Monthly Archives: June 2012

A tribute to our travelling companion: Bramble Saysell


Our first time at Lac des Varennes

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed that in just about every blog entry we mention our walks with Brambe, our 4-legged, floppy-eared hairy, fox-red Labrador Retriever and fellow traveller.

In my sleeping area in motorhome

Bramble has been a huge part of our lives for the last 4 years and we would have never considered trravelling without him.  But at around Easter time this year he started going off his food, becoming fussy with what he ate, bringing up bile first thing in the morning and sometimes being sick, losing a lot of weight (5 kgs in a couple of months).  We took him to the vet  for various checks and test and they couldn’t work out what it was until they decided to do x-rays and a scan 2 days ago (27th June 2012).  The scan showed a big mass attached to his stomach and liver and when they finally opened him up, they discovered a tumor that had taken over 70% of his stomach lining and a vital part of his liver.  The surgeon said it was inoperable and that he only had a few days to live.

It was at this point that we had to make the most difficult decision of our lives and let him slip away peacefully while he was under the effect of the anesthetics and stop the suffering.

We cried while we hugged him as the intra-venous injection was given and we were with him until his final breath and heart beat.  These are memories we are going to have to learn to live with and it is truly the most horrible thing I’ve had to do in my entire life and it’s eating me inside.

Chasing my ball at Punta Lago, Leon, Landes

Bramble, you have been much more than a dog to us from the moment we brought you home when you were only 7 weeks old.  You ran around everywhere, exploring every nook and corner and chewing everything you could dig your tiny teeth into.  You made us laugh and filled our hearts with joy and the happiness you gave all three of us is truly priceless.  I often thought of you as the second baby we never had and in truth that’s what you were, my little baby.  I’ve been looking at the hundreds of pictures of you we’ve taken over the last 4 years and most of them seem to be during our travels through Europe.  I’ve been doing this as I am not ready to let you go completely and I needed to see you looking healthy and happy again, chasing your ball, swimming in the lakes and the rivers, popping your head through the ladder of the motorhome and sharing time with both our families in France (the Saysells) and in Spain (the Rosales-Naya).

Fishing with Dad at Lac des Varennes

You have been an amazing constant, loyal friend and companion and we want you to know that wherever we travel, you’ll be travelling with us, right in the middle in the cockpit, between Daddy and me, sometimes sticking your head on the clutch pedal and me having to drag you away to my side.  We know you loved travelling as much as we did and we loved taking you with us.  You made us feel safe and happy and things just won’t be the same without you.

Sewing with mum at Punta Lago, Leon, Landes

Please don’t ever forget how much we loved you and enjoyed your company.  You will always be alive in our hearts and our memories and maybe one day in the future we will meet again.  So we hope you are very happy in your doggy heaven chasing your ball, chewing your bone and playing with other doggies.

I hope you like the pictures I’ve chosen of our life together: they make us who we are.

Lots and lots and lots of love forever and ever

Mum, Dad and Pepo

Swimming with Dad

Swimming with Dad

The first time we saw you at 10 days old

with Pepo

happy family: mum, dad, pepo and my siblings

First day at home

Bramble Laughing with Pepo

pumba time with mum

washing up with mum

Playing in the snow in Bognor Regis

Chasing the ball in the snow in Le Touquet-Paris Plage

Christmas day

Too hot for me in Lac des Varennes

At a French aire, July 2011

Lunch with grandparents and Huntley

Walkies with huntley and mum in Portiragnes

Resting at Hautes Alpes, Drome, Alsace

Quiet time at St Valery En Caux

Testing the windblockers at Newbury motorhome show

Protecting the motorhome July 2011

By the pool with the Saysells, Portiragnes

Chasing my ball at Broglie aire

Celebrating with the Rosales-Naya in La Coruña, Spain

Celebrating with the Saysells, Portiragnes, France

Dancing with mum and the Saysells

Crochetting with mum


I know this is not a motorhome travelling story as such, but it involves travelling on our road and it was a frightening experience for all of us, so I’m reblogging my son’s entry. All this pictures are taken from our road, not more than 10 metres from our house! Please read it.

PJ Rosales

There is something inside of all of us that has some sort of pressing addiction for danger. How many of you look out of your window when driving past the scene of a car accident to see what’s happening? Admittedly, we all get slightly intrigued when being an onlooker to any form of disaster, especially if we’re sat behind the safety of a Television set. This is particularly true for myself; I’ve always wanted to find myself joining in with the authorities during emergencies and disasters, thinking it would be cool and fun. Yesterday; that ambition was lived.

My Mum had tried to drop me at the train station as I was due to meet a friend in Worthing, however after encountering a huge traffic jam outside our house, we soon realized that our road was underwater. And this is an understatement. Cars were driving in the middle of the…

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Épagne, Canal du Somme, Thursday 7th June 2012


Le Canal du Somme by Epagne bridge

It has been a very rainy day, with just a few breaks of sun every now and then.

