Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Back to danger

Sigh. No sooner had I boarded the Brighton train at Gatwick than I felt potential danger. I became aware that only a few yards behind me were a group of teenagers that included at least one girl but seemed to be mostly young men. They were talking among themselves in that loud, fierce, boastful, inarticulate way that threatened violence to anyone who caught their attention. Welcome back to the UK. Fortunately they got off soon after.

No doubt there are such people on Guernsey, but if so I didn't see them. The whole place had a gentle air.  The worst misdemeanour I saw was the occasional flouting of the island's maximum 35mph speed limit by the 'Kevins' in their little cars with loud exhausts. They couldn't get up much speed: the roads were too bendy; no long straight stretches.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Ultimate validation

Having barely washed off the dust of Wiltshire, I have now flown to warm and sunny Guernsey for a week! How jetset is that? Unfortunately I can't do posts with photos on my mobile phone, so the travelogue must wait. I will merely say that I am having a lovely time. Today, for instance, I visited the small but beautiful and tranquil island of Sark. All in glorious sunshine.

There is no vibrant, throbbing trans scene on Guernsey. No scene for any non-standard person. My friend here, R---, was Guernsey-born, and has had a very difficult time as the only trans woman 'out' on the island. She can't escape her past, when everyone knows who she used to be.

I wondered how I would be received. Well, no trouble at all. Whether it's at the airport, at my hotel, or in shops, or in restaurants, or passing through a throng of schoolkids, or talking to other women in the loo, or Texans off a cruise ship (the Crown Princess), there are no strange looks or odd remarks. I conclude one of three things: people I meet are naive and innocent, so I pass by default; people are super-sophisticated and cool, so I don't pass, but it's still very OK with them; or, impossible though it may seem, I just pass.

However, I do have proof of real, ultimate validation. I went with R--- to visit an older friend of hers who owns a very friendly white labrador. This dog was clearly overjoyed to be introduced to me. Next thing I know is that he's leapt up, front paws all round me, and making unmistakeable mating movements. And when gently made to desist, tries to do it again. Wow. I must be giving off a female scent. You can't fool animals. They don't care what you're wearing. But if you're exuding those girly pheramones (is that the right spelling?) they get all fired up.

There you are then. I can pull male dogs whenever I want. They know a girl when they smell one. Ultimate validation.

Monday, 21 June 2010

A long weekend in Wiltshire - part 3

Just to wrap up last weekend before I go off to Guernsey.

On the Sunday, I picked up L--- and we went down the the Isle of Purbeck, which if you don't know, isn't really an island, just a peninsula, but it's a very scenic part of Dorset indeed. L--- was happy to just come along and let me stick to my original visit schedule. So, first up, Kimmeridge Bay:
Geology buffs will know all about the oil-bearing shales at the bay, which can give a slight iridescence to the sea at high tide, but on the day we were there it was all sunshine and blue sky and the sea looked beautiful, as you can see. A noted feature at Kimmeridge is a clifftop folly, called the Clavell Tower. When I last saw it back in the 1990s it was in a sorry state, and perilously close to the cliff edge. But (as with Belle Tout lighthouse near Beachy Head) it has been rebuilt further back from the eroding cliff and is safe for now:

Having inspected the Tower, and admired the view, we then let Fiona waft us to Corfe Castle:

This is the quintessential ruined castle on a hilltop. It goes back to the 13th century and before. But its present shattered state is almost entirely the result of the winning side in the Civil War blowing it up with gunpowder in 1646. Before then it was a handsome, impregnible fortress that was held by the Bankes family on the Royalist side against the Parliamentary forces, who besieged it twice. The first time, in 1643, was an embarrassing failure. The second time, in 1646, at pretty well near the end of the Civil War, succeeded, but only through cunning treachery. The Roundheads were not content with the usual token dismantling of the defences. They were vindictive and demolished the castle as best they could. Amazing to see what seventeenth-century explosives could accomplish!

It was really an act of short-sighted vandalism, completely ignoring the tourist potential of the place three hundred years ahead. The views from the castle were truly impressive. To the north, all of Poole Harbour and Bournemouth. To the immediate south, a bird's-eye view of Corfe Castle village, which looked exactly like one of those 'model villages' you see here and there, with everything in miniature, except this one had real people and cars and buses passing through. You could even see the steam railway station, but disappointingly nothing was happening there.

