Tuesday, 5 June 2012


I’m quite pleased with myself, oh yes; or more accurately I am pleased with the progress of my dissertation survey. More than 250 respondents so far with nearly three months to go until I close it, which I think is pretty good.

Response rates are tapering off and I am considering strategies to increase them – not least taking advantage of London Pride in early July.  

I was worried that my responses would be limited in so many ways; demographically, geographically, etc – but it seems, in general, not to be the case.

With so many responses I have been able to dip in and perform some preliminary analyses, which are producing some interesting results. I won’t bore you, gentle reader, by going into detail – yet. However, a review of the geographical spread of my respondents suggests focussing on an online questionnaire was the right way of getting responses, although it also suggests going out and visiting various places also pays dividends.

As part of my analysis, and idly thinking about the structure and content of my dissertation, I produced the graphic below to illustrate the spread of responses.

The white areas indicate postal districts where no responses have been received. Rural Wales, Scotland and Wessex don't concern me too much - although I am surprised that areas near London like Watford and Dartford haven't had anyone take part.
It's interesting, and gratifying, to see how many responses I've got from areas like Manchester, Galsgow and Ediunburgh - where I haven't visited - and Cardiff and Brighton, where I have. I also have a lot of friends to thank for spreading the word!
I would really like to break 1000 responses, but if responses can be kept to their long term average then I should hit somewhere around the 750 mark. If I can get 500 I will be double-plus pleased. In the meantime gentle reader I think I done good – and thank you for your help with that :-)

Monday, 28 May 2012


I can't believe another month has flown by. Where does the time go, gentle reader? Well, I've certainly been busy. I had my first exam a couple of weeks ago. It didn't go as well as I had hoped by I'm harshly marking myself down do who knows? It just goes to show how much time I need to study! This is what has consumed most of my time, gentle reader, and made me a dull fairy indeed. I hope you can forgive em...

In celebration of fairyness Fella and I went to Brighton last weekend. The gayest town on Eurovision, the gayest holiday... Fella, who loathes Eurovision, was not amused! But we had a great time and somehow manged to get sunburn on the back of my left leg and nowhere else.

Unfortunately news on the job front has been less good. I know my organisation is shutting down but it seems they are in the process of merging some departments and my job is going to be cut early. As I'm out on secondment I'm not quite sure how it works. I am ready to move on to my next career move... but I was looking at next year, not this. My adopted team like me and want to keep me so are looking at how I can stay until March (if not longer) but it's a bit of a difficult situation.

The secondment itself is keeping me super busy - another reason why time to blog is in short supply. But I'm enjoying it, very much. I know I need to apply for something new soon, but it will have to wait until my exams are finished and that will be late June.

The really good news is that my dissertation survey is going double plus well. I got my 250th respondent today! I'm really keen to get as many as possible, natch, so after a positive experience leafleting in Brighton for a while I'm looking forward to doing the same at Pride in July. In my heart of heart I want 1000 responses but I think as it goes I'll get 500. However, that's still a huge response compared to some of the other surveys on which other research I've seen has been based.

So there we have it. Strumpetville is sunny and hot and life continues with its typical ups and downs. I hope your life is mostly up!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Booked it!

Well, gentle reader, we’ve done it: the venue is booked and we are well and truly in civil-partnership planning mode.

The 15 May marks our third anniversary and one year exactly until the ceremony itself. As I’m in the middle of exam preparation and dissertation research it has been difficult to find time to even post about it, let alone do anything but this is progress at last.

The next steps for us are to set up our marriage website (some friends of ours set one up and it really helps with RSVPs, telling people about the venue etc), and organise some save the date cards. And perhaps figure out where the mind-bubbling amount of money it’s going to cost us will come from. My initial estimate was less than half of what it will really cost and our reserve fund is looking stretched-thin.

Personally I have no real objection to just trotting down to the town hall, filling in the relevant paperwork, and taking all of our friends out for a massive party in town for about half the money but needs must when Fella is all romantically minded.

That of course makes him out to be Bridezilla which couldn’t be further from the truth; and I think we are very lucky to have a venue that is enthusiastic and helpful and will take on a fair bit of the organising (but, importantly, not decision making) itself.

