Sunday 31 January 2010

Scenic Sunday: Poole Harbour View

I didn't actually take this picture today, but I could have taken one very similar because we went for a walk on Ham Common behind our little beach and passed very near this spot. We saw boats on the water, although not a nice colour one to put in the middle of the frame like this.

Friday 29 January 2010

I Blog, I Care

Show the world you care! Be a part of the "I Blog, I Care Movement." Here are the rules on how to join:

1. Copy the "I Blog, I Care" badge and the rules (1 to 6) on this page.
2. Post these in one or all your blogs.
3. Tag/invite your other friends to join by sharing this with them.
4. Leave your post's URL HERE!!!
5. For every fifteen (15) blogs joining the I Blog, I Care Movement, a $1.00 donation will be given to the International Committee of the Red Cross. You can also donate directly here:
6. Spread the love and show you care.

You might as well. Just like me, you have nothing to lose. And if enough of us join in, the people of Haiti will gain.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

A Word About a Friend

My virtual pal John, formerly of The Ups, Downs and Sometimes Insane World of Freelance Writing, has recently put up a new website which is well worth a visit. John hails from Belfast and has quite a few published articles about the area among his portfolio, and you can see a selection of his pieces on the site.

He found that blogging and traffic driving was taking up too much of the time he should have spent on writing and earning for his family, not to mention doing things with his wife and young daughter. So his new blog at A Writer's Muse is to be a more laid back affair without ads other than an EC widget.

John is a really talented writer and I'll be continuing to visit all his pages. Hope you'll join me some times.

Saturday 23 January 2010

100 Stories for Haiti

I took the scenic route to walk to the library this morning. It about doubles the length of the walk and takes me through the park and along the shore by the beach huts, before I head back to the main road and the library on the other side of it. It's the first time in weeks that I'v felt well enough to tackle this length of walk.

And it was inspirational as well, because when I got back to my computer, I had a great idea for how to adapt a short story of mine to make it fit the submission guidelines for the 100 stories for Haiti book:

• Do not exceed 1,000 words.
• No stories containing graphic violence, death or destruction.
• We want stories with a lot of HEART, a dash of COMPASSION, and unmeasurable amounts of HOPE. Stories that anyone can read. Stories that leave you feeling as though life really is worth living.

I got my story finished and submitted this afternoon, well before the deadline which is Monday Jan 25th. Of course I don’t know if it will be chosen if they have more than 100 submissions: just have to wait and see.

The stories are to be published as an e-book and sold on A paperback will also be published and sold by Unbound Press, and will be available online about a week after the release of the e-book. The proceeds will be donated to the red Cross Haiti appeal.

It occurred to me that some of you might be interested in taking part in this as well, although there is not much time left.

Anyway, you can find the details at this website.

Thursday 21 January 2010

A Sunday Stroll

Last Sunday was the first beautiful day that we’ve had weatherwise for weeks. The sun shone from a blue sky with wispy clouds chasing away the grey times we’d been having. As I’d been unwell, I hadn’t been out, apart from quick shopping trips, for all those weeks, so I thought it was time I got a burst of fresh air.

Hubby and I took the car down to the sea and went for a stroll around the park. It was full of dog walkers, and families with children – and fishing was the favourite pastime on the beach.

At the far end of the beach, we saw lots of shells that had been brought ashore by the stormy weather.

Here are some of the families with their children in the play area.

We had to walk on the paths as we didn’t have our wellies and the grass was waterlogged. The seagulls enjoyed investigating this little stretch of rainwater.

I did feel quite a lot better for my breath of fresh air.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Cacti in Lanzarote

I daren't post just a photo for Wordless Wednesday any more, because without text I don't think the post will qualify for adgitize points and boost my earnings there. But I'm still finding pics in my collection that I can share and explain.

These are from our last holiday in Lanzarote four years ago. I had resisted visitng the cactus garden until then, writing it off as just another tourist trap. Boy was I wrong. This cactus garden is fantastic. I think you can see from the pictures whata diversity of plants and plant sizes there are. I learnt so much and found it all fascinating.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Mallorcan Roads

I’ve been writing about the mountain roads of the Spanish island of Majorca. I do love it when a Constant Content customer requests an article about a place I know and love, especially when I have some time to do a good job.

