Saturday, 30 April 2016

Days of Gratitude - Walking Down the Wansbeck River and experiencing Pulp Fiction

Another few days of gratitude from my posts as part of the Sunday Assembly Newcastle Gratitude Group.  These four days included two good walks and time out with a friend.  They have been good.  I'm actually really proud of myself for the second walk.  Not because of being able to walk seven or eight miles of course.  Even though, honestly, that's the furthest I've walked in one go since September 2013.

I'm proud because I'd had such problems with anxiety and panic in the morning and it would have been much easier to stay at home and binge watch something.  But I was able to refuse to be defeated, at least that time, and got out.  The reward was great and I'm proud that I got out and went somewhere I'd never been before.

I was also very glad:  By the time I got back to Regent Centre on the bus, to get a Metro from there, it was pouring with rain.  Shortly after I got home it was snowing.  So I was very glad to have stayed dry apart from a little bit of not too heavy hail for a few minutes.

I'll warn you.  The walks from the last week are all going to be blogged when I catch up on posting.  There will be lots of photos.  Lots of them.  I've been enjoying taking pictures but I haven't got round to the enjoyment of editing any of them.  Every photo here is unedited, they're just what was taken on my phone.  A couple were taken when using whatsapp.  A friend messaged me and I happened to be in pretty places at those moments so kinda showed off that I was in a beautiful place.  It's easy to spot which photos those two are.

River Wansbeck, to the East of Stakeford
25th April

Grateful that I ignored the rain, sleet and hail that all happened during the few minutes walking to the Metro.

Instead of going home again I walked from Stakeford to Newbiggin. And hardly got wet at all. It was great. And I was completely alone on the beach.

Panorama of beach north of Wansbeck estuary.  Completely deserted.  I was totally alone.

26th April

Grateful for the trip to Whitley Bay today. I met with a friend in a cafe, which was great, and the sweet shop has a very pleasing selection of liquorice.  I was happy flapping about the liquorice and then happy flapping some more when there was an empty box that the nice woman in the shop gave me.

Cafe:  I ate the Moroccan Tagine and cous cous which was really tasty.  It cost £4.50.  Nothing is that expensive there.

Blob Thing enjoyed himself too.

Pulp Fiction Cafe, Whitley Bay.  Recommended

Lovely Liquorice Box.  It had contained "Zout".  Also Recommended.

River Wansbeck, East of Morpeth
27th April

Grateful that I managed to overcome big anxiety and panic problems this morning and rather than staying cosy at home walked for a few hours, from Morpeth to Bothal Mill and back on a circular route.

Very grateful that I only had to contend with a few minutes of light hail and not the snow that was happening an hour ago.

Grateful for a bus pass that is going to do wonders for my mental health if I use it lots.

Pegswood Viaduct, built 1849-50

28th April

Grateful for my bus pass and for the freedom it has given me in the last week.

Today I have collected a pile of bus timetables so my bus pass can give me a lot more freedom and enjoyment, as well as the bonus of being able to get into town for free.

Slightly geekier - grateful that while out I found the complete DVD set of Robin of Sherwood for £1.99. Win!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Days of Gratitude - Friendships, Forests and Foul Carpet Remedies

Another week of things to be grateful for.  There have been bad times.  And good times.

The bad news mentioned below is that the gender clinic have decided not to refer me for a second opinion at this time.  A second opinion - a second consultant psychiatrist must in their infinite wisdom decide that I am me - is necessary before I could be referred for surgery.  So the wait is stretched out for at least another extra four months.  Part of me is really very annoyed by this.  Part of me couldn't care less.  And there's even a part, the sensible part that has been walking several times in the last week (blog posts of photos will follow) and needed to pee in the open, that sees there is a definite advantage to keeping this penis.  Anyway, on with the gratitude!

 16th April

Grateful that on the days when my head struggles and gets very overwhelmed there are simple things to help with calming.

Trying a new one. Extreme dot to dot. Pretty relaxing and helped the head slow down and find some focus. I might get bored of this quickly, but joining up the 1200 numbers on the first page did help.

Grateful too for all the good people protesting in London, here and elsewhere yesterday. There is still hope.

18th April

Grateful for Meeting a friend in Tea Sutra and using my completed loyalty card that I have had for at least six months.