On we sped, and soon arrived in Swanage, a neat and tidy little Victorian seaside resort set on a wide sandy bay between headlands. Fiona had to nose her way along the High Street, which was thronged with holidaymakers. Just like the old days. I remember coming here on a paddle-steamer from Bournemouth in 1959 or 1960, and visiting the nearby Tilly Whim Cave, and the Blue Pool inland - we must have hopped onto a local coach trip. The pier's still there, and I believe that occasionally the Waverley still makes the trip when in the area. L--- and I had a wander in the sun, then enjoyed a coffee and (for me) a slice of cake in a coffee shop. We attracted no attention. How pleasant. 

On the way back to where we left Fiona, we saw what appeared to be a World Cup supporter:

Next morning I made a start on processing all the shots I'd taken on the weekend - over 230 pictures. This is the quite comfortable setup in the caravan for doing it:
It was another sunny morning, so I had to have the blinds down. After a couple of hours' work (well, I call it 'work'!) I put everything away, hitched up, and made for home. Here is a shot of Fiona and the caravan, about to hit the road:
I had one half-hour stop for a nice cup of tea, but it still took under four hours to get home.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Covering one's tracks - completed

Having fallen asleep yesterday evening, I didn't then finish the post about severing or disguising links with one's transition blog, but I now have. Here it is.

Covering one's tracks is something of a hot topic just now.

So never mind how you do it, would you? Should you?

No doubt about it, any blog worth following projects an image of its owner that may be true to life, or highly selective, but will probably touch on the most intimate thoughts and experiences. We all go through times that generate very anguished or indignant posts. A lot of this speaks directly to the very hearts of co-bloggers, and some posts are extremely useful for ongoing reference. But it may not be wise for others to see them. Consequently at some point we have to decide whether to put some distance between our blogging personalities and the actual self who may be in a promising new relationship or looking for a job. It's not realistic to expect ordinary people to take talk of facial or genital surgery in their stride. Extraordinary people can, but how lucky do you feel?

And yet it seems a bit dishonest to cover up and remove all links. Why should it be necessary? But we all have to have regard to real life. Throughout history, people have had to be careful if their writings might lead to their destruction. It was ever thus, and ever will be.

I speak of course from a privileged position, let's make no bones about it. I have nobody left to offend or embarrass in my family, and similarly among my friends past or present. I have retired, and won't now have to sell myself to get a job, nor cope with any negative experiences as an employee. Nor do I belong to any clubs or societies. Nor am I in any way a public figure, who might be the target for salacious articles or accusations. I'm not even much known in my village, because for so long I was a mere commuter and took no part in village life, and since retirement I have kept a very low profile. Even lower nowadays, as a personal policy, although I'm noticing some glances when driving through in Fiona, or when parking. I hope the looks are for the car and not me.

What I'm saying is that I am an anonymous resident who doesn't hide but lives discreetly, and I reckon I am as bulletproof as may be where malicious attention is concerned.  I can call anyone's bluff if they mumble things about me, and I jolly well would. They can't shame me. If any busybody tried to find out anything bad about me, they would discover nothing to my discredit, at least no past misdemeanours, criminal or moral, that would ever, for instance, prevent me standing for election as a local councillor or even as an MP. (In the real world, of course, no trans person is very likely to get adopted by a local party organisation - it has happened in places, but in Sussex perhaps not)

Incidentally it wouldn't be that difficult to attract media attention. I had, for instance, wanted to attend the Andrea Waddell murder trial at Lewes. (She was a local transphobic crime victim in 2009) But I decided not to. I had visions of being accosted by the local press as I went in, and 'Tranny Trial draws local Tranny to the Hearing' as the resulting horror headline, whether or not I gave my name and connection. Doubtless the reporter would have searched the web for anything about me, and then bingo! my blog and Flickr site would become the focus of attention, and from there my entire life, if they were very short of copy. Her family wouldn't have been helped by that. So I stayed away, contenting myself with a brief vist to Andrea's grave yesterday - see the previous post.

