Like the good old days

Geri wondered if people might be interested in what the world was like before Covid-19 or maybe after!!

 

When I hear older folks reminisce

They often use a particular phrase.

No matter how good their current lot is,

It’s never “Like the good old days.”

 

Whilst it’s true many things have changed;

There’s been progress since my childhood.

But, I just cannot believe all that is claimed;

So, I ask “Were times really that good?”

 

There were no computers, no wi-fi nor mobile phones.

No fridge-freezers, no dishwashers nor washing machines.

In fact, there was no electricity in very many homes

And elbow grease was used to make everything gleam.

 

There was very limited birth control.

Hence, family numbers were outsized.

On national resources there was a heavy toll:

Later, a benefit system was devised.

 

No loo paper, no detergent, no penicillin.

The NHS wasn’t created until nineteen forty-eight.

Abortion or homosexual?  You were deemed a villain!

Nylon and man-made fabrics would have to wait.

 

In 1936 the law decreed “Holidays with Pay.”

But as wages were a shilling an hour on average

No need for jet aircraft to fly folks away.

And we’d only just won women’s suffrage.

 

These things are all on the downside.

So what did Mum wish would leave her?

Try diphtheria, measles and typhoid,

TB, whooping cough and scarlet fever.

 

People lived in an over-crowded state

With access to very poor sanitation.

Life expectancy for men?  Fifty eight!

And it was only sixty -three for women!

 

Unemployment was twenty five percent plus,

And rent was at least one day’s wages.

Most people smoked, drank and cussed,

Six Bank Holidays! It was like that for ages.

 

Whilst there were radios in most homes

An accumulator was used to power it.

Horse drawn carts, the streets did roam

We were up to our ankles in horse shit!

 

These are the two faces of the same coin,

And so it will be unto infinity.

But mark you well this phrase I enjoin,

“Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”

The Fairhaven Five

Friday 18th September in the year of our Lord 2020 a few Oasis ladies did meet at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham.

A socially distanced walk

Serena, Beccie, Joanna, Lorraine and myself Theresa, was a small enough group to fall within current social distancing rules and at the same time staying safe by meeting at an outdoor venue. The weather was kind to us, plenty of sunshine but the wind was a challenge especially while eating lunch trying not to mix long hair with food.

Meeting at 11:00 am gave us plenty of time to fill up on teas and coffees followed by a light  lunch. During lunch there was still no sign of Joanna but as we eventually found out she was already en-route around the wooded garden trail. Via text we did remind her of our plan to lunch before walking, anyway we eventually set off along one of the woodland trails and met up with Joanna.

A socially distanced sail.

The woodland consisted of mapped out walks of varying lengths, I think we chose the shortest route so as not to use up too much tea drink time ️.

The whole area is a privately owned part of the Norfolk Broads, we followed the map in search of water and was not disappointed to find a lovely part of the broads complete with a yacht making good use of the wind. Shame that Covid restrictions meant we could not take a boat trip ourselves.

A bridge too far from the tearoom!

Well all that walking was thirsty work so we headed back to the cafe area. Teas and coffees all round, followed by another because non of us wanted the day to end, at least until we looked around and could see the place was almost empty and near the 5:00pm closing time.

We said our goodbyes and agreed let’s keep these garden visits going for as long as possible this year, they’re fun and a rare opportunity to socialise in person.

Next outing will be Friday 9th October, venue TBA, many places close at end of September and others have Covid restrictions so choice is limited but it will happen.

These Oasis trips are all subject to Covid restriction in place at the time of the trip.

Theresa x

A poem by Tania

My Little Home

Welcome to my little home,
I live here all on my own,
and when I close the door at night,
there’s never fuss and never fights

I can be who I want to be,
and live my life of fantasy,
I never have to justify,
and never have to tell a lie

Suspension of reality,
as long as i want it to be,
to grow the one inside of me,
like buds upon a winter tree

Until the day that I believe,
when I can walk and I can breathe,
and take my place, no compromise,
to see the world through Tania’s eyes

Welcome to my humble house,
where I used to be a timid mouse,
but now my eyes are open wide,
I have released the one inside,
to flourish like the crocus flower,
day by day and hour by hour…

 

Do you have a poem?

September Zoom Meeting

Dear Oasis ladies, partners and friends

The Zoom Crowd!

They do say that as you get older, time seems to pass more quickly. In which case I must be getting very old because time seems to be hurtling past! Here we are, coming up to our September Oasis meeting.  For the past few years, Venetia and I have done the catering for our September meeting but, sadly, this one will be another zoom. Petra is, once again, hosting the meeting.

