, as my nails have been in such a poor condition recently. I am currently on a course of vitamins to get them back to being stronger and looking better. With the recent house move they have been badly damaged, some torn into the pink fleshy part and most broken due to their weakness. Almost three weeks into the course of pills and a lotion to paint onto my nails daily has improved them considerably. The tips have continued to break but less serious damage. Anyway they were irregular and looked unattractive to say the least. At 5pm I arrived at the salon and was greeted by Corrine, a very sweet lady in her late 40’s. She sat me in a treatment room while she finished with another client. 30 minutes later I walked out with nice nails again although quite short. I will happily paint them again now and have booked another session shortly before Christmas for something a little more indulgent.

On another note, this has been a difficult month for my daughter and I. Just before I moved house, she mentioned that she wanted to visit in the New Year at some point to see where I am now living among other reasons. Naturally I was very happy at the thought. Once I moved in and was living as Sophie my mindset changed in a number of ways in a short space of time. I had not foreseen that coming. The thought of having to return to presenting myself as a man and father suddenly made me go cold. I couldn’t face the thought of it. It made no sense of what I was doing and could only see that as a retrospective and negative thing to even consider doing. I had only one option, to tell my daughter. I had previously agreed to be totally honest and truthful with her, so I could not mask my feelings and sent a message to her. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t received well. I got a reply saying that she could not meet me as Sophie. I was lost for words and didn’t know what to say at that point. Maybe not the best idea in hindsight. As a result we had no contact for a few weeks until the last weekend. During that week, I had felt as if I had been rejected by her and my ex. I had lost all communication with them both and my ex was not replying to anything.

My daughter sent a message asking me to phone at 7am on the Sunday morning. I kept calm and called her on time. It was an emotional conversation and she explained that she had sought counseling to help deal with how she was feeling. And she really had not been in a good place at all. I felt totally responsible and bad for putting her in that place, so the conversation was hard for me. We covered some old ground and some new. One message to my ex had clearly been read, as my daughter addressed that issue and explained why they had been silent. It is too easy in these situations to over think things. My daughter is the same and equally had arrived at incorrect conclusions. We managed to clear the misunderstandings and I reaffirmed my love and affection for my daughter. We have since been in better contact and working towards us both dealing with this new relationship for us both. Things are going well and we are in regular contact and I am happy with that.

I am in a better more confident place now. A cousin of mine sent a message to my daughter. She was asking why my Facebook page as her male cousin and vanished and wished to know if I was ok? I couldn’t let my daughter be the one to explain, so I sent a message to enlighten her. She has been kind and has read some of my story here. I am now re-connected with her and her sister who is also informed of my life. I guess it’s only a matter of time before my whole family learn of my life. I have nothing to hide anymore. I am not ashamed of how I am living my life and will tell them all that I am the happiest I have been in my whole life.

I have no plans to follow, no real understanding of how my life will unfold from here with new challenges, experiences and emotions to deal with regularly.  I know that I can deal with whatever is ahead. I think in many ways the hardest part of my life is behind me. I am referring only to my personal feelings and state of mind.

New house, new beginnings, a new life


The main photo is the sunset that I see each night from my new home

Wow!  I have to start this piece by saying how incredible a period of time it has been since the last post. As you know from the previous article, I was very hopeful, but not exactly convinced that my luck would hold out. However, I can now tell you that what actually happened is still sinking in. I find myself questioning what is happening even though it doesn’t feel like things are in my control at all. Strange but nice.


The beer mat that led to the eventual purchase of the house..

Already being slightly bemused, how I came to learn of that particular house being for sale; I was apprehensive about the imminent house viewing. The following Thursday, I went to the house with my good friend Karen and arrived to find the couple ready to show me around the property. I quickly felt comfortable with their presence as we began the tour. It’s a very old house built on top of a hill with two  cellars dug out into the granite that forms the hill and lies beneath much of the town. This apparently had not prevented many of the houses having walls that leaned one way or another. Including the one I am now sitting in typing this. The floor slopes away toward the back of the house and felt odd at first. The thing that I noted most of all, was the feeling that I got while walking around inside – I could live here! It is most certainly ‘quirky’ in room shapes, the un-square walls and sloping floors. It is situated in the oldest part of the town and the prettiest part for me, with the added bonus of a beautiful view across the valley from the back of the house. Yes, it does need some love and renovation, and of course money thrown at it. But this was in the town centre where I wanted to live, it felt good and things were moving in ways that I am still finding difficult to explain. Something I continuously questioned.

At the end of the tour, I began to talk about the price and offered slightly less making a solid offer to buy. The house belonged to the mother of the man showing us around and he had five brothers and sisters that needed to be consulted on the price. So, Karen returned home and I went back to my house to continue with packing! A couple of days passed before I got a call to tell me if my offer had been accepted. I cannot explain to you just how relieved that news was to me when I heard the word ‘accepté’. The move out date for my house was advancing fast and I began to consider how fast the move to the new house could be. A date was quickly arranged for me to meet with the family selling the house at a Notaire’s (solicitor’s) office to sign to compromis de vente (commitment to buy). Things were at least moving fairly swiftly.  The following Friday was the big day for the purchase of the house and the Saturday was the day for signing final papers for my sale and payment, more thankfully.


The key info on the reverse of The Beer Mat which will be framed for display

Friday arrived slowly, smoke screened by frantic packing and deconstruction of some furniture. The house became messy with boxes piling up and pieces of furniture stood against walls, ready for the exit day. Friday, and I was finally at the notaires office, I was a little outnumbered by the family selling the house, as all six arrived. We all shook hands and smiled in the reception area of the solicitors. From previous experiences with notaires, I thought this one was quite pleasant and with a sense of humour, which we all appreciated. It’s a slow process of everyone signing and adding initials to a stack of papers, where we played seat swopping until we had all penned our names to the legal documents. The notiare left the room to make some photocopies, at which point I seized the chance to ask the family if they would allow me to rent the house, until the final paperwork had been completed in two months time. Before they could respond, the notaire entered the room and asked what we were discussing. After I explained, he simply suggested that I arrange a bank transfer immediately after the completion of my sale and transfer the full payment including his fees. At which point I would be given the keys to the property providing I have full house insurance (a legal requirement in France). I would have been stupid to refuse such a suggestion being in need of somewhere to live in a such great hurry. In principle, payment could be made on  the following Monday. Sure enough, they had the payment by the end of business that Monday.

Partly due to the strange way that things had progressed in an incredible manner since discovering the house, I had pre-booked a van in vague hope that things would just work out for the best. My plan was to pick up the van on the Tuesday evening ready for an early start the following morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take my cheque book with me, it shouldn’t have been necessary. However, when I was asked for a ‘caution’, the deposit to cover accidents etc, I offered my bank card for the 2000€ payment, which I believed was held but not taken as a payment. It was refused – disaster!! The money clearly had not got to my account as was expected by the end of that day. So, I had no other choice but to return home in my car and head off early on Wednesday to collect it when they re-opend at 8.30am. Cheque book in hand I arrived on time, although I had the funds in my account by the following morning and all was gliding smoothly forward. The move begins…

Skip Day 1-3, if you just want the core

20171004_081126.jpgDay 1: I woke at silly o’clock due to the anxiety of the day and set off early on that Wednesday with the first van load of my things. Mainly boxes, but a few pieces of furniture too. The day continued until about 9pm when I returned back to my old house and grabbed a bite to eat. 1 day of 3 done! Exhausted…

20171004_165254Day 2: I woke early again and began loading more furniture. and set off asap. 40 minutes of being on the road, I was overcome by tiredness and stopped off for a coffee and a pain raisin which helped energized me thankfully. I am so pleased that I bought a trolly to help me move the heavier things on my own and it was worth every penny. It was a longer and harder day and even more exhausting by the end of it. Before I left to return to my house for the last sleep, I looked at what I had moved into the new house, I realised just how much I have managed to move on my own. The drive home was an endurance, but I was home at 10pm and decided to eat a dinner as I knew I needed to keep up my strength.

orca-image-1507299875247.jpg_1507299875581Day 3: Surprise! I woke early. My cat Bertie was quite stressed at this point as his surroundings had been disappearing on a daily basis. I understood how he felt.
My friend Richard was arriving that morning to help with the heavy pieces of furniture. Was I so pleased and grateful that he did! We were both struggling with some of the pieces at each end of the move. But, we moved it all with time to spare a,nd Richard returned back home, while I stayed in my new house for the first night. I got the bed put together and a few things organised before going to sleep.

Move1.jpgIn short, 3 days of hard work which left me drained and exhausted. But with the end game of relocating and my new life as Sophie so very close. I kept getting flash backs to the events that made this happen and tried to think of the possibilities of making this happen the way it did. I drew a blank on that each time. I recalled the last drive to my new house loaded up with the heavy items, a few tears rolled down my cheeks as it began to become a reality – this was not a dream! Yes, it was definitely happening – at last! The last moving day was emotional on many levels, but with an emphasis on happy.

I guess, because I had tried to accept what was happening and I was in my new house, I had begun to feel a little different about things.  Overall, daily activities appeared to have a direction of their own and I was trying just to go with the flow.

I feel that I have become a little more spiritual since moving. I am sure that I felt a presence of the old lady who lived here during the first couple of days. I felt that she was happy that I was the new tenant. That makes two of us!

Since arriving in the town, I have noticed how things are coming together without my intervention. I am sure that it is not fatigue or stress related but a genuine input from something I cannot fully explain and happy I am aware of it.

There is a saying ‘All good things come to an end’. After a week since arriving at my new home, perhaps that has happened.