19th April

Grateful that this arrived. Our old vacuum cleaner has been pretty dead for quite a while and our carpets were pretty disgusting. That means that I've already had to empty the new vacuum cleaner four times.

Yes, they were that bad.

Having non-manky carpets is great.

21st  April

Grateful for sunlight. For looking at the garden and seeing a cat and a fox sleeping there.  Honestly, there is a fox down there.

Also grateful to learn that child is doing so well at school. Lots of high numbers and letters right at the start of the alphabet.

And grateful to have got through my electrolysis appointment without getting very close to melting. Thanks to an illegal medication dose and to clutching a unicorn tightly.

22nd April

In the morning I felt dreadful.  And during the day I got some bad news.

But there is a lot of good to choose from.

Random decision to take a random bus from Regent Centre. I discover there is a lot to explore on the route.

Highlight was discovering Plessey Woods and sitting in peace for a while by the river only hearing the water and the birds. It's such a relief and release.

23rd April

Grateful that a friend arrived last night for the evening and isn't leaving until tomorrow. Grateful to be able to offer a relaxing place for her.

Grateful that the house rules are to be who you are. And being social is optional.

She likes my bubble gun too.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

It's a Transgender Toilet Post Because All We Want to Do is Use a Loo

This morning, this post appeared on my facebook wall.   It's worth looking at.
A photographer, Meg Bitton, made public a picture of a client, Corey.  Corey is young and transgender.  The post was made with the consent of Corey and of her mother who want the picture to remain online because it raises awareness.  The comments on that post range from the majority which are thankfully totally supportive to those which are utterly vile.

In the USA there are people who would force this girl to use men's toilets. Because this girl was born with a penis.
There are people trying to pass laws, and have succeeded in North Carolina, so she would be arrested if she tries to urinate in a cubicle in a women's loo.  In North Carolina transgender people have already faced legal trouble for using the loo.  And cisgender women have too, which was not the intended consequence for the Republicans who passed the law.  It's just horrible.  Those legal troubles are in addition to the social difficulties trans people can already face for using a toilet, difficulties that have been written about by many people who have experienced them.
Some of the people who believe in these laws are in the running to be the President of the USA.

There are people who have publicly stated they would beat up girls and women like this or even murder them. And some of those people are politicians and police chiefs.

In the UK there are people who agree with them.  Yes, I've seen such people online - including some people that I know personally.

Both sides of the Atlantic there are those who call people such as this girl - and such as me - "dangerous perverts." They may think we are deranged, mentally ill, or just plain evil. They hate us.

Of course, none of those people talk about transgender men. Or non-binary people. None of them mention the transgender men, such as the man pictured here, they would force to use the women's loo. None of them mention that cisgender men and woman already sometimes cause problems in toilets or that there is no record of a transgender person ever doing the same thing.  There are stories, yes.  But they're all unconfirmed or they're quickly shown to be as false as the story that was spread this week about a transwoman supposedly taking pictures of women in a restroom at Target. 

People spread false stories because sometimes it's easier to live in fear and to create imaginary demons than to check a fact.  They worry that men might dress up as a woman and enter a women's loo but don't ever talk about how a number of cisgender heterosexual men already abuse women in restrooms or that none of them dress up as a woman to do it because why would they?  They worry about the safety of little girls in toilets but never ask whether the little girls should be accompanied, never mention that if there was a danger it would already exist for little boys in toilets, never mention that there is virtually no risk whatsoever.  They have a story to tell and it doesn't matter how wrong the story is, they're determined to tell it.

Most people I know can't see the problem with trans people going to the toilet. They are amazed that people are reacting the way they are in treating trans people this way. I met with an American this week who said she is utterly ashamed of what's going on in the USA right now.  We're all astounded that something like this can become a major issue in choosing who will stand to be President when there are actual real issues Republicans could and should be talking about.

Most people I know couldn't care less if a trans person uses a toilet.  They're much more worried about running out of toilet roll, dirty toilet seats, taps that don't stay on long enough to wash your hands and the risk of a hand dryer being so ineffective that you have to give up and use your jumper. Real issues, real worries!

Most people I know think the whole thing is ridiculous. It's stupid. They are right.  It is stupid.  And they would be right that it's ridiculous. Except it's also dangerous.
Dangerous, but not usually for cisgender people who want to urinate unless they're unlucky enough to be pulled out of a restroom with their knickers down by security men who refuse to believe that their genitals were the ones they were born with.  Yes, that happened recently in North Carolina.  Even in states that don't have discriminatory bathroom laws it can happen, just as it did in Detroit, Michigan last year to this unfortunate woman.