We have a friend making the rings and another friend making the cake. Fella delegated these tasks without really discussing it with me, which is OK to a point, but fortunately I had a chat with the friend making the rings this weekend and she is very sound about making something appropriate and that we both like rather than going off in a creative frenzy. Cake lady is next!

The ceremony will be on a Wednesday so I am keen to get ‘save the date’ cards out to people sooner rather than later, particularly as his family will be travelling from Scotland and mine from Germany. There will be a fair bit of organising around accommodation and transport, which will be quite a large part of the budget – our plan is for any family staying over to be put up that night at our expense at a hotel close to the venue.

One other idea that occurred to me was also around the ‘theme’ of the wedding. One of the things important to me about it is that everyone has a good time and it is as relaxed as possible. This means, for example, that we won’t have ‘day’ and ‘evening’ invitations but people can come and go as they please (which also helps get around the work-day problem).

My idea is to theme it around all the fun times Fella and I have had with the invitees – photos and momentos of holidays, nights out, places we been and various adventures we’ve had together.  A good idea, don’t you think?

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Now gentle reader it is not often that the Cheerful Fairy wades into the murk of politics. Very much an armchair fairy about that sort of thing. Usually.

Over the last few months Stonewall has been running ads on the side of Strumpetville’s shiney red buses “some people are gay: get over it!”. A very simple and effective message, and part of a campaign that is complemented with posters and leaflets and T-shirts etc.

But that is of course never the end of it. A counter campaign has been formulated: “not gay, ex gay, post gay and proud. Get over it!”. These were also due to be plastered on our shiny buses, right up until yesterday the Mayor had the campaign stopped.

Ensue much hullabaloo and stroking of beards, oh yes indeed.
A group called the Core Issues Trust, supported by Anglican Mainstream, The largely unsought battle between religious faith and sexual orientation continues apace, it appears.

So what’s the issue? Well, the nominal reason is the suggestion the ad promotes gay cures. We know, I think, that such ‘cures’ are utter rubbish, and if anything actively cause a lot of harm.

Does the advertisement itself claim to offer, or support, “gay cures”? No, not really. But I think the man in the street would reasonably infer that such a thing were possible, or at least that sexual orientation is mutable. And we cannot ignore both Core Issues trust and Anglican Mainstream focus on offering gay cures. Certainly the advertisement goes further than arguing, as this article in the Daily Mail suggests, that homosexuality as an aberration and as such we gayers need to “get over” our 'agenda'.

The Advertising Standards Authority, the regulator of advertisements in the UK, has come in for much criticism for not banning the ads itself. But should it? I used to work for the ASA and grapple with issues such as these. It is implausible to ban advertisements because you disagree with their content or message in principle; but on the other hand you can be so offensive that in limited instances freedom of speech can, and should, be restricted.

The ASA cannot arbitrate on this before an advertisement is run. Such a thing is censorship. If after seeing an advertisement someone has grounds for complaint, that complaint should be fully considered and a decision made in favour of one party or  the other. That is what regulators do; they are in the business of disappointing people. Not protecting them, on the grounds of some moral code nobody agreed, from things they might not like.

The timing of the advertisement, and the decision to ban it, can also not be ignored. The Mayor is running for re-election on 3 May, and up to now the campaign has been a mud-slinging vileathon with no debate about real issues. Of the party (right of centre) that is the main partner in the unpopular national coalition government, and one that is consistently considered to be sleazy and nasty, and in an incredibly diverse and largely left leaning city… I strongly suspect he’ll have swung some of those swing votes. Being sued by people who are to me clearly a hate group (although I’m sure they sincerely don’t see themselves as such, take out the words gay or homosexual in what they write and replace them with black of Jewish and see how it reads then) won’t hurt either, methinks.

Cynical? Perhaps. But should then the advert be run? Well, freedom of speech is a right for those who understand, as all sane adult men and women do, their responsibilities. We must think before we speak, and sometimes consider whether we need to speak at all. So it can’t always be absolute.

