Friday 17 December 2010

Remembering Egypt

Sorting out my Wordless Wednesday pic for this week really reminded me of our holiday in Egypt in March last year.  It was in fact, the last time we left the UK, and proved to be a really memorable fortnight.  When we first got off the plane and onto the transfer coach, I thought I was going to hate it: we'd just had an argument with a local who wanted about £10 for carrying a bag about 10 yards.  Later it rurned out that, because he didn't get what he wanted, he had slashed a long tear into the bag, which was pointed out to us by the porter at the hotel.  Fortunately we didn't lose anything from it but we had to dispose of it and buy a new one to go home.  It was not the best introduction to a new country.

But that man proved to be an exception.  Everyone else we met couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.  True, we were followed  by people trying to do business with us, which we had ben warned about, but we soon got used to that.

The other thing I wasn't too impressed with was the noise and smelliness.  Mainly the smell was from the horses that pulled the caleches, which together with taxis ancient and modern, formed the only options for getting around other than on foot or by boat.  I love horses but this smell could be pretty overwhelming.  We didn't take the caleches because I couldn't bear the thought of one of those horses having to put our weight combined with the driver.

Once I got used to all this, I really began to marvel at what I was seeing.  In any case our luxury hotel was an oasis away from it all.  We really were beside the River Nile and we went on it as well, taking one full day cruise and using the small boats that plied for our trade.  We took trips in the deserts of the West Bank visiting out of town temples and the tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.  And we visited the temples in Luxor itself and learnt about the Avenue of Sphinxes.

Here are some more pictures of the sights inside Luxor Temple.

This row of feluccas on the Nile was moored not far from our hotel.
Below is a list of some of my older posts where you can read more about this holiday.

Returning From Holidays
Female Pharoah
Cleopatra's Swimming Pool
Nile-side Village
Colossus of Memnon
Egyptian Evening Haiku
The Horses of Luxor
Sugar Beet Factory on the Nile
Egyptian Pool
Avenue of the Sphinxes
Nile Views Again
Egyptian Contrasts
Photographing Luxor Temples

Monday 13 December 2010

Helium and Constant Content

I love it when I wake up, get on the internet and find another sale at Constant Content. It's happened twice this month and I haven't even written any articles as I've been too busy with other things. The ones that sold have been sitting there for a few months just waiting for a good home. One of them sold for full rights and one for a one off licence only, which means I'll be able to sell it again.

I've written about this here before, so you may already know that my practice is to post articles at CC, making them availabel for both exclusive and non-exclusive rights at appropriate different prices. If they sell for non-exclusive rights, I usually post them to a relevant Helium title so I'd get a little more income from their up-front payments and revenue share. One was even purchased from there, but they only paid me $5 for it and I have no idea what the buyer paid them.

There won't be any more up-front payments from Helium though. They have decided they will now only pay up-front for exclusive rights, although authors can still post non-exclusive work for revenue share.

I thought about this and looked at what they are likely to pay out. But why should I offer articles exclusively to them for a fraction of the price I can get by selling at CC. This month I am over $50 up for selling two articles at CC, whereas I might get $10 for two articles from Helium if I am lucky and my work is rated high enough. It would probably be more likely to be $2, or even zilch.

Some writers say they can earn a living at Helium. To do that they must have hundreds or thousands articles on the site. But they would still earn a good deal more at CC if their work was of good emough quality.

Friday 10 December 2010

Pegasus and Son Martorellet

When we visited Menorca in 2008, I was struck by the beautiful horses we saw in the countryside. We went to an equestrian show at the Son Martorellet stud and saw an amazing performance of dancing horses. The show told of the a young boy's dream to own a horse to ride in the fiestas, where he could join in the famous rearing dance amid the crowds of spectators.  This was the main theme against which the gleaming black stallions performed intricate dressage movements, appearing to be dancing to the background music.

Right at the end, the arena went very empty and quiet for the entrance of Pegasus, the winged horse, ridden by a lovely princess, making a vision of white and silver loveliness together with the silver grey horse.  They performed alone at first, before they were joined by the blacks for the grand finale.