However, it is many years since I’ve been to Majorca. As a family, we went several times when friends had an apartment there and let us have it quite cheaply. It’s not so easy to afford since they had to sell the apartment, but we spent enough time there to get quite familiar with much of it.

The mountain roads are quite exciting, as you can see from the picture. It is by stAn at Wikimedia. I have plenty of photos that I took all those years ago with my film camera, but since we moved I haven’t been able to locate them in order to do any scanning. Perhaps I will find them sometime soon.

Anyway, this picture is of the most hair-raising road of all. It winds down from the heights to a beach called Sa Colobra. At one point you turn through 360% to go over or under the way you’ve just come. I haven’t quite worked out the point of that yet. I guess it will take another visit – good excuse to make one, don’t you think?

Saturday 16 January 2010

I'm a Happy Bunny

At last, I have come across my own adgitize ad on someone else's site. I'd begun to wonder if there was some sort of policy to remove it from any site I clicked on. But today, as I was carefully clicking away and almost reached my 51 (all you need for maximum click points if you advertise as well as publish), there it was suddenly on my screen. Hooray!

Friday 15 January 2010

IT Stuff

I had to go back to Firefox today to finish my EC drops. I've been using Chrome since it was recommended by my IT man when he restored my data after the virus killed my computer. He had downloaded it for me, and I love the way I get all the options on a new tab, with thumbnails of my favourite sites. But lately it's been getting so slow, and I often get messages saying pages are not responding, or a plug-in is not responding. Today I lost patience and opened Firefox. While it was not so easy to access my EC dashboard, once I got there, everything went swiftly and smoothly. it pains me when I am running out of time and have to skim the new posts I want to read and perhaps comment on. So maybe I will use Firefox a bit more from now on.

Meanwhile, perhaps I can get that plug-in fixed. At first it was not identified, but suddenly it was revealed as the Shockwave Flash one. I googled this and found that it does sometimes cause problems and you have to make sure you have the latest version of your browser installed, then de-install Shockwave Flash and reinstall it. I'll have to be feeling quite brave to attempt all that.

Wednesday 13 January 2010


I took this picture before the snows came. I like it because it's more colourful than anything I can see at the back of my house right now, although the snow has all gone. The sky is grey and that drabness seems to have seeped into everything.

This morning we queued in traffic till the swing bridge came down so that we could cross it into town for our food shopping. Still the colour seems to have been leached out of everything and the sea echoed the sky's greyness.

Come on nature. Roll out spring.

Monday 11 January 2010

Egyptian Pool

It's still pretty cold and miserable here right now. So I decided to go back to Egypt in my mind and revisited the photographs yet again.

The first one I'm sharing with you is of our hotel's swimming pool, which you can see was built right out over the Nile. I was able to take this shot from a Nile cruiser as we left the hotel at 7 am on my husband's birthday.

The second is also of the pool, but on another day when I was enjoying having the water to myself for a while. Hubby took this shot from the pool bar.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Pre-Christmas Jigsaw

This is the jigsaw that hubby and I did before Christmas. Actually, it was mostly hubby who did it while I was busy with holiday preparations and my writing work. For various reasons, he had to stop working since we moved house and is finding life a bit boring although he has taken over many of the household chores, which is nice for me.

Anyway I persuaded him to get the puzzle out since we had been saving it until after the move. It was quite a tricky one and took a couple of weeks of intermittent effort. We left it completed on our puzzle board until we needed the table underneath it when our holiday guests arrived.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Behind our Beach

I looked for a cheerful image to write about today. I took this one last September. It is a view of the lake in the country park behind our local beach, not far from the little pier shown in an earlier post.

In the middle of the picture, you can just see the swans hiding on the little island (although I'm afraid they do look more like a white blob than a couple of swans). They are usually well hidden there. I had to take my life in my hands to get to my vantage point on a tiny cliff overhang (I am exaggerating. LOL)

I can't wait for the spring to see if they make a nest and raise a family there.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

The Real Benefits of Adgitize

I have been surprised and delighted by what's happened since I joined Adgitze. At first I was just a publisher and feeling my way. I found out that to get maximum points I needed to click on Adgitise ads in 100 different blogs. While doing that, I managed to drop quite a lot of new entrecards, as well as many familiar ones.