If I were Mayor of Strumpetville – or better still, king and tyrant – then I would let the advert run, but publicly and loudly voice my disagreement with its message and my view of those behind it. I would use it as a reason to keep equality, rights (and obligations), tackling hatred, and proper education about sexual health sand orientation high on the list of social priorities

In the meantime we have to accept that there are those who disagree with, or simply hate, homosexuality, and this must be tackled through open and honest debate. It creates climate of fear that stops people freely living their lives. Those, like the Anglican Mainstream or the Daily Mail, who clearly have an agenda all their own that is closer to something far more right wing and pernicious than sleaziness or nastiness must not be driven underground or simply banned. They have to be shown to be wrong.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

There's a time and a place

Unbelievably Fella and I have got off our pert arses and actually started planning our civil partnership.

Immediately off on a rambling tangent – Fella calls it the “wedding” and that we are getting “married”. I call it registering a civil partnership; because that is what it is. So there. But if you are 'interested in participating in the UK Government’s consultation on giving us cheerful band of shirt lifting fairy types the upgrade, then you can do so here: http://homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/
We have visited a few venues near to where we live: TheTudor Barn in Eltham, Eltham Palace, and Hall Place in Bexley.

Now, we love Eltham Palace, but we can’t really afford it – and we’d have to change our plans to accommodate the venue which I get a bit sniffy about considering what they’re asking.
The Tudor Barn is highly affordable and quite nice in its own way… but it didn’t set my world on fire. It’s not likely to be the place we pick.

Hall Place, however, is the Goldicocks venue. Affordable, beautiful, available, and enthusiastic about us being wedded there. The accommodation is just right and very flexible. And they appeal to our innate laziness by pretty much throwing everything in to the price, including the flowers. They have a nice package where they corral the suppliers, but we work with them each individually to meet our requirements which is just great. There’s even a hotel next door.
When I write ‘everything’ I of course use the word quite wrongly; they won’t do the cake or the rings, which Fella has farmed out to friends of ours – and the results of this I await with some trepidation…

Anyhoo. Because our families will be coming from Germany and Scotland, and our chosen day – our anniversary – happens to be a Wednesday so we think that the numbers will be quite small. Our initial guest list is about 60 something, and it may be many of them won’t be able to take the time off.
What we’re planning is an afternoon ceremony, and then a meal, drinks and dancing and then people can totter off in their own good time. At least that way people will only need to take half a day off work, and people can join us in the evening if they wish.
The next day… honeymoon.

We might look at one or two other places but I think we’re going to settle on this one… Have a look and tell me what you think J
I’m already thinking about the invites, what we’ll wear and sending out ‘save the date’ cards. What the hey; a project manager civil partnering an events planner – I think we’ll do alright. In the meantime Fella and I will be living like hermits for the next year to pay for it!


Looking at the stats each and every year the number of posts I write goes down. Partly it's because I've achieved much of what I set out to achieve; and there's only so much you can post about that. Partly it's because I've been busy. Done a master's degree, dangnamit!

Still, I want to continue this blog. I'm wedding planning, and Fella and I have a lot of life experiences ahead which are totally unprecedented for both of us; and of course there's a reasonable chance I'll fuck it all up and I'll be back at square one, slightly the frumpier for it.

Nevertheless, I've decided to do something that may appear counter-intuitive, and that is start another blog. It will run for a few months alongside this one, but will be focussed on my research for my dissertation.

The idea appeals to me because, as part of my research, I should keep a reflexive journal, the function of which will be to record my experiences, thoughts and ideas as I go forward.

For example, I've had 186 valid responses to my questionnaire so far but a huge proportion - nearly 50% - are under 25. No problem with that, except it means I can't easily correlate behaviour with life experience for the simple reason they haven't had many! They've had plenty of sex drugs and rock and roll, but not too many kids, not too much of an income and PhDs, civil partnerships and mortgages will be thin on the ground. However, homophobic bullying in schools is really coming out as an unexpectedly major theme around which I will need to do a lot of background reading and self-directed learning.

Also of concern is that I’m not getting any black respondents at all. This is clearly partly due to the way I’ve marketed my research, and I need to think about how best to address that.

Oh, I could go on and on… but I don’t think it quite proper, or of enough general interest, to do so here. Hence the other blog. My idea, simply, is that the feedback and comments I’ve had on my own blogged life experiences have been so valuable from you all, I could gain a lot from people’s views of my experiences doing my research – just as feedback from those who have taken the questionnaire has helped me tweak my questions.

186 though – I’m pleased to get so many in just over three weeks. In my wildest dreams I imagine bursting through the 1000 barrier by August. We shall see, gentle reader.

