Thursday, 27 January 2011

It's all good clean(?) fun... honest!

As I've written on here before, I love wearing high heels, and I've been in them most of the time in the house this week - slowly getting something approaching basic competence at walking in 5" stilettos, if not exactly proficiency. I even savoured the secret thrill of wearing my rubber ankle boots to put the bin out early yesterday morning: I guessed I'd be pretty safe as it was still dark outside - but I will admit to a very slight twinge of disappointment that I hadn't been noticed.

Since I first started
posting pictures of myself wearing them in the spring of last year, they've rapidly become, I think, the most popular category of photo I've uploaded. So when someone asked me if I could take some photos of me in them perhaps wearing tight shorts or "a denim miniskirt" it sounded to me like a perfect opportunity to show off my leather miniskirt, together with some fishnet tights - and the boots, of course.

It livened up a cold wet winter afternoon no end, and I got a huge kick out of doing it. If I'm honest I do quite enjoy a bit of crossdressing and have done for quite a while - albeit on a small scale. But I suspect I wouldn't need much encouragement to actually go further - maybe to a party or something. I don't, I hasten to add, look enough like a female to pass off as one just on clothes alone and I can't ever see myself donning wigs, falsies and the like. Anyway, here is the finished result, so you be the judge!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The noble art of self-importance

I'm not by any stretch of the imagination an extrovert, outgoing sort of person. But over the years I have joined and taken part in various online forums and "community" sites with a fair amount of success - it's nice to swap experiences and ideas with people who share the same interest. Most such sites (understandably) won't let you take part or use certain features unless you become a member.

So, when I thought that perhaps the
High Heel Place sounded a cool one to belong to, I duly filled in a registration form and awaited the email with the validation link to complete the process. Normally, that's all there is to it with these things. So I was a bit surprised to find that they have a second stage which entails approving the account (presumably by an actual person) before you can do anything that you weren't able to before. I awaited another email......

I discovered it in my spam box. It said my registration had been removed, as it "did not meet our membership requirements". There followed a list of five standard possible reasons, including unsuitable usernames, porn spamming, duplicate registrations, guys masqerading as girls (it asks on the registration form what sex you are) and faked country of origins - but it just bluntly said "Sorry" at the end. It's all apparently to save themselves the hassle of dealing with problematic users by not letting them join in the first place. Right! There's no way of querying it: it didn't seem to have occurred to them that they might actually have made a mistake.

They have to win a prize to start with I think for one of the most bizarre registration procedures I've come across - either the system validates and accepts them upfront or else a person checks first, but not both. It's their loss, anyway: from what I saw of it their site didn't seem to have anything exceptional. Either way, I can tell when I'm not wanted!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Knock knock.... who's there?

I was getting the tea ready earlier this evening, when the doorbell rang. I went down to answer it and I could see two young-ish guys, smartly dressed, with clipboards. I looked at the nearest one expectantly.
"Hi there buddy, how are ya doin?" he started.
"Look, I'm sorry, but I really don't have time for this now"
His next piece of repartee from the script vanished into the night air as I shut the front door.

Back in the house, the dialogue went like this:
"Who was that at the door?"
"Some b****** doorstep salesman"
"What was he selling"
"Dunno - I didn't let him get that far"
"Well how d'you know he was a salesman"
"When someone you've never clapped eyes on before smarms all over you like you're a long-lost friend without saying who he is first, it's a dead giveaway"

As I finished getting the tea, I reflected on the times I used to go knocking on doors, years ago when I went out canvassing. The people who said "No" upfront were a godsend when you were getting paid £x for a fixed number of houses: you'd get the whole thing done and dusted in no time. You could do without the ones who messed around pretending to be out while surreptitiously peering through a crack in the curtains, the ones who yelled at you through the letterbox, not to mention the ones who asked if you could come back when their husband/boyfriend/parents were in - or the "I'm just the babysitter".

It occurred to me afterwards that I'd answered the door wearing a pair of sheer black tights and a red T-Shirt with "Smile if you wish you were gay" written across the front. When you go round knocking on peoples' doors you see it all, believe me!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Fan club?

I was exchanging emails with a guy at the end of last week, who's into thighboots. As I've written on here before I've got a bit of a thing about boots, including high-heel ones. So we had quite a friendly chat about it and the upshot was that I decided to take some pics of me wearing mine and upload them: they're knee-high rubber stilettos! It's something I'd had half in mind to do for a while in fact. So I set up a little mini photo-shoot with the boots, some black wet-look leggings and a corset to complete the ensemble.

It was a terrific fun way to spend a wet breezy Saturday afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I have no pretentions whatever to being photogenic, although the focus was on the boots and not on me. Nevertheless I was gobsmacked to see that my Flickr stats have since absolutely shot up seven-fold on the strength of it!! The obvious inference is I am not by a long chalk the only guy who's into stilettos - it is moderately obvious that it's a guy who's wearing them. If only I could master the art of walking in them as easily?
PS - I've kept the corset on: I really must get properly back into the habit of that.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Trip back in time

I very much enjoyed writing about my schooldays last year, but one of the most gratifying things I've found since is the steady stream of emails from people who've seen my site and enjoyed looking at it: they've been coming through at the rate of about one a fortnight, including four now I think from ex-pupils I actually knew! But an unexpected bonus last week came in the form of an offer of some scans from the 1962 school panoramic photo. I'd always half-remembered that I hadn't got a "full set" of these: this one was missing, and I can't recollect why. Maybe I was absent from school on the day the orders were taken, or maybe having looked at myself on it, I decided I didn't want that particular souvenir! Nonetheless, 49 years later, I was especially glad to take the trip back in time as I posted the pictures on the site, remembering all the once-familiar faces, albeit struggling now to put names to some of them.

