A Huge Thankyou and a Goodbye


The time has come for me to renew my blog membership for the following year and, since I have been greatly dissatisfied of late with WordPress tablet app, I have decided that I am not prepared to pay the $90 for a service that has given me so much grief in the last few months.  I have thought long and hard about this before making my final decision and the most painful aspect of it is the thought of losing touch with some of you who have shared my journeys and adventures with me in the last 5 years.

Blogging is a marvellous way of meeting people from all over the world and to share our experiences, thoughts, musings, joys and griefs and I have come to consider some of you as very dear virtual friends and I loathe the thought of losing you.  I can’t begin to tell you have much your visits, likes and comments on my blogposts have meant to me and it has always been a light at the end of the tunnel for me in the depths of winter, when my spirits are usually very low.  Nevertheless, my departure from this site doesn’t mean I will stop following you, as I have also enjoyed reading about your lives, observations and experiences and I will not stop following your blogs, which I find most interesting, inspirational, entertaining and pleasing.  It just means that I will have to find another blogging site that works a lot better for me and my particular needs (and, dare I say? temper!!!).

So finally, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for having been such good sports and supportive followers.  I want you to know that I value your virtual friendship immensely and that I look forward to reading all about your future adventures and experiences.  Best of luck to you all from a blogging friend and ‘hasta pronto’ (see (read) you soon).  💖💖💖

Sweet memories are made of this


My heart skipped a beat earlier in the week when I walked into the 6th formers’s room at school and saw this:


It was my son’s highchair when he was a baby and we brought it with us when we moved here 18 years ago.  It was special to us because we bought it at an auction for only £7 at a time when money was tight.  It had been painted white, but we stripped and beeswaxed the wood and it looked like new when we were finished with it.  I had completely forgotten that DH had taken it to his classroom for drawing purposes and it hit me all the more as our son has now left the nest and lives quite happily and independently.


Of course, this is the type of dining chair that could also be turned into a play chair with real china coloured beads, which we washed and polished with so much love and care a bout 23 years ago!  And it still looks good today, even if it has been painted and crayoned over in the Art room.

Did any of you have something similar when your kids were young and did you pass ot on to the next generation?

Heurteauville, Seine Maritime, Tuesday 31st May 2015



Motorhome aire by river Seine at Heurteauille

We have booked Beano at the vet at Neufchatel-en-Bray for tomorrow morning, but we are not sure yet whether we’ll stay there for the night or carry on north.  We shall see…

We have found a new and lovely aire in this area of Les Boucles de la Seine (Bends of the Seine) near Jumièges and La Mailleraye-sur-Seine, both of which we have stayed at before, so we knew we would like this one too. 

It was very easy getting here on the A28 all the way from junction 20, north of Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, if not necessarely cheap at €38 (£29), plus another €2 for a very short track of the A13 south west of Rouen to get on to the D313 to Heurteauville.  We were here for lunch and we have just been for a walk along the river Seine with Beano and, despite it being windy and showery, it is a very pleasant walk and site.  It costs €5 a night per pitch plus 50C per person per day and there are extra charges for EHU (€4) and for fresh water and emptying facilities, including chemical toilets at an extra €4.  Registration is requied on arrival and payment is at time of departure, when the manager will open exit gate after transaction.  I find this kind of thing runs more like a campsite than an aire – which offers more freedom of movement and suits our character better – and can’t help feeling conned and probably won’t come here again, as for a couple more euros we could have stayed at a proper campsite with showers, washing facilities, etc, but we didn’t want a campsite this time.


Afternoon walk along the river Seine

Our original intention was to spend 4 days at the campsite in Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, but the weather was really dreadful and not good for fishing, as river was too high and fast, so we left this morning after just 2 days: a shame, for it is a charming site and village and we love it here too, but it was no fun being shut away in the van for the best part of 2 days, only going out to get baguette and cake and I didn’t even get round to taking any picture



Quaint farm building by the river Seine

We have booked Beano at the vet at Neufchâtel-en-Bray for tomorrow morning, but we are not sure yet whether we’ll stay there for the night or carry on north.  We shall see


Parked by the flagpole at Heurteauville mtorhome aire

Wooden sculptures in Bersted Park, Bognor Regis, West Sussex


Bersted Park Community Centre area



For the last few months I have been enjoying my afternoon walks with Beano admiring the beauty of these new sculptures that have been installed in the last year, funded by Berkeley Homes and created by local artist Simon Groves as part of a community Art Project.


