Well, I saw Dr Perring at 2.00pm this afternoon, and what a nice chap he was. And his secretary, Christine, was equally pleasant: we had a chat both before and after.
I think it went all right. I had an hour with Dr Perring. We chiefly discussed my past life and the much more recent details of my transition; my historic experiments with female (or androgenous) clothing, jewellery and accessories; the nature and depth of my therapy sessions at various points; my current concerns and worries, which naturally centred on the unresolved relationship with my unhappy former partner M--- (I nearly got into tears there); and where I was going with my life. I answered frankly.
He didn't say at the end 'Oh well, you've sailed through that, no problem at all' but he did say he could keep the letter he'd be writing quite brief. I took brevity to be a good sign. And many hours later, I still feel the meeting will produce a letter that supports the surgery. I should see my copy in the next few days.
Then it was out into the falling snow, and a meet-up with my nephew M---. He demurred when his aunt suggested (first) a chat in a coffee house, and then (second) an early meal, all at her expense, but she insisted. After all, how often does an aunt get the chance to treat her nephew? (And it gave me the justification for treating my niece in the same way at the first opportunity) I hadn't seen M--- for months, and the whole thing was a pleasure. He was so easy with me. We ended up in the Regent Street branch of La Tasca for tapas, M-- drinking Coke, and myself enjoying a particularly nice Rioja. We talked and talked. Then, in even more snow, we made our way eastwards down Oxford Street to Tottenham Court Road, where we said au revoir - or was it hasta la vista? - with a kiss and a hug.
I then visited Covent Garden before heading back to Victoria Station. By then it was about 6:15pm, and as anticipated there was a long wait for an outgoing train. The worsening weather had made a shambles of the timetable. A dense crowd of edgy commuters had formed. I'd seen a lot of Police vans on the Strand, with officers in riot gear, and wondered whether they expected trouble from anxious homegoers! (Actually, demonstrating students must have been their target) Suddenly we were let through the ticket barrier. The trick then was to guess which train would depart first. All the platforms from 14 to 19 were occupied, but if you stood ready to sprint onto, say, platform 16, you'd probably be out of luck if the first train to leave was the one on platform 18. I was actually standing by platform 17 when an announcement was made, instantly drowned out by the baying of hundreds of stranded commuters. Everybody surged towards platform 19. I didn't hesitate. I hoicked up my long skirt and belted for that platform, ending up leading the howling pack by a short head. Playing it canny, I didn't go into any of the first carriages, where I'd have to fight for a seat, and might have to stand. I went halfway down the train before dodging into an almost-empty carriage, where I could choose a window seat facing the right way (I like to travel backwards). There was time to swap an ironic remark with a city gent, then the pack caught up, and in a twinkling the carriage was as crowded as any rush-hour Underground train, and believe me, they get very crowded indeed.
That wasn't the end of the story. The train went at a walking pace for much of the time, and I didn't reach Haywards Heath, where I'd left Fiona, till 9:15pm. I was so sorry for the people who'd had to stand all that way. I didn't get home till 9:45pm. Thank goodness I'd eaten with M---!