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.

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