We packed everything in the van last night – groundsheet, chairs, etc – before we went out for our French meal treat.  We gently strolled into the village of Le Petit Andely and settled for the Mistral restaurant, offering specialities from Provence.  It was a very enjoyable evening with very friendly service who spoke English, but we insisted with our improving French.  I had a ‘Terrine de volaille’ with salad in a vinaigrette for starter and a rabbit stew for main course and Adonis had the warm goat’s cheese with honey followed by a beef stiffado  served with some sort of macaroni cheese, which Adon couldn’t manage.  We thought this to be a weird combination, but I suppose this is the beauty of travelling and trying new and unusual things.  We finished with a lemon tart and a coffee and slowly wandered back to the campsite, enjoying the evening sun along the river Seine.  A perfect finish to a relaxing day.

Le Canal du Somme


We were ready to leave by 9.30 this morning and joined the D316 from Le Grand Andely and D6014 northwest to Rouen and back on the A28 before the tunnel at J13 all the way to J5, where we got off to join the D928 northeast to Abbeville and try our luck at finding a wild spot to spend the day by the canal du Somme.  Our efforts paid off and we found a charming, quiet parking place by the bridge at Épagne, where we’ve been since lunchtime.

We had a very wet dog walk along the canal and managed to take a few pictures of this great find.  We can really appreciate how wonderful it is now that the sun has finally broken through.

A view whilst walking the dog by Le Canal du Somme


It must be said that the weather hasn’t been on our side at all during this break and only enjoyed one very hot day on the day we arrived at Les Andelys last Saturday.  The rest of the time has been mainly cloudy and windy with a few showers for good measure.  Still, it’s been very relaxing and, as always, L’Île des Trois Rois is a fantastic campsite to chill by the river Seine, with very friendly and helpful staff and excellent facilities.

Adonis was happy because he caught 2 carp, which always helps to make it a successful trip, but he forgot to bring his ‘other’ landing net for quick fishing and can’t fish tonight as he can’t be bothered to get the bikes off the rack and climb on top of the van, where he keeps his fishing rods and other related paraphernalia.

We’re off to Boulogne-sur-Mer tomorrow morning for our ritual shopping trip before returning home on Saturday morning after spending Friday night at very convenient aire at Wissant, just 20 minutes south of the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais.

So, we’ll celebrate tonight with some Toulouse sausages, chips, French stick and Baron de Lestac Bordeaux.

Next time we write it will be during our summer holidays in early July!  Until then, cheers!

Le Canal du Somme by Epagne bridge


L’Île des Trois Rois, Les Andelys, Sunday 3rd June 2012



Our pitch at L’Ile des Trois Rois and Chateau Gaillard in background

We are back at one of our favourite campsites in France, right on the river Seine.  We arrived yesterday afternoon after a longer than normal drive due to an accident involving  a bus and a pony trailer on the A28 between Abbeville and Rouen.  Luckily for us, by the time we joined the long queue of traffic, the tailback was by J. 7 to Amiens and we were quick to take it, but even then the traffic slowed down again by next toll at J. 12 on the A29, with only one paying booth for an unusual amount of vehicles that had also taken the same exit to avoid getting stuck for ours.  Apparently the bus was carrying 34 Britons and resulted in one major injury and 2 minor ones, but luckily no casualties apart from the pony in the trailer.

Lillypond at L’Ile des Trois Rois campsite


It was a very hot day yesterday, 30 °C inside the van in the shade in mid-afternoon, and we enjoyed a cool swim in the pool for us and in the lake for Bramble.

We are on a very generous pitch, at number 108, and we have loads of space and access to the river for Adonis to fish.  As always, we are also enjoying the marvellous view of Château Gaillard on top of the hill and the bridge crossing the river, as well as all the huge barges and pleasure boats drifting by on the river.

You really get a sense of space here.


There is a fête going on with a Medieval theme by the river bank just a short distance away from the campsite and I went there this morning after buying baguette for lunch.  They are selling just about everything, but my favourite has to be the saucisson seller, from whom I bought 5 for 10€.  There was also some beautiful glass jewellery, where I treated myself to a pendant and a fabulous Art Gallery marquee, where I spent quite some time admiring the original paintings, sculptures and various types of Art works.  I was even introduced to one of the painters – Louise Gatter – whose work I really enjoyed: the kind of work I would have bought had I had that kind of money available.  Her style reminded me of Frida Kahlo’s work.  Children can take part in various medieval activities like archery, chain-mail making and fighting and cooking was being done in cauldron and cattle drums.

Medieval Fete at Les Andelys









Medieval Fete at Les Andelys









Medieval Fete at Les Andelys









We are hoping to go back early this evening to enjoy the local brews and soak up the atmosphere.

The weather has taken a turn for the worse again and we had a big and noisy storm last night, so I hope it’ll be dry later on and to see the sun again soon.  Our new Lillypad windblocks we bought at Newbury’s Motorhome Show are proving their worth and doing a fantastic job in keeping the strong winds at bay and it was possible to enjoy our lunch outside despite this very blowy day!

Enjoying dinner outdoors