By the time I write the next article I will know if that is the case. Right now I am still very positive about my life. There will always be things that try to throw you off your path and thinking but I am quite focused on moving forward. Otherwise what was the point of all this?


Tired and in need of sleep, but very happy

The weekend before moving and Sophie’s first day of working


So, here we are. My offer to buy a house has been accepted with the commitment to buy, documents signed on the Friday afternoon. Saturday afternoon the signing of final documents for the sale and subsequent payment, bliss! This will all be explained in more depth in the following article.

Sunday, I had agreed to help my friend Kenny cater for 90 people in the village where he has set up a restaurant / bar. Sophie would be working for the very first time in public. I arrived at 9am at the village hall to meet Kenny and Julie, who had been there a couple of hours already setting up the dinning hall. A quick introduction to Julie, then on with the tasks of the day. Julie and I continued setting out tables. We got on well and chatted generally in the way you do when try to learn a little about each other. About halfway through, Debbie, a pleasant Welsh girl arrived and joined in. The two of us carried on while Julie got involved in other things. Shortly, the rest of the team arrived, Kenny’s sister and husband arrived followed by Kerry, who I had worked with before but not as Sophie.


I was constantly looking for any signs of a reaction to me not actually being a woman, but tried to get on with the job maintaining my composure. Time to be in the kitchen and 90 starters to prepare. Kerry began cooking the main dish while I began slicing terrine for the first batch of starters. I was joined by Kenny’s sister who assisted in plating. We got on very well from the start, chatting and joking as we dressed plate after plate. Then onto the next course, another 90 starters. By this time people were arriving and the hour for serving was fast approaching. There was a nice atmosphere in the kitchen although we had discovered that the dishwasher was not working  and there was a problem lighting the oven.

The time had come for the mayor gave a short speech before we began serving the first course. The immediate reaction to the starters was good and a first encounter with Kenny and us, his team. We worked great as a team and everyone was there to support our great friend Kenny in his new ventre. On to 2nd and 3rd courses. A lemon sorbet with Limoncello added just before serving followed the starters before the main dish. That commenced swiftly we had cleared the tables. Three of us dishing up and four serving. Wine was flowing quite slowly with the diners, but the food was being enjoyed regardless.  The cheese course and finally the dessert which they surprisingly all eaten and clean plates returning to the kitchen once more. As soon as it was polite enough to begin clearing tables, I went out and began chatting to the diners while collecting their empty plates and glasses. The feedback was great.

All those I spoke to gave high praise to the service, organisation and the food. I even got chatted up by one gentlemen who told me that I was a pretty girl. As some of the guests got up from their tables, ready to leave, a few of the men were requiring that I kissed them goodbye. By this I mean the traditional greeting and saying goodbye of the French, which is cheek to cheek but sometimes lips to the cheek. You can guess which happened – giggle.  Anyway they were all in good spirit and had enjoyed the day and well behaved as they were mostly over 50’s.

The part where we become the washing up staff and cleaners had kicked in, we were all keen to get done quickly as it was now after 4pm. While working together the chat, laughter and good humour continued as it did throughout that day. We were motivated by a couple of bottles of champagne that was kindly given to us by the man who arranged the lunch. So, with spirits and glasses lifted we steamed through or our work.


When I work was done, we sat by the bar in the dinning hall and chatted for a while with the final glass of wine. Myself, Kenny, Julie, Debbie and Kerry. The buzz of the day was still ringing in my ears and I was having a great day. Julie had to leave but we continued to chat as you do! The conversation drifted into an area that I was surprised to find. Both Kerry and Debbie began to talk of gay, crossdressing and TG, they both had people in their lives in France they ticked those boxes. Suddenly, I had a wave of confidence and commitment to who I was becoming. I felt very easy to tell them that I was born a man but was now living as Sophie. I was in awe to learn that they had thought that I was a woman that day. It made me so very happy inside to think that I had been convincing, not only in my appearance but my mannerisms and speech. couldn’t help thinking that Julie or Kenny’s sister and husband possibly felt the same towards me too. I was disappointed that they weren’t there with us at that point. I am sure I will meet them again.

I drove home that night not only having had such a great day, I also had five new friends and I received wages too. Life felt so good and I hadn’t moved house yet!

Synergy… I hope that is what I experenced!

The main photo is a view from the house I am interested in buying – and although it’s hard to tell from the image, the garden is generally Southerly facing and located in the picturesque old part of the town

My summer work is now over and my time is occupied by searching for a house to buy – and it’s not been going so well! Lots of driving and nothing to show for it so far. Or is that true?

I had forgotten just how stressful moving house was and why to we block those moments from our memories? This has sent my emotions in to highs and lows. I have had many days of tears during the past month.  I have been working on controlling how my emotions affect me too. Time is slipping away fast and the move out date is creeping up on me daily. Three times, I thought I had found the house I could buy and each one has fallen through, the longest taking over two weeks to find out. I am sorry to dominate the opening part of this to moving house but this shows you how it’s affecting me right now.

It’s Saturday evening and I have opened a nice bottle of Bordeaux which may send me to sleep or allow me to consume the whole bottle. Let’s see! I simply fancied a nice glass of wine. The first bottle I have opened at home for many weeks

Yesterday, I drove back to the town where I am trying to buy for a 10am meeting and to view a house bang in the centre of the town. Something I have had basically given up hope of finding due to house prices. But this one looked (online) as if it had potential. I chose to ignore the comments of my friend Karen who suggested it wasn’t the nicest part of the town to live. All I could think was, I just was lucky to find a house at all in the town. With that said, I arrived at the house and was greeted by a very pleasant agent Joelle, who took me around the property. Good size rooms and a garden too. But a fair amount of work to modernise it, albeit the house was habitable as it was. After taking some photos as reminders and  commenting that I would give it some thought, I left saying that I would let her know very soon if I was interested or not.

My next appointment with a property agent was just around the corner to the house I had viewed, so I was punctual and arrived at 11am. This is the point where day began to shift in a new direction,  and nothing I had not planned for. I entered the offices and introduced myself to the young woman sitting at her desk, informing her that I had an 11am appointment. By her reaction, it was clear that it wasn’t with her. She replied that  her colleague was out of the office, but she could go through houses they had for sale and began taking details of my criteria. Shortly after, the phone rang. Oddly it was her colleague calling in and learned that I was there. Apparently, she thought she had given me an afternoon appointment, she couldn’t be back until 3.30. I quick decided that I did not wish to drive home after seeing only one house and agreed to the time. All I could think at that time, was how was I going to kill over 3 hours?

Le Palais 2

I decided to find a cafe and have a coffee to reflect on the house I had just seen. So, off I went towards a bar I had visited before with Karen. The sun was shinning, I put on my sunglasses and strolled along the old streets of the town. For a moment, when I arrived at the bar I thought it may be closed, as it’s that time of the year where they close and go on holiday after a busy summer season. Suddenly, the owner appeared from the bar and greeted a small group of English people looking at the menu, but they were merely browsing and walked off. I asked him if I could order a ‘demi’, a 50cl glass of a draught beer, and sat at a table outside. I sat pondering on the morning and what my options were. Before I had finished the glass, it began to lightly rain. I moved under a parasol on a nearby table, determined not to be deterred by the weather. But nature chose to be a little harsh and the rain became heavier, I was forced to go inside the bar. I sat down at the bar and ordered another drink. Across the restaurant was a table of four men, there for their lunch and waiting to order. I had already heard the owner announce what the menu of the day was and I didn’t like what was on offer. So I asked, if that was the only dish available? To which he replied, no there is the menu as usual. I had not planned to eat while I was out, I was expecting to visit a few houses and then return home. Hopefully, having found something of interest, that I liked and wished to buy.

Anyway, that wasn’t happening so far – obviously! So I chose a dish from the menu and was seated at a table for two by the window, where I sat with my glass of beer. The owner being the only waiting staff, came to the table and took my order, asking if I wanted wine. I often make light conversation when I am in such situations and asked if he had a good summer there after declining the wine at that moment.  Yes, it had been fine, he replied. I explained that I had been cooking in a restaurant for the summer and was in the town looking for a house to buy. He quickly said, and I am looking for a chef! I chuckled to myself thinking how funny that was.

We carried on chatting on and off until my meal arrived. He talked about the food they offered and I explained that I enjoyed cooking Indian, Chinese,Thai, Italian and other styles of food. I thought that may not have been of interest, as their menu was typically French, and not great at that. Low Trip Advisor ratings too, I later discovered. To my surprise he appeared to be very interested what I had said. I must have stayed for an further hour or more with us talking, compacting our lives, work etc into a short space of time with brief sentences. We got on well and there was a nice rapport between us. Out of nowhere, he passed a beer mat to me with writing on it. He had written the name and address of someone he knew that was selling a house in the town. In a better location that the one I had looked at and perhaps more importantly, a private sale. I thought how kind the gesture was and remarked accordingly. Suddenly, it felt as if the sands had shifted dramatically. It was a slightly unsettling feeling, although it felt good at the same time. It made me stop and think about the moment. It’s important to recognise these moments in your life when they occur. They can change things forever if you can be aware of opportunities that arrive from apparently nowhere. I paid my bill, we exchanged telephone numbers and I was invited to contact my new friend Philippe as and when I move into the town.

Feeling quite unexpectedly happier, I walked back to my car to try and locate the house on my phone but the connection was poor. A man arrived at a car parked next to mine, I jumped out of my car and asked him if he knew the address. I eagerly shoved the beer mat in front of him so he could read it. He thought it was probably very near the church in the old part of the town. Now, it was feeling even more strange. The house was just around the corner to where I just had lunch! Was this all too much to be a coincidence?

