Monthly Archives: May 2015

Pagham Harbour, West Sussex, Sunday 17th May 2015

Standard
Pagham Harbour

Pagham Harbour

As we have now sold our Elddis Motorhome and won’t be going away again until early July, missing out on our May half term holiday, and taking advantage of the glorious sunshine, we thought we would just drive to this beautiful natural wildlife sanctuary, which is only a few minutes from our house.

The bird watching hut at harbour entrance

The thatched bird watching hut at harbour entrance

Looking towards the village and church

Looking towards the village and church

We used to come here often when we first moved to Bognor Regis on our long Sunday walks with our son followed by a drink in a local pub, a habit that, sadly, we have neglected of late, sometimes due to the awful weather but also to the always rising beer prices. But the sun was out with a vengeance today, first time this month, and I just couldn’t wait to get out there and soak up all those important sun rays and enjoy a stroll in this very special local jewel.

A natural pool for wildlife

A natural pool for wildlife

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve seen this natural harbour, it always looks marvellous at any time of year, not just because of the gorgeous landscape of the wetlands but because of the wading birds that live here or come to visit at different times of year, like little egrets, herons and ringed plovers. It really is a treat for bird watchers and walkers alike and we are very privileged to live so near such a special place.

A heron in the bushes!

A heron in the bushes!

A swan and a heron in flight crossing right in the middle of the picture

A swan feeding and a heron in flight crossing right in the middle of the picture

Another swan leading the cows to the water!

Another swan leading the cows to the water!

I really believe the cows were following the swan

I really believe the cows were following the swan

The site is now managed by the RSPB and more information about location and special events can be found here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/p/paghamharbour/about.aspx

Pagham Harbour 024

Pagham Harbour 007

Pagham Harbour 006

Pagham Harbour 005

A beautiful field full of buttercups and Pagham village in background

A beautiful field full of buttercups and Pagham village in background

Plant life is also stunning here

Plant life is also stunning here

Escalles, Pas de Calais, 15th April 2015

Standard
The beautiful walk up the hill from Escalles

The beautiful walk up the hill from Escalles

After our pleasant stay at Veigné, we went straight to Pont-de-l’Arche for our appointment with the vet on Tuesday to get Beano ready for our return to England, but again, things didn’t quite go according to plan. I duly turned up for my morning appointment, but while I was waiting, the receptionist received a call and, judging by what she was saying to the person on the other side of the phone, I knew it was bad news for me. Indeed, when she got off the phone, she very apologetically explained to me that the vet on duty had been held up with an emergency at their other surgery and she wouldn’t be able to see me at the appointed time but that I could return at 5 pm if I wanted. I knew immediately that that time wouldn’t work for us and I replied I would check with my husband back at the motorhome aire and I would ring back confirming or cancelling the appointment. Back at the aire, Adonis wouldn’t even consider this new arrangement even for one moment, so I phoned back as promised and explained we had to go.

A quick search on the internet informed us of a vet in Neufchâtel-en-Bray (2 Boulevard Industriel) and I phoned hoping to get an appointment for that day, which we did at 4pm, but at least we were that bit further up north and well within the time limit of 24 hours after the vet’s check-up and worming tablet for Beano to be allowed back in the UK on Thursday morning. We were delighted with their efficient and helpful service and even more delighted when I actually went there and found that the vet could speak perfect English, which always helps, even though I can manage quite well in French. So we have now made a note of this newly discovered vet surgery and might make it a regular thing.

Whilst in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, we stayed at the new and wonderful motorhome aire by the camping Sainte Claire which we discovered last year. This aire is gated and costs 12 for 24 hours, payable on departure, and includes water, electric hook-up and the best recycling facilities I have seen anywhere so far in our travels. It is also very close to Leclerc hypermarket and other retailers, so it’s very handy for shopping, as well as within walking distance of the town and the vet. It was a very hot day and we made the most of the sun enjoying our meals and drinks outdoors, both in the sun and shade (when the sun proved too hot) and wished we could have stayed there another day.

I had to laugh when we were ready to leave the aire at Neufchâtel-en-Bray and I went to the payment machine only to find that it was out of order and I had to phone the guard, who came after a couple of minutes on his bike to collect cash from me and open the gate manually, so that was very efficient too.

From Neufchâtel-en-Bray, we carried on to Auchan in Boulogne-sur-Mer for our usual big shop to stock up on enough wine, beer and cheese to see us for a few weeks until we return and we were happy to see that Junction 31 was open again, al least on the northbound side of the motorway.

The magnificent view from Mont Hubert over Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez and Wissant

The magnificent view from Mont Hubert over Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez and Wissant

Our final stop of the holiday was to be at Escalles, where we stayed for the day and night at the big car and coach park, at the foot of Mont d’Hubert, which is popular during the day for walkers who wish to enjoy the magnificent views of Cap Blanc Nez from the top of the cliff. It is not an official aire as such and not many motorhomes stop for the night, but we have done a few times now and we have been allowed to stay, so until an official guard tells us otherwise, we shall carry on stopping there, as it is more pleasant than the one at Wissant, which has got too overcrowded in the last couple of years.

The car and coach park at the bottom of Mond d'Huber at Escalles

The car and coach park at the bottom of Mond d’Huber at Escalles

Before our 'last supper' in France at Escalles with Dover, UK, in the background

Before our ‘last supper’ in France at Escalles with Dover, UK, in the background

We treated ourselves to a wonderful meal at L’Escale Hotel and Restaurant, just down the road from the car park and, although initially we were told they were full, while we were having a drink at the bar, the barman came back to say they had now a free table if we still wanted it, which of course we did. We both ordered from the set menus, which work out very economical, starting from 16.50 for 3 courses, and thoroughly enjoyed our ‘last supper’ in France. A bientôt, ma cherie France!

Veigné, Indre et Loire, Sunday 12th April 2015

Standard

Roullet-St-Estephe to Veigne 027

Well, we didn’t make it all the way to Marboué, not even Villedômer, due to a late start, so we stopped for the day at Veigné, just south of Tours, after following the N10 to Poitiers and the A10 to junction 25 by Ste Maure de Touraine, where we tried the motorhome aire there, but that proved unsuitable for us as it was too crammed and not very attractive. So, after a quick look at the Vicarious All the Aires in France guide, we saw we weren’t too far from the lovely town of Veigné, on the river Indre, which is on a much more attractive setting, even if there is only room for a couple of motorhomes. Still, we were lucky and were the only ones there, so the small size didn’t matter. The aire is just by the campsite and community park with a swimming pool, but this was shut being so early in the spring.

The small motorhome aire at Veigné

The small motorhome aire at Veigné

We arrived there early enough for a beer before lunch and then we went for a walk through the town and along the river by the old watermill and Music school, which is used for various cultural activities and, being a hot Sunday afternoon, it was nice to see so many people enjoying some quality time with their families playing petanque or just having a picnic. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful flower displays in town, especially the tulips, which looked fantastic in the sun and heralded the hot summer days ahead.

Enjoying a walk along the river Indre and into town

Enjoying a walk along the river Indre, the watermill and Music school

Loving the flower displays

Loving the flower displays

Beautiful tulip displays in town

Beautiful tulip displays in town

My attempt at an artistic picture

My attempt at an artistic picture

We found this to be a very charming place in which to spend a day and no doubt we’ll come here again and with a bit of luck, the swimming pool might be open next time.

The setting of the motorhome aire and community park

The setting of the motorhome aire, community park and campsite

Empty swimming pool with our motorhome in background

Swimming pool with our motorhome in background