Sunday 30 January 2011

Waving Goodbye

On Friday I went to funeral.  It was for the mother of a very old friend.  We go back to when we first went to school at five years old.  That's a good many years ago.  Her mother was over 90 and had lost her hearing.  It was difficult to communicate with her in her final years.  But I have a lovely memory of the last time I saw her.  I followed my friend into her flat and she clearly wasn't sure who I was.  When she was told I watched her face light up and she opened her arms and gave me a great big hug.

Funerals are grim, sad affairs.  My friend told me that they had talked about it, and she said her mother wanted her departure to be more cheerful than that.  She asked to be played out to the strains of "Wish me Luck as you Wave me Goodbye."  There was not a dry eye in the house, but we were all smiling too.

Monday 24 January 2011

Written and Planning to Write

I've just submitted a story for 100 Stories for Queensland.  It's another of those charity books to raise moneu for disaster areas.  Hope I do get it accepted for this one.  The one I sent for 100 Stories for Haiti didn't get picked, and then I never sent anything for 100 Stories for Pakistan.  So I thought this time I should make the effort again.  It's better than sitting watching the terrible news on the TV and feeling helpless about it all.

So that's a story written.  What I'm planning to write is a review of the film, The King's Speech, which I saw last week.  Better not preempt it here except to say I thought Colin Firth was absolutely marvelous.  He certainly deserved that Golden Globe he won for it.

Friday 21 January 2011

Gardens and Window Boxes

I've been thinking about what to do outside the house in the coming year. We did a lot of work on the back garden last year and we have our decking with matching planters; we have our small lawns and tidier paving; we have our veg patch and the two beds on the terrace by the house for flowers and my herbs. Admittedly there's not a lot in it right now, but we did have a colourful spring and summer, with quite a bit of veg produce.

But although my hubby made a start on the patch at the front he abandoned it when he injured his back, so it's still in a sorry state. We need to give it some priority now.

I've also thought about window boxes and found a website that supplies a good variety of really great looking ones, plus all the accessories you need to fit them and make them look as though they belong. I particularly like the white wooden window flower boxes, but they all look good brimming with plants that make beautiful pictures.

Sadly I can't use this site because they only deliver across the US or make international shipping arrangements to Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. But I'll probably bookmark it, if only to get some ideas for my own displays.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Monday 17 January 2011


Good things are happening at the moment.

A very fast sale at Constant Content, even before I had received the email telling me it had passed the site's review stage.  A first for me.  And a note from the buyer saying s/he would use me again.  If that means some private requests I'll be over the moon.

Google has finally found me and this blog has a page rank at last, and it's a three.   I used to check for it every couple of months, and got very frustrated when I found no result.  So I gave up checking.  But all of a sudden, everyone wants me to write sponsored posts.  So I checked again, and there was my PR3.  And don't worry.  I won't write too many posts for cash.  I can be choosy now.

Tomorrow is a day off to dog sit while our friends go on a jaunt to London.  We will keep Ginger company, take her for a long walk and give her supper.  We'll be quite late getting home but the next morning we have to get up early to dismantle beds and reorganise them before our new one is delivered, so I can look forward to some more comfy nights.

So I'm a happy bunny, or should I say otter?

This great pic is of a grinning California Sea Otter by Sstasi at Wikimedia Commons

Saturday 15 January 2011

Dream Cars

After the cold weather I had to buy a new battery for my car. And then I had to get a new belt for the alternator. I still don't know how much it will cost. I suppose I'm lucky because it still runs well even though it's over ten years old.

I wish I could afford a new car. Dreaming about that I've been looking at cars currently on the market and I found some real dream cars at

If I wanted a 4 wheel drive, I'd probably go for an Audi Q7 Tdi. This is described in some detail, but what I needed to know was that I could fit in up to 6 passengers, so taking the family or friends out wouldn't have to be in convoy any more.

If we won the lottery we might decide on a Lamborghini Gallardo, but I could only find their review of the 2009 model, which has now been updated. I don't suppose the funky shape of this super performer has changed much (see my pic). Great car for a rich poser. Not for me, I think, but hubby might appreciate one.

If you are a Honda enthusiast like my daughter the newest version of the Honda Odyssey Minivan might be your dream car. It's not like any van I know. Top of the line for 2011 is the Touring Elite model which has many luxury features.

But perhaps the one for me would be the Toyota Avalon luxury sedan, more sedate than the rest of this bunch for an ageing woman like me, but still up there in the opulent category.

Anyway I enjoyed looking at dream cars on the carconnect site and learning about them. The site redirects you to other car reviews as well, so it could be really useful if you are a buyer trying to decide which car to get.

Monday 10 January 2011

A Five Minute Interlude

Last week I got my hair cut.  Ususally I enjoy the 15 minute walk to the hairdresser, but a) I was a bit short of time, and b) it was threatening rain, so I took the car.  Afterwards I realised the appointment had taken less time than I expected, so I drove to our little beach car park, and jumped out to get a blast of fresh air. 

