Saturday 30 May 2009

Getting It Right

I just had to edit my last post as I realised I had one of my facts wrong. The Pharaoh who followed Hatshepsut was not Tutankamon, but Thutmose III, who was both her half brother and her stepson. That was how Egyptian royals maintained their line in those days.

Anyway, that atrocious error - a result of being in such a hurry to finish and get to bed so that I relied on my memory rather than double checking before I posted - made me think of my own and other writers' credibility.

It reminded me of the time I read a book in which the heroine took a train to the west country from London, starting at Victoria Station. As I often used to take a train in that direction when I lived in London, I am well aware that the options would be to go from Paddington or Waterloo Stations. She would never have gone from Victoria, unless she intended to change at Clapham Junction, which would have been a really futile exercise from her starting point. So that author lost credibility in my eyes, and my interest in her book waned.

I actually wrote an article about this, so I should know how important it is to check all facts, and then check again. I can only hang my head in shame, and apologise.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Female Pharaoh

Hatshepsut (pronounced a bit like Hat-cheap-suit) was a female who took on the role of Pharaoh after her husband died and her stepson, Thutmose III, was too young to rule. It was important to look the part, so she wore a false beard and flattened her breasts as much as possible.

The picture above is of her statue in her memorial temple near Luxor.

And this is a pic of the temple, built into the cliff in the desert.

Monday 25 May 2009

English Weather Tanka

Rain pounds on rooftops.
Snuggle duvet closer round.
When bed is cosy
with dreams of sun-baked beaches,
why begin a day like this?

For anyone who doesn't know, this tanka follows the Japanese form of syllables: a sequence of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables on consecutive lines.

Friday 22 May 2009

Advantages of Marriage Later in Life

pic is by Leon Brocard at Wikimedia Commons

I'm pre-posting this because I'm heading south again early on Friday to spend a few days with my sister, daughter and granddaughter. I'm so looking forward to it.

Hubby and I had our second wedding anniversary this week. It didn't phase us much because our years together are much longer than that. They span more than a quarter of a century. When we finally decided it was time for a wedding, we did it quietly and, I like to think, with dignity. Afterwards I mulled it over and wrote an article about it.

Here's how it went.

As the years go by, the reasons for getting married, rather than co-habiting, are not the same as for younger couples. When you are young, getting married to the person you love usually seems the obvious way to make a commitment to the relationship. Your life seems bound up in the other person’s. You want to be in each other’s company as much as possible, to be there for each other at the end of the working day. You want to have children and build a family unit that will take forward the heritage of both of your families, and of the life you forge together.

Many older people have already had children in an earlier marriage. Even if they haven’t, they may believe they are now too old, or they may be reluctant to start a family in their later years. Some people think it unfair on the children to land them with elderly parents who won’t have the inclination or energy to join them in play and other activities for youngsters.

So why bother to get married? You can still be together as much as you want without the marriage license. In western countries, it’s no longer frowned on by respectable people as it once was. But many couples still do it. If you ask a number of them for their reasons, they’re likely to come up with quite a variety of advantages for them.

If I've pipped your interest, please click here to read the rest of my article and find out what those reasons are.

Monday 18 May 2009

The Joy of Jade and the Heights of Humour

(This pic is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under a GNU Free Documentation License.)

Today I have been writing a factual piece about jade and how it is viewed by the Chinese. I’ve done a lot of work about China in the past year and each time I start some new research I find it utterly fascinating. The picture is of a jade fish from the Shanghai Museum (at least it is if you can see it all. I'm having problems importing pics since I lost my photo editor when I had to have my hard disk cleaned last week. I haven't got around to replacing it yet. On my system it's only showing half of it) My researches tell me that a jade fish is a symbol of affluence.

Sometimes, though, I wish I could get my head around writing humour. It’s not a style I am any good at, apart from some very subtle sub texts in a few of my articles written rather tongue in cheek. While some people might get it, others would be completely unaware.