We were told that the grey belonged to King Carlos of  Spain, that he boarded the animal at Son Martorellet and had graciously allowed him to take part in the finale of the presentation.  The whole show was a grand spectacle and the finale was the delicious icing on the cake.

Afterwards the stallions stood patiently and the audience members were invited to join them in the arena and take photos if they wished.  I was able to get close enough to see the rich decoration of the tack and the High backs of the saddles that aid the riders to keep their seats during the rearing dance.  But taking photographs was very difficult because of all the excited people milling around.  Not many horses I've met would tolerate this, but the Menorcan stallions are obviously well used to being admired by crowds in the arena as well as on the streets of the towns and villages.

It was wonderful writing material and I have sold articles about it.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Holidays Reminders: Menorca

The snow didn't last long and it's all gone here now, although I here that people in the north are still struggling with it.  It's still rather cold though, and on our walk this morning we saw that part of the lake behind the beach still has thick ice over it.  Fortunately for the wildfowl, the larger lake area is now clear of ice.

Anyway I thought I'd remind myself of a holiday in warmer climes with my photos today.  They were taken in Menorca in the summer of 2008.  The first one is of a lake in a nature reserve like the one behind our beach.
 The next is of the seashore from inside the fort of Mola.
We had a good holiday in Menorca, the only one of the three Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean off Spain that we hadn't visited before. It's good to have lots of photographs that remind you of places you've been to in the world.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Snowy Views

At last the snow has reached us and we woke up this morningto several inches of it.  You may have seen my cherry tree in spring and/or in autumn.  Here it is in winter.

This was the view of our back yard and its surrounds from our bedroom window at 8.30 this morning.  In the foreground is the flat roof od the extension that houses our kitchen/diner.

Our neighbours next door have a pond with a bridge and tall trees at the end of their garden.

Can you see the cat in the branches of this tree?  It is in the garden of neighbours whose house backs onto our side.  I took this picture through our landing window and cropped it around the cat.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Another Willow

If you happened to be reading my blog last July, you might remember how I love willow trees.  I took this picture of a gorgeous specimen from the opposite bank of the River Wye in Hereford.  Next to it was a rather scruffy island being used by the water fowl.  I thought it made a really pretty picture trailing its leafy branches in the water.

Monday 29 November 2010

Technical Glitches and Cinderella

Well, after all sorts of technical problems, I'm back in here again.  First it was a hard disk problem, and when that was fixed, the phone line went down and I couldn't get my broadband to work.  Now I'm a poorer to the tune of nearly £170 for all that, so I need to get my fingers flying to earn it back, especially as my car tax was due this month and Christmas is just around the corner.

Which reminds me, the Writelinkers Christmas 2010 Ezine is out.  Do check out all the Writelinker contributions by clicking the link.  My own is on page 20.  I wrote about going to pantomimes and used this illustration from the 1865 issue of Cinderella that I found at Wikimedia Commons.

Monday 15 November 2010

The 2010 Jigsaw

This is our last jigsaw puzzle which has taken months to complete.  It was 1500 pieces and we bought it unopened at a bargain price in a charity shop.  All but half a dozen pieces were put together by my hubby, as I have been pretty busy with other things and haven't had much leisure time at home.  Hubby was so glad when it was finished.  He said it was really hard work fitting together all that sea and sky.  Didn't he do well?

Friday 12 November 2010

Entrecard Dropping

I'm going to have to change my EC dropping tactics.  These days I combine it with adgitizing and go through my inbox for the day before.  Recently I've been a bit more selective within my inbox.  There are so many irritating or downright uninteresting blogs to drop on.

I know people have different reasons for opening a blog and are free to post what they like provided it's not plagiarised, but I don't see why I should be forced to open ones that get me so aerated. Usually it's because they have clearly purchased and posted 1 dollar automated articles that hardly make sense and rarely follow the theme of the blog's title. 

I have considered leaving EC altogether as quite a few have already.  I believe I get lots of traffic from adgitize anyway.  But there some EC friends I don't want to lose touch with, so I'll continue with it for now.