The news is not good. The graph of positive Covid cases shows a marked uptick and the R number is now between 1 and 1.2. All very worrying. Tighter restrictions are being put in place again and I do not think we will be back at St George’s Hall until the spring at the earliest.

Girls just like to have fun

However, on a positive note, people are managing to get out and about within the limitations imposed. I have been able to play badminton at the leisure centre and I met up with five other ladies for a socially distanced lunch – our first for seven months. Eight of us (in 2 groups of 4)will be at The Interlude Tent in Chapelfield gardens on 15th to see the fabulous ‘La Voix’, and there will be a group meeting at Fairhaven Gardens on 18th. Thanks to Theresa and Lorraine for organising these garden outings during the summer. Thank goodness the weather is going to be warm and dry for the coming week.

We have had several new enquiries via the website and I have managed to meet up with Roxy and respond by telephone to another. Oasis still has a very important role to play.

Stay fit and well and I hope to see some of you in person and on zoom in the next few days.

Much love to you all.

Serena xx

Know your cucumbers!

Petra found this on an unofficial WI Facebook page.
Cucumbers… and facts you didn’t know….. I don’t know where I would be without a cucumber!

1.  Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a  cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5.  Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and  place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the
shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

and finally failing all this…..

14.  Sliced it up and put it on your salad!

A man(?) leaves a Sect: A true story – Part 3

Hazel’s final part of her story of the struggles of being born, and living in a Sect.  Read part 1 and part 2 here.

So we left. This was at the time of our youngest son being born. My mother asked to come and see him, which she did. My sister drove her to the house but sat in the car while Mother came and held the baby for a few minutes. She then said to my wife, “you realise I will not be able to see him again unless you come back?”  This was the only time she held her grandson.

During this time several of us had become disillusioned and we would meet up Saturday afternoons. We bought a 16 mm projector and would hire films to watch. We would do things for the children then put them to bed and start to party, but of course we got into trouble and were told to repent or be excommunicated. Apparently we were holding drunken, debauched pyjama parties. The only ones in pyjamas were the children! Never the less we chose to leave.

Having found ourselves on the outside, we tried several other churches but sooner or later we left those. We did not fit in. We had so much to learn, so much to find out about. We started to make friends through the school, and cubs and scouts. I became involved in fund raising for them, and it was following an evening organising a jumble sale that, when I got home, Rachel told me that my dad had died. Apparently he had a heart attack in the morning and was taken to hospital.

Later on, after they had visited him, he had three more and passed away. I rushed down the house and asked, “why did you not tell me?”

They said, “you know why.”

I was devastated. I still cry when I hear Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics (listen to it and you might understand the hurt I felt).  The funeral was arranged, which Rachel and I attended, but I missed the graveside service as I tried to get my eldest brother to come and stand together to say goodbye. (His part of the sect had fallen out with the others so he intended to hold his own service after.) So when I got back, it was all over. They could not wait for me.  Some ten years late the same happened to my mother. She had a fall and hit her head on the bath and did not recover. I was told several hours later. All I can say is, I did my best. I visited them both regularly even though it was uncomfortable. They would make me a cup of tea but would not drink one with me.

So during all this time I ran my own business refurbishing pubs, where I met several East End characters. We were told we had a reputation for being honest and reliable. I employed several staff and all would have gone well had we not met and worked for a publican who set out to bankrupt me. Due to my naivety I walked into the trap. He refused to pay a large sum of money, so I lost everything. I took him to the High Court. This took five years to sort out and during this time I had to sell my house to pay off debts, and we became homeless. We were given a council house. We eventually won the court case but most was swallowed up by legal fees, but we were able to buy a small cottage and start again.

So what was happening during this time to my desires to dress and be a girl? I fought hard to keep it away, but it would keep coming back. If I got an opportunity when my wife was out I would use it, only to be caught out. So I started counselling, because Rachel said it was my problem, sort it out. She did agree to come along for couple counselling, but would try and avoid talking about it, until one counsellor insisted and eventually she agreed to leaving me to explore my feminine side for twelve months. I agreed to be considerate and discrete because of the children. I ordered two dresses and spent time on-line where I discovered I was not the only one. I found the Beaumont society and joined. Three months into this period Rachel was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and the prognosis was not good. I felt I was to blame. My father’s comments had come true. Not only had my business failed spectacularly, but the woman who I loved more than anything was faced with this horrible disease.