I programmed the address into my GPS and arrived a couple of minutes later outside the house. It was only a one minute walk or less from the restaurant! I noticed a handwritten sign on the door with two phone numbers on it. After parking the car by the church, down the hill and at the end of the road. I walked back to house and wrote down the numbers. One I had already called, but got no reply.


I walked back towards my car as I dialed the other number. A woman answered, she sounded a little weak and I thought that she was possibly unwell. She didn’t sound like a very old person, simply tired and weak. I explained that I had been given the number by Philippe the bar owner and began to ask questions about the house. She asked if I could call back when her husband was home later that evening. I was pleased that, I had at least made contact and knew that the house was still for sale. Better progress than on previous houses I had been interested in.

I got into my car and began to make my way back home. I had a strong feeling that I had seen the house on a property website and decided I would search once home. I was keen to learn more about the house and why I had not selected it to consider before! Almost home before I remembered, I needed a few items of food, so I stopped off at a supermarket near my home. When I say near, it’s a 15minute drive away. Believe me, that is near where I live right now.

I arrived home and was immediately greeted by my lovely Bertie, who was very happy to see me home again. I quickly unpacked my shopping and began the online search. Within 10 or 15 minutes, sure enough I found the house. I am still struggling as to why I had not selected this one to look at before! The rooms look in fair condition and spacious too. 110sq metres of property with 2 cellars, a terrace and 300sq metres of land. Generally a Southerly facing garden with a view across the valley, river and viaduct. Quite something on a sunny day! How did I pass this one by? I believe, originally I restricted my choices to houses that were independent, so this one never made the list. Since then, my idea of what I need over what I want has changed. I am now prepared to consider a terraced house which this one is. fnaim-40745111_24350511-162077T02fnaim-40745111_24350511-162077T03

At least the searching online and looking at the property details kept me from being anxious about the call I needed to make that evening. I waited until around 7.30 before I made the call. The woman answered again and I explained I had called earlier about the house. She called her husband and we spoke briefly about the house. I asked the all important question – when could I visit to look at the property?
He thought for a moment and said, the following Thursday. My immediate reaction was to ask if it was possible to see it sooner. No, came the reply swiftly, Thursday morning at 11am!
I agreed and a gave my contact details in case of any problems.  I now find myself being excited again by the prospects of a pleasant house in the town where I would be happy to live. Add to that the chance of working one minute away from the house, is quite extraordinary. My only reservation is if I really do wish to work in a busy restaurant again. And in a full time capacity! After my experiences of working this summer and just long weekends, leaves me somewhat uncertain about that choice. However, I have plenty of time for reflection on this and I will see how I feel as and when I move to the town.

I am trying not to count my chickens just yet!!

I never thought it would be possible now!


No. this is not about me having a manicure, but a reminder of my guests’ nails when we enjoyed a very memorable evening. I am also aware that it’s been a while since I posted an update. But I have been dealing a lot and searching for a house and packing. Something I had forgotten about the stress created by such activities…

Back in 2014, while cooking through another summer in another ‘restaurant’ I met my now, good friend Kenny, who I have mentioned before. However this not about him. Just that point in time and that location. We had a young woman by the name of Lleahan working with us in the kitchen. One day, when her family arrived for a meal, Kenny introduced me to Helen and friends who had arrived for a meal. Helen was a transgender male to female, in the process of transition. Apart from not having time to enter into conversation, I wasn’t where I am now. So things would not have been discussed as they might be now.

Karen, another dear friend, had suggested from early on when I came out to her, that I should try and find others like me to talk to for support and understanding. At the time, I didn’t remember meeting Helen. The subject arose again! Helen is a friend of Kenny, and subsequently, I managed to track Helen down and send a message to make contact.

We soon had  long chat online and discovered quickly that we had a lot of similarities in our lives. Understandably very different lives, but our personal gender issue had been so close by comparison. I should say, that she had a medical history that is unusual to say the least and in that respect we differ immensely.

By the end of the chat that evening we agreed that Helen would visit me. By this time she had already given me so much insight and information regarding life in France and in our region with regard to TG individuals. Not all good, but very helpful and thought provoking. I was looking forward to us meeting and hopefully having a new and special friend in my life.

Before the visit,Maddy (as I am allowed to call her as a friend) and I exchanged a little more by chat and messaging. I established that one of her favourite family meals was an Indian curry which I also enjoy very much and happy to cook for my friends.


Helen arrived a little before 5pm after a good hour drive. I made us both a cup of tea (we are both English – giggle) and sat on the sofa and we just started chatting like old friends in many ways. After non stop discussion continuing from out previous dialogue, plus many new topics, we eventually sat down to eat. The eating didn’t interrupt out talking too much and we casually chatted the night away. I was very much at ease in the company of Maddy. I feel that she too, was very relaxed and enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

She had transitioned fully in May this year and is still recovering for the surgery. Since our meeting and discussions, one of the things that has stuck in my head since then, is the fact that she informed me that I could follow the same path – possibly! And obviously, if I chose to.

When I made the choice to accept I that am Sophie, I never thought for one minute that it would ever be an option for at this stage of my life. Perhaps you can begin to imagine how this news had an impact on me since discovering that. I am however, learning that other people in general, do not understand very much about why I, and those like me wish to do what we have to do in our lives. We are ‘hard wired’ from birth and learn to live and deal with this, if we are lucky and able! So that’s it in a nutshell.

Providing that I live as a woman for two years, get a psychiatrist and psychologist and a doctor who is sympathetic, I could be given approval for free treatment and surgery here in France. Lyon is where they have some of Europe’s finest surgeons in this field. While I am naturally interested, I am also apprehensive, at my age, about following through with this. Maybe I simply don’t relish surgery and very painful surgery at that. However, this would not happen overnight and I have plenty of time to reflect on this and move to a new home. Plus, I would need to convince the powers that be, that it is something I genuinely want. I don’t doubt myself in how I think, just if I can answer as they require me to. But I am one of the worlds’ over thinkers….

I am hoping to see Maddy again soon and have been in contact while writing this.

I look forward very much to continuing from where we left that Sunday evening

Feeling good about the future


Not surprisingly, I believe that I have managed to put my foot on the brakes pretty hard to get back control of my life again! I have made a real effort to slow things down. And if you have been reading my posts you will understand why I needed to do that. I feel as if I have been running at this at high speed since late May and need to calm things down. But its what I do!! When I make my mind up to do something, I can commit totally to whatever that maybe. Sometimes to cost of many other things including myself.

So, moving on to plans for this Thursday morning, I am going to look at another house. I hope also that I may get to see a few, but I am specifically driving to see one. Oddly I have not ad a call from the property agent about my recent offer on the house I found before. So my first objective is to question her to learn why!

Reflecting on the past week, I should mention a couple of things here. When I returned to work last Friday it was also to play two nights with two different groups on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Two nights off from the kitchen! Saturday morning, I had to go to a meeting at my solicitors to sign the sale papers with the Parisian couple who have bought the house. A step forward that ties everyone to the sale. However, they need to raise finance to buy the house and in France, you can do that after signing to buy a property. But, I feel confident that they are able to manage the purchase. I now have a moving date of 11 November as the latest date. Possibly a little sooner depending on a couple of variables. Hence I need to find a house fairly soon to avoid problems.

Things with my daughter remain on hold here and I am dealing fine with that now. I have spoken with my ex who has kept me in touch with how things are going for her and my daughter. I have spoken with Karen frequently and this has become a normal activity between friends. I will see her later today after the house viewing as she has invited me for lunch and will go with me in the afternoon to see more houses hopefully.

Last night I met with a couple who are very dear friends and the first couple I came out to. Several weeks after putting them in the picture, we eventually got to meet up and talk, a lot about me. The evening was filled with many questions, which I was happy to answer. I learned of their feelings, which had been mixed at first. Because we had become such close friends, she had felt a little angry after learning about me because I had not been honest with them. It had made her question me and things that I had said. I understood that and was happy to hear that they had no issues at all about me or my life. We talked for quite some time and every aspect of my life and my intentions were covered. I was happy and that their interest in me was was encouraging. I parted late last night in the knowledge that my instincts where right about confiding in them and I can take them forward in my new life.

I now have to get myself ready for the drive to see the house so here I leave things until I return later today.

It’s 10.30pm and I think I can finish this tonight before I sleep.

A couple of photos of Bellac where I am looking to buy a house. This is the old part of the town where I have just found a property that looks interesting.



It has been a  good day. I discovered that I had misunderstood the property agent after I made the offer on the house. I should have called her last Saturday to confirm the signing of the sale of my house – oh well!. I had thought she was calling ,me with a response to my offer. Anyway, to get to the point, I looked at another house that did not live up to expectations. So before going we left that house, I decided to ask if I could reduce my offer by 2,000 on the one that I still liked. She pulled a face, but agreed. I said that it was simply a lower starting point.

In essence I have good feeling about the house and have had since the first viewing. I hope that this is founded. I also learned that there is a lot more than I realised in the town which makes it an even better place to live for me. I had a nice lunch with Karen today and she drove around the area to allow me to see a little more of the town. Collected one of her dogs from the vet and returned to her home.I have to say that by this time I was starting to feel tired and after a short chat I left for drive home.