Perhaps it's time to update my favourites and do my dropping from there.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Dry Stone Walling

We went for a walk recently at Durlston Country Park on the cliffs above Swanage, and came across these examples of dry stone walling.  I’d heard that classes in the craft are run there, so thought this must be a result of them.  Don’t you think they are very artistic for something with such a practical use?


Monday 8 November 2010

River Wye and Hereford

On our Herefordshire holiday, we spent a day in the county town.  We intended to visit Hereford Cathedral, plus the Mappa Mundi and the chained library there.  First we took advantage of the good weather and walked over the ancient bridge to take the footpath on the other side of the River Wye.  We found people very friendly.  One woman talked to us on the bridge and told us the river was running really high, and that usually you can see wide concrete platforms that support the span pillars.

 I've already shown you a picture of the giant statue guarding our car, and of course it was only  a matter of time before I gave you a classic view of the cathedral from the other side of the river.

It was only a short walk along the river bank to an attractive footbridge to get back to the town centre.

On the other side of that bridge, we found a grand memorial pillar guarded by canons.

I wasn't a complete stranger to the town as I'd spent a few weeks close by on a training course in my youth, but all I could remember was the riverside walks and the cathedral.  Although it has inevitable changed, it was good to go back and retrieve some happy memories.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Are Your Children Happy and Joyful?

We all want our children to have sunny dispositions and find the joy in life. That’s not only great for them, it means our lives will be happier too. It’s such a relief to believe that your offspring can take life’s knock-downs and be able to bounce back up and move ahead. When this doesn’t happen, you’ll go on and on feeling their weight on your shoulders.

Parents therefore need to give their children a joyful grounding in their formative years. First of all that means setting a happy example. It doesn’t mean shielding them from all the unpleasant things that happen. It means demonstrating that you have the strength to deal with them, to put them in their box to be taken out at the right time, and carry on enjoying the rest of your life. It means visibly counting your blessings, whatever is going on.

Sometimes the unpleasant things can be the children themselves. You may have a child that is prone to grumpiness. Don’t let it get to you. If you react in a similar way, you are starting a vicious circle, in which the grumpiness will grow and develop, and joyfulness will fly out of the window. You need to keep happiness inside the home. Just keep smiling and try to distract your child with a reward for overcoming the grumpy mood. 

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Cherry Tree in Autumn

I was going to post this as a Wordless Wednesday, but I got to thinking that my blog is supposed to be about how my writing life interconnects with all that I do and see.  I realised that I’ve been lazy about writing in my blog, relying so much on photos recently.  So I must post more words.

You may remember seeing a picture of the ornamental cherry tree in spring, when it was covered in blossom.  Now we are at the other end of the year and its leaves have changed to this wonderful rich orange colour.  Soon they will be leaving altogether; indeed there are many on the ground already, and hubby is bemoaning the fact that we’ll have to get out there with the leaf sucker and collect them up.  They fly into our neighbours’ garden too, so we feel we have to help collect them in their garden as well.

I hope you can see them well enough in the picture, which I took through window glass.  At the time I noticed it was a bit smeary and needs cleaning after our recent carpet laying exercise.  So that’s what I’m off to do now before it gets too dark this afternoon.

Monday 1 November 2010

Walking With Batgirl

A couple of weekends ago I had a visit from my daughter, granddaughter and the little dog they often  look after.  We were lucky enough to have some good weather for our walk in Upton Country Park along the top of Holes Bay.  When we met other walkers, they were all anused by the batgirl costume.

Friday 29 October 2010


Vanilla Seven would like to see more of the gargoyles in my Hereford Library photos.  Cropping them like this doesn't make for the clearest of pictures but at least they come up larger.

This first one shows a pig and a monkey facing away from each other.

Not too sure about this one.  It looks a bit like a develish naked cellist.

Monday 25 October 2010

Another Award

It’s a long time since I received an award for my blog so I’m thrilled to have this one passed to me by Mel of Home Sweet Home.  She told me just before we went on our week’s holiday at the beginning of the month, so I need to apologise for taking so long to acknowledge it publicly.