There wasn't time for a proper walk so I just strolled out onto the little wooden pier.  The first thing I noticed was that I had the place to myself.  Just two other cars were parked but their owners weren't visible.  Then I saw that there was a really high tide.  It was higher than I'd ever seen before, only about three feet below the wooden boards I was walking on. 

The wind was gusting a bit too, so I was in danger of getting a bit wet if it dashed the waves and lifted spray, but it was really exhilarating.  That five minutes at the beach was all I needed before heading home to get another article written before its deadline.

I didn't have my camera, but this picture shows the pier when  the weather was warmer so more people were about.  The tide was much lower too, so you might be able to imagine the sea covering all the sand and most of the pier struts, to get an idea of what it was like.

Friday 7 January 2011

Nell Gwyn at Hereford

I found this plaque on a wall close to the bishop's palace next to Hereford Cathedral.  It was a surprise to me because I didn't know Nell Gwyn (sometimes spelt Gwynne) had been born in Hereford, although I have written about her scandalous life.  If you'd like to know more about her, you can read my full article about her at Helium, or you can buy it at Constant Content.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Sponsored Post Rules

Just in case you think I've gone barmy when you read the first sentence of my last post, I'll tell you the story and what I've learnt from it.

I wrote that post in the week before Christmas and  submitted it to Social Spark2.  If you are not familiar with that site, it's one that puts advertisers and bloggers together for sponsored posts.  After a post has been submitted it has to be approved by the advertiser before it is published on the blog directly from Social Spark, provided the blog meets certain requirements.

When I reread the terms of service, I found that they include a rule that the post before the sponsored one has to be made within seven days, and has to be "of a reasonable length, at least one (1) paragraph, three (3) to five (5) sentences". So I guess it was no coincidence that, although I submitted it before Christmas, it didn't appear until after I posted on Monday this week.  The one before that was a Wordless Wednesday, and then I took a blogging break of more than a week.

I guess I'm lucky it appeared at all.  But it is still early January and I hope all of you in the UK will still be able to buy your Cadbury Wishes and help make some terminally ill children's wishes come true.

Monday 3 January 2011

Buy Some Cadbury Wishes and Make Some Wishes Come True

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cadbury Wishes. All opinions are 100% mine.

There's just time to buy some Cadbury Wishes before Christmas. Of course, if you can't get to the shops because of all the snow in the UK at the moment, or for whatever reasons, they'll be in the shops into January 2011.


Why not after that? Because these milk chocolate stars with mouth watering truffle centres were devised as a Christmas special, for which Cadbury teamed up with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, donating 10% of profits from all Cadbury Wishes sales to this worthwhile charity. Many a child in the UK suffering from a life threatening illness has had a wish granted by the Foundation.


For example, a little boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy was able to spend time with a fire-fighting team and become Fireman Sam for a day. You can read about Sam and other children's wishes at the Cadbury Wishes website.  Just click on Wishes Granted and then on each child's star.


A couple who have been my dearest friends for many years had a son with Duchenne. Sadly he died in his early teens, but before that, I spent much time on fund-raising activities for the organisation that funded research into the disease. So I know a bit about how it affects sufferers and their families, and can only applaud efforts to bring some real enjoyment into their lives.


Cadbury have been promoting their Christmas product with magical wish-making workshops all over the UK through November and December. Imagine being able to eat your own chocolate recipe, with all you favourite ingredients incorporated. There's news about the workshops, and some photos too, on their special Cadbury Wishes page on Facebook. It looks like lots of people had a great time.


And hopefully, there will be plenty of donations to Make-a-Wish to bring some joy into the lives of children with life threatening illnesses.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Books, Books, Books

I do hope you have enjoyed the holidays and New Year celebrations.  The holiday time seems endless this year.   I enjoyed Christmas with my husband and son at home, then took a train to visit my daughter and granddaughter, attending a pantomime and a family party before coming home to see the New Year in with hubby.  It all seems very distant now, yet still it's holiday time and I have to wait till tomorrow to make some urgent appointments.

Anyway, I decided now to look back on some of the highlights of 2010, and found this picture taken during our October holiday on the Welsh border country.

How's this for a bookshop?  It's the Castle Bookshop in Hay on Wye.  There is another way in from the other side of the building, but if you enter through a gap in the wall from the main street, this is what you see.  All of this lower area has bookshelves around the walls, and you can select any book and leave the money for it in a collection box.   Then you can go up the steps and into the bookshop proper, through the open door you can see in the picture.  There are several dusty rooms crammed with secondhand books about everything under the sun, or so it seems.  I could have spent hours just browsing if hubby hadn't been waiting for me to move on.  The photo is a lovely reminder of that day.

Writing Tip

Add this to your site