Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fairmile Bottom, West Sussex, Sunday 16th November 2014

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The newly re-introduced Sussex cattle

The newly re-introduced Sussex cattle

We won’t be travelling again in our motorhome until 26th December, but I miss my blog and decided to share a few pictures of our dog-walk near where we work in West Sussex.

The old local Sussex cattle breed has been re-introduced and we had to change our usual route to go up to the woods, so we ended up in an area of very low and ancient yew trees we had never seen before. It was all very ‘Lord of the Rings’ kind of landscape and very beautiful indeed.  Autumn was already in full swing, so we walked on a carpet of leaves, which made the whole place even more enchanting.

The mysterious woods

The mysterious woods

I love the ancient yew trees

I love the ancient yew trees

The best thing was that we were able to let Beano off the lead, so he had a very good run chasing pheasants and what-not.

Beano off the lead

Beano off the lead

The pictures were taken with my mobile phone, so they might not do the place the justice it deserves, but I hope you like them and get a feel of the place.  I must return with a proper camera!

Feeling happy on an autumn Sunday morning walk

Feeling happy on an autumn Sunday morning walk

An ominous light fast approaching

An ominous light fast approaching

Adonis and Beano walking into the light

Adonis and Beano walking into the light

Adonis and Beano walking into the light!

Adonis and Beano magically disappeared in the light on our return walk

Back to the beautiful Sussex cattle

Back to the beautiful Sussex cattle

Le Crotoy, Somme, Friday 31st October 2014

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Marina by motorhome aire

Marina by motorhome aire

 

I just can’t seem to get enough of this place on the Bay of the Somme. We always end up here on our one but last day of travelling before crossing back to England and I never tire of its simple beauty, serenity and how the changing light plays on the water and buildings alike.

 

The Bay of the Somme and Le Crotoy in the background

The Bay of the Somme and Le Crotoy in the background

 

It was a lovely morning and the promise of a great day, so just after breakfast, while Adonis was walking Beano on the Bay, I couldn’t help myself and grabbed my camera to try and capture that wonderful morning light in this most charming and soothing town. Let the photos speak for themselves.

 

An old fishing boat

An old fishing boat on the Bay

 

The replica of the old fishing boat

The replica of the old fishing boat

 

The large Motorhome aire right on the Bay

The large Motorhome aire right on the Bay

 

I so would like to see this kind of thing in the UK: a welcoming stopping place JUST for motorhomes on a beautiful spot at a very reasonable price!

 

I so would like to see this kind of thing in the UK!  Stopping places just for motorhomes

 

 

Camping Des Bords de l’Eure, Chartres, Tuesday 28th October 2014

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Stunning Chartres Cathedral

Stunning Chartres Cathedral

 

We have spent two lovely days at this charming and convenient campsite by the river Eure, enjoying all the space around us under oak tress and with a superb walk just outside along the river which, will take you all the way to the city, a mere 3 km away. As usual, the pitches are very generous and the shower and toilet blocks are immaculate, which makes any stay all the more pleasant. We’ve only paid €30.44 for the two nights, electricity included, thanks to our ACSI card.

 

Our generous pitch at Camping Des Bords de l'Eure

Our generous pitch at Camping Des Bords de l’Eure

 

We came here, of course, mainly to visit the famous Cathedral, which is very impressive indeed, with some jaw-dropping architectural features, not to speak of its intricate carvings inside and outside, especially around the choir. The most amazing thing about it is that it was built in only 30 years, during the first quarter of the XIII century and thus, it has great architectural unity of the Gothic period. I was very impressed by the flying buttresses and the triple portals on three of the entrances, with stunning detailed stone carvings, the stained-glass windows, in particular the amazing blue of Notre-Dame de la Belle Verrière (or Blue Virgin Window), simply exquisite, but they are all superb, all 172 of them, almost all of which date back to the XIII, forming one of the most important samples of medieval stained-glass in the world!

 

One of the Triple Portals of Chartres Cathedral

One of the jaw-dropping  Triple Portals of Chartres Cathedral

 

Close-u of Portal stone carvings

Close-u of Portal stone carvings

 

Stone carvings above door

Stone carvings above door

 

Stunning Notre Dame de la Belle Vierge or Blue Virgin stained- glass  window

Stunning Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere or Blue Virgin stained- glass window

 

Magnificent Rose Window

Magnificent Rose Window

 

Exquisite choir stone carvings

Exquisite choir stone carvings

 

Flamboyant flying buttresses

Flamboyant flying buttresses

 

A sun dial

Angel holding a sundial

 

Another sundial?

I love this clock

 

 

Near the Choir there is another religious wonder: The Sainte Voile, or Holy Veil, safely kept in an elaborate guilded frame, said to have been worn by the Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. Belonging first to the Imperial Treasury of Constantinople, but offered to Charlemagne by the Empress Irene when the Emperor proposed marriage to her in 802, it has been in Chartres since 876, when Charles the Bald presented it to the town, and the Cathedral was built because the Holy Veil survived the fire of 1194. Amazing!

 

The Holy Veil (worn my Mary when giving birth to Jesus)

The Holy Veil (worn my Mary when giving birth to Jesus), the reason behind the building of the Cathedral

 

On the way back from the Cathedral, we stopped briefly at the Church of St Pierre, a former Benedictine Monastery of the VII century , which also exhibits very impressive architecture.