 Now I need to fulfil the responsibilities that come with it.  First I have to report 7 Random Things About Me, so here goes:

1. I have two blogs.  This one and another at Writelink.

2. I am a senior blogger, but I’m not going to tell you how senior.

3. I am only semi-retired from my business, which was called Winning Communications, because as soon as I decided to retire, an old client came back to me.

4. Nowadays I like to call myself a freelance writer and write whatever I want, but I also have some sub-contract work.

5. Last year I had a dream come true when I moved to a new house at the seaside.

6. I live with my husband, a retired taxi driver, and currently with my son who is in his 40s but needed somewhere to park when a relationship went badly wrong.

7. We used to have a dog and a cat, but they have both gone to the great animal home in the sky.  Now we just like to look after pets for our friends and had a doggie house guest last weekend along with my seven year old granddaughter.

Finally I need to pass this award on to some of my versatile blogger friends.  This time I’ve selected:

There are some I know that have already received it, and many more who deserve it as well, including some that have given up accepting awards, and I thought I’d just mention the first seven that otherwise came to mind.  Please don’t be upset if I have left you out this time; I truly appreciate each and every one of  you.  On the other hand, if you’ve been named and don’t have the time or energy to respond, that’s all right too.  I don’t want to add to anyone’s pressures.  Just writing a blog and driving in traffic is hard enough sometimes.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Technical Problem and Lots of Work

I wish I'd made my post earlier today.  Now I can't post my Wordless Wed pic because blogger maintenance means I can't upload any images. 

I'm supposed to be retired and just blogging and writing to fill up my days.  Yesterday I drafted a marketing leaflet for my daughter's new business.  Today I had a meeting with a client that still needs me and I've just received a commission for website content for three new sites needed yesterday.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. 

Meanwhile I've started to sort out a post about an award I've received and need to pass on, but I'm too tired to sort out all the links tonight.  I need to post in order to get my adgitize earnings today so I thought I'd just let you know what I have in store for your reading delight and call it a day.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Swans on the Stour

On day one of our recent holiday, we set off in the late morning to drive to our Herefordshire destination.  The weather was rather cloudy with the sun occasionally bursting through.  We decided to leave the main road and take the scenic route.  When we crossed the narrow stone bridge over the River Stour at Spetisbury, this was the delightful scene that met my eye.

I was trying to remember the word for a gathering of swans.  The word gaggle came to mind, but I believe it’s only associated with geese.  Anyway this definitely looked like a gathering together of a number of swan families.  Don’t they make a great addition to this river landscape?

Monday 11 October 2010

Home from the Hols

We got back from our week's break on Saturday afternoon.  Had a lovely time just chilling out in between getting to see a bit more of our lovely countryside.  We stayed in the cottage at the Kinnersley Arms in Herefordshire.  The link takes you to the page on the pub's website that tells you about the cottage.  Check out the other pages to find out more.  The pub's food was pretty good too, and the people were friendly and fun.

There was a bonus for us on the way home as well.  We stopped off to visit another pub run by some people we knew when we lived in our last house.  It had been a while since we'd seen them and we were able to meet their 11 month old son and learn that their next child will be born in February.  Some doting grandparents, also friends of ours, were there too, and then in walked two more people from our old town, with Bramble, the gorgeous springer spaniel who stays with us when her master needs a break.  So we had an unexpected reunion with some lovely mates, before it was time to get on the road again.

I took loads of photos and, when I've managed all my catching up, I'll be posting some of the places we visited.

Thursday 30 September 2010

Odds and sods, and Corfe Castle

I didn’t get to post my Wordless Wednesday yesterday.  I started work early and was doing some research on the web, when something went wrong.  It took me about 45 minutes of scratching my head and trying things before I realised it was my broadband service and nothing to do with my own computer or phone line.  So I was locked out until this morning and have had my head down all day trying to catch up with everything.

