The Town Hall Clock Tower – Another View

I have been walking my neighbour’s dog as he has been unwell to do so himself.  The dog is old too and can’t go very far and so I do a little circuit near my house which takes me past The Town Hall.  On the way back from our walk today, I noticed how lovely the Clock Tower looks surrounded  by the trees.

I am very fond of The Town Hall and am happy that I can see The Clock Tower from my guest room and hear it chiming throughout the day.  I love the fact that it stops chiming after midnight and doesn’t start up again until six in the morning! 🙂

I also go dancing here on Wednesdays and some weekends.  The ballroom has a wonderful floor and is such a beautiful room to dance in.  In fact, the whole building is lovely and I will never forget the little tour given to me and my eldest by the previous Mayor.

And yes, that is really what the sky looked like today, although it was a tad nippy! 🙂

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Amazing Women

I have been fortunate to come across some amazing women in my lifetime thus far.   It seems that with every new thing I try, there is an amazing woman to be found.  I have come across countless amazing women through my scuba diving. (I have been diving for nearly 15 yrs, so it really is countless, and the list is growing in that sector!)  I have met the most interesting women through my dancing since I started over 7 years ago.  After all, there are more women that dance than men, and while waiting for a dance what else are we women supposed to do with our time?  We chat and get to know each other!

Since I started blogging and using Facebook, women have been extremely supportive and some have become ‘real’ friends.  It is amazing how having a common interest can bring people together.  I have learned so much from women who have interests and write about them.  For example, I love dancing Argentine Tango.  When I started blogging, I read every blog about Argentine Tango that I could find.  Ultimately, I settled on a few that I felt were pertinent and interesting and read their stories.  Stories of women who wanted to change their lives and had a passion.  There were challenges and pitfalls along with the good stuff.  What got to me was their honest and open expression of feeling about their journey that they shared on the blogosphere.  I have cheered them on when they were feeling down, congratulated them on their successes, commiserated, you name it.  The upside was they were there for me too when I shared on the blogosphere.

I have also benefitted from women who are into DIY or are good at finding a piece of junk and making it into something beautiful.  Some of these women are so wonderful that they even post step-by-step instructions on the how-to.  Although I have been doing this type of thing for years, there are times that even I get stuck for an idea or need to know how a particular product is going to work.  The creativity of some of these women is mind-blowing!

Women write blogs on everything.  So whatever you are interested in, I am sure there is an amazing woman out there who is writing about it.  You just need to search the internet and find her.  I have so many interests I could spend days on the computer reading blogs about what I like!

Because I feel blessed to have come across some amazing women lately, I have decided to dedicate little posts about some of them and will describe how they have inspired me or influenced me in some way.  Maybe they can do the same for you.  Watch this space! 🙂

Male Belly Dancers?

On Tuesday, when I went back to my Belly Dancing class, there was a man in there!  Who was he and what was he doing there?  I asked one of the ladies and she didn’t know either.  She thought that the class was going to be very interesting.  Someone told me  yesterday that he was the partner of one of the women in the class and a friend of the teacher and he wanted to know what the class was like.  HMMMMM!!!!!  If I was the partner, I would have told him, HELL NO! (then she could have shown him privately what she was up to! 😉 )

One of the reasons I LOVE my belly dancing class is because there are no men!  It is the only time I can be in a room full of people where the energy is totally feminine and where we can let our inner goddess out with no inhibitions.  Some of the women go to the class to be away from men, if only for an hour or two.  We dress up and expose our bodies in ways that we wouldn’t except in the privacy of our bedrooms, and some not even then!  We are all women of different ages and shapes.  There is no judgement because we are all beautiful.  We can also do stuff with our bodies that some people can’t, and that gives us just a little bit more confidence.

As I said, there is a man in the class.  He is dressed in shorts, t-shirt, socks and trainers, while all the women are dressed up in their outfits with coin belts around their waists.  He stays at the back of the room, three rows behind, where he can really see what is going on! Right!  He is behind me and I can see how he is doing in the mirror.  The teacher is calling us all ladies, habit I guess!  We are doing a back to basics class and working with the veil!  This is going to be tough and pretty much non-stop, a real workout!  I haven’t been to classes for a while and I am a little bit rusty, but I manage to keep up.  I know this is going to sound terrible, but I am watching the man moving very stiffly and having a difficult time of it.  I remind myself that I was once unsure and focus on what we are doing, but can’t help seeing what this man is up to as he is right behind me in the mirror!  We are doing hip thrusts, shimmies and jingling away.  We are walking, turning and moving our arms gracefully.  Everything, all at the same time!  It is not easy to do.  Sometimes I can’t even do it.  The man is really struggling.  Somehow, I manage to feel better about what I’m doing.  Sad, I know!

Then we start working with the veil.  I don’t have one yet and have to borrow one.  It is made of chiffon.  Chiffon is heavier than silk and I can really feel it in my arms and shoulders while we are working with it.  I find the veil to be a very feminine prop.  It is very floaty and makes me feel very girly.  I am watching the man with the veil.  I think he looks just a bit silly.  I am wondering (hoping) if he is regretting being in the class.

I ponder on all of this on my way home.  I consider myself open-minded, but something doesn’t sit quite right with me on this one.  I have watched the men dancing folklore in Egypt.  They are all covered up, even the women, in traditional clothes.  The women do the shimmies, and the men do other things.  They complement each other.  I look on YouTube for videos of male belly dancers.  The first one I watch is of a man called Diva.  Diva is very flexible and can do amazing things with his body.  The problem for me is that he is too effeminate.  His clothing is a bit camp and he is topless.  His physique doesn’t do anything for me.  There is no mystery or promise here.

I look a bit further down my list and find Tito Seif.  He is Egyptian.  He is fully clothed.  He has a hairy chest and facial hair.  He looks like a man.  He can belly dance on a Tabla!  As a woman, I can respond to this man, regardless of what his sexual orientation may be.  He looks cheeky.  I found him engaging.

My teacher has trained with men, one of whom is called Ozgen.  I could only find Ozgen listed on YouTube.  I looked at a few videos which seemed to feature the same routines and costumes, even though they were taken at different places.  There is no doubt he is talented and is slightly less camp than Diva, but he didn’t do anything for me either.  I guess I am not attracted to the skinny, hairless types.  The ones that look like boys.  I like men to look like men.  Anyway, here is Ozgen:

Then, I found Prinz Andrew!  Here we have a combo of belly dancing meets Bollywood!  Very oriental.  The man looks like a man, right down to the six-pack!  I really liked this.  It was subtle.  You should see him dancing with a sword!

Perhaps this man will come back to the class or not.  Maybe he should look at some male belly dancing videos to see if that is really what he wants to do.  I somehow can’t help wondering if he is doing it for another reason.  I may never know.  I do know that it changed the vibe in the room and I didn’t really like it.  We will see what happens next week.