Saturday 29 September 2012

Hope Springs

I had lots of comments on my Facebook status today because I mentioned that I was laid up with a sore tum yesterday. It's nice to have so many people wishing me well. Actually it started when I was taking a day off on Thursday. I was ok in the morning when I went to see Hope Springs at the Senior Screen with a Bournemouth pal. After that we went for a mooch around the big stores and had a snack lunch in one of them, and not long after that I started to feel rough.

Anyway it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the film. Think it will appeal less to a younger generation because it was about middle aged couple with a wife who dragged her husband to a counsellor to try and recover the intimacy in their marriage. I found it very perceptive and loved the way they injected some humour into the fairly serious subject. The acting of Meryl Streep and the craggy Tommy Lee Jones was brilliant and I could have swooned over the eyes in the face of their counsellor, played by Steve Carell. It was directed by David Frankel who cast Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.

Here's the trailer.

Monday 24 September 2012

Kingfisher Sighting

I felt really privileged today when I was out walking Jade along the Holes Bay footpath. I heard a peep-peeping and looked out over the reeds. Hovering over the water was this beautiful kingfisher. As I watched it turned upside down and streaked down into the shallow water. I was too far away to see what was caught when it emerged and flew to a nearby mudflat. When a large crow flew down to investigate my lovely bird flew away and I thought that would be the last I saw of it. We meandered on our way along the shoreline and suddenly there it was again flying low over a little inlet and singing away. We were treated to its dancing flight for a moment or two more before it flew off into the distance.

pic from Wikimedia Commons by Tony Hisgett

I've seen a kingfisher only a couple of times before and always on rivers. I didn't realise it would fish out of shallow seawater and hover without a branch to perch on. It was a lovely interlude in my busy day.

Saturday 22 September 2012

What's Happened to Entrecard?

Does anyone know? I've been relying on my favourites list there, rather than following blogs. Hope that wasn't a big mistake, because now I'm missing visiting so many of them.

Friday 21 September 2012

I'm still creeping towards payout at Helium. Only $1.80 to go, so it shouldn't be long now. Every time I post an excerpt  here, I get page clicks that add up, so I'm really grateful; to all of you. Here's a rather more personal account of a holiday adventure.
This pic by flickrtickr2009
Pic below by killer_queen1
both found at Wikimedia Commons

My husband and I celebrated his last birthday at the top of a mountain. For his present, I'd treated him to a holiday in Majorca. We knew the island quite well as we'd been to stay in a friend's apartment several times before. Each time we'd hired a car and had often driven past the 822 metre high mountain, and seen the castle - Castell d'Alaro - seemingly growing out of its summit.
But we'd never discussed the idea of climbing to the top. I don't suppose he'd imagined it had even crossed my mind.
In fact, I'd done my homework and I knew that you could walk to the top from two sides, either from the town of Alaro or from the road to the village of Orient, well known as a walking centre on the island. Of course you could go up from one side and back to the other. But then you'd have a long trek back over or around to get back to your car.
It was only March but the birthday was blessed with sunshine and just a few clouds that were whisked along by a light breeze - perfect weather for what I had in mind. I packed a generous picnic in our rucksacks, with our light rain wear just in case. And we set off on the mystery tour. As usual, he was driving and I was navigating - both of us doing what we do best.

I'd chosen to go up the side that was the shortest walk so I directed him to turn off the road we knew at the signpost to the castle. That way, you can drive a fair way up the lower slopes to the final car park where the two paths converge. This is at Es Verger, a popular farmhouse restaurant famous for its succulent roast lamb cooked traditionally in a wood-fired oven.  

At that point, I guess the birthday boy might have thought he was just getting a slap up lunch, although it was bit early for that. But no, it was into our rucksacks and best foot forward.

You can read the rest of this story at Helium

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Wedding Weekend

Last Friday I ran out of steam and only got to draft one of the three articles scheduled for the day. That meant I had to work the weekend to get the other two done for the Monday deadline. But I did one on Saturday morning and the other on Sunday afternoon. In between was FUN.

Jade went to the dog minder and had her fun with Charlie, the springer spaniel, while hubby and I headed for Shaftesbury (of Gold Hill fame – see my pic) for an evening wedding reception. Our friends who own a pub had invited all their mates there to help them celebrate their wedding earlier in the day. By all accounts that had been a relatively quiet affair, but no so the evening. We had such a good time catching up with a number of old friends as well as the happy couple.

At the civilised hour of 9.30 pm we all filed out into the pub garden for a spectacular firework display, after which I stumbled back into the bar through the skittle alley where the disco lights were flashing as the DJ worked his magic with them and the music. I was stumbling because the fresh air had reminded me how many times my glass had been refilled.

Much later there was the B&B. I’d selected it from the internet a couple of months before because it was only about 50 yards from the pub and we were lucky enough to secure the best of its two en-suite rooms. And lucky is the word because it was fabulous. In a converted chapel, it’s not been open long but is definitely the best I’ve ever experienced – five star luxury.

Before we drove home the next day, we went to the farm shop at Stourhead to buy some of their steak. We’ve been missing it since we moved south, and dining on that in the evening was like the icing on the cake of our lovely weekend.