Work again tomorrow and only one more weekend remaining after this. Although I have been asked to cover 13 & 14 of September. I will have to discuss the conditions for two days, as the economics are not good for me. Today, my morning will disappear rapidly as it always does when I have to return to work. But this week I really am in a much better place. I may even perform a solo concert at the restaurant next weekend, in a way as a farewell. If I do this, I think it would signify the end of much in my life and possibly be quite emotional!  I would also need to practice a lot of the set as I haven’t played many of the covers I play for quite sometime. Playing the two concerts with the bands recently reminded me of just how much I enjoyed performing live music. Four years ago at the restaurant when I had performed solo, a couple of people had suggested that I should  play solo instead of in a group, saying that it was much more enjoyable and how good I was. I am not a confident performer, I simply love music and enjoy playing. Haha – I think I have just confirmed my concert! My ambition is to be able to perform as Sophie, and would like to try and improve my signing technique and not sound quite so gruff and more feminine. I think that is as much about my acceptance of what I am and maybe I need to stop worrying about that!

Until the next post ….

Packing, rehearsing and trying to rest…. so tired – the wake up call!


Work is at a peak with the summer season in full force. The busiest weekend so far with 150+ covers in two evenings. 9 hours and resting in between shifts as had been coerced onto doing  a logo design for an old friend in the UK.

To finish the weekend work in style, I drove home at 11pm last night in one of the heaviest storms I’ve seen in France in the past 12 years. Not what I needed at that time of night, but the desire to get home and into my own bed was like a driving force that would have got me through far worse.

Today I am trying my best to continue with dismantling furniture and pack things as I go. When I get 4pm I will need to grab my bass guitar and head off for an hour drive for a late night rehearsing for one of two concerts I will be playing on the 11th and 12th of August. It seamed like a good idea at the tome, but I hadn’t sold my house at that point – hindsight!!

My car needs it’s road safety certificate on Thursday morning – a Control Technique as they call it in France. Before that I am hoping that the new tyres I have ordered will be delivered in time to be fitted by my local garage in the village.  Wednesday afternoon is another visit to look at the house I pictured in the last post. This time to take stock of it again after a week of thought and most likely make an offer.

Thursday I have been invited to lunch by the guitarist I am playing the first concert with. Although a pleasant afternoon, yet another drive of 30-40mins and energy sapping.

Somewhere among all that I need to recharge my energy levels and be fit for another busy weekend.

On a more personal front and of major importance and impact on my life, I have made an application online to legally change my name to Sophie. I am hoping that I will be able to make the purchase of another house in the name of Sophie to avoid complications down the line. Documents should arrive in about a week from now and then I can apply for my passport to be changes too. Something I will be required to show here in France for many things re my home, life and identity, from my bank account, driving licence to social service and medical care. I also need to establish which organisations I need to contact, not only for these, as I am changing the region that I live in which requires  several official changes to my personal details. I must start making a list soon of all the things I need to do and get in place before it becomes a potential problem.

Thursday – I am back to finish this article, the day after going back to look at the house again, but it turned into a terrible day.

Wednesday started fine. I was up early as usual and the name change documents arrived that morning. Upon reading the info with it, it mentioned that I should have official document witnessed by a solicitor. So I looked to see if there some where I was viewing the house. I found two and thought I would call when there and try to get a 5 minute meeting to get the signing witnessed. It was then I discovered that August is a month where solicitors (or Advocats in France) go on holiday quite often for the month!!!

So I decided to go and do a little bit of shopping for some food. All was gong fine until I went to leave the car parking area. I followed another car towards the exit and turned right at a slow speed when all of a sudden, there was a bang and the wing mirror flipped back. A woman turned and stood there with her mouth wide open holding her shopping in her arms. I got out to find that I had dented both doors. I had not seen two bollards and cut the corner too tight, denting the driver’s door and rear passenger doors along with the section underneath the doors. The rear door trim was lying on the ground, so I simply picked it up, threw it on the back of the car and drove off. I was so distraught and on the verge of  crying my eyes out, that I pulled into another supermarket car park. I sat there trying to compose myself before getting out to look at the damage more carefully. It was quite bad, the sills had been damaged as well as the lower part of both doors and the window on the driver’s door was stuck in the down position. I got back in the car and I did cry a little. While I sat there considering the problems that this may cause me and I reflected on how this had happened!


On the drive down to see the house, I had felt so tired and wishing I didn’t have to do it on that day. I realised that I had been pushing myself too hard recently and not making sure that I had been getting rest while at work and when I return home. So I had a big wake up call that afternoon. Things could have been so much worse and I am lucky that this can largely be fixed.

My friend Karen called me while I sat in the car and we spoke for a couple of minutes while I explained what had happened, almost crying through the conversation. She suggested that I called in for a quick coffee before the house viewing, which turned out to be a good idea.

A coffee and 15 minutes later I arrived at the house again. This time it was the daughter from the property agent who met me. She had opened all of the shutters and the windows which made the place look light and airy on that sunny afternoon. It was good to see it all again and I had not remembered everything as well as I had thought. We finished the visit in the rear garden where I made an offer on the property. So now I wait to hear if it’s accepted or not. I was slightly cheeky with the offer, but I have nothing to loose by trying.

My invitation for lunch today and a rehearsal for a concert on the 11th of August had to be cancelled, much to my disappointment and will now have to be fitted in next week!

My car window now operates again after this my efforts this morning pulling out the door panel. New tyres have been fitted and things are not looking quite so grim now. I even managed a sleep this afternoon and will be off early to bed tonight.

I have learned a very hard lesson this week

Have I found a house?


Wow – what an exciting and great day I had yesterday!!!

This is just a quick update as I need to do so much at home with packing and it’s my last full day at home before my busy weekend work.

I never imagined that I could buy a house like the one pictured above for a such a good price. I will be going back to look at it again next week by which time I will have decided if I put in an offer on the already good priced house. Near to shops, bars, restaurants, friends and life.

One of the nicest features is the beautiful view from the back of the house and maybe the deciding factor in all this. And it faces South too!


I mustn’t forget to mention my sweet friend Karen, who accompanied me while viewing the houses yesterday. We joined mutual friend Kenny for a nice lunch and went on to look at some houses.

I had also gone ‘Blonde’ for the day with a new look and when I got home, discovered the delivery of some new perfume. What a lovely end to an amazing day. I was 100% Sophie in so many ways and was so unbelievably happy. I cannot wait to be living somewhere I am happy with and as Sophie. This morning I have made an application to legally change my name and later today will be putting in an application to get an updated passport. My aim is to have my new identity in place before making a house purchase to avoid legal issues further down the road of my new life….


I am quite liking the blonde look and may stick with this for a while.

Sorry that I don’t have time to write more just now, but I am sure you get the idea that I have a lot going on in my life right now. I will try my best to add more after my return to the house and reveal if I have made an offer or not on the house!!!

Looking for a house – excitement and anxiety


Home again after a hard and longer working weekend. But oh my, how exciting is life becoming?

The main photo show my early morning efforts at applying makeup. considering how tired I was it is quite amazing that it went on so fast. The weather wasn’t looking great and rain was forecast. Luckily I had bought a new jacket which arrived by the time I had returned home and perfect for such day.

I set off to meet up with friend and property agent Mike, who had never met Sophie but had been sent a photo. I arrived early and sat in my car in the agree parking area. I was checking some messages on my phone when a hand came through the open window and Mike greeted me. We both got into his car and set off for a tour of a few houses that he had selected for me to see. I quickly asked if he was ok with meeting as Sophie to ehich he replied, “Not at all”. So the rest of the morning went fine.

I saw a mixture of properties and prices, a couple of which had potential. However, it has become apparent now that I really do want to live close to amenities and life. Also what I would like and what I can afford may require me to buy a house that needs a fair amount of modernisation. I am ok with that but need to get my mind around that aspect. But it does open up the number of house that then become possible.

I have already spotted a couple from my online searches and will try to fix viewings next week.


This photo shows my outfit that I decided on in the end, to go out in a more formal style to view houses and the weather assisted in that choice.

I also had a band rehearsal that evening and was so very tired when I eventually got home. Sadly I don’t play in the band as Sophie.

I am on my last morning at home before a very busy weekend as we have Bastille day here in France and it’s quite a big event as you can imagine. We have a group in concert tonight and will be kept busy doing somewhere around 70+ meals.

But next week has excitement lined up already. This week I had a long chat over the phone with Karen, a friend of about 3-4 years. We always get on well and I told her about Sophie. She now knows all about me and has seen photos. We are meeting up next week with our mutual friend Kenny and his partner lunch. I am really looking forward to that. I will be trying to arrange house viewings on the same morning as it’s all in the same area.

I am getting a little stressed as the time from work is disappearing so fast and I have so much to do!!!!

Hopefully the next post will include some possible future home photos…

Mission “Sophie”


Well it’s happened at long last!

The house was sold over the weekend. I just need to see that all the initial paperwork goes through before it’s a solid deal. But a Parisian family who were quite taken with the property have made an acceptable offer. So, within 3 months I should be moving out of this house and into a another somewhere here in France.

I have titled this “Mission Sophie”, because that is exactly what my immediate future will be. A new life and a new house in a new location. At this stage in my life, I have to make sure that this happens in the shortest time possible. That is where my excitement comes in. The daunting part is packing and moving. But overall I am more excited – and that’s a good sign I like to think.

It’s both exciting and daunting at the same time. But I am realising that I have a great deal to do and organise on my days off work now. Today I loading up my Citroen estate to make a trip to the recycling centre in the morning, n my way back to work. The start of the serious throw away of things I have had far too long. That includes some male clothing items that will be placed in the charity clothing bank.

Now I need to begin my search for a new home. I have a friend who is a property agent but does not know me as Sophie. When we meet to view some properties soon, I will be arriving as Sophie – hoping it goes well!

