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Sunday, 29 January 2017

THE UNHERALDED FOGGY DAY TO CANTERBURY


The sky was clear and the sun was shining bright which revived the wilted grasses and became green once again. In the car, we were full of joy and happiness and from the window, handsome trees on the verges of the road resembled robust twigs. Their leaves disappeared but underneath their bald features was healthy living trees. Gradually, the clear blue sky was replaced by developing misty clouds and by heavy fog. On the way to our destination, thick lying clouds covered the road and everything visible became challenging to our naked eyes. We drove very slowly and then, I felt we were driving through an eerie ghost town. What a creepy experience and shuddersome imagination of mine! 

When we were in the heart of the Cathedral city, Canterbury, the challenging cottony cloud increasingly became clearer and thinner. We followed the street signs but our noviceness around the city directed us to inaccurate routes. We laughed and drove back until we found our way going on to their High Street via Rose Lane and Parade.

I was very excited to know more of Canterbury because tourists had various views about their one day escapade. Driving for hours in this chilly weather will make you weary and also, you would long for a hot drink. That is why, we picked the first restaurant we found and had our chosen brunch meal with hot drinks. We sat and stretched our legs after that foggy journey.

There were cobblestone alleys with local and known corporate retail stores. We walked on Burgate which guided us to locate the Entrance to Canterbury Cathedral's Precincts. A regal designed arched doorway built in 1517 with a sturdy ornate bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ which I read was a replacement as the original was damaged; 12 beautiful figures of angels and delicately restored carved miniature castle banners/flags. Apart from the precincts' well-preserved beauty, an elevated 20-foot tall stone monument cast with crucifix on the very top, valour dignitaries and banners was erected outside and enclosed by a metal fence. These were the extravaganzas of the Cathedral located on Sun Street, Strada and infront of the Mercery Lane. 
( Entrance to Canterbury Cathedral's Precincts)
(20-foot tall Stone Monument)
 

I wasn't able to explore the inside of Canterbury Cathedral as to see its historical and majestic beauty wasn't free. They posted a notice and read as “The Cathedral Precincts' Entrance Charges” which ranges from £8.00 to £32.00. I was down in the mouth for a little while but noted that the pretty penny charges has been keeping the Cathedral in pristine condition. On the other hand, you can still enter for free if your main reason for visiting the Cathedral is to pray solemnly. 

The disappointment soon vaporised and was replaced with excitement as we ventured around the rest of the alleys. It reminded me of York but the thought of comparison wasn't a great idea at all. For me, Canterbury as a Cathedral city offered frustrating and shocking revelations as it offered less breathtaking buildings and wasn't so awe-inspiring. Yes, they have the Cathedral which was barricaded with charges before you could see its illustrious majestic beauty. There are also cobblestone roads which reminded me of strong horses pulling and carrying carriages in the earlier periods. On the contrary, their elongated high street starting from Fenwick Building on St. George's Street up to Heraldic arched passageway of Westgate Towers was occupied mostly by the uniformity of known corporate high street brands. It was akin to the bustling Oxford Street in Central London.
(Heraldic Arched Passageway of Westgate Towers)
  
Yes, the letdown feeling vanished for awhile but it transpired when I couldn't find more awe-inspiring and wondrous gems in every alley we traversed through. In my own opinion, the city upholds and shelters nothing apart from their famous Cathedral, Royal Museum and Free Library.

Generally speaking, there is nothing bad about corporate retail store brands who have been injecting money into the council's pot and the city itself. They bring-in people and attract consumers which make a high street/ town centre livelier and more buoyant. Sad but true, known brands have been successful in the trading business as more and more people are getting conscious about the labels over quality. Isn't it preferably right? 

I didn't dream of shattering my day nor would kept on sulking while wandering around the city because of frustrations. That is why, I looked for something delightful and uplifting to make most of my day worthwhile. I found an admirably handsome tree just next to a brick & flintstones- wall which was over towering with branches like a witches' broom or an octopus' tentacles. There was also the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge known as the central museum, library and art gallery of the city. A listed building designed by the architect and City surveyor A.H. Campbel in 1897 and was opened to the public on the 11th of September 1898. What I liked more about it was the welcomingly unpretentious Tudor revival facade. Yes, the Cathedral city has free gems after all which were erected on the verges of their high street. 
(Admirably Handsome Tree)
(Beaney House of Art and Knowledge)
 

We sat in a cafe after hours of exploring and relaxed with hot drinks on our table. We were on the first floor of the cafe's building which had narrow windows for us to see the outside aerial view of the city. It was heartwarming on such a cold misty day to see loving families together and jovial students enjoying the company of their closest friends.