I may consider myself to be immune from moralistic pointing fingers but I'm not safe from violence. I'm not proof against chance encounters with transphobic people. But I haven't met any around here yet, and have so far avoided them on my wider excursions. Still, this is an area that really worries me. It's why the doors on Fiona automatically default to 'locked' whenever I drive off, in town or countryside. And why I'm so glad that the Volvo 'key' I carry around can tell me, from a distance, whether anyone is lurking in my parked car (there's a heartbeat sensor). Being a victim of violence frankly terrifies me, and although the feeling is acute nowadays, I've always felt vulnerable, all my life. It is the chief reason why, if push came to shove, I might ever consider shutting down or disguising my online presence: in other words 'going underground'.

So it boils down to this. We have to live in the world as it is. Things may get better, but just now there are too many people who cannot or will not accept a trans person, and a few may be abusive. Your blog isn't intended for public viewing - it's a special-interest production - but it's on the Internet and therefore as public as any website. If it contains anything that could damage your prospects, or even place yourself in danger, then at some point you may have to close it down and sever the links. And no blame to you.

On the other hand, if you are (relatively speaking) armour-plated, if running a frank and explicit blog has no obvious consequences, if you can cock a snook at tabloid newspapers and anti-trans groups, if you're prepared to admit on prime-time TV who you were and who you now are, then I feel you have a duty to stay out there and fly your personal flag. Don't do it if you might get sent to a gulag as a result. Stay within the UK laws of libel. Stay within the bounds of good taste. But don't be hushed up.

One of the very first trans people I came across in my initial delving into trans matters back in July 2008 - just after the penny dropped about myself - was the writer, actress and entertainer Calpernia Addams. She was, as many will know, reluctantly but most publicly outed when her US Army boyfriend was murdered on account of their relationship. She has since become a high-profile activist and personality. I agree with many of her views, even if I don't inhabit quite the same world. One of her main messages is that were it not for those like her, who have made themselves known, and fought the good fight for other trans people, we would not be gaining any public acceptance at all. She gets told to 'stop it' by trans people who want deep stealth. She refuses. As I would refuse. That doesn't mean that I would 'out' anyone else who couldn't risk public exposure. But I wouldn't accept being told to shut up where my blog was concerned.

Andrea Waddell - a visit to her grave

Andrea Waddell, who was living in Brighton was she died, was the victim of a transphobic crime, murdered by strangling on 15 October 2009. One of two such crimes in the UK at that time. The trial of the accused man, Neil McMillan, began in May and has now ended. He was found guilty of murder and received a minimum 22-year sentence. Thus ends the official legal process.

I saw the family (and briefly spoke with Mrs Waddell) at the Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church in Brighton last November (see my post on 23 November 2009), and next morning tried to visit the grave with Jo, in the teeth of a gale. I went back again on a sunnier day, on my own, with a rose (see my post on 29 November 2009), but wasn't certain that I'd found the correct grave.

I'm pleased to say that I made no mistake about the grave last November. I returned to Clayton Wood Burial Ground just after noon yesterday, asked the staff where the grave was, and found that it was now marked with a carved wooden block. I lit a candle and without any special words wished her well, wherever she now was. As simple as that. Here are the pictures I took:

Yesterday would have been Andrea's 30th birthday, and the absence of flowers on the grave suggested that her family had not yet arrived to mark the occasion in their own way.  I didn't want to intrude on that, and didn't linger. I left the candle, but no card to say from whom. There was no bin to put the spent matches in, but the staff back at the Burial Ground hut took them from me when popped my face round the door again.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Covering one's tracks

Something of a hot topic just now.

So never mind how you do it, would you? Should you?

No doubt about it, any blog worth following projects an image of its owner that may be true to life, or highly selective, but will probably touch on the most intimate thoughts and experiences. We all go through times that generate very anguished or indignant posts. A lot of this speaks directly to the very hearts of co-bloggers, and some posts are extremely useful for ongoing reference. But it may not be wise for others to see them. Consequently at some point we have to decide whether to put some distance between our blogging personalities and the actual self who may be in a promising new relationship or looking for a job. It's not realistic to expect ordinary people to take talk of facial or genital surgery in their stride. Extraordinary people can, but how lucky do you feel?

And yet it seems a bit dishonest to cover up and remove all links. Why should it be necessary? But we all have to have regard to real life. Throughout history, people have had to be careful if their writings might lead to their destruction. It was ever thus, and ever will be.