 

Church of St Peter's

Church of St Pierre with beautiful flying buttresses

 

Since leaving Étang Neuf last Friday, we have stopped at various motorhomes aires, the first one being Les Roches l’Évêque in the Loir-et-Cher department. This is a very pretty free aire by the river with some lovely chrysanthemums at the edge of an allotment, but I would have liked a better walk nearby for Beano, as we couldn’t walk along the river bank because both ends of the aire were closed off. Still, it was quiet and peaceful and we had a lovely view of the river and cliffs above.

 

A very pretty location for motorhome aire at Les Roches l'Eveque

A very pretty location for free motorhome aire at Les Roches l’Eveque

 

We spent Saturday in beautiful Amboise, at the gated motorhome aire (€12 a day, but can be paid by the hour too) on Ile d’Or, right in the middle of the river Loire, with stunning views of the Château and town.  As always, we enjoyed a walk in the town and watching the world go by whilst having a coffee and a delicious cake at Bigot Café and Patisserie, founded in 1913 and just exquisite.

 

Gorgeous Amboise seen from Ile d'Or on the River Loire

Gorgeous Amboise seen from Ile d’Or on the River Loire

 

Amboise Chateau

Amboise Chateau

 

As the clocks went back on Sunday morning, we enjoyed that extra hour in bed, still getting up at around 8 o’clockish by the new autumn time, and after breakfast and dog-walk, we joined the D952 east, past Blois and followed diversion signs south of Blois to continue on D951 to Lailly-en-Val, about 12 miles south west of Orléans. Here, we stopped for the day at the pretty aire by the lake, where Adonis enjoyed a spot of fishing after lunch and even managed to catch a 17 lb carp, which really put the icing on the cake.

 

Driving past Blois

Driving past Blois on the River Loire

 

This aire is also free and has free water and public toilets. The area around the lake proved to be very popular with the locals and, being a beautiful warm and sunny Sunday, there were quite a few people fishing and walking and children playing in the playground.

 

Motorhome aire at Lailly-en-Val

Motorhome aire at Lailly-en-Val

 

Enjoying a walk round the lake on a sunny Sunday afternoon

Enjoying a walk round the lake on a sunny Sunday afternoon

 

Round the lake at pretty Lailly-en-Val

Round the lake at pretty Lailly-en-Val

 

We left yesterday morning to join the A10 at J.15, just south west of Orléans to J.12 to join the N154 to Chartres, where we arrived for 10.30 am, after a very bumpy ride on some sections of the road that had been prepared for resurfacing.

 

We have made an appointment at the vet in Pont de l’Arche for tomorrow afternoon, so that’s where we’ll spend the day. After that, it will probably be Le Crotoy on the Bay of the Somme, still one of my favourite stops in France, followed by Escalles and home on Saturday morning.

 

Étang Neuf, Neuilly-sur-Eure, Orne Department, Thursday 23rd October 2014

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Beautiful Etang Neuf at Neuilly-sur-Eure

Beautiful Etang Neuf at Neuilly-sur-Eure

 

We have enjoyed five fabulously lazy days at this marvellous and peaceful carp fishing lake just north west of Chartres and it is with a heavy heart that we’ve just packed all the bulky stuff prior to our departure tomorrow. There are some places that you just simply don’t want to leave and this is surely one of them, so I expect we’ll come back next Easter.

The pitches are enormous, at least 20 metres across and about 15 m. from the lake, so we estimate we’ve had 300 m² solidly for our use. There is also a hut with a shower and a toilet, both immaculately clean, and a sink for washing up with a hosepipe to fill up the tank.

A very spacious pitch at Etang Neuf

A very spacious pitch at Etang Neuf

 

 

We have also benefited from a couple of very sunny days and just one rainy day and today has been overcast but warm. Adonis has caught 2 carp so far and he still has a couple more hours before tonight’s dinner, so he might yet catch another! All in all, it has been a wonderful 5-day break and we are already looking forward to our next visit.

The first carp!

The first carp!

 

And the second!

And the second!

 

I developed a morning routine of walking Beano after breakfast, followed by a shower and a cycle ride to the village for baguette and croissants, which took me around 12 minutes each way, making that my daily exercise. I really love the walk around the lake with Beano, watching the herons and the coots gliding in the water.

 

Walking around lake.  Our pitch from the far side

Walking around lake. Our pitch from the far side

 

We spent our first day, Saturday 18th, at pretty medieval town of Pont-de-l’Arche, just south east of Rouen. It was a very hot day (25°C outside) and sat on the grass by the river Eure, as well as walking along it to Les Damps and enjoying a beer in the sun outside one of the bars in the town square. This is another wonderful free motorhome aire with a charming view of the church of Notre-Dame-des-Arts and the river. We noticed that the access to the green by the river had been blocked by big boulders, perhaps to stop the New Age travellers from camping on it, like it happened at Easter.

 

Notre-Dame-des-Arts Chuch at medieval Pont-de-l'Arche

Notre-Dame-des-Arts Chuch at medieval Pont-de-l’Arche

 

Medieval Pont-de-l'Arche

Medieval Pont-de-l’Arche

 

I will mention that we were badly delayed leaving England at the Eurotunnel terminal, as we sat inside the train for 45 minutes due to a technical fault and we didn’t arrive in Calais until 9.10 pm, which is a bit too late for our liking, for we still had to heat up our usual pizza and had to content ourselves with some crisps during the crossing, being rather hungry by then. I suppose we travel so frequently that these things must be expected from time to time.

Tomorrow we’re heading for Les Roches l’Évêque near Vendôme and then to Amboise for a couple of days.