I haven't explored everything in Canterbury especially the world renowned Cathedral (maybe I will go to pray!). I am sure that there are lots of gems waiting for me. That is why, I will venture further next time especially when the sun is shining; when the twiddling humming bees are basking around and the colourful flowers in fully bloom.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

TRANSPARENT (TV SERIES)


Parenthood has no retirement and inevitably, responsibilities broaden as children grow and as time passes by. A stage which perpetuates even as the children get older and mature. Whether you like it or not, there is no switch off button when you are feeling tired of the obligations or just getting fed up with the daily responsibilities. Actually, it continues even when relationships break apart and parents live separately. That is why, a switch off button is neither an option and does not exist!

I just finished watching the first set of episodes of the TV series entitled Transparent. Each episode was delivered and carried out delightfully by the actors. It's not the stereo typical parenthood story but a delicate view of the reality of people embracing transitions in life. In particular, it was a more realistic approach of an evolving transgender woman's progression and also included other LGBTQI+ people. Disappointingly, this series hasn't been given much attention yet on TV channels or seen as important by some big networks. 

His fascination of becoming a woman and decision to dressing-up as a woman were concealed while he responsibly fathering his children... 

A university scholar who loved and supported his energetic wife, Shelly. They created a family of 3 children and he was generous in tending to their demands while growing up. He was a typical husband who worked very hard to fund the family's lifestyle and always came back home full of optimism. Apart from being very reliable, what came out gradually and incresingly was his desire to embrace his hindered  feeling of becoming a woman. Until one day, he fully unraveled the truth of his feeling and revealed herself as Maura Pfefferman.

Each episode highlighted the subtle transitional life of the father in becoming a transgender woman. Apart from his own challenging odyssey, it included the chaotic life of his eldest daughter, Sarah, who was once married to a man and later, cohabited with a lesbian. It also covered the confused personality of his youngest daughter, Ali, who became an eccentric lesbian and as the years passed also getting involved intimately with both sexes. The story also featured the bravado son, Josh, who was sexually defiled at a young age and subsequently got involved with a post-op transgender woman.

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"Hey, honey I want to borrow your panty as it's now becoming the rage at the moment?". He asked his wife. "It was the biggest camel toe I've ever seen in my entire life". His wife shared these comments with her dear friend and cachinnated. That was the starting and deciding point when the husband/father explored the wearing of women's clothes and appearing clandestinely as a woman. Despite the fact of his great desire to be a woman, he still fancied women and remained to love every woman's aspects from top going down to her v*gina. Yes, his hindered sexuality and metamorphosis didn't change or modify his immense attraction to women. 

He met a friend named Marcy... 

During his sneaky exploration, he accidentally met a friend who had the same life as his. They exchanged ideas on how to deal with their lives while reconnoitering as women; which influenced greatly and benefited their friendship. One day, they discovered an advert in a magazine which made them think seriously while adoring dressing-up as women in a hotel's restaurant. There was a sudden reluctance in their voices but their gay prattle helped them decide to give the boot camp a relishing shot. 

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They drove together heading to this well-moated leafy boot camp where they saw, met and chatted to most of the transgender women who had no trace of fear on their faces. They felt the excitement of sprucing up as a woman, especially when they reached the hub of the boot camp. The usual qualms on their faces vanished and their life's discretion was replaced with blissfulness. No more jittery rubbernecking! 

All throughout the boot camp period, they mingled with fathers of the same status quos; chatted to closet queen men who feared being deduced wrongly and even, drank with wives/women who were in full support of their husbands/friends' transformation. A heavenly feeling that they’ve been yearning for. They appreciated and loved as dawn came to dusk each day. Who would not be? They were human beings whose only desire is for happiness and to be accepted into society. However, they are always frighten of being vindictively judge by narrow minded people and then, maltreated like a plague. 

Personally speaking, sexual transition is a fragile and delicate stage in one's personal life. The gradual embrace of change as time passes by from their loved ones will ease their fears and free them from inexhaustible woes. It takes time to accept the honest blunt truth especially if it is all about the person we dearly admire and love. Verily speaking, some of us will feel apprehensive in welcoming unfamiliar changes especially if they are too close to home. However, this does not imply we can't embrace the piecemeal outcome of change.