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.

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