Monthly Archives: September 2011

St Nicolas de Bliquetuit, 10th July 2010


The Following entry was written by Adonis

Today we woke up early at Carrefour in Citi Europe and did our shopping.  There was a small portion of ground to walk Bramble.  We managed to leave at 9.40 am and arrived at St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at 12.40 pm, just off the D982, about 40km east of  Le Havre or 25 northwest of Rouen. The journey was straightforward, although the motorways cost about 15 euros.  The Aire is lovely and is on the banks of the Seine.  Bramble went swimming and there are good places for walks.  Spag Bog tonight, then a morning’s drive to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe: it’s a municipal campsite, so we hope it’s not too busy.  Van is going fine and Floppo is radiant as ever.  A very good first day.

view from St Nicolas de Bliquetuit aire

Today we have used our shower for the first time, as it’s been a really hot and humid day, and we’re happy to report it works wonderfully well.  It was a very welcome cold shower to get rid of sweat and dust and I think we’ll be using it more frequently in future.

This is another beautiful and well maintained aire, right on the River Seine again, with magnificent views over the village,  and we could stay here for up to 48 hours if we wanted to, but not this time, as we’re making our way slowly down to Bordeaux to put Pepo on train to Beziers.  There’s a very welcome breeze now to cool us all down!  Adonisito’s taken his shirt off and is looking as super-cachondisimo as ever!

view from St Nicolas de Bliquetuit aire.

Les Andelys, Friday 4th June 2010


Another perfect day, with late rise at about 9ishfollowed by breakfast of assorted pastries and coffee and lazy lounging around in the sun and shade, as sun was a bit too hot for comfort and common sense.

swimming poole by the Seine

We tried the pool at 11.45 am, but was being cleaned at the time and had to wait till after lunch.  After lunch and swim we set off for Musee Poussin in Le Grand Andely and, as often in these parts, the road signs sent us in the wrong direction.  Nevertheless, Adon found the way in due course and we spent just under an hour admiring local culture, including Neolithic and Roman treasures.  We relaxed with a couple of beers afterwards and phoned Pepo, who sent my alarm bells ringing again saying he was camping in field behind house overnight, leaving Bramble behind in the house alone!!!  I quickly changed his plans, explaining that leaving dog alone overnight wasn’t such a good idea and asked him to delay his camping outing until tomorrow night, when we’ll be back at home and can take of Bramble.

After sorting out that  little domestic situation, we set off for Hotel Le Normandie Restaurant, on 1 Rue Grande at Le Petit Andely, where we’ve just enjoyed a most delightful evening sitting in the rear garden facing the river Seine and a meal of prawn salad, snails, salmon, pheasant, Camembert and Apple Tart (or Tarte de Pomme, which sounds a bit posher).

So we are now enjoying our last few hours in this truly magnificent site and town and are deeply sorry to have to leave it.  Roll on summer!


Les Andelys, Thursday 3rd June 2010


Adonis enjoying paper in the heat of early June

Another scorcher of a day.  We are sitting right on the edge of the bank of the Seine at 19.55 hours!  It’s still lovely and warm without a cloud in the sky: this is certainly one of the best pitches ever! (No 98 at L’Ile des Trois Rois), although I must admit that pitch No 97 gets more sun in the evening than ours and the couple next door sat outside enjoying sunset last night until nearly 10.00 pm. 

A very relaxing day once we drove to Vernon on our weekly supermarket visit, but we were back before midday and have been lazing about all day, Adonis fishing and me reading and crochetting.  I finished my Paisley design and had two swims in the pool, which was very welcome on such a hot day.

Relaxing time by the Seine

We’ve just finished our dinner of merguez sausages, bacon, spicy couscous, fried egg and bread, topped up with juicy and flavoursome strawberries: it’s going to be hard to top a day like today: NO DISASTERS either!