In the meantime, if you are at all interest, my other blog is http://socres.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Small awkward world...

Back in the day, when I blogged more frequently and had more interesting things to post, there were interesting things that happened to me that I would post about. This of course does Fella a disservice; but it is far more interesting to read about someone’s adventures in and about Strumpetville with a motion toward exploring sex and sexuality than it is to read about dinner parties and mild middle-classed angst.

Anyway, sometimes the world rolls around the past comes back to bite you in the bum, to coin a phrase.

Weirdly, this is another of those occasions that involves work. Why not, I suppose? Work is a big part of my life and I’ve always managed to avoid sleeping with friends whilst being lucky enough to make friends out of the occasional lover.

Way back when I briefly dated a guy who I met via Guardian Soulmates. The site itself is, in my view, a rather expensive way to meet the usual round of short term bijou boyfriendettes and one-night stands. Fun, but not really worth the money. At the time I had decided to try and dial things back a bit and find someone a bit saner. He lives in Hertfordshire and liked to tour abandoned nuclear bunkers. Bingo!

This particular guy spectacularly binned me in front of my friends at a Eurovison dinner party. I just wish he hadn’t eaten my food and drunk my wine before he did it. He did apologise later. I burned everything he left behind. Fair enough. No real harm done; I hope he’s doing well and is happy. Honest, guv.

Anyway, this is the guy introduced me to the good old fashioned gay sauna.

In the following months and years I did return from time to time to explore those mazes and steam rooms. I won’t lie – rule 5 (and 9) is there for a reason. I had fun.

The problem with fun of a certain type is that you don’t expect it to come out of its box and follow you around.

Yeah, you’ve guessed where this is going.

I’m pleased to be part of the LGBT group at work. Another guy who has joined recently is a German (yay) guy who, while a little older, is absolutely my type and works hard to keep it so.

Well, I recognised him and he recognised me; from a sauna, back then and back there. It’s difficult, and awkward, to say the least, to try and build a professional relationship, and in many ways common cause, with someone the top of whose head is the thing about them you remember second best.

The thing about is all, is not the salaciousness of it all – such as it is – but how to get over the awkwardness and build a working relationship with someone it turns out I really quite like. We both have partners, and there’s no way there’s a spark there. Mind you, I so wish I had not put any weight on between then and now, and I’m going to be a gym slave for a while yet…

I think I’ll have to fairy up and try and have a casual chat with him tomorrow to clear the air. I hope I can make it work. This kind of thing isn’t my forte. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


I’ve always been an introvert, and painfully shy in social situations, or when meeting new people. Afraid of coming across as a bit of a dickhead and generally lacking in the social graces even when I have stepped outside of myself and spoken up, I’ve ended up over analysing it afterward and cursing myself for being such a fool.

I’m told I was always pretty much like this; ‘never’ cried as a baby, never fussed in the supermarket or was particularly naughty. I always was happy by myself, playing in my room or with my head in a book. And being raised in an environment that can be best described as one of benign neglect I thrived academically but did little else.

When I was 14 we moved to Wiltshire and I started a new school. My parents’ marriage disintegrated within a year and neglect went from benign to virtually total. A combination of no parental guidance, peer pressure and raging adolescent hormones – plus a slow emergence into a not at all bad looking youth – set the scene for some uncharacteristic naughtiness. I made friends who have been my friends for 20 years, had thoroughly good adventures and made a point of pretty much saying yes to everything whilst also keeping enough of a head to maintain my academic credentials.

In the end no matter how much I drank, what else I took, how often the police brought me home or whether or not the injunction banning me from all National Trust land is still in force, none of it changed who I am. But the experiences that I had and the people I was with made me begin to appreciate who that person could be.

Soon, gentle reader, I will have been in sunny Strumpetville half my life. I have had a successful career to date, and this blog relates well enough another journey I have made. Yet in what should very much be a well-earned summer of my life, I find myself yet again pondering why I am virtually crippled by an appalling lack of self-confidence.

I am an introvert, still, and that is no bad thing, although the modern world is all about those with personality and not us keepers of the unlovablevirtues. Fella understands I have the space and time I need to read my books, tend my garden…

Still, the issue harms our relationship. How can he be happy or fulfilled being with someone like me? I do keep testing or challenging his sincerity and I worry one day the shine will come off. That is my biggest fear. But also I find it difficult to consider going for a promotion – what have I achieved? Am I really worth promoting?