Dangerous for transgender people whose lives can already be dangerous enough.  Trans people face the constant possibility of abuse and that possibility can only increase when people are told to be very afraid of us.  If we look like Corey we may face legal and social problems but we are unlikely to be abused in toilets or in the street.  But if we don't pass, the abuse is very real, even in an accepting place like Newcastle Upon Tyne.  When I started to transition I was verbally abused pretty much every time I left the house.  Newcastle is one of the easy places to transition in but even here people are being abused for being transgender.  Every single day.

And it's dangerous too for the cisgender people who believe what the religious and political conservatives tell them to believe.

There was no monster.  People created one to believe in.

The monster is still not real.

But in believing in a non-existent monster, people are themselves becoming monsters.

Yes, thanks to those who teach fear and hatred, monsters do now walk among us.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Days of Gratitude - Birthdays and bubbles, cakes, cafes and cameras. And a vagina?

I am very behind.  I haven't posted from my gratitude diary in a few weeks.  There's lots of catching up to do.  Lots more than just posting the diary.  I've been using my bus pass quite a bit in the last week and have visited places I've never been to before.  Bus routes go to pleasing places to walk.  Even some places I'd never heard of before.  Many photos mean many blog posts to come.

So here is a week of gratitude posts from the Sunday Assembly Newcastle gratitude group.  A great week, most of which was spent in Greater Manchester.  I love living in Newcastle.  It's a great place to be.  But I'm loving visiting Manchester too - and my very special friend there.

Oh yes, the word vagina appears in the title of this post.  It does not appear in any of the diary entries.  It's only in the title because the last post, which contained the word vagina in the title twice, got far more views than most.  It's currently the fourth most clicked on post on this blog, having overtaken my post that contained the words breasts and fucking in the title.  Obviously vaginas are popular and my vagina is certainly winning, even though I don't have one.  I can't help thinking that there must be people who click on these posts and are then very disappointed when they find out what they're actually about.  No sex here.  No porn.  No naked genitals to look at.

The most popular post ever on this blog is the address I wrote for my mother's funeral.  Although I doubt every one of the people clicking on that was real as soon after that was the week that quite suspiciously large number of Russians were reading two posts.  In second place is the post with the words "Dunston Staithes" in the title, words which perhaps won't attract entirely the same set of people as a vagina post.

So this post has vagina in the title.  I wonder if it will get substantially more views than the other gratitude posts.

9th April

A great day celebrating a birthday. A little quiet party with good people.

A day with my magic friend and Into The Hoods in the evening.

Lots of party games. The morning found us making this one: Pin the cross on the Desmond Tutu.

10th April

Grateful for the sunlight on the water in the park we visited.

And for the total joy that bubbles can bring.

11th April

Grateful to have had the ability to go to a swimming pool for the first time since I began to use the name Clare. It's a scary thing. I can't swim but this was about overcoming fear not swimming. Another step to freedom.

Also grateful to find a quiet place for a drink afterwards and to learn that away from the main shopping area there is a more pleasant area of Stockport.  (It's true.  I actually look forward to going back on a day that isn't a Monday so the market and the shops around it will be open.)

13th April

Grateful for a day containing too many things to be grateful for to ever fit them in a post like this.

Surprises, a good lunch, time with a brilliant friend, smiles, and wishing Bury a happy bubble day.

So much in the day. Clare is a fortunate woman.

The photo is one of the bubble machines we bought. Newcastle needs a happy bubble day too.

14th April

Typing this on the coach home.

Grateful for the wonderful friendship I share with Amanda. For the days I spend with her. Grateful too for cake like this, from the first of two cafes this morning.

And grateful that home awaits. Wife, child, my bedroom, and quite a lot to look forward to. Newcastle in an hour!

15th April

Grateful for the technological marvel that is the smartphone. Grateful for WhatsApp and the ease of communicating with someone from a distance. I found all the letters and postcards Beth and I sent each other years ago and wonder how things would be with Amanda if we had to do things the old fashioned way rather than being able to communicate instantly whenever we wanted.

