Monthly Archives: August 2017

I was taught by Mimosa Bunce, a Hobbit!

What a lot of people don’t know is that I was taught by a real, live Hobbit.

I truly mean it. No joke.

My tutor at college, Margaret Ann Bell, who died very recently, used to work for Oxford University Press in her youth. She met many famous authors. One of them was JRR Tolkien. She needed to top up her very meagre salary, so she offered to be Tolkien’s char-lady. She kept the Tolkien home clean, in her manner, and in his garden was a Mimosa bush. Margaret used to cut Mimosa for the house, and Tolkien (who I think was a bit sweet on her!) gave her the nickname Mimosa as a consequence.

Margaret’s maiden name at the time was Bunce. Tolkien said later that he would commemorate Margaret in a ‘book’ he was writing.

Now if you check out the list of Frodo and Bilbo’s relatives in Lord of the Rings, you’ll find a great aunt (?) of Frodo’s listed. She’s called Mimosa Bunce.

Hence, I was taught by a real Hobbit. Something I’m rather proud of.

(And no, she was quite tall and didn’t have hairy feet )

A Grain of Truth

It always amazes me how some transgender folk behave (as exemplified by their posts on Facebook, which I assume reflect their real-life character). You’d have thought that there’d be a little charity and understanding in their souls. I mean, being a member of a much-put-upon group, one might have thought that being at least tolerant was a default position. Yes, we all have our likes and dislikes. Yes we do come across a number of ‘unhappy’ folk within social media. But the active hate spewed by some of our own ‘kind’ is just beyond belief at times.

In particular, so-called ‘cross-dressers’ seem to get a lot of o flak for no other reason than some of the more exhibitionist fetishists amongst the group get a lot of undue focus. Well here’s a thought: don’t blacken everyone based on the behaviour of a small minority! And especially, differentiate between behaviour (what people do) as opposed to character (how people are). I’m constantly surprised how often these two get confused. I guess it’s lack of thought. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions, and much more satisfying than living with contingency. I know how it feels. Been there. Wore the T-shirt.

What’s more interesting is that the old joke ‘What’s the difference between a crossdresser and a transsexual? Ans: Five years!’ has just a grain of truth. Many of us started off (in our youth perhaps) by favouring the term ‘pervy’ rather than ‘transgender’. After all, it’s less frightening. But eventually one has to wake up and smell the Chanel. Maybe it’s longer than five years, and damnably more hard work than it looks, but I think in most transperson’s past there is a hint of the things we now tend to look back on with amusement… or disdain, depending on our sense of equity.

On the other side of the fence there are the ‘holier than thou’ brigade. They spend every day being professional transfolk. They don’t seem to do anything else except fight a self-ordained war with the rest of the world whilst preaching about ‘privilege’ and looking for things to dislike. It never occurs to them to cut people a little slack; especially those around them who are getting terribly bored at their fractiousness.

Too many walls, not enough bridges. Too many inflexible rules and not enough human politesse. Too much knee-jerk spitefulness and not enough cautious care. Too much narrow thinking and not enough breadth of knowledge.