I'm writing this on a train, and must now get off. To be resumed.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A long weekend in Wiltshire - part 2

With the sun still shining in a blue sky, I wondered how to fill in Saturday afternoon. I decided to visit a National Trust property, Kingston Lacey. It was £12 to get in, but free to me as I'm a Life Member, having bought Life Membership way back in 1996, replacing my annual membership which began in 1981. Kingston Lacey consists of a mansion once owned by the Bankes family, set in an attractive formal landscape, although (unusually for an NT property) without extensive gardens full of flowers and shrubs: it was mostly wide lawns and woods. Anyway, the house was the draw here, and I must say it was packed full of things to see. One of the very best.
The Bankes family were formerly the owners of Corfe Castle in Purbeck. They were ejected from there during the Civil War in the 1640s, but their fortunes recovered and this house was built and then subsequently decorated with a sumptuous taste. Successive generations filled it with art and furniture and collector's items. This for instance is one of the bedrooms:
Downstairs were a series of impressive rooms fit for a king (and apparently Edward VII, who succeeded Queen Victoria, did come to tea in the 1900s):
Of course some rooms have to be kept dark, to preserve the old paintings and fabrics. The shot above is less than perfect because it was handheld in dim light. In the same room was the latest pride and joy, a restored Tintoretto. Here's detail from it:
It's highly unusual to see a Tintoretto outside Italy. One of the family had to go abroad in the early 1800s to escape censure at home. He had money, and bought up anything that took his fancy, including not only a huge miscellany of art but Egyptian relics of all kinds, including a granite sarcophagus which became a garden feature:
Isn't this bizarre? An ancient Egyptian sarcophagus that should be in the hot, rocky, desert-like Valley of the Kings has been placed in verdant English parkland!

The house had many things that caught the eye. I loved the wood carving on stairways, such as this:
In each room were one or more Volunteers, unpaid ladies and gentlemen who gave up a morning or afternoon to assist members of the public who were visiting the property. They didn't just stand around as guardians, but had knowledge of what was in the room, often extensive. I chatted to several in turn. This seemed to be thoroughly appreciated! The ordinary UK visitor, true to national character, usually hates getting into conversation, and will scurry past studiously avoiding eye contact. Not so with foreigners, who can be full of intelligent questions. In the Tintoretto room, for instance, I had quite a conversation with the older lady Volunteer in one corner, but after five minutes or so she asked me whether I could rescue her much younger colleague in the other corner, who was being grilled by an intense Italian woman about the picture. It was entering a kind of conspiracy. I had to go over and butt in, pretending to be fascinated by the Tintoretto and wanting to discuss it. Except that didn't have to pretend. I duly butted in, politely of course, displaced the Italian woman who went back to her husband and bambino, and then proceeded to learn a lot myself about the painting's origins and restoration. I have to say, Sue (that was her name) knew her stuff, and I didn't think that she could ever have been seriously lost for answers, whatever the depth of interrogation. The painting had been damaged in the past, and it was highly interesting to learn what examination by X-ray and other techniques had revealed, and what skills were used by the restorers after cleaning to 'fill in' damaged areas and correctly colour-match the pigments. Upstairs I encountered the youngest Volunteer I'd ever seen. We fell into talking, and it turned out that she was doing a history degree, and this naturally inclined her to study the facts concerning 'her' part of the house, so that she could enlighten visitors. All for no payment - just a free lunch, I think she said. As you can imagine, all this chatting put my best Lucy voice under prolonged strain! But it survived. 

I'd just finished my visit when friend F--- contacted me to ask whether she and S--- could meet me back at my caravan before we went into Salisbury for our evening meal. Absolutely. So I dashed back, and we had tea in the caravan, the three of us. So civilised! Then we went off in convoy to S---'s, left F---'s car there, and piled into Fiona for the short trip into town. We were eating at the Rai D'Or. Another friend, L---, joined us there. I wish I could show you some pictures of my friends, and of the meal itself, but my personal convention not to name names and not to show pictures of faces means I can't. It was a Thai meal, very spicy and tasty. A nice contrast to the asparagus and risotto I had for lunch.

Thus endeth Saturday. Part 3 tomorrow.