This new housing development is only a couple of hundred meters from my house and the land where it stands has been totally transformed in the last 5 years, from farmland to housing.  It would be fair to say that, although we didn’t welcome all the noise, dust and traffic problems from the building of the new site, the end product is rather pretty and it has definitely been an improvement to the area, providing affordable homes to young families.


The first sculpture I come across on my walk is the one of 3 egrets perched on a pole and it stands on a little island in the large community pond where a couple of swans nest every year quite successfully.  We all look forward to seeing their cygnets in early summer and they have had as many as 7 chicks in the past!  Such a joy to see!



Egrets on the island where swans nest



Swans nesting on the bottom left corner among reeds


The second magnificent wooden sculpture I come across is a most original sofa that looks very much made out of leather from a distance, so much so that when I first saw it, I really thought someone had dumped their unwanted furniture there and felt most outraged!  When it became clear what it was, I remember having a good laugh with other neighbours and dog walkers saying that a coffee table and TV might follow!!!  Needless to say we are still waiting.



The comfy sofa, but where is the telly?



Next on my walk is this superb bench decorated with various carved insects, worms and other superb creatures.  Just look at that dragon fly!


Beautiful intricate carvings on this bench by school



More amazing carvings on the other side



From a different angle


Then we come across this exotic plant that looks like a palm tree.  Again, look at the detail in the wood carving: simply superb!



An exotic plant



Close-up of head


Next is this football and cricket combination by the sports field.



Football and cricket rolled into one




A better view of the cricket bat


Finally , we finish our sculpture trail walk with a representation of The Sword in the Stone right by the new Community Centre and play area.  Isn’t it just wonderful!



The sword in the Stone seat



From the back, showing play area


I hope you have enjoyed your walk with me: I know I have and do every afternoon!  Thank you for coming along.

Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex, Sunday 1st May 2016


The charming Pulborough Brooks


We made the most of todays’s warm and sunny weather and decided to go and do a spot of  bird watching at this lovely nature reserve run by RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in the Arun Valley and South Downs National Park.  We are very furtunate to live within half an hour’s drive of this most charming location and our RSPB membership entitles us to free entry, another good reason to come.


The lovely Jupps View at Pulborough Brooks


We spent just under 2 hours following the various trails to different hides from which to watch a number of wading birds, such as lapwings, herons, coots and egrets, one of my favourte birds.  We also spent some time listening to the enchanting nightingales, but unfortunately they did not make an appearence for us today, although we did manage to see a couple spotted flycatchers at one of the pods, a first for me!



Island with shellducks, lapwings and coots





An egret


Of course, there were other features to attract bees and other insects to the site and to encourage children to take an interest in Nature.  I particularly enjoyed the Bugs’ Hotel and the Solitary Bee Shelter!  I had never seen one before: just wonderful!



The Bugs’ Hotel


The Solitary Bee Shelter: Magic!

I was thrilled to get a close-up picture of an Greenfinch and a Long-tailed Tit , even though they may seem a bit blurry (need a better zoom lens, I think).



An obliging Greenfinch



A Long-tailed Tit


We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this tranquil and beautiful corner of West Sussex and I hope my readers will enjoy the pictures too.  Do come and visit if you are in the area.


Quend-Plage-Les-Pins, Somme, Monday 11th April 2016



It has been a disappointing couple of weeks as far as the weather is concerned, as the initial promise of sun and warmth didn’t actually materialise and it stayed changeable, with loads of rain and wind and short sunny breaks in between.  Still, we did enjoy our relaxing time at Lac de l’Uby and were able to sit outside on and off and even enjoyed a couple of spectacular sunsets by the lake, as usual.  And, of course, Adonis enjoyed his carp fishing, catching a total of 6 fish during our stay.