Grateful too for having a tech knowledgeable friend on facebook who recommended a phone to me that got ordered. With all this Whatsapp use it will be an excellent thing to have a bigger screen, a better camera, and a phone that has enough memory.  (And I only realise when blogging this that the photo is not of the model of phone I bought.  Never mind.)

My Nokia Lumia 530 was the cheapest in the shop at the time, has served me well, and after a quiet start has had to work very hard for the last eight months. Very hard. But today a new phone is on order.

Writing when preparing the blog post:  Since it arrived, only ten days ago, a lot of photos have been taken.  There are quite a few posts to come, with lots of pictures.  Loving that it has a much better camera than the old phone and I've been enjoying playing with it a lot.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

To Vagina or not to Vagina? That is the question. Or one of the questions.

This story.  She's been through a lot physically and emotionally.

The question arises - what is a woman?

Was she any less a woman for not having these things?  Is she any more a woman for now having a vagina?  No, of course not.  But knowing that doesn't make things any easier for her.  She's had a really difficult time.  And nothing could ever take away from just how hard it's been for her and how hard her remaining psychological wounds can be.

However, the question is pertinent for me as someone who has been told, sometimes, that she can't be a proper woman because she has a penis not a vagina.  It's pertinent for me who has been told that surgery is a "sex change" and will "make me a woman."  It's pertinent for those transgender people who currently face arrest in parts of the USA for using a public toilet and for transgender people who face abuse for wanting to urinate.  It's pertinent for all trans people who have ever been abused or felt under pressure for having anatomy that they've been told doesn't match their gender.  For the women who have been told they're not women.  For the men who have been told they're women.  And for all the non-binary people for whom it can in some ways be even harder.

And that question is pertinent for me as someone still deciding whether major surgery and a vagina is something I want.  It won't magically make me a woman - I'm one already.  It won't affect my daily living.  And the important people around me don't care one way or the other and will support whatever decision I make.

I have choices.  I could have surgery to gain that vagina.  There are pluses to this.  And a lot of discomfort and inconvenience too!  Or to have surgery that would give me all the outward appearance of "female" genitalia but no vagina.  Or to not bother with surgery at all and lay claim to my own body in acceptance - a woman's body, my body, that happens to have a penis.

Logically, rationally, I can't see that surgery is needed for me.  I am a woman.  Accepted by myself and those around me.  After surgery I would be a woman.  Accepted by myself and those around me.  Living pretty much exactly the same life as I'd be living without "the op."  Logically, what is the point?

Emotionally, that's where the decision must be made.  Because some things run a lot deeper than logic.  It's a mental health and well-being decision, not just logic.

I don't yet know what decision I will come to.  But it will be my decision.  It won't be a comment on the decisions anyone else comes do.  For all transgender people, whatever we decide, it's a decision we don't come to lightly.  And while we may make different decisions, they're not the wrong ones because they have to be individual ones for our own needs and our own health.

I still have time to decide.  I don't even know if I'm being referred for a "second opinion" now or after my next appointment.  It's two and a half years since my first appointment at the gender dysphoria service.  A long time.  I've jumped through all the hoops as quickly as I've been told to.  But I still need to see another psychiatrist and they would have to give me a clear diagnosis that I'm me before anyone would be allowed to refer me for any of the necessary prerequisites to surgery.

To be honest I've changed.  Two and half years ago it was more important.  If I wasn't careful I could be triggered by my own body any time I went to the loo or showered.  I cried about it.  I had a lot of baggage from my past and fell into the trap of thinking there was something wrong with my body - even that I'd been "born into the wrong body."  Oh yes, that phrase.  It's common.  Six months ago Channel 4 television had an entire season of programmes in the "Born in the Wrong Body" season.  A search engine shows in an instant just how common it is.

Born into the wrong body?  The wrong body?  Well that's what we're told.  But it's total BS.  It really is.  I was not born into the wrong body.  I was born into my body.  It's not wrong.  I'm a woman with a penis.  So what?  I don't need it somehow corrected in order to make it into the right body, shaped like a woman.  This is my body and I don't need anyone telling me that it's the wrong one.