Fishing in the campsite lake


sunset from pitch 98

Day of Disaster, Wednesday, 2nd June 2010


It all started with the best intentions at around 9.00 am when I offered Adon bacon and eggs for breakfast.  The bacon had been under the grill for about 30 seconds when a lot of smoke started to emerge from the top of the grill elements.  I quickly discovered it was a bit of merquez sausage that must have fallen onto it from yesterday’s paella.  As I was trying  window at the  back of van above sink, the top lid of sink, usually clipped back, fell onto a wine glass on draining board and smashed it onto the floor into a hundred pieces at the same time as egg fell into sink and cracked shell, smoke alarm blaring.  I  just didn’t know which one to attend to first.

Visit to Chateau Gaillard

After all that drama, with all the wine glass minute pieces swept away by Adon, battery taken out of alarm, egg retrieved from sink and bit of merguez sausage safely removed, Adon was able to enjoy his bacon and egg and me my croissant.  This was followed by quick shower and a cycle ride to Chateau Gaillard, which was too steep a ride and had to be completed on foot.  Half an hour into our tour of said castle, my mobile phone went off, with Pepo at the other end explaining Bramble had done poo on the new rug in sitting room at home and didn’t know how to clean it!!!  After my expert advice, we finished tour of castle and enjoyed downhill ride into Le Grand Andely, where we purchased long baguette, 2 chicken breast, newspaper and 100 grs of Maccarons, especiality of the area, followed by well deserved cold beer outside one of the lovely cafe-bars in town centre.


View from Chateau Gaillard

Back to the bikes,  put shopping in panniers and headed back to campsite.  You can imagine my dismay when on arriving at our pitch and opening pannier, I only found 1/2 a stick of bread!  We still don’t know what happened to the other half.  Much laughter followed and half remaining stick was immensely enjoyed at lunch, together with the Maccarons, which were absolutely delicious, a flavour hard to describe.  That was followed by quick rest on sunbeds, as it was actually hot and sunny, and a swim in the pool, which is no way 25 degrees, as claimed on notice board!  Still, it was a nice way to roud off the afternoon of the most eventful day so far on our motorcaravanning days!


Deserted swimming pool at campsite

Les Andelys, Tuesday 1st June 2010


Miserable day today: raining most of the time.  What a change from yesterday! We cycled to Le Grand Andelyagin for fish to make paella tonight and enjoyed coffee and beer at square before cycling back.  Also bought Telegraph to keep up with the news and read till lunchtime. 

Siesta and fishing for Adonis while I walked to Le Petit Andely along the river Seine.  I visited the souvenir shop, but found it was far too expensive and came back empty-handed.  I finished the trimming on my blanket and started cooking paella while Ado fished.  He came back very excited again as he had caught another carp and wanted camera to capture this momentous occasion. 



Finishing my blanket on a rainy day


Just finished dinner, which would have tasted a lot better had I remembered to buy a lemon, washed up and Adon is off again in the pouring rain to catch some carp: I swear to God he’s mad!

I’m going to attempt to crochet a paisley motif and then read book.  Shame castle and museum were shut today, being Tuesday (typical).  It would have been the perfect day for it due to the weather.  We might visit tomorrow instead.

comfy fishing

Les Andelys, 31st May 2010


It has been a truly wonderful day, with a sunny dawn which enabled us to have breakfast outside.  We then cycled again

Gargoyles at Our Lady's Collegiate

to Le Grand Andely for bread and tobacco and found that most shops and all boulangeries were shut maybe because it is also a  Bank Holiday here too.  We also went back to Our Lady’s Collegiate and took pictures of gargoyles and huge rosette.   When we got back it was overcast and couldn’t sunbathe outside van as we had hoped.

Adonis went fishing and I started crochetting border on my blanket and managed to finish 1 and 1/4 rounds before lunch.  I thought I’d do some reading afterwards, but I fell asleep quickly on big sofa by window in the peace and quiet of this superb campsite.  Adonis woke me up at about 3 pm coming in to fetch sunspray saying it was boiling outside, so I quickly followed to the river bank and enjoyed beer and crisps whilst carrying on with my reading in the sunshine.  So I got to wear my bikini after all and I lay on the sunbed while Adontried to catch some fish, task that was made all the harder by two swans scouting the area.