One of my colleagues over at Writelink has a wicked sense of humour and writes a lot of really funny stuff. If you are looking for something to cheer you up, check out some of the posts on DW’s Showcase. I guarantee it will have you rolling around in stitches.

Another hunour blog I am now trying to follow is Shalampax Speaks. It’s about the goings on in a fictional country and for me its episodes are now unmissable. I only wish I could dream up funny stories like that.

Thursday 14 May 2009

Pets For Our New Home

When we saw our conveyancing solicitor recently, she said we could be moving in 6 to 8 weeks.  I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.  It’s taken such a long time to get to this stage.

Anyway, our thoughts are now moving on to the pets we can have at our new house.  It’s over fifteen years since we had a dog.  Losing him was so painful, at the time we felt we just couldn’t go through that again.  But now I think it’s time to get one for the love and company, and to get me out of the house and walking regularly.

A cat could keep him in his place too, as our last one did.  She was certainly the boss and used to sit behind him on my lap and gradually push him off, so she had it all to herself.  Their antics together used to have us in stitches.  She moved to our current house with us but we’ve been without her as well for the last few years.

SmartflapIf I do get another cat, I’ll be going in for this new cat flap I’ve just learned about.  It’s called the Pet Porte Smart Flap, and it’s smart because it won’t let any strange cats in.  You have to get your cat micro-chipped before you install it, because that’s what lets your cat in.  This means it’s better than a magnetic flap that would let in other cats if they are wearing a magnetic collar.

So, if the poor thing is being chased by a big bully of a cat, it can whip through the flap, turn around and laugh at its tormentor through the flap.  You can programme the flap too, to keep your cat inside whenever you want.  And you’ll probably save on cat food, because no others can come in and steal it. 

Mind you, in our house it will have to be put up high so the dog won’t woof it down first.

If you’re interested in buying one of these cat flaps, check out Pet Porte Smart flap.


Wednesday 13 May 2009

HI - I'm Back

Thanks to whomever it was that infected me with a deadly Trojan, I’m £110 poorer but I now  have a clean and very different looking desk top, minus all those programmes I never used and, indeed, some of which I found quite useful.  Never mind, all my work was saved and I haven’t lost anything crucial.

Now, at last, I can respond to my Attitude of Gratitude Award, passed to me by Lily of Essays and Utter Nonsense.  Thank you so much, Lily.  I really appreciate it, and the fact that this blog is included in your list of those you love to read, as well as all the lovely comments you leave for me. 

Here are the rules for this award: 

1.  Put the logo on your blog or post.

2.  Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an Attitude of Gratitude.

3.  Link to your nominees within your post.

4.  Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award.

5.  Share the love and link to the blog and the person who nominated you for this award

6  Tell us how you've come to have an Attitude of Gratitude. 

Like so many others, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this blog.  But I’m so glad I did.  It’s well worth all the hours of writing and reading and commenting and EC dropping and other ways of traffic building.  I’ve learnt so much, found so much help and made some wonderful virtual friends.  It’s given me a way to express whatever is on my mind, and even been cathartic at times, so I feel better about myself, or just feel better after I’ve posted.  Especially when I get lovely comments from people like Lily and the ones I’ve nominated below.  (Sorry but, like Lily, I really can’t manage the full ten.) 

Dori of From a Yellow House in England.  This is a popular blog that has received plenty of awards before, but I haven’t noted this one.  And Dori is always expressing gratitude and appreciation in her posts. 

Stacey at Behind the Bit.  I love reading this blog even though I am no longer in the horse world myself.  Stacey has a grateful attitude through her great variety of posts, and I am certainly grateful for her blog. 

John at The Ups, Downs and Sometimes Insane World of Freelance Writing.  John is a fellow Writelinker who has been through a lot just lately.  I’m very grateful for the help he gave me when I started blogging and I know he is grateful for the support he has received from bloggers in recent months.  Power to your elbow, John. 