In an effort to tackle what I perceive to be a very risky and fragile state I have been casting about for some self-help resources. One book I have been reading recently in particular has been quite useful. It’s named “What’s Stopping You” by Robert Kelsey, and man who describes himself as having overcome some of the same issues I describe. It’s a good primer for books like “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” so is worth reading for that. But also he does seem to have the measure of me!

In his book he describes me and those like me as “High Fear of Failure” and we manifest this by setting impossible goals so it doesn’t really matter if we don’t reach them;  and how we avoid going into situations, social or otherwise, because we don’t recognise that we all fail a lot of times and in many respects that is a positive learning experience too.

The book also expands on the helpful “where will you be in five years’ time” angle by exploring how those goals can be broken down into the tasks needed to get achieve them; getting started on those tasks; and - ultimately – what’s stopping you?

I don’t like the “blame the parents” excuse. Nor do I think a book is the answer to what ails me. I do know, however, I need to man-up and confront these issues because cute they may be in a teenager, they lack a certain charm in a man approaching (in a few years yet) middle age.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Can you believe it gentle reader? Five years since I started this blog. We’ve had some ups and downs in Strumpetville that’s for sure.

Fella and I have had our ups and downs, but believe it or not we’ll have been together for three years in May – more than half the time I’ve been posting. He unaccountably seems devoted to me despite getting to know me rather well.

I suppose determination pays off. As I’m well into my mid-thirties I suppose I came late to sexuality and was acutely aware of my window of opportunity – yes I know it’s really shallow but that seems to be the way it is out there. I think I made up in part for lost time and met a fair number of characters along the way.

I’ve been lucky – not too much hassle, heartache or horror to get to this point. Don’t get me wrong, if I had my time again I’d be out a lot sooner – but then I’d need my experiences and the validation I’ve had to do it, so maybe not… Fella and I have been good to each other, careers are doing well, fabulous friends and even close families. I’ve even lost a little weight…

Now, five years down the line it is time to acknowledge the importance of taking that next big step.

Yes, it’s time to grow up. *sigh*

By trimming the excesses of my social life my health has improved to the point that today I was discharged from my hospital consultant’s care; I really need to keep at it and accept I’m getting a bit too fat and old to go out boozing like I used to. Career’s too need work, rather than blundering along with a pinch of talent and a teaspoon of luck… and the same is true of relationships, friendships and money…

Work work work. Oh dear.  All work and no play makes Cheerful a dull Fairy. Yes, there has to be the social side and that could use some effort too; but at least that will be fun.

So here it is then: five years, five promises to myself.

1.       I will keep working to achieve my target weight and now give up in the face of minor setbacks.

2.       I will let go of worrying about petty details and small things.

3.       I will stick to my savings goals.

4.       I will set about getting a new job.

5.       I will focus on continuing to grow a well-rounded human being.  

Just in time for spring J

Now to celebrate with a glass of wine

Sunday, 11 March 2012


You may remember, gentle reader, that I am doing a research degree in public policy. I am nearing the end of my studies now, and in fact only have a few lectures left before it’s all done. Studying, classes, projects, revising… they all keep me busy. I’ve loved it and it’s really taught me invaluable skills and opened up my horizons. Bargain.

Of course there is one element left – my dissertation.
It is very important for me to do my dissertation research on an LGBT themed topic. Having tried to do my projects and essays on LGBT-relevant areas I’ve been amazed, and somewhat frustrated by the lack of data out there.

It seems general social research isn’t exploring how the issues it tackles affect LGBT people, or where this is done it isn’t done consistently. This means different research can’t easily be compared because different questions are asked, or there aren’t enough LGBT people taking part in a research project to make populations comparable.
So where does my dissertation come in?

I posted a while back about wanting to look at the behaviours of men in civil partnerships to see if they tended to display less risky behaviour. I wanted to use the data collected by sigma research who do a fantastic sexual health survey. They collect the data, but don’t look at that question themselves. Sadly, whilst acknowledging it is an interesting question they refused to share their data with me.
So, being me, I decided what the hell-crap-damn – I’ll collect my own data. Ha! Take that wise, and experienced researchers!