Big rosette at Our Lady's Collegiate

Pepo phoned while I was cooking my Bolognese sauce saying that Dennis Hopper had died and that Jane Chapman has phoned wanting to meet up with us tomorrow!  Fat chance of that happening unless she rushes down here a.s.a.p.  Still, it’s nice to hear that after all these years she hasn’t forgotten us and it’d be lovely to see her and her family when we get back.

Pepo had two friends round and were going to order Domino’s pizzas, se he seems happy enough and Bramble is up to his usual tricks chewing up magazines, etc.

Just been for a walk round campsite and we were delighted and greatly amused by gardens on mobile homes permanently pitched here and I believe there must be a sort of competition between the owners as to who has the most outrageously and heavily decorated plot, with statues, gnomes, flowers of every description and even a whole set of ‘Snow-White and the Seven Dwarves’!  Truly amazing.

Garden decoration at L'Ile des Trois Rois campsite

Adon’s gone fishing again, but as the sun has set and there’s an evening breeze, I’ve decided to finish off my blanket and carry on with my book.

Another magnificent day!

Garden Decorations

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves!

Les Andelys, Sunday 30th May 2010


Quaint lamp post at Le Petit Andely

Got up late this morning for a change, at 9.00 am.  Must have been tired from trip and early rising the last couple of days.  Enjoyed coffee and French pastries for breakfast, which saw us quite happily until lunch.

12-pound carp caught at L'Ile des Trois Rois

We cycled to Le Grand Andely to get paper and baguette and noticed everyone was carrying large basket of flower arrangements and then we discovered it is actually Mother’s Day here, the last Sunday in May! 

Weather is a bit breezy with mild spitting, so not warm enough to sunbathe outside van, like we’d have hoped at this time of year.  Still, we enjoyed walk around town and quick look at Our Lady’s Collegiate Church, where just about the whole town was gathering in their Sunday’s best.  We felt a bit scruffy in our shorts and t-shirts, so we didn’t stay long.  Had long glance at pattisseries windows, competing no doubt for the most appetising window dressing, and managed to come back with just the baguette, as planned.

Had usual lunch of mixed charcuterie products, followed by siesta and another cycle ride to Le Petit Andely for a nice cold beer in the old town.

Adonis went fishing before dinner, a bit disappointed because he got his line caught in a tree, but went back after dinner and has just come back running for me to follow with camera to photograph 12-pound carp, which is the first catch of the holiday and no doubt has made his day.

I am not without my little triumph, however, as I’ve just finished sewing together all the squares of my Amish Afghan blanket and I’ll be able to start on border tomorrow.  So a very successful day altogether.   It’s 9.00 pm now, so I’m going to get ready for bed to cuddle up with my book: ‘The Hand of Fatima’ (La Mano de Fatima) by Ildelfonso Falcones, another Christmas present from Adonis.  Good night!

Le Petit Andely

Les Andelys, Saturday, 29th May 2010


Well, here we are again at camping L’Ile des Trois Rois at les Andelys.  We were so impressed last time that we thought we had to come back for a longer stay.

We set off from Bognor Regis at 4.00 pm yesterday, after Sports Day, and were very lucky with traffic on motorways all the way to Folkstone, despite all the warning on the radio.  We arrived by 6.30 pm and caught the train just after 7, an hour before schedule, so we arrived at Calais City Europe just before 9, local time, and spent a very quiet night in the car park amongst some other motorhomes.  I couldn’t believe how peaceful it was. 

We slept all night until woken up by noisy street sweeper at about 6 am, but managed to go back to sleep and finally got up at about 7.30.  We had frugal breakfast of fruit and coffee and went into Carrefour as soon as it opened at 8.30 am.  We spent about an hour in there, half the time looking for breadcrumbs, which we couldn’t find anywhere, and came out 160 euros lighter, but with loads of wonderful goodies, including some nice pastries for breakfast for the next couple of days.  We were a bit annoyed with till, which only accepted cards and no cash: how ridiculous is that?  It used to be all the way round not so long ago!  So we didn’t get to use all those euros we bought for the occasion, so bank account will get another deep dent in it again!  Still, I am sure it’ll be worth it.