Joanne at Poetic Shutterbug .  She shares such beautiful poems and photographs on her various blogs, that I know she is grateful for all the wonders around us. 

David of Alone on Earth.  Because of the nature of his blog, I’m sure David will not feel able to respond to this award.  But perhaps he can put it in his sidebar.  I include him because I am so grateful for the hours of pleasure I’ve had reading this fictional diary.  It’s hard to believe that, apart from the blog, he is not yet a published writer.

Friday 8 May 2009

My Computer is Sick

I'mwriting this in my public library, with only 10 minutes left online. See you when we are healthy again.

Wednesday 6 May 2009


I'm featured over at Folding Mirror Poetry today and tomorrow. If you have time, do click over and read some of my virtual friend Marc's posts.

Nile-side Village

I meant this to be a Wordless Wednesday post. Then I realised it needs an explanation.

It’s not a building site. It’s how families in rural Egypt acquire their homes and live. They don’t have mortgages. They save like mad and buy a plot of land. Then they build as much as they can afford. When the money runs out they stop and save again, to build on another storey. When the young ones grow up, they’ll move into the upper storey and have their own families. As families grow and can save more, buildings get higher. I believe it’s not unusual to have three or even four generations living one above the other.

Monday 4 May 2009

More Lovely Awards

Many thanks to Linda at When I am Rich for the Noblesse Oblige Award. When I am Rich is a brilliant theme for a blog but Linda is also a fellow Writelinker with many writing successes (see her Writelink blog here) . I am so proud that she also chooses to follow my blog and believes I qualify for this award.

The recipient of this award is recognized for the following:

1) The Blogger manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervade among different cultures and beliefs.
2) The Blog contents inspire, strive to encourage and offer solutions.
3) There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture and Sciences and Beliefs.
4) The Blog is refreshing and creative.
5) The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking.

The Blogger who receives this award will need to perform the following steps:

1) Create a Post with a mention and link to the person who presented the Noblesse Oblige Award.
2) The Award Conditions must be displayed at the Post.
3) Write a short article about what the Blog has thus far achieved – preferably citing one or more older posts to support this.
4) The Blogger must present the Noblesse Oblige Award in concurrence with the Award conditions.
5) Blogger must display the Award at any location at the Blog.

What has Jean’s Musings achieved? I like to think that it promotes friendship and positive thinking. It has certainly made many online friends for me, all over the world. It receives comments from people living in different countries and cultures, and with different beliefs. The main purpose of my blog is to recognise the overlap between my personal life and my creative life, and how they influence each other. It would be good to think it could help other writers to find ideas in the same way.

Inevitably though, we are all also influenced by outside events, both those on a grand scale and those smaller happenings that can have an enormous impact on individual people. Although unfortunately I missed the most recent Bloggers Unite day, I do try to contribute to these. See my posts for World Aids Day, Uniting for Refugees and the blog action day on poverty.

Now I know it’s not easy to respond to awards, follow the rules and find bloggers you feel deserve the award, so if you get this from me, please don’t feel under any obligation. For me, it’s an opportunity to let people know how much I appreciate their online efforts with some link love. So I’d like to pass on this award on to:

Jenaisle at Campaign for NON Violence on TV. I know that Jena is reluctant to accept more awards, but I do hope she will at least display its logo. She is the most hard-working and generous person I know online and she really deserves it for any of her many blogs. In the unlikely event that you are not already familiar with Jena, do visit the campaign blog, and then scroll down the right hand column for links to her other blogs.

The Writing Nag - a great source of inspiration and motivation.

Robin at The Way I See It for his no nonsense opinion pieces, which often start inspiring debates.

Jennifer at Writing to Survive for the inspiration of all the courage and determination she displays in her writing.

That then is the first award. I really should now move on to the second, which is The Attitude of Gratitude award passed to me by Lily at Essays & Utter Nonsense. But I’ve run right out of time and I’m sure she’ll forgive me if I elaborate on this in a separate post.

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