Friday 14 September 2012

Outdoor Pursuits: Climbing

I took this picture while on holiday in North Devon in 2008. These rocks were on a beach at Ilfracombe reached by exciting smugglers' tunnels. Another example of children enjoying the great outdoors. Eryn had not long turned five and was quite a daredevil.

Monday 10 September 2012

Doggie Article

I'm still pushing my Helium articles. Each time I post an excerpt here I get a few clicks to help me on my way to payout so thanks to all who've done that. As long as I keep  rating other people's articles there, I'll earn some revenue share. As soon as I reach the pay out threshold and claim my dollars, since I no longer give the site the benefit of my articles, I'll be able to give up that extra drain on my time. I'm only a few dollars short so I won't give up yet.

Trying to offer something that I think will interest my lovely followers, here is one of my most popular. It's all about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dog. And the picture is of our beloved pet  whom we lost to cancer many years ago.  It took us a long time to even think about getting another dog. Now we have Jade, and she is a completely different character. But I still have such fond memories of our Sam.

If you are looking for an ideal family pet, you could consider the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This breed title is often shortened to the Stafford, or Staffie. The breed has a reputation for adoring people of all ages and for patience and gentleness with children. Staffies are so good with youngsters that they have been nicknamed the Nanny Dog. They are not often used as guard dogs because, while they can be fiercely protective of their "family", they are more likely to welcome a burglar with sloppy wet kisses than protect your property.

The Stafford is a smooth haired dog with a large head and wide mouth, short legs and a tough, muscular body. He or she will probably be playful and energetic well into old age and will need plenty of exercise.
As a puppy, and until he is about six months old, this should be light off-road exercise that is not so rigorous that it can damage his soft, young bones. After this, you can gradually lengthen his walks and do more and more walking on roads and pavements. By the time he is a year old, he will be able to walk happily anywhere for as long as you like. Indeed, if he is off lead, he's likely to run around exploring, and will cover three or four times as much ground as you.
Before acquiring a puppy, you should be prepared to follow the procedures that will ensure he grows into a healthy dog. 

Friday 7 September 2012

There's More to Translation than Translating

Some years ago I did some cold calling work for a translation company. It wasn’t very well paid but it got me through a lean patch of self-employment. Then at the end of the financial year, my 10% commission for the work I had generated arrived. It just went into four figures, and I was delighted.

So I get quite interested when I come across a new translation company website. Today I found out more technical detail about translations needed for official reasons. For example, certain documents are accepted by the UK’s Home Office and Passport Office only if they are certified translations. That means that the document and its translation are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity on a recognised letterhead which carries a membership number for the Association of Translation Companies.

Sometimes overseas officials require more than that. Some translations have to be certified by a Notary Public – a specially appointed lawyer. Others have to be legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Organising all this can be part of what a translation company does today.

This photo of an international business meeting is from
 Wikimedia Commons by Richter Frank-Jurgen.

Another technical aspect of translation is how it can be automated. You’ve probably tried to make sense of a web page that has been automatically translated. I’ve found that it doesn’t quite work and it can be quite tricky to work out what I’m supposed to be reading. These are quality issues that stop translation companies using full automation, but technology now exists to pull up previously translated words and phrases from a memory database.

With this tool that frees translators from repetitive translating, they can pass on the time and money savings to their customers. Must be good news for businesses that need translation services. Of course if it had been available when I was in the business I might have earned less commission.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Madeira: Island Paradise

Today I'm giving a taster of another of my articles at Helium that is helping the slow trickle of cents into my account towards the payout threshold. This was written before devastating floods affected the island which I understand has been recovering and welcoming its much needed tourists back again. I hope it will entice you to click on and read the rest, and maybe even go and see for yourself.

The Portuguese island of Madeira has long been a popular holiday destination for high society. European royalty, Winston Churchill and many Hollywood stars have favoured it. Much of the shooting of the famous film, Moby Dick, took place there.
The island depends on tourism so you will find hotels to suit all budgets, cafes, bars and restaurants around every corner. Funchal, the capital, is a perfect place to stroll by the sea or sit with a beer and watch the world go by. Just make sure you don't miss a visit to its colourful market, or a tasting of the Madeira wines in the St Francis Wine Lodge.
The Flora
Although it is a volcanic island, close to the more barren Morocco and the Canaries, its climate is very different. It has more rainfall and is covered with lush vegetation. Because it is so mountainous, the island has three different micro-climates, at different levels. So the plant life varies as you climb its windy roads. First you'll see banana plantations, above that it becomes cooler, but warm enough for the vines that produce the grapes for Madeira's famous wines. On the way to the highest peaks you go through National Parks with laurel woodlands, plus eucalyptus with its strong roots that help prevent landslides on the steep slopes. And from the barren peaks, you get the most stunning views imaginable, as long as they are not shrouded in low-lying clouds.
Some people choose Madeira for walking holidays. Many trails follow the levadas, the intricate irrigation system that ensures water in the right place at the right time, especially for the cultivated areas on high ground. Others want to visit its wonderful gardens. Funchal has many delightful public parks, and its Botanical Gardens are to die for. Orchid breeders open their greenhouses to the public and serve refreshments at viewpoints in their beautiful gardens. Up in the hills is Blandy's Garden, where camellia flowers bloom for many months.
Read more of this article in my Helium portfolio

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