Another carp in a lovely sunset

We alternated our shopping between Barbotan les Thermes and Cazaubon and I had yet another puncture on my bike on the way back from the latter, but at least this time I was closer to the campsite.  Time to change my bike, me thinks….

My friend Dani arrived on the Thursday afternoon before we left and, therefore, we only and a few minutes to enjoy together and no chance to have a crochet session like we’ve done in the past.  This was a real shame, as I love listening to her speaking in French, which helps me an awful lot too, as I have to force myself to think in that language.  It is all very well to read magazines and books, but to speak it is a different kettle of fish althogether, which is the main reason why we learn another language. 

Dani had made some mackerel pate and gave us a big kilner jar, which we have been enjoying for the last few days and when I say ‘we’, I include Beano too: he’s got good taste!

A new discovery in Barbotan les Thermes this year was a fantastic little restaurant in the centre of town called L’Estanquet, where we had a lovely Sunday lunch with a jug of their local white wine.  The food was magnificent and it was finished with a delicious Café Gourmand, consisting of a cup of coffee and little samples of various puddings: I highly recommend it!


My gorgeous café gourmand at L'Estanquet restaurant in Barbotan les Thermes

On Friday morning, after a small shop at Intermarché at Cazaubon, we started our journey back north, our first stop for the night being at the aire in Roulet-St-Estèphe, just off the N10 south of Angoulême.  We were surprised to see how busy it was compared to the first time we came here last Easter, so much so that in the morning there were no more parking spaces left and a motorhome had parked on the other side of the road dedicated to buses and coaches.  It is a lovely free aire in a very pretty location and with a wonderful walk for Beano at the far end and following the stream.  We also saw some large otters feeding on the field right in front of us, which is a very unusual sight indeed!

We continued our journey north on the N10 past Augoulême, Poitiers and Châtellerault on Saturday morning, when we were unfortunate enough to come across the aftermath of an accident that had occurred at around 5 am between junctions 25 and 26, where a large lorry was still on its side, almost straddling the north and south lanes, waiting to be towed away and causing major delays in both directions, adding a whole hour to our journey.

So we carried on the A10 all the way to north of Tours and then the expensive A28 to J. 26 (€6 for just one junction) just to make up some of the time we lost due to the accident.

We spent Saturday afternoon and night at the lovely free aire in Vaas, which was very peaceful and quiet, and continued north to Broglie yesterday morning for our appointment with the vet this morning.


The magical landscape along the Charentonne river at Broglie

We never get tired of Broglie, no matter how many times we’ve been here, and that walk along the Charentonne river to the water mill has a charm all of its own, which is a great medicine for the heart and soul.  I took Beano for his usual afternoon walk and then I went back again just to photograph that most soothing of views overlooking the valley, river, water mill and half-timbered houses: priceless!


Fantastic Broglie's water mill

This morning’s visit to the vet was a bit eventful, as Beano wouln’t take his worming tablet required for re-entry in the UK and even my usual trick of wrapping the tablet in a bit of fish mousse didn’t work, nor did the vet’s attempt with a creamy cheese triangle, so in the end we had to opt for an injection, for which purpose Beano had to be muzzled and restrained by myself and the receptionist while the vet did the injecting!  Not a performance I would like to repeat, I daresay!

After that dramatic experience we set off again, this time headed for Quend-Plage-les-Pins, another wonderful aire surrounded by pine trees, as the name aptly discribes.  We came here in January 2015 and it was nearly empty, but again, today it is rather busy, even on a Monday.  The ticket machine is still not working, so we’ve saved €7 again, like last time!


The charming aire at Quend-Plage-Les-Pins seen from the woods trail

Beano’s afternoon walk today was on the trail through the pine woods, where I was pleased to see some young people doing a tree-top adventure trail, what we know in the UK as Go Ape.  I wouln’t mind having a go myself, as it looks like a lot of fun.


Adventure trail at Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

Afterwards, Adonis and I walked into town and the sea front and enjoyed looking at the high tide breaking against the promenade walls and the children chasing the waves: great fun!


Chasing the waves: priceless fun!


Looking towards the sea from high street in Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

It’s back to Wissant, Pas de Calais, tomorrow and then home.  We’ll be back in May.