Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our Wild And Wonderful Back Garden

We have lived in our house for the last 5 years, and it was built in the 1950's, so the gardens in the area are for the most part fairly mature, and there are still a few patches of woodland around.

As a result, we do from time to time see wildlife in our garden, notably foxes and occasionally hedgehogs, but the big holes that were dug in the flower bed at the side of the house this summer, added to the fact that holes had been made in several fence panels, made us wonder if we had a badger visiting.

With my birthday coming up, and both of us being very curious, we decided together that a good gift would be a wildlife camera, so that we could leave it outside with a timer set, and find out for sure what was coming into our garden.

Well, the results have been very enlightening, with some of our questions answered on the very first night, and I decided to create a Wildlife Category on the blog that Debbie and I had created 6 years ago and which I have allowed to fall by the wayside.

We have had our wildlife camera almost a month now, and I have to admit that checking it every morning has become something that we both look forward to.

In fact when we go on holiday soon to Devon in the West Country, we are going to take the camera with us, as we will be staying in a place that is right out in the country and surrounded by fields.

Some examples of the moments that our wildlife camera have captured can be seen below. We welcome you to subscribe to our videos, and then as we add more you will be notified automatically.

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Florida Vacation Has Gone By So Fast

Isn't it amazing how a two week vacation seems like a long time, but no sooner has that vacation begun than it's time to go home again.

My Florida vacation has just gone by so fast, I can't believe I have been here for two weeks already, and tomorrow night it's time for that long lonely flight back to London from Miami again.

It's really hard only being able to see my daughters once a year, and with the cost of flights escalating every year, it makes the trip harder to afford each time.

My online earnings have dropped in the last year for a number of reasons, including changes in Google, several sites closing down, and my struggling to focus on writing as much as anything, so I really need to knuckle down and look into finding ways to boost my earnings again, otherwise it's possible the trip won't happen next year.

If you haven't had to be apart from your kids for a long time, it's hard to understand just how difficult that is emotionally, especially when an ocean separates you and you struggle to afford a trip to see them once a year.

They change so much every year too, and now as they approach 10 and 14 years old, they are already turning into young ladies and are no longer interested in the things that we used to do together when they were younger.

So each year gets tougher in so many ways, but it's always great to see them and to be able to spend a couple of precious weeks together in a condo right by the beach.

So now to focus on next year, keeping on buying the lottery tickets, and hoping that one day maybe that winning ticket will be ours, and I can see them more than once a year.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Tough Weekend For An A.D.D. Sufferer

Next weekend I am off to Florida for two weeks on my annual trip to see my girls, and although as a frequent traveller I was always prepared for my trips both mentally and physically well in advance, in recent years I have found that just trying to get everything ready for a trip becomes very stressful.

My self-diagnosed A.D.D. makes me very forgetful as well as prone to stopping in the middle of doing one thing and starting another.  This doesn't help at all when you are trying to make sure that you have everything ready to take with you and that you don't forget anything.

Of course the best solution is to make a list, and while I have done this in my head dozens of times over the last month or so, I only physically started making my list yesterday, and then added (hopefully) all the things I had forgotten this morning.

It's the important things that I have trouble with every year is finding my American credit cards and bank cards. I don't use these in the UK, and so I put them away somewhere safe until the next trip. Unfortunately, I usually forget where that safe place is, and this year has been no exception. Luckily for me Debbie (my wife) understands me, and can usually tell me where this is, even though I have forgotten.

So far, I have most things done, except for getting my clothes ready. I have all the electronics sorted - all ready, charged, spare batteries ready as well as chargers and cables. I even managed to get both of our laptops fully backed up "just in case".

Now it's just a case of trying to not get too stressed at work in my last week before the trip, and to make sure I have everything ready to go.

Do you suffer from forgetfulness, or struggle to organize yourself before going on a trip?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday 13th And A Full Moon

I wonder how many of you realised that today is Friday 13th? Not only that, tonight will be a full moon as well.

It doesn't worry me, but I do imagine that those who are superstitious could find tonight a little bit stressful.

Just think of all those werewolves that might be prowling around outside, making you tremble or shiver with every creak or sound that your house makes. Or if you look out the window and look at the moon, is that shadow a witch, or maybe just a bat flying past, which of course is just perfectly natural in many parts of the world.

Personally, I hope that the sky will be clear tonight, so that I can get my telescope out and try to view the full moon.

My wife bought me a telescope for Christmas 18 months ago, but since then either it's been cold, overcast, or we have been busy, so I haven't really been able to use it, or everything has been fine except that from outside our kitchen door, which is where I put the telescope, by the time the moon has risen it's also managed to move around behind a bit fir tree in the next garden.

Last August we spent a week in a remote cottage in Devon, and I took the telescope so I could use it to see the stars at night. Every night was cloudy, except for the last one, and it looked like it was going to be perfect, in fact we sat outside and had some wine and nibbles as dusk approached, and I set the telescope up ready for my viewing.  Then, as it began to get dark, clouds rolled in and you could hardly see a single star in the sky. Very disappointing.

So meanwhile my wife is frustrated at having spent more than she could afford on a present that I haven't used, but in reality every time I try to I get thwarted.

Hopefully though, tonight will be time for some good viewing.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A New Site Similar To Bubblews

Today a friend referred me to a new site that is very similar to Bubblews, it's called Persona Paper.

The site is very new and revenue is earned like Bubblews by publishing posts and getting visitors, likes and comments on them.  Payment is currently either by Paypal or Amazon Gift Cards, which should suit most people.

Other than that the only differences are that a post must contain 500 characters (Bubblews is 400 characters), you may only publish 15 posts a day (Bubblews is 10), and you may request a payout once your balance reaches $5 (Bubblews is $50).

500 characters is in any case only a couple of paragraphs, so the extra length is not a bad thing, in fact Google looks more favorably on longer articles. The ability to post more times in a day is good, although with a full time job I find it hard to post more than a couple of times on a good day, but this might come in handy for those who do write more.

The biggest difference is in the payments, and those who have written on Bubblews will know that their payments do not always come through, and they recently increased the threshold from $25 to $50, so it takes a while to reach that point. At just $5 it will mean that with Persona Paper you can check out faster and more often, although I have no idea yet how much traffic any posts will receive.

The same rules as regards spam, content and image credits applies, which is good.

The site loads very fast, it's a clean fresh layout, and my first impressions are very positive.

If you would like to check out Personal Paper for yourself, I have a Referral Link that you can use.

If you would like to learn more about Bubblews, you can see examples of my posts on my profile.

If you are familiar with either of these sites I would be grateful if you could leave some feedback so that others can see what you think.