On the work front, we are on the brink of the summer season here in Central France. Schools are beginning their summer break and the start of the tourist influx is building up. Tomorrow I am giving up one of my rest days to cover the kitchen and cook on my own – not sure I am looking forward to that. I really would prefer a day of rest. Anyway, I am back there again on Friday for the first open mic night of the season and we will be pretty busy with anything up to 80 covers for the evening service. Especially if the current warm weather holds out.

At work, I will be focusing on the following week ahead to help me get through the tiring work, over what I think will be a very busy weekend.  I really hope that I will be viewing some properties and as Sophie next week too. I also have a band practice on Wednesday for one of two concerts in August. It will be the first time playing with a certain guitarist for over 3 years. It’s a long story that isn’t relevant here, but hopefully fun and we get fed and paid too.

I am feeling quite tired today and need to chill while I am at home ready for tomorrow…

I will try to take some photos of any interesting properties when I begin to view them and post any of interest. Even if they are terrible, they will be posted here as a reminder of the horrors of house hunting! I do need to keep a record of what I look at too. From experience, it’s difficult to remember all the features and aspects of each house as you try to absorb all that you see in a short space of time. However, I believe that anything good stands out – you don’t forget those! Fingers crossed, but things appear to be happening in a fatalistic way right now. It feels a little strange, but I am happy to go with the flow and give it a nudge if it looks like it’s needed.

Shopping – it must slow down now



This is going to be mainly a pictorial post. I have bought some summer clothes and shoes and still have a few things yet to arrive. My underwear is not for viewing – giggle. But I am happy to have some very feminine clothes that I think are quite pretty too.


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The blues skirt and top was the outfit I went out shopping in this week, the day before all the other clothes arrived. I needed to make myself look pretty and be myself after the last session of work and go out. I enjoyed trying them all on and I have my favourites. I am looking forward to the arrival of a nice pink jacket that should go with most of my clothes,  plus a couple of pairs of earrings are on their way. I am feeling more and more that I really want to be out socialising as Sophie and will be ready by the end of the summer to try and make that happen. Some of my plans haven’t gone quite as expected since working, but I am still on the same path. I have shaped my eyebrows to a somewhat more feminine look and I have noticed some changes in the shape of my face. I have already been told that I look different and quite surprised that the discussion stopped there. But that’s fine.

Work has become routine now and I am coping very well. We still have the peak season to arrive yet and the first concert is on this coming Friday. So I am guessing it will be a very busy start to the weekend.

I am still managing to be a little creative as well and have a couple of new songs in progress, so life isn’t so bad.

The month of June is almost over and the summer is slipping by faster and faster. In some ways I am looking forward to September and in others, not! There has been no further interest in the sale of the house but there is still time – I hope…


This lovely pink jacket arrived this morning so I tried it on with a matching skirt and one of my new tops. It looked so gorgeous I had to take a photo and add it here. I feel like I should be going to a wedding. Now I would like to be going out instead of going to work today. I guess that will have to go on hold until next week….  c’est la vie!!!

11 more weeks…


I took the above photo was taken to help me decide what I should wear on my day out and I have no makeup at all.

Yesterday was my first day of rest from work this week and I had a really lovely day. I awoke early and surprisingly, not too tired after my last session of work. My agenda for the day was clearly in my mind. A quick breakfast, shower and time for makeup. With the sun shinning and a clear blues sky, I sat in my dining room by the window and began to make myself look pretty. Things started well and I didn’t make any terrible errors, so no black eyes that morning! I had already picked out my clothes for the day, a nice sleeveless wrap over top with yellow and white floral print and a teal chiffon skirt and a new pair of yellow strappy heeled sandals. Perfect for a summers day. A quick check in my handbag for essentials for the day: keys, lipstick, brush, money and back card, tissues and sunglasses. I was ready to set off. Around 9.30 I was in my car and heading for the motorway with a smile on my face.

First stop was going to be a visit to my dear friend Kenny the chef. I still sometimes find driving in heels a little uncomfortable, but I soon forgot about that. An hour later I pulled into the car park and walked across to the restaurant where I spent a few hours chatting and having few giggles too. While occupied in chatting a friend and carpenter who has a unit adjacent  to the restaurant entered from nowhere. Kenny introduced me, I shook his hand as ladylike as I could and then he gave me a kiss in each cheek with his stubbled face – ouch! I was very relaxed and very pleased that I had been accepted without hesitation as female. He departed as swiftly as he had appeared and we continued our gossip.


It wasn’t a busy lunchtime and I decided it was time for me to go shopping and leave Kenny to wind up the shift and go home. We walked out side the restaurant beside the busy road and stood by the crossing. He teased to see if I could get a huge lorry to stop for me to cross to the car park. And sure enough along came a convey of some six or eight huge lorries. The first two passed by but the third slowed down for me and came to a stop. I had to laugh and I blew a kiss to the driver for his courtesy and broke into a girly trot across to my car.

I headed off toward the shops. I really didn’t need too much, but I was in an area where there is a great shop for Asian spices and thought that I would make the most of that. I arrived a little too early and the shop was still closed for their long lunch break, so I decided to have a look around a large hypermarket opposite. A dangerous move – haha! I was very controlled and only bought some L’Oreal products, a good quality foundation and a nice palette of blue eye shadow, but expensive enough for me. By that time the Asian shop was open and I got my spices, chili’s and some frozen prawns and began my journey home.

While cruising along the motorway I reflected on my expenditure of recent days and began to add up what I had spent this week! My ebay purchases of four skirts, three tops, some under wear.  My online shopping spree of a handbag, two sets of bangles and three pairs of summer sandals not to mention the makeup of the day. Time to put the brakes on for the month I think. I have to set aside almost 25% or my earnings for social charges I will have to pay as a result of earning money and make a lump sum payment at the end of the summer. In the meantime, my car needs four new tyres and a Control Technique, which is a test of road safety to ensure it is road worthy for another two years. I am not certain if it will any work will be required to ensure it passes the test. So I really do need to keep a serious check on my cash flow.

A moment of sobriety and my justification to myself.

While I am fortunate to be working, I am having to keep a balance in my daily life that allows me to get through each week. I need to qualify the reality of spending half my time in drab by compensating myself in buying new clothes etc to keep me happy and focused on Sophie. I have come to terms now with the hard work I have engaged in and I am finding my feet. Especially since I had my first couple of sessions running the kitchen on my own. A bit wobbly at first, but I soon overcome that out of necessity.

On the sobriety front, I am proud to report that apart from a couple of very small glasses of beer after long and hot sessions at work, I have not been drinking. I have also shed more weight due to my loss of appetite while working in a kitchen. But, I am careful to eat some fruit and what I do eat I try to keep healthy. I have at least 11 more weeks of work remaining so a lot of hard work and more pay days to go.

Today I need to cut grass, create a poster for the restaurant and visit some very good friends this evening. So, I had better leave this here and get myself motivated to begin my day. Until the next update…

Finding a balance between needs and happiness


Well I am back in the thick of it again – working in a kitchen and finding it harder this time around. Mostly nine hour days or more and we are not even in the peak season yet!

I won’t go into too much detail but I am having to take on a little more than I would like to, in order that the sessions are in control and not any more stressful than need be. The last shift was a straight 7.5 hours without a break.

However, I am grateful to be earning extra money though the summer and have found myself shopping for new clothes from a trusted UK online store and ebay. Partly to compensate myself for working as a man and giving up my life as Sophie during those working days. I am just about coping with the shift sideways with my life but have tearful moments in private when I am alone in my room at work. The photo above is one of the new summer outfits I have bought with the proceeds of my sweat and toil. I also have some pretty new shoes. Shopping does help to balance things out to a degree. This is the first picture where I have no makeup on at all, but it was a lovely sunny day and quite hot in the garden. I see that as progress and being more confident in who I am, not needing the makeup to make me Sophie.

I am back to work  this evening and I know it will be a busy night. I stay in a room above the restaurant while working and am able to take my adorable cat Bertie along with me too. It’s tough for him too as he doesn’t get to go in a garden and sulks a little plus he doesn’t eat as well. But loosing a little weight would not bean issue as he is a very big cat.

Next Tuesday I (Sophie) will be visiting my good friend Kenny again and will try to spend much of the day at his restaurant. I am not sure how the day will go as I have offered to either help in the kitchen or waitress if needed. But it will just be nice to meet have have a good chat again so I don’t mind if I do nothing – giggle. He has already been a sweetie and talked me out of a tearful day when things just got too much for me when I started working again. It’s so good to have a friend who understands where I am in my life right now.

Sadly my music has pretty much ground to a halt. But I decided to take my acoustic guitar with me  this time to practice the songs I have written. It will also help me unwind when I am not too tired to play it. I have had more ideas for songs but not finding the time to loose myself  in that right now. I have been offered the chance to play in the restaurant, but to be honest, after working I don’t have the energy and passion to give to my songs in the way that I know they need.

I am happy to finish on a very positive and uplifting note. Yesterday I had the first viewing of the year, by a young French couple with two sweet and beautiful blonde children. They appeared to be quite taken with the property and have a grandmother who would live in the Gite if they choose to buy it. So it ticks many boxes for them. They are the first local French people to view the property since it has been for sale and this is very encouraging. I am trying very hard not to buildup my hopes too much but I have a very good feeling about this and really hope I am right. Selling my house has never been such a vital key in my life, but will be the start of so many new things in my life. When I finish work during the summer I start to live as Sophie permanently!

