Wednesday 30 November 2011

Winter's on its Way

We've been having quite mild weather for the time of year. We're in December now and last year we had plenty of snow and ice, at least it was more than usual for us. But we're still likely to get some severe weather over the coming months. And it could be sooner rather than later. This is what our road looked like one morning last year.

I didn't go out much then, and when I did, I got in the car and let my hubby do the driving. This year it's going to be different. I will still have to take Jade out three times a day. So we'll be getting in some rock salt to stop us slipping on our drive and the pavements on the short distance to the park. Last year there were lots of reports of broken limbs due to falling on the ice. We don't want that to happen to any of us.

Rock salt from a mine in Cheshire is what the Highways Agency and most of the local authorities here use, and I know where we can order some of the same stuff. They use the brown rock salt which is a mite cheaper than the white kind, and they order in bulk, whereas we will only need one or two 10 kilo bags.

I'd recommend anyone with the same concerns to stock up on rock salt now, before the bad weather hits, and everyone is screaming for it.

Monday 28 November 2011

Holes Bay Again

I took Jade along the side of Holes Bay today, so I thought I'd post some more pictures of the area. They were taken in the autumn of the year we moved here when I was doing lots of exploring. Things haven't changed much in the couple of years since. In the first one you should be able to make out the railway bridge on the line that dissects the bay in Poole harbour.  I'm quite blasé about that train trip now, but at first I got so excited whenever I travelled that way across the water.

The second pic shows where the footpath comes up against Cobbs Quay and you have to walk out and around the roadway to the other side of the marina if you want to continue beside the shore. A colony of Canada geese have set up home here so I always stop a bit short with Jade.  I don't want her even to think about chasing them. She does love to stalk and chase smaller birds if they come down to earth, but of course they always fly off before she reaches them.  I'm not sure what the geese would do and I don't think I want to find out.

Today we also saw one egret and a swan, as well as some seagulls. There seems to be one lone swan now at this end of the bay. We think it must have lost its mate during the summer. It must be feeling very lonely, poor thing. A couple of weeks ago I was very intrigued by the antics of the seagulls at low tide. They were all hunting for something under the water.  They would fly up a short distance, then up-end themselves and drop down beak first, ending up with their heads in the water and legs waving in the air, a bit like ducks who can do it without lifting themselves right out of the water first. I saw one doing this first, then looking around I noticed some others in different areas of the shallow water.

If you want to see more pics of Holes Bay, look here or here or here or here or here.  There's always something different to see at Holes Bay.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Spookies Compendium

I've just put this review up on Amazon. I promised David, the author, that I would review in return for some free books.  I don't usually choose to read these kind of books, so I didn't know then how much I would enjoy them.

"This compendium contains a series of e-books – two full length novels and a short story – about the activities of Spookies, a paranormal investigation team. I was hooked from the start by the three unlikely characters on the team: Sceptre, the aristocratic female with a ghostly butler; Pete, an athletic ex-cop and unbeliever, afraid of nothing and noone; and Kevin who is unaware of his psychic powers and fearful of the spirits that interact with him. And they all remain in character throughout.

In each of these stories a paranormal investigation takes place side by side with a criminal one. The Spookies always come out on top, though they always need the help of Sceptre's butler, who died when she was a baby but remains close, albeit on the spirit plane, to take care of her and follow her instructions.

It sounds strange but the author has a knack of making the unbelievable acceptable, even if it just makes you laugh. He keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. My only complaint is getting too tired because I can't put my Kindle down when I should be settling to sleep."

The two novels in the Compendium are The Haunting at Melmerby Manor and The Man in Black.  They are also available separately at Smashwords - see my side bar.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Travel Thru History

That was quick. I only sent my photos to Ruth Kozak on Sunday and today they and my Menorca article are up on her site. Please go and have a read, and check out some more great articles about far away places on there. They make me want to get up and go again.

Here's yet another pic of Ciutadella harbour in Menorca.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Remembering Menorca

Ruth Kozak of Travel Thru History has been holding one of my articles about Menorca for almost two and a half years. I'd almost forgotten about it.  Then this morning she emailed that she's going to publish it this month, giving her apologies for keeping it so long, and asking me for photos.

It was a lovely surprise, and it got me thinking again about our visit there in 2008.  It was the last of the three Balearic Islands I'd been to and I have written quite a few pieces about different aspects of them, some of which sold at Constant Content all at the same time, bringing me a nice dollar income that month. Perhaps it's time to write some more.

I took lots of photos on that Menorca visit and have published some of them before.  Here are some more.

 The beach near our hotel

 Boats at Es Grau

View from the fortifications at La Mola

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Books to Be Won

My pal, author David Robinson, has an exciting new contest for bloggers and readers. Anyone who reviews one of 5 of his titles on Amazon or Smashwords will be entered into a draw to win the whole series in paperback, with other prizes of e-books offered for the next winners.

The picture shows one of the covers. Head over to his site to find out more.

Monday 7 November 2011

A Secret Santa for Christmas

If I don't get started on Christmas soon, it's going to pass me by this year. Thinking about it while driving to and from a meeting today, I was remembering the Secret Santa events I've been involved in in the past, either organising or just taking part. I do recall them being great fun with lots of merriment.

Do you like my picture? It is a Santa in one of the windows of Selfridges in London's Oxford Street, taken when I was there in December 2008.

When I was teaching adult literacy I always had a hotch potch of learners that included some from very disadvantaged families. For the last class before the holiday, I always arranged a little Christmas party with fruit juice and bucks fizz, snacks and crackers with paper hats. During this, we'd hold our Secret Santa, with me putting in extra little presents myself on the quiet for those who couldn't afford to contribute.

If I remember rightly, we set a limit of £4 for each of the Secret Santa gifts, and in those days that was sufficient to get some cute little things to wrap up. And of course the point of a Secret Santa is that noone else knows what you buy, and you don't know who bought the gift you get. We jumbled them all into a sack and each person put in an arm and felt around, pulling out one present to unwrap and take home. You could usually tell which one you had contributed from the feel of them, so that you wouldn't pick your own.

Money doesn't go as far these days, but you can still find inexpensive Secret Santa gifts to raise a laugh. You can even order them without braving the winter weather for your shopping. You just need to go online and view the sometimes somewhat risqué suggestions for men and women, or the less suggestive but sometimes a little rude ones for boys and girls.

I feel like getting a Secret Santa group together again this year. We all need a bit of light relief at the moment.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Devon Again

Yesterday evening I returned from a lovely relaxing long weekend in Devon. I walked past this beach (Corbyn's Head) in Torquay several times. In just four short days, I caught up with many members of my family, and some friends as well.

Hubby looked after Jade at home and I felt the freedom of being able to walk anywhere without worrying about where I could take the dog and whether I had enough pooh bags. I missed Jade of course, but I got a lovely welcome from her at the train station when hubby brought her to meet me.

I've now been home and back in my routine again for just over 24 hours, and I'm so tired. Will I ever get the balance right?

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