‘All My Fault’, so I said I would give up. I did everything I could to look after her before, during and after her operation. Thanks to the support of my children and the surgeon’s skill, she pulled through, and ten years later she was given the all clear.

By this time the children had moved away and set up their own homes. Rachel had gone back to work and sometimes was away overnight. So, yes, out came the items I had hidden away, but for most of the time I suppressed my desires. I was always found out. Some would say I wanted to be found out, but rest assured I did not. All the upset it caused her upset me so much, but I could not change. One doctor told me prayer would help but I assured him that God was not listening to me. I had tried so many times banging my head on anything to try and make him answer me, but to no avail.

I resumed counselling hoping to find a ‘cure’. We did the couple thing again but this time she would not talk about it at all, and used the time to talk about anything else. After all she had been through, I did not blame her. To face your own mortality is something not many of us can understand. For me the need to dress grew stronger, but I still managed to hide it. I had learned that it was not okay to wear her clothes, so I bought bits of my own. I learned to be careful. A few time I was able to work away, so I sometimes attended sessions dressed during the day when she was at work, taking great care to clear up when I got back. The only way I could cope was working. I would turn anything into work. We went away together. We had a love of walking, but she would not be able to do as much as she used to, but in any spare time I would find something to work at. If I bought a car it would need work doing to it. We bought a beech hut which I pulled down and rebuilt. We learnt the joy of sailing, so I bought a dingy which I worked on. Eventually a bigger boat which I spent hours on. Was I happy? Yes, I was. Rachel was my soul-mate. We would argue about money, work (both hers and mine), but would never let the sun go down on our anger. Many a night we stayed up until the small hours sorting things out, but we loved each other. My only regret is I wished I could change so as to stop deceiving and hurting her. I came to understand I did not chose to be the way I was.

In 2016 my world came crashing down. Rachel woke up one Saturday morning with a head ache which tablets did not touch. She had been to the GP several times previously; he’d put her on BP tablets but did not take her seriously. I called 111 at midday and eventually at 2am Sunday morning a doctor arrived, and called 999 for an ambulance. She had a blood pressure reading of 210, but as it was a weekend nothing happened until Monday, when they carried out several tests. On Tuesday they told us she had a serious BP problem. What was of more concern was that she had lesions on her liver. The consultant referred her to the oncology department. The following day he came by and was surprised to see she had not been moved to the correct ward, so he contacted them and was told they were too busy. He would have to carry out a biopsy and then they said to send her home to wait for an outpatients’ appointment. After weeks of backwards and forwards, whilst she was getting worse, she ended up at a London hospital where she passed away on 16th June 2016. During her last week’s her two sisters visited her and she asked to see her younger brother. These had left the sect at the same time as us but had got on with their own lives. But none of my family came to see her.

After she had passed away my sister sent me a text saying, “it is good to know she safe in the arms of Jesus.” I replied, “but I want her in my arms.”

My eldest brother sent an email saying, “sorry to hear, if I need help let him know.” My other brother phoned and started talking nonsense so I put the phone down. My youngest sister was the only one who cared.

At the funeral all our friends and work colleagues came, but only her two sisters and youngest brother, also my baby sister.

Her eldest brother came to the door as we arrived with the coffin to greet us but would not come any further. I had told him if he could not join us to stay away and not interrupt us as I and my two sons and son-in-law would be carrying Rachel in but of course he did not have any respect. My daughter, to her credit, went up to him and gave him a kiss on the mouth, (that would have been the first time he had tasted lipstick).

So I came back home after spending a few days with my daughter getting over things. I felt terrible, sad, lonely and hurt, and blamed myself. All my father’s comments were coming true.

Here I was alone in my house. I had a bedroom full of my wife’s clothes with my suitcases hidden in the roof void. What was I to do? I had been doing my wife’s washing. I had things to put away, one item of which was a skirt which I just had to wear. I wanted to feel bad, guilty, but I felt so close to her. That night I slept in a nightdress. When morning came I tried to find work to do, to keep my mind occupied, but for the next few days I was unable to do anything but walk around lost. One morning, as I was waking, I felt her hand in mine. It was so real that I thought the past few weeks had been a bad dream that I was waking from. I turned over expecting her to be there but she was not, but I then knew she now understood, and accepted, I should do what I had to do.