My musical and creative side


Here are couple of recent songs I wrote and recorded on my phone at home. They are not in a finished state as these are recorded to save my ideas and structure of the songs for re-working later when I have more time. I am capturing my deepest feelings and emotions in my songs more than ever this year and finding myself overwhelmed at times by the process. They have been even more difficult to sing without breaking down. Theses are my heart and soul in a song. I have more but no time to add them just now.

I hope that may like them, they are very very personal to me.

Summer work begins, but nice things happen too…


I am only just at the beginning of my summer work, but I felt that I wanted to write about something that happened on my days off this week. It has got me into a nicer place in my life and I am very happy to discover this. More to follow this month – I am sure…

Yesterday, I caught up with an friend here in France. We worked together in the summer of 2014. But this was the first time that he was going to see me as Sophie, although we have met up a couple of times since. I had been in contact last month and promised to visit before I started cooking through the summer. But, I did say I was going to make it a surprise visit and told no more.

My return to cooking wasn’t exactly what I had expected. The chef is not in the best of health and has let the place slide a little. So I am having to get the place back into shape and fit as a kitchen, plus prepare and cook meals. My whole routine of life has been turned on it’s head as this is the first work I have done in over 4 years. I am not working as Sophie either as it would complicate things too much for me just now. I haven’t been sleeping well while working, eating well or feeling great about being back in the kitchen. And the last day of work was so horrendous that I felt like walking out. Anyway I stayed until the end of the shift because I am not a quitter.

Back home at last
I was so very happy to drive back home that evening for a rest and my to sleep in own bed. I woke the next morning at 4.30 to my shock, but managed to stay in bed for another hour. The weather wasn’t great and I thought about leaving my visit to the following day, when I may feel a little better and refreshed. But, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to get myself ready to go.

So after a nice shower I picked out a pretty dress.  I quickly made some lunch and then put on my makeup. Getting myself ready to go out shook off all of the past few days of work and frustration of not being Sophie. I spent the next hour driving with a smile on my face.

I pulled into the car park across the road from the restaurant and got out of the car. Within seconds of walking towards the restaurant, a driver in a nearby lorry hooted at me and called out in an attempt to get my attention. I turned around briefly and then carried on – what fun – giggle.

I was a little worried at first, as the place looked closed. Although I thought I had seen his car in the car park. After peering through several windows, I found him working in the kitchen and tapped on the window.  He opened the door and said in French, I am very sorry madame but we are closed, but there is another restaurant just along the road, pointing in the direction I arrived from.

I teased him at first, speaking in French and saying that I had traveled a fair distance to meet an old friend and how disappointed I was that it was closed. I then dropped some hints that we had met before and got him even more puzzled. I couldn’t control my giggling as I was having such fun teasing him. It wasn’t until I lowered  my sunglasses a little that he finally recognized me. But even then he wasn’t 100% sure. Oh how I giggled!!!

I have a girlfriend
We went into the restaurant where he said, it wasn’t often that he was lost for words, but was pleasantly surprised to meet Sophie. He poured us both a glass of wine and I began telling him about my life. He is gay and has a long term partner and is very happy here in France. We have agreed to meet for lunches on one of our days off from cooking through the summer. We had a lovely hug and I felt so good to know I had a girlfriend. I am hoping that we may even go shopping together at some point in the not too distant future.

It really has made my week and I can now return back to work tomorrow morning with new zest and sparkle in my life. Thank you so much Kenny for being there at a time in my life when I need some good friends here in France who accept me as Sophie without any questions or reservations.

April, what a fully loaded month!


April has been a cold month here in France, but also with a few beautiful sunny days. I made full use of those days by catching a little bit of a tan too. Also, a 10 day trip to the UK planned on the 20th.

The first three weeks of the month were at home keeping warm mostly. It was also a month of garden machinery breaking down. My grass strimmer/brush cutter lost a part and stopped working. Luckily I found a spare in my garage and managed to get it working again. Then my ride on mower had a problem. While cutting the grass I bumped a tree and then lost all drive and cutting abilities, so it sat at the bottom of my garden. I had to drag it back near to the house by tying some rope at the rear and hauling it uphill and through a narrow entry to the garden near the house. Two weeks later, I now have the parts fitted and it is working again!

Off to the UK
A late afternoon flight from Limoges airport to London Stansted. My ex was sweet enough to meet at the airport and drive back to her house where I would stay two nights before traveling to visit my daughter. Part of the reason for the visit, was a Christmas present from my ex – tickets to see Joe Bonamassa at the Royal Albert Hall in West London on the Friday night with her and my daughter.

After an hour by train we arrived at the 5,000+ capacity venue and we found my daughter. Just enough time to grab a drink to take to our seats. What a great concert. 10 guitars changes, 6 great musicians and 2 superb backing vocalists. A night to remember!

Saturday afternoon I set off on a two-hour drive to stay with my daughter. I arrived early that afternoon and she quickly suggested that we go and meet a couple of her friends at a bar nearby. They happened to be a couple of gay men, who we had a lot of laughs with and a few drinks on a sunny terrace above a restaurant on the local high street.

The visit had started off pretty well and was very enjoyable. However, a few days before I made my trip to the UK, I had chatted with my daughter one day during her lunch break. It got a little mixed up and she got rather upset, so we agreed to continue when she got back home that evening. While I had been intending to come out to my daughter during my visit, the situation had suddenly changed lanes! I quickly came to the conclusion that I needed to tell her that evening to ease the tension that had been created by myself and probably due to my pending plans.

Wow, was that some decision to make that day! I uploaded some of my selfies as Sophie, so that she could view them and see, that what I was about to tell her was not just me playing about with some urge that I had but something serious for me. We agreed that she would send a message to my phone to let me know that she was free. My heart began to beat faster and my hands trembled a little as my phone signaled a message had arrived. I took a very deep breath and dialed the number. I could hardly speak and had difficulty in swallowing. The words came out slowly and awkwardly with a shakiness. I explained that I had uploaded some photos she should look at before I could to talk to her in-depth – another tense period while she looked at the photos.

I received another message. It read “I still love you dad”.

I almost broke down and cried there and then, but knew I had to compose myself for what was about to follow. The second phone call. More of the same, only even more shaky and holding back tears while trying my very best to speak without falling apart. Oh my, how hard that was. In broken and disjointed sentences I began to talk about how I had got to this point in my life and who and what I was. She was so very sweet and tried to be supportive and say all the right things. That made me even more emotional. I said that I was telling the total truth about my self and she was the first person to ever know me as nobody has. I made jokes, probably poor ones, but to try to take the edge off of the situation. By the end of the evening it felt as if a great pressure had been removed from my life. My daughter was the one person I worried about telling and I most likely blew the situation out of proportion a little. I left it that she could ask me anything she wished and I would only answer with truth and honesty.

What I had not expected of realised was the effect it would have on her in the following days. She asked few questions about our life when we lived as a family, but nothing too deep. It wasn’t until a few days later that is became clear that she was having difficulty in coming to terms with me as anything other than her father.

This was going to be harder than I imagined
By mid-week I was struggling with not being Sophie for the longest time since the beginning of the year and it was taking it’s toll on me. Also the tension between us was getting to us both. That day, I had been doing a lot of cooking, preparing meals for my daughter to freeze, and as evening crept in I said that I felt that I needed a drink and could we open a bottle of wine. I cannot recall the meal we ate that night but we began to discuss my life which resulted in us both sobbing and hugging many times throughout the evening. Two bottles of wine later, floods of tears, headaches and glasses of water, we both tried to sleep. That night she told me many things about herself that I we had never discussed, so it became a two-way exchange. That was the first of a few nights to follow that I would not sleep well and survived the rest of the week on about 4 hours a night. The following day I made an error with something I said, she got upset and went for a walk. We met a couple of hours later in a local pub and talked more over a drink. I apologised and explained why things went sideways and we got things back on track. The following morning I felt as if I had just made things worse by coming out and wished I was back home, I wanted to get away from it all and felt bad about myself. One of my life long go to bad places.

The next morning it was my turn to get some fresh air. I had lost my appetite, had a thumping headache and felt bad about myself. What had gone wrong? I lost track of the time while walking slowing about the town, finding myself in a public garden by a stream. I sat down on a bench and cried quietly to myself as the odd stranger walked past oblivious of my heart ache and torment. Writing this is bringing me back to tears and I have to stop for a moment to compose myself!

Although it was sunny, it was also cold and I was beginning to shiver. I decided to continue walking and found myself on the way back to the flat where I was staying. I walked slowly as if I had no purpose or direction. I made an attempt to move myself into a better place but not with great success by the time I got to the flat. I didn’t eat that day, my stomach was incapable of digesting any food apart from that fact I had no appetite.

Back at the flat
I entered the flat and spoke to my daughter but things were a little tense still. As the evening went on we spoke more and more, by the end of the night I had brought myself back to a better state of mind and we were able to recover from the recent events.

I had learned that my daughter really needed me to be a father in her life for the time being at least. I hadn’t expected to find that and it took me a while to adjust to the idea. This has brought me to a new place in my life. After some thought I realised, that while I may not have dressed as a woman for most of my life, I have been Sophie for longer that I gave myself credit for. This realisation has given me new strength by managing to turn what appeared to be a very negative point in my life into a very positive thought.

While we out shopping one day after this, we crossed the road by some traffic lights. As I ran across the road in front of my daughter I had the thought that I was distinctly running just like a woman and it made me chuckle. I told this to my daughter who laughed and agreed with my observation.

I am very happy to say that the week I spent with my daughter was very special. I believe that we covered a lot of ground and my daughter understand exactly who I am. I also understand what she needs from me and can cope with things if I visit again at Christmas. I have no problems with that now.

