Saturday, 30 April 2011

Return to Strumpetville

I’m back gentle reader, from my holiday to sunny Herefordshire. Managed to drive all the way there and all the way back without major incident – a definite plus.

The cottage we stayed in was lovely, and the weather we had was glorious. How towny we all are is shown by the fact we decided to walk to the nearest pub one night – and that walk took three hours. Indeed, a local farmer took pity on us and gave us a lift in the end.

There were seven of us in total, including me and Fella. Four straight women and three gay men. A combination that can have a great deal of fun, and perhaps inevitably watch a fair amount of gay porn.

Alongside the smut there were walks, canoeing, visits to picturesque towns, dinners out, nights in in-front of the fire, being chased out of fields by bulls... and just general relaxation.

Six of the seven of us are long-standing friends and we certainly were on top form – perhaps behaving a tad too disgracefully for the more refined and conservative tastes of the Welsh marches but I think a great time was had by all.

Now we’re back, and for me it is straight into exam season – my first is next Thursday. I was surprisingly good and did some studying each day on holiday but of course I feel as time draws on that I haven’t done enough. Fella will be a research degree widow for a wee while I fear.

What surprised me most was the gay porn thing. I never anticipated that would be a thing to bond over with the straight female ladies of the opposite gender. Certainly they were quite curious and the third gay man in the group – a housemate of one of the ladies, who in turn is a colleague of Fella – was happy to oblige (Fella didn’t really approve bless ‘im). I’m not sure they were prepared for the breadth of material on offer...

All in all, a group of friends disappearing off the grid for a week away together in a remote cottage has the makings of a decent horror film about it, but instead we had riotously good fun and I haven’t laughed like that for ages. I certainly don’t want to go back to work the week after next, and will certainly be thinking about my career options going forward.

Well, back to studying, back to my diet, back to work... back to reality. I am a little sorry for it, though the holiday was about the right length I think. Certainly I am looking forward to my next adventure, and soon!

Monday, 18 April 2011


One down and one to go...

Last weekend Fella and I returned to sunny Cardiff, this time with good friends to visit friend ‘A’ and her fella for a weekend. It was tremendous fun, but my God I am getting a bit old for this kind of thing – we returned absolutely shattered. An excellent time was had by all, and ‘A’ and her man made a huge effort to make us welcome.

Next weekend we are getting into our blue car and driving with some friends back to Wales for a few days of more ethanol fuelled R&R – this time in the countryside where we can enjoy being away from it all and generally forget about the world.

I really need it too. I feel so much that I need a break from my life at the moment. This is just what the doctor ordered... a couple of weeks off work, get my exams out of the way; something like a new start.

Overall I think right now I am truly vile company at the moment. Stress, mainly by the sheer volume of work I have at the moment, but also things that have happened at work, has been overwhelming. In a Protestant-work-ethic/stiff upper lip sort of way I try to keep my head down and do a good job without complaining. I suspect my stress has manifested itself in many ways; and certainly today my boss made me aware of what may be a significant error on my part – a disordered agenda; disordered meeting papers. Drama.

Why do I know I need a holiday? I have made an error and by and large I don’t care. Oh my!

A holiday; a chance to relax; build up my strength for what comes next. A change is as good as a rest, they say – it really is time to get another job.

The friends we are going with are an eclectic bunch, but mostly people I have met through Fella. In Cardiff it was friends he met through me. The seven of us will drive in two cars out from London onto the motorway, then onto the A road, the B road and out to our cottage in the Welsh... Wales (I have no idea what the countryside is like around there – we could be walking into a horror film).

I have high hopes – to be candid, gentle reader, I’m pinning in no small part my (short term) future happiness on having a good time in Welsh Wales. Kayaking! Pub lunches! Badger stamping! All I really want to do is get away.

I really want to get away.

Three days to go...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

I Want

I’ve been writing this blog for three years now (can you believe it?!). In all that time I’ve focussed on meeting guy, looking for that significant other and having my fun along the way.

Actually getting that long term relationship has in many ways presented a more difficult transition than coming out. It means reconciling all the things I was doing with my life before I came out with my well established sexuality, and concentrating on life goals again wider than catching up with who I am.

It is actually a little surprising, in a nice way, that the end result of a fair amount of work, regret, trial and error is a perfectly ordinary life. I’m engaged. I have a car; a goldfish; an office based job.

But... ah yes there it is Gentle Reader, the but that prevents the Cheerful Fairy being truly cheerful.

I have had some real challenges in other areas of my life recently, primarily with work. At the end of March next year the organisation I work for will cease to exist, and as matters stand I will be made redundant. The job is really very challenging; running an office of about 30 people, many of whom are very senior, and supervising directly a significant proportion of the rest. Now, the organisation I work for has moved me from role to role when difficult projects needed someone with my dubious talent. My current role is, though, the first in a long time of business-as-usual. There’s a huge amount of work and I’ve needed to develop skills in a host of new areas... and to cut a long story short it is often unpleasant and difficult, requiring long hours working evenings and weekends just to keep up.

On the positive side I was promoted into the role based on my achievements elsewhere and I have achieved some significant successes, so it’s not all doom-and-gloom. And it has opened up a whole new career avenue, which is invaluable.

The key I think going forward, is to couch things in terms of what I want

Even writing it I hesitate, not wanting to come across as selfish – I have normally defined my career successes in terms of how well I have helped others. But there we are; it’s time to think about what I want.

So what do I want? Well, my inner project manager fairy recognises that have a defined job to do in a defined period with a defined resource is actually a fairly luxurious position to be in. I want, at the end of this financial year, to have achieved a very real cultural change where I work, including much more sophisticated programme management systems. I want to have undertaken range of training and development that positions me very well for future employment, and ideally promotion with it. And I want to have achieved a balance between my work and the other aspects of my life that will allow me to explore non-work related interests supporting my ambitions

Now, I’ve never had a long term relationship before but I know this is a normal juggling act; work and home. Between the demanding job, the studying, our social lives and last but not least supporting Fella’s own career development, there is little Us time. It would be nice to have the time to go on a date too once in a while 

Oh... and I’d like to win the lottery!

I’ve never been the kind of person to have a five year plan but I have tried to keep positive and see opportunities, so having a one-year plan is refreshing and will help me avoid getting bogged down in every-day troubles. And that really is what I want.