It now seems inevitable that I am making this cycle trip…it’s a big risk for many reasons, least of all because it’s winter, I’m on a very tight budget and have a cat with me, but mostly because I am a single female wild camping and this makes me more vulnerable. I'm not naïve and don’t take dangerous risks, but the wrong place and time can change things very fast. I believe I am ready for almost anything and the end goal will be one hundred percent worth it…I can sense it. I must be brave!
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Big Change is Coming
Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire
Change is Coming
As time’s rolled-by in Bridlington I’ve become stagnant, dissatisfied and without true purpose and also suffering from Gender Re-assignment Surgery post-operative anti-climax, which can last several years...it's a form of depression if you like, but it feels as if there's a big vacuum in your life. I am happy that I finally had the operation, just that it's normal to feel this way for genuine trans girls. Anyway, I have always resorted to exercise to settle my mind and this situation is no different…at least temporarily anyway. So I decided to take-up cycling.
I bought a cheap used hybrid bike and after finishing my morning shift as a cleaner began by cycling eight miles every second day . After three months I was completing forty plus miles each ride. Then I purchased a sturdy used road bike, the Claud Butler Criterium, which was much lighter with plenty of gears. I enjoyed maintaining it and always looked forward to the next ride and within six months was completing seventy mile rides once a week, whatever the weather.
I learnt a great deal from maintaining and replacing parts on this bike and it added to my bike tool collection and experience…which later came in very useful. Still this wasn’t enough for me…I knew that I had to leave here, but didn’t know when or how it would happen. I hadn’t actually planned for this adventurous and risky outcome, but sometimes fate and people can push you in that direction.
Internet Girlfriend Episode
Let me call her Violet. She’s Leo’s girlfriend from America and she
has come to live with my brother and I.
For the record, the house is rented in my name and that sort of makes it
my house, but you wouldn’t think it the way they both treat me recently. My usually friendly brother has now become a
stranger and hardly talks to me, even at meal times.
They stay in his bedroom most of the time and
the atmosphere in the house doesn’t feel good at all. Strange because after the first week of her
arriving in late August 2009 she was nice and friendly and Leo was much
happier. I thought great I can live with
I am still cycle training, but
doing more quality miles, but far less distance.
Violet's been here for three weeks now
and it’s getting more and more difficult between us…I can feel the
When Leo’s at work she barely
speaks and she always leaves a mess in the kitchen when she’s finished…I mean
WHAT! All I’ve done is be nice and ask
her to tidy up after her. She tells Leo
and he takes sides with her more and more each day…it’s tense here, even Alice
is not her usual self. I try to talk to
Leo, but he’s not interested in solving it.
Get the F##k Out!
Violet's MFO boxes arrive from the U.S
and she has replaced all my things on the mantelpiece with hers when I was
out. I can’t believe it…she’s a bitch
from hell and Leo is doing nothing to step-in. I am furious, but I am aware that my cat is
getting scared and is hiding under the bed so I try to calm the situation
Another bike ride is in order to
clear my mind. When I get back the
trouble has not gone and now I know it’s deliberate. I remove her things from the mantelpiece and
reclaim it back with my things. When they
both discover this she begins walking upstairs and shouts down to me:
Get the f#c# out!
Leo is there to protect her and is
completely on her side now…what do I do here? Call the Police, Throw V out, fight
with my brother and risk losing my cat because she’s too scared to come back.
I don’t know what’s worse, Violet's blatant scheming or Leo’s total lack of support for mine and my cat’s
situation. She’s not just a cat, she is
sensitive and gets scared when there’s trouble like this.
It’s getting colder and I’m getting
The daylight is fading as I peer half dreamily
out of my bedroom window and there’s a bit of an autumn chill. The sprawl of woodland lends a satisfying natural
buffer between our garden and the next row of newly thrown-up houses and for
this small mercy I am grateful. The knot
in my stomach is easing and I can feel a wave of optimism run through me…it
feels electric, not shocking. I don’t
know why, but maybe I can use this opportunity for big change…I am not happy with
this situation here; at all!
The Big Chat
My plan is hatched and I think I can do this…it’s going to be tough financially, but with my fitness and experience as a trained soldier and my love for travel I know that somehow it will be possible. Leo is OK about this and I know this is what they both wanted all along, but he is not bothered about Alice or what happens to me…not really.
I don’t want to lose Alice to someone else or a rescue home, she is a beautiful cat. We organise to get my deposit and month in advance back and that’s it. Mum is now in the picture and she lets me and Alice stay with her at Dennis’s on one condition. That's it until the next instalment folks. See you then. Ta, ta Hilary 👯 xx
Alice and I before heading out onto the bike and into the cold ( Dounreay, Dec 2009) How I Ended-Up Doing This Crazy Trip This true story begins ten years ago on the East Yorkshire coast of England. This blog is written retrospectively as if the event were occuring in the present. It is an account of a risky Winter cycle trip towing a cat in a trailer on a very tight budget. All I know is that we’re heading North. It’s a story of fate, family squabbles, adventure, survival, solitude and resilience in the face of extraordinary challenges. How far will we get and will we be OK! Truth is Stranger than Fiction Hello, my name is Hilary and my cat’s called Alice. I live with my brother Leo in Bridlington, England and my mum is re-married and lives two miles away with her husband Dennis and my ninety-four year old grandad. I'm in my early forties , Leo is two years younger and Alice is thirteen and we’ve lived in the same house since the end of 2003. Leo wo
Clearing the Air The short stretch from the cold garage was a careful series of meandering right and left turns through overgrown decaying foliage and the path was barely visible until it straightened out back to the house. Sauntering along it struck me how the garden was so drab and overlooked and how the small pond was now dry and lifeless. I didn’t know it then, but this was an ominous sign of things to come. Image licensed from stock.adobe.com She busied herself with the usual morning routine while the autum rain and gusty wind began to batter the kitchen window. A familiar quick knock and the whoosh of mail hitting the floor caught our attention as the bright orange glow of the postie’s jacket faded through the smoky-glass pane as he continued his walk. Mum had always hated official looking mail…but I picked it up anyway and handed it to Dennis. Something was bothering her, I knew because she always immersed herself in some pointless radio debate befor