I have three months of cooking in a restaurant as a man this summer but I am happy that I have found a way to get myself  though that. No matter how I am dressed from now, I know that I am Sophie on the inside and that will not change.

Before I end this story, I have to mention my ex and mother of my daughter. I was completely surprised by how cool and fully accepting of me she was, once with the knowledge of who I really am. She was extremely supportive and we talked a lot while I stayed with her, at the start and end of my visit. For the later part of my visit, she gave one of her night dresses as I hadn’t room to take any of Sophie’s clothing. I was very touched by that and found it a little comfort.

My daughter has been helpful with makeup. She qualified as a beautician and is very good with makeup. She gave me some mascara, a sponge applicator/blender for foundation and a great eyeliner. She will be sending me a list of products she recommends that I should try to buy.  I am thinking that I be may be glamorous when I visit at Christmas so I need to buy some pretty clothes too.

The trip has inspired me to begin writing more songs. The first I am working on is provisionally titled ” Bare my soul” and following close behind is “So that’s what love is” Both powerful stuff. At the time of posting this, both songs are now written. Bare my soul has brought me to tears each time I try to sing it, but it will get easier the more I play it. The other song may get a run through today, but certainly this week. God knows how I am going to perform or sing these!!!

Writing songs is a very therapeutic process for me. It allows me to get things out of my head and onto paper where I can absorb my words again and reflect on the whole picture. It’s really helpful. I will need to sing the songs a few times before I can get through them without falling apart – that is a key to development for me. I am discovering the depth of my new sensitive and emotional life as Sophie.

The month ahead
Hard work begins from May 19th, but enjoyable, plus a bit more cash in my pocket – but no time to spend it for a while. I look forward to the time when I can – giggle

Thought of the day:
Right now, my life is like a garden in springtime; the flowers are blooming and the colours are beautiful. I am enjoying the moment and looking forward to a sea of colour in the months to come

Picture: Lilly, another sweet cat with unusual markings that belongs to my ex.

I write with English spellings and perhaps some terms are not so well known in the USA or elsewhere, but I hope it makes sense overall

The month ahead
Hard work begins from May 19th, but enjoyable, plus a bit more cash in my pocket – but no time to spend it for a while. I look forward to the time when I can – giggle

Thought of the day:
Right now, my life is like a garden in springtime; the flowers are blooming and the colours are beautiful. I am enjoying the moment and looking forward to a sea of colour in the months to come

Photo: Minnie, my daughter’s sweet and playful catMinnieLscape

The arrival of spring and more…


How happy I am to see more sun and get to enjoy being out in my garden again. I have even caught a little bit of a tan too.

Every month appears to hold something in store…

…and April has been no exception to that. Four months into this year and it is already disappearing quite quickly. It has been a bit of a struggle this month financially but I am happy to know that as of May things will be easier. However this has been lonely month with no socialising and being creative with my cooking. Things were not helped by my mower having problems and needing some new parts. Not the best time of the year for it to die. I strimmed 75% of my garden over 3 days before getting the mower to run again. But only temporarily, it really does need some new parts.

Moving on to the better aspects of this month, the house will be back on the market for sale, hopefully by the end of April.  And at a saleable price – although a lower than it was bought for back in 2005. However, it’s all relative, as the property market has fallen overall and I should still be able to get something suitable without breaking the bank.

Now I get to the big news story of this month, this year and maybe my lifetime!!!
On the evening of April 4, and after a misunderstanding during a ‘chat’ with my daughter while she was at work, she had become upset. Sadly too often during a ‘Chat’ session online, the things that you type do not convey what you wish to say as clearly as you would have hoped and can become unduly complex without much effort. As it had on this occasion. The parting message from my daughter was that we should discuss this later in that evening, to which I agreed without question.

It’s not particularly relevant to mention the topic of conversation, only that I began to think it was time to tell my daughter who and what I really was! With phone calls to her I usually arrange for a message to be sent when it’s a good time to call, and later that evening the message arrived – ‘ok now’

I think I had built up the tension and worry in myself that afternoon in anticipation of what I felt I needed to do. So my heart jumped at the thought of making the call and my hands were a little shaky. I fetched the phone, sat down in my kitchen and took a deep breath and composed myself to dial the number.

After the initial and usual greetings, albeit a little tension in the air from early in the day, and in a shaky tremble in my voice, I began to try and find the right words to begin my story. I didn’t exactly give details as first instance. I had uploaded some photos of myself for her to see very clearly who I was. I think my point in that was to make sure that she understood that I was very serious about what and who I was and a photo would help to show that immediately. So I sent a link and asked her to message me again, once she had seen several of my photos.

The message arrived and read – “I still love you dad”. Oh, how I didn’t just break down and cry there and then I really don’t know. I think that I realised that I had to be strong and keep it together to carry on with my story without being a blubbering wreck. So another big and but deeper breath I anxiously made the second call. Most of the time during this conversation I was delicately balanced on the verge of tears, swallowing, or simply holding back my emotions.  Probably made so much worse by the simple fact that I had kept this a secret for all of my life. She was the first person to actually know the real me and it felt very strange and also liberating at the same time. I also felt the most exposed and vulnerable in my whole life.

She was so very sweet and told me that I wasn’t alone any more. But wished that I had been able to tell her much earlier in her life. I understood that, I could only agree with the sentiment of the statement. We continued to talk and I calmed down a little as well as nervously laughing a few times and what were probably bad jokes on my part. But I was trying to make it a lighter hearted topic of conversation.

Overall it has hit my daughter quite hard and she has questioned many things about her own life along with the time we lived together as a family. I have had a few questions since. I guess time is the main factor now in coming to terms with this like most things. And this surely is quite a major discovery for anyone to have in their life.  She is not ready to meet Sophie and I am ok with that and sympathise with her feelings. So my visit in the coming week, will be as the father. I am sure when the time comes for her to meet Sophie, it will be quite something for me too and not just my daughter.

My ex, her mother, is now also aware of the real me. We have discussed things online and I was surprised just how cool she was about it all. I did ask if she had any idea before being told. She replied that “she always felt that I hid something”, that was very perceptive to have seen that in me. She also mentioned that she too would have liked me to have divulged my secret to her while we were married. I just don’t think that I was ready myself to do that then. But now I have no reservations about that or who I am.  She also asked if I wanted to be Sophie during my brief stay at her house which I thought was very kind and understanding. Sadly my suitcase is only big enough for one set of clothes, so given that my daughter is not ready yet I will be traveling in male mode.

Since that day, I have thought about the conversations I had with both of them and I am very happy to report, that I do feel a lot better for having included them in my real life. But they are the only two people in my world of family and friends that now know the real me. I haven’t experienced the benefits of coming out to them both, but this is a very recent event and not many things changes so rapidly in your life. My 10 day visit I hope will begin to improve that.

A day of revelation and tears


It’s the 3rd of April today and it started quite well as days go. A new month and a little money in the bank, so time to restock provisions. I am wearing a new black and white dress with new earrings, both of which I really like too. Basically I was in a good place and in a good frame of mind too.
Around 10.30am I began to put on my makeup before going out and kept it simple as usual but hopefully enough. But today I thought I looked particularly nice. Perhaps due to the weight I have lost this year, but I was very happy with my self and how I looked.
So, off I set for a 35 minute drive to my two regular supermarkets. After a couple of hours I got back home, unpacked the car and thought about lunch.

It started so well

It has been a beautiful sunny day which always helps lift your spirits. Lunch was a pizza and salad – not too unhealthy and I opened a bottle of red wine thinking that I would just have the one glass as I have been so good lately.

So there I am enjoying my lunch in the warm spring sunshine and suddenly I have this thought…
When I ended up on my own 5 years ago I followed the usual pattern of my life and attempted to find yet another woman that I could begin a new relationship with. However, after three years of unsuccessful encounters, I decided that it just wasn’t working. I decided to shut down that activity and resigned myself to a life on my own with my adorable cat Bertie.

Within a year, my old self, who I always preferred and felt more comfortable looking like a woman, re-emerged. Only this time it was very different. It was probably the first time in my life that I had consciously refused the idea of a relationship with a woman. Since that day my life has not been the same. Every day I have become a little bit more Sophie.

This was a such a profound revelation to myself that I cried for quite a while and I don’t want to look in the mirror just now. So perhaps you have realised that I am writing this very soon after this experience and you are correct. I find the process of writing down my feelings and experiences very therapeutic for myself. If it can help anyone else, than that is a bonus.

I have composed myself now and see that as just another building block of my future.
I try to turn such events into a positive outcome. It isn’t too difficult sometimes and very beneficial to me to find a perspective on the situation that will allow me to do that.

House sale update: I mentioned in my last post that a couple had shown interest in the house, but unfortunately it didn’t quite fit their requirements. So I am here for the foreseeable future…

Loving yourself completely


My thoughts for the day…

As long as I can remember I have searched within myself and sought information to help me calm the inner conflict within myself and to understand why I am different to the people that have been around me during my life.

Earlier this year I was looking at a site run by a couple who offered counseling which included some very interesting ideas and advice. I discovered a great deal that I could personally relate to, which I haven’t come across very often. The title of this article was ‘Loving yourself completely’. After reading this article which had really struck home, I had a moment of clarity. I suddenly understood that I had not been able to love myself very much at all. This had been a problem that I had suffered from and as a result I believe that I had turned my frustrations towards those close to me in my adult life. While I never thought that my dressing had any impact on my relationships or those around me, I now view that in a new light. I believe that keeping a secret life of dressing wasn’t healthy and created other issues that I could not see at the time. But the past is the past and I am living now – no regrets!