A long weekend in Wiltshire - part 1

Last Friday I took the caravan down to my usual spot outside Salisbury (Pennings Farm at Coombe Bissett), returning on Monday. It was the first proper tow with Fiona. Here's the evidence that I arrived safely:
The place wasn't exactly crowded - just me and a motorcaravan owned by a thirtysomething couple who kept to themselves:
This is entirely typical of how caravanning is when you use farms instead of big sites. You get peace, seclusion, wide open skies and plenty of sunshine (if any sun is available, that is!). You also get (on this site) top-notch facilities, meaning water, electricity, a freshly-emptied rubbish bin and a spick-and-span chemical toilet disposal point. Could any girl-about-town want more? All for £10 a night, when a decent hotel seems to be costing at least £77 this year.

So what did I get up to? Well, first evening I drove over to Rockbourne to the Rose & Crown pub and had an evening meal there:
That's the main course: a long strip of belly pork with the crackling crossing it diagonally, with dainty little side bowls of vegetables and absolutely delicious potatoes. I had to refuse the bread and olive oil to start. I've had it before at this pub, and it just fills you up. Anyway, it was all washed down with a nice soft Merlot. For pudding I had creme brulee with, intriguingly, rubarb in it. That too was delicious. All the while the pub was buzzing with (fairly well-heeled) locals chatting away about their jobs and their lives and their cars and their dogs. Nobody paid me any attention except the staff, who were very nice. A pity really, I would have enjoyed a chat and a reason to stay a while longer. 

Next day (Saturday) it was off to Shaftesbury in the late morning. This is an old and attractive hilltop town in north Dorset, the next county. I'd been going there on and off since 1975. I once wanted to live there, in Love Lane. At any rate the first night of my honeymoon (on 14 February 1983 - St Valentine's Day of course!) was spent there, in the old Grosvenor Hotel. That hotel had been getting a facelift over the last year or two, and was reopened as Hotel Grosvenor earlier in 2010. They were offering a two course lunch, with wine, for £15. I went straight in and booked a table.  I killed time in the rather sophisticated bar:
It was early and it was just me and James (left in the picture). We discussed possible wines, and having sampled a pleasant Sauvignon, I had that instead of the house wine. We also discussed the artwork scattered around the bar. I got James to take a photo of me:
My goodness, my tummy is getting a bit prominent. Oh well. Then I was called to my table in the dining room, which again was rather stylish, although the artwork wasn't as good as in the bar:
That shot was taken from my table. I first had sour bread with an olive oil dip and deep yellow butter. Then the first of the two courses, an 'asparagus salad, soft poached hen's egg, truffle creamed vinegatrette', with, as you can see, a windmill cross of shaved bacon atop:
Robert Welch cutlery. This creation was elegant. It was also orgasmic to devour it very slowly. Clearly it was a signature dish, and I asked who the chef was. It turned out that it was Mark Treasure, who had (like a number of city chefs who had made their Michelin star) come to the distant countryside to cook well but have a family life at the same time, freed up from the intense pressures of a London kitchen. My second course was a 'simple' risotto containing flaked haddock:
Well, I was having an meal with friends in Salisbury that same evening, and needed to keep the lunch within bounds. This too was delicious. I had strong black coffee to follow. The waitress offered me some exquisite little sweets, but I laughingly refused. Incidentally, I make no apologies for dwelling on the details of my meals. I often eat out on my own. And when you do, it makes the most of the experience if you take great care over what you eat, and savour it to the full. As if the meal itself, assisted by the staff who bring it to you, is your companion.

Upstairs, the ladies was wallpapered in a striking way with an ornate mirror:
Let's just have a close-up of the Melford visage:
Isn't it funny how different you look in unusual lighting? I'm in a pink shadow and my face looks unfamiliar. It's mildly flattering, but somewhat unreal (compare it with the bar shot). If I really looked like that, I don't think I'd bother with facial surgery. I'd just concentrate on losing a bit of heft.

Part two in a day's time.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Lucy Westenra

Every few years I dig out Bram Stoker's Dracula and read it through. I know the plot and the characters and lots of little details pretty well by now. It's a very good story. Of course, the two girls in it steal the show. Both fall victim to the Count. Poor Lucy Westenra first, then Mina Harker. None of the efforts of the hyper-noble and valiant men can save Lucy from becoming a vampire herself, and Mina is barely spared the same fate.