I was in Form 3L at the time, at the age of 13. I almost didn't spot myself on it: I seem to have quite an earnest expression for some reason. Maybe it was the thought of the haircut that my mother had obviously told me to get beforehand! Whatever the background to it, I don't suppose for one minute that I was envisaging that I'd be reflecting on the significance of it all some five decades later!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Geography lesson

When I was scanning some old family photos round about Christmas-time last year, I did quite a few which dated back to our time out in Hong Kong. My memories of it all are really quite hazy and more than somewhat disjointed, partly because I was only seven when we went out there, and partly because everything was changing so rapidly the whole time we were there. The pace of reconstruction, land reclamation and redevelopment seemed absolutely frantic and were I to go back there now, I doubt if I'd recognize anything much at all as it would have all changed, probably way beyond recognition.

My old junior school - Minden Row - I have a very indistinct mental picture of. I think it was quite small: the main part of the building I recollect was old, with a verandah and rooms with high ceilings. We were taken there every day in the "school bus" - a three-ton army truck - picking up pupils along the way, but I can't any longer even place exactly where it was. There's still a street in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon called Minden Row, after which the school was presumably named but nothing on a modern map to indicate where it once stood. I'd always assumed that in any case British service schools wouldn't have survived the demise of Hong Kong as a British colony in 1997: there would've been no obvious need for them after that?

But last night I came across some old maps scanned and posted on Flickr - and there was one of
Tsim Sha Tsui in the 1960s! Looking intently at the full-size image, I could just about make out the words 'Minden Row School' on one of the buildings there - at the far end of the street where we once used to go every morning! A bit further down towards the bottom of the map (within walking distance) was a green space marked "playground": I bet that would've been where we had our games periods, and where instead of playing, I used to surreptitiously watch the trains going by along the tracks of the Kowloon-Canton railway on the far side!

I was pleased with my little unexpected discovery. There's next to nothing anywhere about the school: it perhaps wasn't used as a school for very long, I don't know. But I still remember my time there with a certain amount of affection, if not - sadly - any degree of clarity.

Friday, 7 January 2011

We are all doomed!

I was reading a blog post the other day about the Amazon Kindle. I haven't actually got one and I don't know anyone who has, though I think I've seen someone using one. However, in the course of the comment thread on the future of books, I spotted the comment "Libraries are doomed"!

As an ex-librarian of some 40-odd years' experience I get the distinct impression that libraries have lost the plot nowadays. Books can be bought comparatively cheaply in supermarkets as well as online, and the traditional role of libraries as purveyors of information and homework answers has been eclipsed by the widespread availability of the Internet. Librarians have been renamed "customer service advisors"; libraries are now "one-stop shops" where you complain about your bin not being emptied; an army of IT and HR "support staff" is on hand to hinder any attempt to get on with the day-to-day job of serving the customers; and the whole show is presided over by a senior management directorate on telephone-number salaries with no practical experience of ever working in a library in their lives.

The old people (who demographically make up the majority of those who still actually borrow books) constantly bemoan the fact that they can never find anything decent to read on the shelves because the bookfund's been cut yet again. The young people lured in by free computer access constantly bemoan the fact that an hour isn't long enough to get their emails, chat to their mates and update their Facebook page before they get kicked off again. And all the while "initiatives" swallow up chunks of the budget, generating grandiose ideas for refurbishment projects but leaving little money for the basic essentials.

And maybe that's where the problem lies. Are we flogging a dead horse? In the 21st century, are libraries still "basic essentials" for anybody? Or are the remaining services that they provide ones which could be carried out better, more cheaply and more efficiently by other means? Doomed indeed!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Come on in... the water's lovely!

Today being the first Sunday of the new year, I felt it was time to walk off the excesses of Christmas (over-)eating. Raggs and I went across the park, the snow having left the grass wet and muddy. I had her on the long rover-lead so that she could snuffle away in the undergrowth without actually wandering off anywhere, and as soon we reached the little stream, she made a bee-line straight for it. Before I could stop her, she was down the bank and into the water, sploshing around happily evidently not feeling anything of the ice-cold through her thick winter fur.

After a few minutes it was time to move on, but when she turned round, she found there was a problem. The little narrow muddy pathway down was too steep and too slippery get back up again. After a couple of goes at it, I led her a bit further along the stream towards what looked like a shallower part of the bank, but then we saw some people walking along on the opposite side, and a man called across to see if we needed any help. Very wisely, he'd thought to come out in his wellies, so he soon got down to the level of the stream and somewhat gingerly put a foot in the water. The water, presumably the result of melting snow draining off the fields upstream somewhere was cold, clear, only a few inches deep, and without anything much of a current. Having thus successfully got everyone's attention, Raggs now decided that with a burst of energy she could manage quite well enough by herself, got a good run at it and came up splattering mud everwhere over me in the process. We gave her a resounding cheer and a round of applause and all went on our way!

On the way back I did keep more of a determined grip on her lead, but I rather think she realized she'd pushed her luck quite far enough for one day!