My dissertation proposal has been signed off, although I am looking at a wider range of life experiences to see how these impact on behaviours and social attitudes. I’ve started an advertising campaign using banner ads on some LGBT websites, and flyers to hand out, which mean I should reach about 250,000 gay and bisexual men. With luck that will get me at least few hundred responses.
I’m very very excited and can’t wait get my hands on some data to get modelling. It should all be done by the beginning of September and in the meantime while people are completing my online research questionnaire I will be doing a lot of background reading which will have the added advantage of expanding my horizons about issues affecting gay people.

It would be remiss of me, of course, not to plug my research questionnaire… so if you are a gay or bisexual man, or a man who has sex with men – and you are resident in the UK – then you are more than welcome to take part at www.shrodis.com. It’s completely anonymous and every response is appreciated J  

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Time is marching on gentle reader, and it is time for another postcard from Strumpetville.

Where is your cheerful fairy at then?

Life goes on – except for some of course it doesn’t. Since Fella’s mother died we have had, as is to be expected, our ups and downs. At first he really was very very down but I’ve tried to keep him busy and he’s been very active in organising the funeral, which will be on Thursday. He also has set up a website organising donations to the palliative care team that looked after Laura at the end.

When he’s been at his lowest I have been quite at a loss on how to console him, so it’s been a relief to have something for him to focus on. The funeral itself, I realise whilst typing this, will be tough on him and I think this coming weekend will be another tough one. Of course these things take time. Sometimes I feel – yes, me me me - as bit of a shit as I can’t – just cannot – take time out to really be there for him. That means for example Fella will go up for the funeral tomorrow, whilst I will arrive bang on the start.

Laura passed at the weekend before I started my new role and in the middle of essay writing for college. College is on its final stretch; once the essay is done, then it is exam time and then my dissertation. The pressure is on. Fella understands the demands but I sometimes feel his is a bereavement widow, and the double whammy – despite a very real foundation to our relationship being mutual support as we develop into the people we aim to be – fills me with guilt.

Fortunately my new boss is the head of the LGBT group where I work has had experience of this kind of thing and has been a very good source of advice. And of course friends have been double plus supportive, so once again my gratitude runneth over.

The wheels of life begin to turn again.  Fella and I went out for our belated Valentine’s dinner – as an aside you can imagine how much I adore going out with someone so good looking that four waiters serve him whilst I am studiously ignored *huff*. We did some serious civil partnership planning, which largely consisted of us conceding our initial budget plans were wildly optimistic.

No doubt there will be more to on all this AND MORE to blog about in the near future… the list of things to tell you gets ever longer! Stay tuned

Monday, 13 February 2012


On Saturday 11 February 2012 Fella’s mother, Laura, passed away. Her liver cancer progressed more speedily than anyone anticipated and a couple of weeks ago she began to deteriorate rapidly.

Realising she might become frail, but not anticipating that she would pass on so soon, Fella’s father encouraged both him and his brother to make a visit to see her.
For myself, pressures of college work made me say unless things were truly dire I would not be visiting that weekend, but of course I would support Fella in whatever he chose to do.

The week progressed and, yes, things began to look pretty dire. Fella went up on the Friday afternoon, and I drove up on the Saturday, arriving at midday.
By co-incidence the palliative care nurse was leaving, and the rest of the family had gone out to do some shopping, and possibly to clear their heads. However Fella was there, and together we sat with Laura while she rested.

I was quite shocked when I saw her. I had anticipated her being her; just asleep. Instead she was clearly very frail and poorly. Almost literally a shadow of her former self.
I do not know if she was conscious or not. Her eyes were partly open and her mouth moved a little but there was no sound. She was cold and she did not move at all.

The comment that all of us made, being with at that time, was THAT wasn’t her. That was not the woman of bottomless heart, limitless intellect and rapier wit who worked tirelessly to keep her family together and welcomed me despite her deeply held religious views.
However, it was her body, slowly slipping away, and within an hour of my arrival, with the family around her, she had passed away, a transition so peaceful we really couldn’t be sure exactly when it happened.

It was, thank God, peaceful and relatively comfortable. I am grateful for that.
She passed away so unexpectedly that there had been no arrangements made; no funeral home, no thought of bank accounts, emails, and the minutiae and details of loose ends and things to tie up.