That's the logic.  The emotion is decades of feeling like I'm wrong.  Of feeling like I'm a monster.  Of embracing a faith that made me feel worse.  Of self hatred.  Of shame, shame, and more shame.  Of a society feeding me the BS for my entire life.  That's what I carried three years ago when I came out to myself and accepted myself as female, and when I came out to everyone around me.  And afterwards I thought my body was wrong.  I thought I had to change.  I thought I had to "pass as a woman."  It's all BS.  But I believed it and it's only natural that I believed it.

I don't believe it now.  But.  Keep giving me the hormones.  Fill me with oestrogen.  Wipe out my testosterone.  Clear my face a little more of all that thick facial hair.  I like the hormones.  I like these breasts that are growing.  I like not having an obvious beard at all times.  I do, even though those things aren't about identity.  So keep giving me hormones - but I reserve the right to change my mind about that too.

And maybe give me a vagina.  Or maybe not.  Give me a year.  I'll lay it all bare to the world (figuratively) and explain my personal decision.  Whatever decision I make it'll be the right one for me and for me alone.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Days of Gratitude - Puzzles, Plinths, Pills and a Hero

April is here and I'm quite surprised to have kept up my gratitude diary for three months.  I'm usually very undisciplined and keep things up for three days!  The first couple of photos will be familiar to anyone who read the posts about Jesmond.

1st April

Grateful for the sudden decision, when the Metro was sitting at Ilford Road, not to go into town after all but to get off and have a quick wander through Jesmond Dene.

I somehow managed in under an hour to take enough photos on my cheap camera to fill two blog posts that now need to be created. Oops!  (And then it turned into three.)

Gratia - Latin that can mean gratitude as well as grace or favour.
Monument, by Rachel Whiteread.  Image taken from here.

2nd April

Head wasn't up to going out but it felt good to write something. I asked a friend to give me 20 words to put in a story. It's not exactly going to be novel length but for me it's long. It's not finished but I'm actually pretty pleased with what is there so far. Yeah, it feels good when I write and I need to be doing a lot more of it. I'm grateful for the times when words flow and when I don't worry that they're not perfect or the product of a great skill.

The photo is Monument by Rachel Whiteread. A mirror image of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, which was part of the fourth plinth project in 2001.

One of the 20 words is plinth. Which is apparently the king of words!

3rd April

Grateful that thanks to the discount supermarkets I can afford a muesli with as much fruit in it as this one contains. It's pretty lush. 

4th April

Grateful that brains work in different ways, for neurodiversity.

Some things I can't do, that most people take for granted. Some things I can sometimes do very well.

For instance these two puzzles from the day. Grateful we have strengths as well as weaknesses.

5th April

Grateful for this: It's finished.
I asked Amanda to give me some words and said I would write a little story for her birthday containing the words. A gift for her but I knew it would be good for me too.

I thought it might reach 1000 words.

Turned out to be 9500. It feels good to have done it and I am grateful for this further step in unsquashing myself after so many years.

Grateful too that I managed it in time.

6th April

Grateful for these.  Extra pills.

It's been nearly two and a half years since my first appointment at the gender clinic. With these extra pills my hormone levels might approach what they are meant to be.

At last.

 7th April

Grateful, not because I made these but for what they represent.

Heading for Manchester tomorrow and these form one part of one of the odd birthday surprises prepared for Saturday. There will be costumes, a ukulele and calypso. For no sensible reasons.

And somehow we have to hide 50 chocolate eggs for someone while they are in the house without them knowing.

Grateful that my life now includes these people.

8th April

Grateful to be heading back to Manchester today. To my magic friend.

She's made a sensory room since I was last there and I look forward to sitting there with her.

This is what one of the lights does to the room.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

A Quick Pilgrimage Pt 3 - Shrines of St. Mary's Chapel and Well, Jesmond

As I said in the previous posts, people leave things at holy sites.  They may relate to Jesus and the Saints of the Church.  Or they may relate to people who were important in someone's life, to remember them or to pray for their soul.

Either way, in a sense, everything that is left, from a photograph of a friend or relative through to an intricately constructed grotto to Mary or the largest Calvary representation, is holy.  It's all holy, set apart for a purpose and set apart in terms of someone's relationship with their God.

