Monthly Archives: May 2014

Bognor Regis 10K Road Run, Sunday 18th May 2014

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It’s a glorious spring day down here in the West Sussex south coast and we have come down to give some moral support to the brave people who are taking part in this race. I have run it twice before to raise funds for a couple of charities, so they certainly have my full support, as I know most of them will be doing just that.

I understand that Paul Wells, our Mayor, is taking part in order to raise funds to restore Bognor Regis Pier, a subject close to my heart too and which I am proud to sponsor.

Bognor Regis beach and Pier in the background

Bognor Regis beach and Pier in the background

 

I took my son to join the St John’s Ambulance volunteering team earlier in the day and then Adonis and I returned with our puppy, Beano, half an hour before the race started at 10.30 am to enjoy a stroll along the lovely sea front we are so privileged to have so near our home.

It was lovely to see so many people along the way to support the runners. These are some of the shots I took. I hope you like them.

The first runners and their escort

The first runners and their escort

 

Slowly building up

Slowly building up

 

More and more

More and more

 

Nice to see some people make the effort to dress up

Nice to see some people make the effort to dress up

 

Good on you!

Good on you!

 

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Some other pursuits on the seafront

Some other pursuits on the seafront

 

Strolling back through the Marine Park Gardens

Strolling back through the Marine Park Gardens

 

Beautiful irises

Beautiful irises

 

And the fountain is on!

And the fountain is on!

 

My son as a volunteer for St John's Ambulance.  So proud!

My son as a volunteer for St John’s Ambulance. So proud!

 

The most important people (and dog) in my life: Adonis, Pepo and Beano

The most important people (and dog) in my life: Adonis, Pepo and Beano

 

Pepo giving Beano a much needed drink of water on a very hot day

Pepo giving Beano a much needed drink of water on a very hot day

 

The entertainment at West Park

The entertainment at West Park

Vaas, Sarthe Department, Tuesday 15th April 2014

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Vaas seen from bridge

Vaas seen from bridge

 

We didn’t go as far as Richelieu yesterday as we had originally planned, for it was getting a bit late in the morning after doing our shopping at Vivonne, just south of Poitiers on the N10, so we decided to drive the 4 kms east out of town to Château Larcher instead.

 

The very efficient motorhome aire at Château Larcher

The very efficient motorhome aire at Château Larcher

 

We were very impressed with the motorhome aire there, right by the football grounds and with an easy walk to the Château ruins and round the lake, all very picturesque and with the usual charm these small villages tend to have. The aire is only 4 a night, with electricity and water included in the price, to be paid either at the Mairie or to the guard that comes round in the evening (he came about 7 pm), who speaks good English. There is also a bread service van in the morning and that’s how we got our baguette today for just 90 C. The area was very quiet and, although there is room for 10 motorhomes, only 4 vehicles spent the night there, including us.

 

A very pleasant walk around Château Larcher

A very pleasant walk around Château Larcher

 

The ruins of Château Larcher

The ruins of Château Larcher

 

I just liked this building

I just liked this building

 

Enjoying a stroll around lake at Château Larcher

Enjoying a stroll around lake at Château Larcher

 

We left Château Larcher after 9 this morning and made the mistake of sticking to the national road bypassing Poitiers, but this turned out to be incredibly slow due to so many traffic lights and roundabouts, so we must remember to use the motorway next time. So a bit tired and exasperated with such slow going, we joined the A10 at J. 25 south of St Maure-de-Touraine after a coffee stop at Dangé-St-Romain, and stayed on it up to north of Tours, where we came off at J. 20 looking for the France Passion site at Parçay-Meslay (Domaine de Vodanis), but there didn’t seem to be enough parking space, which would have been by the road anyway, so we decided to keep going north to find something more attractive and to our liking. We joined the motorway again at J.19 and took A28 north. After a quick look at our new ‘All The Aires in France’ Vacarious guide, we opted for Vaas, just west of Château-du-Loir and only 4 km off the A28 at J.26, only paying ₤6 for the privilege of such good road.

 

Vaas

A hot afternoon walk in Vaas

 

We made it here at about 1.15 pm and, again, we are very impressed with this aire by the camping and Espace Culturel. It’s free and has an Euro Relay bourne for water if needed.

 

The motorhome aire at Vaas

The motorhome aire at Vaas

 

 

The River Loir at Vaas

The River Loir at Vaas

 

We’ve just been for a lovely walk along the river Loir, past the campsite both ways east and west and stopped to admire the ancient water mill and the views from the nearby bridge. It’s still quite hot (24 ºC inside van) and the sun’s still shining and, although the holiday is slowly coming to an end, we can’t complain about the weather or the lovely spots we’ve discovered so far.

 

The ancient water mill at Vaas

The ancient water mill at Vaas

 

The Water Mill wheel

The Water Mill wheel

 

 

It’s Broglie tomorrow, where we have an appointment at the vet’s for Beano at 9 am and after that it will be Le-Crotoy and Wissant, as usual.

We’ll be back on the road again at the end of May, when we’re hoping to visit Van Gogh’s grave, Rouen Cathedral and stay a few days at Les Andelys, if time.

Camping Marco de Bignac, Charente Department, Sunday 13th April 2014

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The Reception area at Camping Marco de Bignac

The Reception area at Camping Marco de Bignac

 

We have spent the last three days at this charming and idyllic campsite in the region of Poitou-Charente as it’s got everything we ask for from a site: a lake for carp fishing (with some very big carp, we have been assured), peace and quiet and very friendly and helpful hosts, as well as nice neighbours. Again, we have done little more than chill in the heat of the season, as it has been very warm with the need of sunblock and hats, just walking the few metres to Adonis’s swim and to Reception to get our baguette in the morning and walking Beano 3 times a day around the lake. I haven’t even been on my bike, unlike in Barbotan, where I cycled everyday for bread and drinks. Here, I’ve just done my crocheting, I’ve been reading my Marie France magazine, in order to keep my French fresh, and my Kindle.