The hardest thing for them all was the sympathy. People so often seemed to want the family to comfort THEM. Fella’s father found that the most difficult thing. Fella dealt with most of Laura’s side of the family, persuading people to cancel the visits they had been planning as there was now no point. Not until the funeral…
That will be in a week, perhaps two. Fella will help with the arrangements; particularly as he and Laura were so very close.

He’s taken it very hard, has Fella. They really were close… for me, I’m just trying to keep him active, keep him doing things, so that he has a chance to get over this tragedy without getting overwhelmed by it. Certainly today he was incredibly down. This will be a huge challenge for us both to get other and it will take time.

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Good Wife

In mid-February I start a new secondment in the Chief Executive’s office of the organisation I work for. It’s great to have a new opportunity – I will be focusing more on corporate governance and risk management rather than business management which will be a good change. A sideways promotion, if you will, and perhaps the nicest thing is I will be working directly for the head of the LGBT group, who has been double-plus supportive of me and other gay colleagues in the office.

It’s only nine months, but I’m very much looking forward to the change of setting, work and pace.

Of course I still need to do my project, dissertation and study for my exams, so it will be tough to manage but I know with Fella’s support I shall be able to manage.

Fella of course needs my support too, both with the physical and the emotional side of looking after his mother, and also with his own career.

He is on secondment too, of course, and he is doing very well in his role. He’s such a sweetheart it’s nice he can work to his strengths and capabilities as well as being uber-popular in his own office.

Part of supporting him is playing the good wife; where he works has lots of social and work events and it is politic to be there to support him and hob with the nobs. It’s a bit like being a politician’s wife; smile and wave, smile and wave… although as we both work in healthcare I can hold my own with anyone there. I enjoy it, but I have to be pretty and witty and gay regardless of my mood!

This weekend it was the highlight of the season, the annual ball. I went the whole hog and bought a new DJ for the occasion. As this is the third such occasion I’ve been to I saw loads of people I know; a lot of the people Fella works with have become good friends. I’m told the cheerful fairy was on top form, which is good. They do like the keep the wine flowing at these things…

I really do think it is a strength of our relationship that we are mutually supporting each other’s careers; and I’m very proud that I’ve been able to support fella in getting his career going well. Admittedly I am pleased that I get paid more than him, but every little helps as we plan for our civil partnership and our life after that. Of course we have to support each other in lots of ways, but really I do enjoy hanging off his arm at a do or two.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Happy New Year

Yes Gentle Reader I fear I have neglected you for most of January. But the Cheerful Fairy is back in Strumpetville, and more than happy to discuss my favourite subject – Me.

Have I been idle? No, far from it!

I have submitted by dissertation proposal form to my university for my research project; I’ll write more about that soon – my first meeting with my department head is on Wednesday, and while alongside the regular study and work it will be a big challenge, it’s a topic I’m very keen on – yes it is gay themed – and I’m eager to get started.

I have started my medication regime and I’m back at the gym so I’m pleased to write my health is getting back on an even keel. My New Year diet is going well, although I fell off the wagon rather at the weekend for a friend’s birthday.

On top of this I have been applying for new jobs and had an interview last Friday – I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the job but hey-ho it’s all good experience.

Work continues busy and I’m eager, obviously, to move on to my next career step. However, while I’m there I’m still an active member of the LGBT group and we’re working to celebrate gay history month in February.

Fella continues fine and we are as strong as ever. Domestic bliss reigns. We socialise with our friends; we enjoy each other’s company; the wedding planning continues at its slow pace. We have our synergy – he cooks, I eat; I diet; he loses weight.

There are down sides. Fella’s mother is increasingly unwell. Her liver cancer is terminal and over Christmas it was clear she is going downhill. Caring for her will be a big part of our year. However long she lasts – and of course we will have to think about changing the date of our civil partnership to take into account, bluntly, how long she will be around and healthy enough to attend.

All in all there’s lots going on in 2012, and lots will happen. So, to finish off this breathless guide to an average man’s life, I have decided simply not to have New Year’s resolutions. Nope. Why write something down I can look at in 12 months and go “ah. Forgot about these…”? Instead I will keep trying to be the best me I can possibly be. This will include resisting the temptation to set fire to my office.