With this newly acquired information and the decision to be Sophie I feel much more content and settled within myself, possibly for the first time during my life. I am continuing to build on ‘loving myself completely’ as nothing can change totally in a short space of time. But simply knowing this has begun to make differences in how I view myself and my life.

Maybe I am just someone who overthinks things….

March – a mixed and tough month…


While the weather is getting warmer and I have had lunch in the garden for the first time this year, this has been a squeaky month economically due to an unforeseen expenses. So, my shopping trips have been cut to basic minimum and a lot of time has been spent around the house and garden.

I haven’t managed to make progress with any of my songs for a few reasons. I set up my equipment to record in my dining room and then promptly got notice of a house viewing of potential buyers. All packed and away with the house neat and tidy, about a week later I set all the equipment up again. Unfortunately the weather turned rather cold and I stayed in my warm kitchen, although I my enthusiasm had faded at this point too. I have four weeks before I fly to England for a 10 day visit, and two to three weeks after I will begin working in the restaurant. If I am to make any progress it needs to be soon or it won’t happen until September.

On the up side, a Parisian couple have since been back for a second look at the house and I am waiting to learn if they are interested or not in making an offer. I am past worrying about selling the house now, although moving would give me a chance to live somewhere more sensible and easier to manage and heat.

I have managed to keep mainly positive, although I have had a couple of low days…  but, I have a waistline again and I feel so much better.

The first event is my trip to England, a visit to my daughter and a couple of great concerts. My ex, and mother of my daughter will pick me up from the airport I will stay at her house for a day and then we travel to West London for the first concert and to meet up with my daughter. I think that I will probably travel to my daughter’s the following day. I have to think seriously about talking to her about my life – that will be an emotional and difficult hurdle for me to overcome. I will have to pick my moment. I expect tears from us both.

The other event is the start of my summer work, cooking in a restaurant but not as Sophie. In France and on my home turf so to speak, I have not come out to anyone yet. Plus it would be so complicated here if I were to try and work as Sophie – just too soon and too much of a trauma to deal with. At least I will physically fit and ready for the hard summer work..

The year is seaming to pass so quickly already….

The gateway to my future?


The 14th of February and I am packing things for my long drive tomorrow for a meeting that I hope will prove to be the start of transition in a life that I am need of and am striving for what has been so elusive all my life. Just typing this is bringing tears to my eyes and I need to keep my composure!

4.30am Thursday 15th – Hardly surprising that I am awake so early with a lot going on in my mind just now, and I will confess I’m a little anxious too. The day starts with the usual routine of feeding my cat, but instead of sitting and enjoying waking up gradually with breakfast, I head to the shower without delay.

My clothes are already and my small case is also packed and ready to go unlike myself. Oh, putting on makeup so early – now that is a challenge! Well the shower worked it’s magic, plus I did a good job of making myself look nice for my journey. As it approached 7am I did a quick check through the list I made so as not to forget anything before I set off. Great, everything is in place. A good-bye cuddle with Bertie who would be fed by Karen in my absence and I was off.

It’s been about two years since I have made such a long trip and my SatNav was telling me 6hrs 30mins for the drive – assuming no problems en route. It was still night and raining and that’s how it was. A few yawns and kilometres later I checked the time and the distance I had covered – not a great idea as there was so much further to go. It was generally an uneventful drive with the exception of a three roundabouts just before Poitiers where farmers had made a protest by dumping straw that appeared to be mixed up with animal waste to block traffic as a protest about cuts in European funding for them. That caused about a 25 minute delay and would have preferred not to have participated in their dispute .

Thank goodness for SatNav! Without such a device I seriously doubt if I would have found the address in Brest where I was heading. Actually, I was ahead of schedule which allowed me to check-in to the hotel just outside of Brest. I had booked a double room feeling indulgent and thinking I would sleep better in a double bed. Brit Hotel I was pleased to note that there was a restaurant next to the hotel and immediate went in to find out when they opened that evening and reserved a table for one. Back to the hotel and check-in. I already had paid when I booked online but choose to have breakfast the following morning and paid in advance. Arriving early gave me time for a short rest. After such a drive I had pain in the base of my back and one hip was aching slightly too, age is quite mean. Note to self: more exercise required.

I arrived a little before 3pm for my appointment at a private house in the outskirts of Brest. The gate I recognised from ‘street view’ on Goggle maps. What did we do before? I sat for a moment checking my appearance in the vanity mirror on the back of the sun visor. Bags in hand I stepped from the car, opened the gate, walked up the steps and knocked in the patterned glass window in the aged front door. There was a short delay before the door was opened to the point I considered I had come to the wrong address! Why do I do that?Gate

Tom opened the door, we exchanged greetings and I stepped into the hallway and was led into the first room on the right where I sat in attendance. The room was a little busy for my liking. It had a mix of feminine and masculine about it. Pale yellow walls with lots of small shelves displaying a mix od model battleships, vintage cars and various old dolls. The walls had small gold stars here and there with a couple of very  old painting of figure which were yellowed in colour due to age. Spattered among all of that we decorative plates and on the aged white freeze at the top were artificial flowers in the corners. Plus a couple of old clock that ticked away in the background and chimed. I sat at the table covered in a yellow vinyl table-cloth and had more collected possessions to one side. The room was neat and tidy but it had a comfortable feel to it.

I was offered a coffee, shortly after Tom joined me at the table. I was asked a few questions to provide Tom with some background info. I was asked when I first had feelings of not being happy being male and a desire to a girl/woman. We worked through a list of specific questions Tom had prepared until he had all the details he required noted in his journal. In between I was informed of certain things that would be available to me and where these could take place. As every minute passed I was learning of possibilities I had not even thought about or likely to be a part of the discussion today! My main objective was to  acquire an attestation for safe medication and a possible route for surgery if I can be approved. But I discovered so much more.  I was impressed by his knowledge. It appears that I may be able to get assistance and treatment for voice training, reduction of the Adam’s apple, electrolysis and hair treatment in addition to the key things I was chasing. It also appears that I may possible to be put in touch with a specialist doctor under a certain scheme. It was stressed that I would need to show committment with these or the treatments would not be forthcoming. I really don’t think that will be an issue if I choose any or all of these options. The one down side if there is one at all, is the diverse locations for this array of treatments. The ones that he was able to be specific about today were Paris, Nantes and Angouleme. From 1hr 20m to 4hrs by car with a train journey to Paris needing to be booked three months in advance to be the most economic. I am not sure if any of these will require overnight stays, the most likely to be Paris as the furthest.

I now have to be patient for the time being until Tom sends me his proposal by email. I shall not miss  a drive to Brest again. Just such a pity I didn’t get to see any of Brest as it looks a lovely place. But who knows what may happen?

I had spoken with Tom prior to my visit. My French is ok but sometimes I have to ask people to explain or speak a little slower. But he has a partner the same age as myself, Alana. She spoke good English and was able to fill in some gaps and provided additional info for me. I met Alana on my visit and was surprised to discover she wrote and recorded her own songs. We immediately connected as you do with other creative people. Alana was also born a male, another reason why we connected.

3133459.jpgThat evening I took myself to the restaurant for an enjoyable meal which I intended to take a photo of the interior and of my fish and prawn meal. My waitress Françoise was such a happy and cheerful lady, we had a giggle every time she arrived at my table. I was a little naughty, I had a sparking white wine as an apero and then order a white wine to have with my meal. I clearly had not noticed it was not by the glass when a half bottle was placed on my table. Now what was I going to do with that? After finishing my fishy dinner I allowed that to settle and sat musing at he day’s events while sipping the wine. I suddenly wondered if they did a cafe gourmand? I caught the handsome young waiter’s attention and posed the question. Oui, and off he went to return with my espresso coffee along with mini desserts of crème brûlée, hot chocolate fondant, warm tart tatin and a tuille. Suitably stuffed and ready for bed, I went to the bar to pay. I didn’t put on my reading glasses and offered my bank card for payment. When I got back to hotel I looked at the bill think that it was quite inexpensive considering what I had consumed. I noticed that they had forgotten to charge me for the half bottle of wine. It was about 9.30 and I was far too tired to consider returning to point this out, such was fate. I was soon asleep in the double bed. Not  thought about my return journey until I woke about 6am. Breakfast and then back home.

Onto other things: My exercise has been progressing well and I am feeling better mentally and physically. I have begun exercises on my abs with a mix od what I think I called crunches and a simple pulling in of the tummy 60 times on and off through the day. I need to strengthen those muscles to ease the discomfort I get when doing some of the yoga exercises.

Being a creative and artistic individual I have always enjoyed photography. I bought one of the early Nikon slr cameras about a year before I came to France. It is now so far behind in technology that my mobile phone takes picture that can often be better than that Nikon. I have managed to tap into that part of my being where the creativity hid from time to time and have had an idea for some portrait photography., Something I really love and would like to be better at. I began in the early stages of living in France, taking pictures of a few French friends but sadly I have lost the original high res images and only have the ones uploaded to social media. Anyway, I have begun to speak with a few local people who I have asked if they are interested in me taking a portrait shot of them. So far the response has been excellent. I want to make the images quite different from the normal type of portrait image. I will not say too much about the technique and hope to be able to show you some of the photos as the year goes forward. I am excited about this project and have invested in a new 24mg pixel Nikon which I hope should arrive in the coming week. If all goes well I would like to consider an exhibition of my work and use this as a springboard for a further photographic venture. I already have some ideas that could ride on the back of what I hope to achieve.

It’s only the 17th so time for even more this month…