 

Our lovely pitch at Camping Marco de Bignac

Our lovely pitch at Camping Marco de Bignac, just by the lake

 

We have pitch number 83 and we intend to book it for our summer holidays too, as it has easy access to the lake and loads of space around us.

Top fishing spot just a few metres away from our pitch

Top fishing spot just a few metres away from our pitch

 

The site is run by an English family, so the language is not a problem for those who struggle with their French, and they are all very welcoming and friendly. There is a little shop at Reception where you can order your bread from the day before and it also stores milk, bottled water and other emergency food, like pasta, etc. There is a supermarket 3 km away, but we haven’t used it.

Walking around lake

Walking around lake

 

The Reception area seen from our pitch

The Reception area seen from our pitch

 

When we left Barbotan last Thursday morning, we followed the small roads west (D626 to Sabres, D44 towards Mimizan and north at Escource on D46) to Gastes (N 44º 19′ 714” W 001º 09′ 057”) at the south end of Étang de Biscarrosse et Parentis, where we spent a day at the beautiful motorhome aire by the marina. It was supposed to cost 4.50 a day this time of year (7 in the summer), but the ticket machine was out of service and a guard was supposed to come in the morning to collect the fee, but by the time we left at 9.15 am he/she hadn’t come round yet, so we had a free stay!

 

Gastes Motorhome aire on Etang de Biscarrosse

Gastes Motorhome aire on Etang de Biscarrosse

At Gastes, we enjoyed a walk and a play with Beano chasing his ball on the sandy beach by the lake and around the marina and our meals outside in the sunshine. Again, this was a very quiet spot with generous pitches and a café-restaurant on the access road, and although it was busy with quite a few other motorhomes, it was peaceful and relaxing and we would definitely come back here again.

The Marina with motorhome aire in background

The Marina with motorhome aire in background

 

The only shock was joining the motorway N10/A63 at J.17 at Liposthey, where we paid a standard fee of ₤15.62 and we were classed A2, so we have to look into this as we think we overpaid. Still, this road took us all the way to north east of Bordeaux to join the N10 after crossing the Dordogne river all the way to Angoulême and D939 towards St-Jean-d’Angely towards Vaars for a short while for about 10 km and D11 and D117 to Bignac (N45º 47′ 52” E0º 3′ 49”), a very easy drive all in all.

The Marina

The Marina

 

Tomorrow, we are planning to go to Richelieu, but that could change…

 

 

Camping Lac de l’Uby, Gers Department, Wednesday 9th April 2014

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Beautiful weather at Lac -de-l'Uby

Beautiful weather at Lac -de-l’Uby

 

We have spent a wonderful week here with lots of sunshine and hot weather, reaching 24 ºC with exception of last Thursday, when it rained all day, but luckily it cleared by Friday afternoon and we’ve been wearing shorts and t-shirts for the most part.

 

Enjoying 7 days of fishing

Enjoying 7 days of fishing in the sun

 

This is a magnificent place to relax and that’s mainly what we’ve been doing all week: Adonis fishing (he’s caught 7 carp varying in sizes, the biggest one being about 12 kgs) and I’ve been reading my French magazines and my kindle and crocheting.

 

A successful fishing session

A successful fishing session

A 12 Kg Catch!

A 12 Kg Catch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons for coming here was for me to enjoy some of the treatments at the Barbotan-les-Thermes Spa and last Saturday, I spent 2 hours there, where I had the marvellous Soin Sérénité or Serenity Treatment, which consisted of a choice of 3 among their essential treatments and I opted for the jet shower, the massaging shower, the massaging bath and the kaolin bath, all fantastic and more than enough to leave anyone feeling like new: it was worth every cent of the €79 that it cost and I’d highly recommend it.

 

A lovely flower display at Barbotan-les-Thermes

A lovely flower display at Barbotan-les-Thermes

 

 

I cycled every morning, either to Barbotan or to Cazaubon, as we are in between these two towns, to get a baguette, cakes and drinks and this morning I had a stroll through Barbotan’s Wednesday’s market, where I bought lots of local produce (all very reasonably priced) as well as a double portion of paella for tonight’s dinner, which was absolutely delicious.

 

Lazy Sunday afternoon at Lac de l'Uby

Lazy Sunday afternoon at Lac de l’Uby

 

One of the highlights of the week for me has been meeting Danielle, a fellow camper and crocheter, and we’ve been showing each other our crocheted items and swapping ideas. She makes small figurines in cotton, which she sells at Christmas markets, and she’s given me one of her elves to hang on my Christmas tree. She caught me by surprise earlier on, so I intend to give her one of my wire bracelets in return. She also told me about these various crafts workshops they do at Barbotan’s Tourist Information Office and this afternoon I joined her on a ‘Quilling’ workshop, making flowers out of thin coloured strips of paper and then turning them into pictures or greeting cards. We were there for 2 ½ hours and the time flew by as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We have swapped email addresses, so I hope we’ll keep in touch. I have to say that all this has been wonderful for my French too as nobody spoke English there!

 

The Quilling picture I made at Barbotan's Tourist Information Office

The Quilling picture I made at Barbotan’s Tourist Information Office

 

We have also enjoyed some stunning sunsets, when every minute seems to be an opportunity for a picture.

 

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Never too late to fish!

Never too late to fish!

 

 

 

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Tomorrow we’re heading for the lake at Biscarrosse and I hope to stay at the motorhome aire at Gastes. I hope the weather holds!

 

A walk around Lac de l'Uby

A walk around Lac de l’Uby

 

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