Adonis drove all the way here without stopping and arrived just after 1.30 pm, set up and had lunch at about 2.00 pm, consisting of gorgeous (wildboar sausage), Saucisse Artisanale, creamy cheeses, mortadella, pate and the most beautifully scented and flavoursome strawberries.  That was followed by siesta till about 4.30 pm and cycle ride to river to test the waters for fishing.  Adonis then went back with fishing gear and I stayed back in van sewing up my crochet blanket.

After fishing session, Adonis proceeded to cook delicious Milanesas with salad, after having to make my own breadcrumbs with toasted bread: one has to use its own creativity when the system lets you down.

So just finished dinner and washing up and Adon has returned to the river and I’m going to carry on with my blanket and reading my ‘Petite Princesse’ book, lent to me by Rosemary at work.  How more French can one get?

Pepo seems to be doing all right back at home in England, although I got a bit worried when he phoned back saying the instructions on the Tagliatelli box didn’t say how much water it  needed to boil!  Hope he managed to cook it all right after my bit of guidance, but I couldn’t guarantee it!



Channel Tunnel Terminal, Calais, Wednesday 21st April 2010


Pepo and I are in van waiting for Adon and Bramble to come out of pet check-in. They’re just coming out!  Tried to do automatic check-in, but we were re-directed to the ‘Paw’ signed building, so we must remember this next time.   It looks like we’re going to catch an early train back to England, the 11.06 am instead of the 12.50 pm and, of course, we’ll arrive before we leave at 10.41 am BST. That’s what I call ‘time travel’.

We had a good night on the France Passion site and a very nice final meal.  It’s really good to have the feeling we can’t wait to come back, hopefully at half term.  A really successful trip, and one that will give us good memories and something to plan and look forward to when back at work.

Cap Gris Nez, Tuesday 20th April 2010


German Bunder Museum, Musee Todt

Our last day today. We had to get up earlier than usual to take Bramble to the vet in Montreuil.  He doesn’t like vets and had to be dragged around shaking.  He was well behaved, though, and everything went very well with friendly vet, who luckily spoke very good English.  It cost 50 E, though! What good business this pet passport scheme is for the French, but I see British vets missing out on visits from frequent travellers who are forced to take their pets to vets between 24 and 48 hours before being allowed back into Britain.

After that, we had breakfast and left for Audinghen, where we are on a France Passion site, Dominique Pruvost’s Cap Nature, on the D940, just under 1/2 hour south of the Channel Tunnel terminal

Such an early start meant that we were out of Montreuil’s Carrefourby 11.15 am, having stocked up on the usual essentials, such as wine, beer, cheese, etc.  We arrived at this welcoming France Passion Farm just after 12 noon and were told  by friendly hostess to camp wherever we pleased.  We had beer in the sun at a bench strategically placed by wall and out of the wind with a view of the sea and England beyond.  This was followed by lunch of usual local produce, a quick siesta and then did some shopping at the farm’s shop, which is very well stocked up with just about everything, including all kinds of flavoured lemonade, of which we chose mango, and very nice it is too, a

German Railway Gun K5

s we are enjoying a glass now even as we write.

After the shopping, we visited the German Bunker Museum, or Musee Todt, which is part of the Musee du Mur de L’Atlantique.  The Blockhaus au Cap Gris Nez, which seems to be the proper name, is the most unusual I’ve ever seen and, of course, of great historic interest and terrifying display of all kinds of weapons, not least the German Railway Gun K5, which had a range of 86 km and, at 35 metres long, takes your breath away, just to think it could reach England from here.

We are hoping to use the Cap Nature’s restaurant tonight to finish our holiday in real French style.  So, all in all, it has been a wonderful first holiday in our new Elddis Autostratus motorhome, and, apart from the left hand side window falling off again and a bit of a gas leak, it has all been plain sailing and we’re looking forward to our next adventure in may!