So, bit by bit, over the next few weeks, Hazel came out of hiding. I started hanging her clothes in my wardrobe, I revisited a counsellor but she had got as far as she could go with me. I felt we were going around in circles, so I remembered the Beaumont Society and I re-joined. it was so refreshing to talk to the girls there. I had been on other sites but could not understand all the arguments people were having; the BS was different. I then found the contact details of a lady counsellor on the site and she has been a great help. I came to accept I was transgender. Her help was so practical; she helped me to examine how I wanted to be seen as I came out of hiding. I then decided I wanted to tell my children because I have always tried to be honest with them, so I wrote a letter to my daughter, wondering when would I be able to give it to her, but two days’ later she asked if she could visit for the evening and stay over. I jumped at this opportunity. We went out for a meal, then I gave her the letter to read after we got back home. She was brilliant and understanding. I explained about the BS and my visit to Harrogate, and who I wanted be. She has been a great help. We decided it was not the right time to let my sons know, but by the time you will read this they will know.

I was in touch with my counsellor by phone as she is based in Scotland, but after my first visit to Harrogate, it was pointed out to me I could talk to her via Skype. This was so much better. We have talked a lot about gender and she has introduced me to the probability of a third gender, as accepted by other cultures, which makes so much sense to me, as I have always asked: how did it all start? How was it I was transgender? I had not read about it; I had not met anyone else who was trans. I decided I admired them so much I wanted to be the same. As I keep saying, I did not chose to be so, so where, oh where, did it start?

During my second Skype session she looked at me and, as I was wearing a tee shirt over my bra, she said, “My dear, looking at you, I think it is strong possibility you were born Intersex. You have breast development which I would expect to see on a trans person who has been on hormones for a year.”

Well this took me by surprise, but the more I think about it, the more it seems to be the truth. So many things that have happened since I was a child would support that idea. For example: –

  • My mother told Rachel about my birth being different. I now wonder if Rachel told me everything, or whether she felt it best to keep things from me.
  • It would explain the doll I was given and kept for so many years.
  • I was told as a small boy by my aunt, “Your eyes are wasted on a boy.”  “Your nails are wasted on a boy.”
  • It would explain why I felt so difficult to pass as a brother in the sect. Other men who I have talked to said it was just something you had to do.
  • It would explain why for as long as can remember I felt I wanted to be a girl.
  • It would perhaps explain why the girl my father and her father expected me to marry, who was butch, is still single. Could we both have been born different?  Possibly they hoped we would get by together.
  • And why my breasts have been prominent for as long as I can remember. Rachel had a real problem with them.  She offered to pay for reduction surgery. We were on holiday on a beach once and people nearby were talking loudly in Spanish. She told me they were talking about me, so I have not been swimming since then.

So where am I now? I have visited the gender clinic in Wardour Street following blood tests. I was put on the NHS pathway for this some years ago but somehow my details went astray. I will be referred to specialists who may have answers.

I know I feel female and am more comfortable living as one, but I have to take into consideration my children’s views on how they want my grandchildren to know me.

Do I feel the need for surgery? I have been told I am too old for this to be done by the NHS and most likely the gender clinic surgeon. I can accept that without feeling disadvantaged. what about hormones? I am not sure until I speak to the specialist, but do I feel at a disadvantage without them.

I just want to live my life now as a woman as best I can. I am not too bothered about people around me, but I will be moving to a new area where I can start afresh. The present house has no happy memories, anyway. I have spent so much of my life being male, and learned a male trade. I expect to carry on but with a female view and hopefully female logic, for which I have learned to have a great regard for.

I will continue exploring the concept of the third gender. it seems, in some of our cases, this might be the obvious answer, but also I am sure it is not so in all cases, as we are so different. I do have to say that, if I really was born Intersex, I feel sad and angry that my parents did not tell me as I was growing up. I have a friend who has a grandchild who was born Intersex and has been allowed to grow up and now, at the age of 16, is making a decision of how he wants to be. This is so much better. He is now taking hormones to develop his male side.

And what about my faith, as I am often asked? All I can say is that the sect did not give me any faith worth keeping, but I what little I do have, I can be strong enough to challenge. Maybe I will write about this more, one day.

Well that is all folks! In writing I do not ask or expect sympathy but I feel it is a story that had to be told. So many children are being brainwashed in this sect and others like it.

I also dare to hope someone might find help and comfort from within this ramble. We need each other sometimes to lean on, sometimes to encourage, sometimes to advise.

We need to accept and celebrate the diversity within our ranks.

But I think, most of all, to laugh with.

Also, as the grace says, “Ever mindful of those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Hazel King x