I have to say at once that in no way did I have Lucy Westenra in mind when naming myself, but those who regret my transition into Lucy Melford might see some parallels. Thus initially, in the name of dieting, I lost a lot of bulk, becoming thin and pale, and I rather wasted away for a while. Then something strange seemed to infect me, changing my behaviour, attitudes and appearance. More recently I have become a bit corpulent, with the pale look exchanged for a florid complexion.  But there the parallels end. No pointed little teeth, for one thing, just regular tombstones. How appropriate.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Time for some surgery

I neglected to show you some shots of myself at Trevor Sorbie last month, when for a day I looked rather more glam than usual. The bottom shot was on the same day, trying on a new top at Gap, and the hairstyle had survived up to that point. One wash later, and it was back to the windswept look again! Never mind; the hair still looks healthy and it seems to be thickening up as it grows.

But I have to say it would all look a whole lot better if my face matched my body. I feel OK from the neck down - well, as OK as anyone can expect when approaching 58, as will be my age next month! But north of the neck I see a male face - a heavy jaw, a strange nose, a rather Neanderthal brow. Someone (a past girlfriend long ago) told me I had piggy eyes. Oink! Actually, I don't think the eyes are too bad. And the natural hair really, really helps - far and away my best girly feature.  It hides so much.

But I'm seriously considering facial surgery now. In fact I've made the decision to have it done. It would make me look as feminine as I can be. And if effective, I would blend in really well, so that no-one would ever look or stare or comment on me. I wouldn't be a potential embarrassment to any non-trans companion. I could have total confidence, especially combined with a perfected voice.

How much surgery? I suppose the ideal would be to look like the sister I never had. That is, to keep some family resemblance. But I don't feel strongly about this. I have no close family left, for one thing, and besides, if the nose and jaw were changed to my preferred specifications, I would look decidedly different. I don't think I should be too bothered how I end up, so long as the male look is completely gone, it all looks completely natural, and the work creates no potential problems when I'm much older. I would like to look like a woman in her late forties, attractive of course, but not necessarily pretty. I'd rather have an interesting face, a sympathetic and kind face, a face that would make people feel comfortable, than a classically beautiful face, or one that was just cold perfection.

Any change like this might be a jolt to people who have known me for a long time. It will be hard for some to accept the new look, and they might refuse to see me or a photo of me. That would be sad. But it's not their face.

The next decision is who will do the work. Should I blow my remaining ready cash on Dr Ousterhout in California? I'd want the best job I can get, and it would involve a lot of bone work, and a carefully-reworked nose.

And some months after all this, the genital surgery. Mr  Thomas is just down the road at the Brighton Nuffield Hospital, a taxi ride away, and I would get caucasian bits with 'uncomplicated' surgery and 'easy' aftercare. Or should it be Dr Suporn in Thailand, a long-haul flight away, and I get pretty asian bits with complicated surgery and fiddly aftercare?

It all needs very careful thought. But if I want to get the facial surgery out of the way by February I need to get in the queue soon. And that would mean the genital surgery not sooner than the autumn of next year.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Back...to the Future!

Yes, parked outside Waitrose in Winchester just a couple of days ago was this very nice condition De Lorean:

It must have been about thirty years old, but it still looked sharp. And it did start...by the time we (myself and three friends) had emerged from Waitrose half and hour later, it had gone, leaving nary a sign that it had ever been there. Was it a dream, then? No, because my camera does not lie. Except for the way it grossly exaggerates the shape of my awful nose.

Curious that it was parked in one of the 'disabled' spaces. Actually, not so strange...those gull-winged doors would allow easy access to anyone: just duck, and flop in with a sideways sliding motion. Not sure though how any normal person would be able to get out, especially if disabled with anything except deafness. Perhaps you could bail out sideways onto the ground, but that wouldn't be a good option when dressed in posh opera-going attire. Your tiara would come off.

A more prosaic reason for being in that 'disabled' space might have have been that the spiral driveway down into the underground customer car park was remarkably tight, and poor Fiona had to take it very carefully (she's quite a big girl, you know). If the De Lorean were mine, I certainly wouldn't have risked scraping that stainless steel bodywork on concrete. It's irreplaceable now.