Anyway, this is a picture of Corfe Castle taken during a drive over the Portland hills on Sunday.  I was feeling a bit sorry for myself as I’m still suffering with this cold virus and certainly don’t have the energy for walking far.  So my lovely hubby said he would take me for a drive.  We took some of the back roads we didn’t know and I managed to get out and find some lovely views for my camera.  I’ll be sharing more of them later, I dare say.

But this will be my last post for a week or so, as we are off for a country break near the Welsh border.  Apparently we won’t get reception for our mobiles so it’s going to seem really cut off, although our landlord is also the local publican and will take any urgent messages for us on his landline.  Hope we don’t get any of those of course.

Naturally, I’ll be taking my trusty camera along, with its battery charger, so who knows what photos I’ll have to share after that?

Monday 27 September 2010

T S Eliot

This morning I came across the beautifully crafted nonsense poem about Macavity, the Mystery Cat, over at Writer Biographies. Click this link if you’d like to read it. The poem is by T S Eliot and from his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.  I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical hit, Cats, was based on this poetry collection.  I’m not familiar with either because I haven’t read the poems or seen the show.

When I was at college, many moons ago, I did study some TSE and couldn’t make a lot of sense of The Waste Land or The Hollow Men, just remember the most famous lines, ie

April is the cruellest month – first line of The Waste Land (also happens to be the month I was born), and the ending of The Hollow Men:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Anyway I find I’m really taken with Macavity, which was written before World War II and the very cynical and dour works of the poet that came after that.  I’ll get myself a copy of Practical Cats, and perhaps even get to see the musical.

Saturday 25 September 2010

Garden Duty

I really must get outside and do some gardening;  my rose bush especially needs some tlc.  But I'm feeling distinctly under the weather this week and haven't felt like dong much at all.  This summer cold has hit me just as hard as the one I had over Christmas which took about six weeks to go away.  Yesterday I had a bit more energy and busied myself getting the house clean and tidy again.  This morning it was as much as I could do to drag myself out of bed much later than usual and put on a washload.

Still, I will go out and tend my rose.  I well remember the pleasure we got from all its beautiful blooms in the early summer.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Monday 20 September 2010

Sciving by the Sea

Today was a gorgeous one for striding out in Hamworthy Park and I stole some time off from the computer. All the beach huts were locked well up, but I noted the usual dog walkers, plus a few mums and tots on the sand. And I found myself envying a woman who had tucked a folding chair into a corner of the wall and was sitting with her head in a book.

From the far end of a groin on the beach, I noticed some dots moving around between the boats far out in Poole harbour. At first I thought they were some brave swimmers, but as they came nearer I realised they were kayakers. We have a lot of them in the harbour and there are classes and clubs.

Reluctantly, after that twenty minute scive, I collected my car, completed my errands and returned to my office. I should be feeling rejuvenated, but actually I’m just wishing I was still out there.

Pic by Les Chatfield

Sunday 19 September 2010

Comment U Back Again

Some time ago I joined the Comment U Back movement over at businessvartha. After an initial few comments that came from that direction, to which I reciprocated, nothing much happened. A few weeks ago I removed the CUB badge and, to my surprise, I recently got a comment from Reetha about it being missing. Anyway, I headed over there and found a range of new badges and a little pep talk.

I figured if someone goes to that much trouble they deserve some reaction, so I’ve joined up again. This time I will try to keep visiting other members, and commenting of course. Life does get in the way sometimes, as I’m sure you will know, but if I have a hiatus, I’ll just start over again as I do with EC and adgitize.

Many thanks to everyone who does come here regularly, and welcome to any newcomers. I’ll always do my best to return visits and apologise that it’s not always possible.

Monday 13 September 2010

Mottisfont: The Angel in the Corner

People visit the National Trust's Mottisfont Abbey for many reasons. They may try to go in June to see the best of the National Collection of Olde English Roses.

Others want to tour the ancient house itself and find out about its history.

Lots must miss this angel in the corner of the right hand turret in the picture.

There is also a riverside walk and an estate to roam; a secondhand bookshop I love to browse; and a cafe serving scrumptious home made snacks and meals.

I didn't get there again this year. I'll make sure it's on the list for next year.

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