It's tempting for people to dismiss such piety as an anachronism, a remnant of some pre-scientific day when we didn't understand the universe so well and so lived according to superstition and myth.  Maybe there is a personal God.  Maybe there isn't.  But for me that isn't the point.  All of this is part of our needs and our beings as people.  We need story.  We need remembrance.  And these things enrich our lives greatly as long as we don't become slaves to narrow dogma and a belief that our particular story is the only thing that's true.  Stories can be truth without them being true.  And the truth can enrich us greatly.  Personally I don't believe that any story is the truth.  I believe they are there as powerful symbols, pointing us towards that which is that truth.  The story is not the answer.  Story can be an image, imperfect, incomplete, of the answer.  Or it can be empty - but even then, as an entertaining tale, it has its use.

Yes, people belittle religious story, the myths that drive and drove the great religions and spiritualities of history.  And people who hold rigidly to one story, as I held to one very rigidly, will belittle all the other stories and worse, call them false or lies.  I believe all those stories, even when we might abhor the ancient moral codes in some of them, bear witness to truth.  All the stories came from people glimpsing that which is divine and grasping towards a way of relating what they saw.

The piety shown in the pictures below, from Jesmond, is simple.  It is trusting.  It is full of hope.  I don't follow the story or the belief system they demonstrate.  Not any more.  But that does not make the story any less valid for those who continue to believe and follow.  For me, the story of Jesus is not literal.  The stories told are not historical record.  But they could still point me in metaphor to great truth, to the divine that the early followers of Jesus had in their own way glimpsed.  Whether they actually happened or not does not at this point make much difference to me.

Having so recently walked away from my church I don't disrespect Christianity or the deep, personal faith shown by so many of the Christians I've worshipped with over the years.  This is their way to Spirit.  Right now it isn't mine.  But I believe that beyond story, beyond ritual, beyond doctrine, we seek the same Spirit.

From St. Mary's Chapel:

 From St. Mary's Well:

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Quick Pilgrimage Pt 2 - St. Mary's Well, Jesmond, Newcastle

Leaving St. Mary's chapel, I walked on to my second destination.  St. Mary's Well.  I'd never visited before because I hadn't ever known exactly where it was.  Unless you know it, the well is not the kind of place you're likely to find accidentally.

Well that's disappointing isn't it?!  The claim here is that it isn't an ancient well and a place where people were healed.  Nevertheless it is still a pilgrimage spot and people visit from quite a distance.  Although I have to admit to being totally alone at both the well and the chapel.  For a lot more information about the well there's this site, which is pretty fascinating.

Steps down to the well.  The story is that in total there are as many steps as there are articles in the Creed.  I didn't count the steps and I don't know where they are counting from as there seemed to be rather more than twelve steps down from the track at the entrance to the site.

The well itself.  Exciting isn't it?

You can that someone has erected a little shrine on the top of the brick work.  I'll be posting photos of it and photos of similar things from the chapel in the next blog post.

It's a hole.  Water comes out, trickles across the stones and then disappears down another hole.

I didn't sample the water.  I didn't cross myself with the water - there was a time that I'd have been doing that and might even have wished I had a bottle to fill so I could get the holy well water blessed.

Gratia - presumably engraved there in reference to Mary, mother of Jesus.  She who is called Gratia Plena - full of grace, or highly favoured depending on your preferences of translation.

It can also mean gratitude.  There's been a lot of gratitude on this blog recently.  And I'm grateful that places like this are so easily accessible to me.

This photo looks back across the well and up the steps.

I have to admit it's not the most exciting place to me.  But I'm very glad to have visited and explored another little part of Newcastle.

Moving on, my walk took me down into Jesmond Dene.

Spring is quickly coming.
Part of the old banqueting hall, now without a roof.
As you descend from the chapel to the Dene you pass two special trees, planted by the path for different reasons.

These pictures are the view from the bridge you cross over the Ouseburn as you come down from St. Mary's Chapel to the Dene.

And finally, having visited the holy well, here's a picture of an unholy well.  It's a little further down the valley, in Heaton Park.  This is "Ye Well of King John."  Heaton Park also contains a ruin known as King John's Palace.  The palace has nothing to do with King John at all although there is a story that King John did visit a palace in Heaton.  It was a fortified house, the seat of Adam of Jesmond.  The well too was not actually King John's.

The religious world develops pious stories.  In Jesmond we saw the tale of a holy well that had never been holy at all until the tale was developed.  The secular world is just the same.  In Heaton we have a well belonging to a King, a King who never owned the well.

We are human.  We need stories.  That's never going to change and it's not a bad thing.