I wasn't sure how long I could keep that up and cover all the drops in my inbox as well. They were getting more and more as my traffic built up. I'm always slow because I do like to read new posts and comment when the mood takes me. I also had to post new material more often in order to get 100 Adgitise points for that as well.

Before Christmas Adgitise dropped their ad prices, so I thought I'd try that out too. I found this made an enormous difference as I got 100 points for being an advertiser and only had to click 51 ads on blogs to get maximum points for that. On days when I could do everything I was earning $0.60.

At the New Year, Adgitize dropped their payments for points slightly. so now my daily total is working out at just under $0.50. It's not going to cover the cost of the advertising, but I am getting loads more traffic and that can only put up the minuscule earnings I get from Adsense and Project Wonderful, so the cost might be covered that way some months.

Today is the fourth day in a row that I should have gained maximum points for everything. That means I should be able to apply to be a Preferred Publisher. Hopefully I will soon find out what difference that makes.

Of course the amounts are laughable anyway, but in this day and age every little helps. And if you do have the time, it's all great fun. I've come across loads more fascinating blogs.

I really do love the blogosphere.

Monday 4 January 2010

Avenue of the Sphinxes

I took these pictures during our holiday in Egypt last March. They are of the avenue of sphinxes that is partially uncovered between the temples of Luxor and Karnak closed to the River Nile.

We discovered that it is considered of such great importance that people’s homes along the route are being destroyed so that the excavations can continue. It is, of course, a contentious issue. Whatever compensation is being paid, I can't imagine how dreadful it must feel to lose your home like that. One Egyptian in the bar of our hotel showed us a video on his mobile phone of a house being destroyed.

“This is one of many,” he told us.

Of course, Luxor is highly dependent on tourism. Without it many would go hungry. And we were delighted and amazed by the parts of the avenue that we saw. How sad that such paradoxes exist and are bound to keep on doing so.

Sunday 3 January 2010

CC and Helium Again

At Constant Content, you can choose to write about anything under the sun, and if it is written well enough, it will be showcased there. More than half of my portfolio, of (currently) 124 articles, there has sold. A good many of them sold for unique or full rights, which means I have given up my rights to them; while the rest sold for usage rights only, which means I retain the rights and they have to be published under my byline. They remain showcased for the sale of usage rights only, and I can also publish them elsewhere.

Usually I choose to publish them at Helium, which almost always pays me a couple of dollars for each one. Articles there are competitive and you have to be rated in the top quarter to be paid, unless you are the first to submit a new title, which will be paid for if you are a starred writer and rater. And nowadays they do limit up-front payments to titles with only a few articles. If you are thinking of following suit, you need to read the rules quite carefully.

You probably know that articles at Helium are rated by the authors. In fact I have to complete a certain number of ratings in order to be allocated payments each month, as does every other author. Some people complain about the rating system, and I don’t always agree with where my articles fall. But I don’t complain because that’s just the way the system works. And I daresay every other author feels the same at some time or other.

What surprises me is that the ratings don’t seem to matter that much to people viewing the articles. For instance, since January 1st, my earnings have come from:

Tips for succeeding as an entrepreneur, which is 2 of 24

The advantages of getting married late in life – 4 of 4

China travel destinations: Visiting the Giant Panda in the Bifeng Valley – 1 of 5

Places worth seeing in Barcelona – 1 of 13

Travel experiences: Climbing to Castell d'Alaro, Majorca – 1 of 1

Travel destinations: The Little Chapel in Guernsey – 1 of 1

If any of those titles interest you, please head over there for a read and earn me some more pennies.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Hamworthy’s Little Pier

If I had been well enough to go walking today, I probably would have gone down to this little pier. Being less than a half hour walk from here, it is one of the things that attracted us to the area. My hubby used to really enjoy sea fishing and doing it from a pier is the next best thing to going out on a boat. And it’s something that can be done for an hour or two in the evenings once the nights draw out again.

Writing Tip

Add this to your site