Category Archives: 2011

2011 trips

Sweet memories are made of this

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My heart skipped a beat earlier in the week when I walked into the 6th formers’s room at school and saw this:

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It was my son’s highchair when he was a baby and we brought it with us when we moved here 18 years ago.  It was special to us because we bought it at an auction for only £7 at a time when money was tight.  It had been painted white, but we stripped and beeswaxed the wood and it looked like new when we were finished with it.  I had completely forgotten that DH had taken it to his classroom for drawing purposes and it hit me all the more as our son has now left the nest and lives quite happily and independently.

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Of course, this is the type of dining chair that could also be turned into a play chair with real china coloured beads, which we washed and polished with so much love and care a bout 23 years ago!  And it still looks good today, even if it has been painted and crayoned over in the Art room.

Did any of you have something similar when your kids were young and did you pass ot on to the next generation?

Adventure Overland & Travel Show, Stratford Upon Avon, 25-27th September 2015

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Our MotorhomeFun basecamp at the show

Our MotorhomeFun basecamp at the show: making friends enjoying a meal

I am going to take a little break from documenting our summer road trip to share with my faithful readers this lovely event that took place this weekend at Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, England.

View of town from show grounds

View of town from show grounds

We were cordially invited to attend this event by the motorhome365/motorhomefun community, which we joined online earlier this year, and we had been looking forward to it even since we got the tickets a few months ago and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

A nicely converted 4x4.  It's got adventure written all over it

A nicely converted 4×4. It’s got adventure written all over it

This is a major national outdoor show for all kinds of alternative travel and holidays, including motorbikes, 4x4s, trucks, unimogs, RVs and any other type of vehicle you can think of. I was awe-struck by the multitude of innovative design and imagination gone into producing these magnificent and cool methods of transport for just about any kind of need. It really is a case of ‘any which way you can’ to make your dream holiday/trip/adventure/trek a reality: if it had wheels, it was there. I had never seen anything like it and, once again, my camera was working overtime trying to capture all these vehicles transformed into some sort of comfortable home on wheels for the brave, the spirited and the adventurous.

This unimog caught my eye

This truck caught my eye

And how about this one for humour?

And how about this one for humour?

Dare you get closer?

Dare you get closer?

More inspiring set-ups

More inspiring set-ups

And this one?

And this one?

Take your pick

Take your pick

Really spoilt for choice!

Really spoilt for choice!

And there is wild cooking too!

And there is wild cooking too!

You'll be safe up there from snakes!

You’ll be safe up there from snakes!

Apart from the vehicles themselves, we were also very keen to meet face to face all the wonderful people we have met over the last few months on the motorhome365 forum and it was lovely to put faces to names and have a proper conversation. Meeting people online and having virtual friends is all very well and good, but you can never substitute the pleasure of seeing them in real life and having a laugh sharing experiences over some food and drinks.

The faces behind the forum chat.  Nice to meet you all!

The faces behind the forum chat. Nice to meet you all!

Ready for the communal meal

Ready for the communal BBQ

Various activities were organised by our friendly hosts – David, Sylvie, Nigel and Pamela – for everyone to join in and I particularly enjoyed the BBQ and Jacobs/American table to which everyone brought a dish, either savoury or sweet or both to share, as well as Sunday morning Bacon Butties and coffee, cake and chat sessions. It all went very well and a good time was had by all, with the added bonus of some magnificent weather that couldn’t have been more perfect for the occasion.

Meal in full swing

BBQ meal in full swing

A very well equipped base for us all to enjoy

A very well equipped base for us all to enjoy

A sneaky peep inside

A sneaky peep inside with delicious food on the tables

I must also mention there was a prize (nice bottle of whisky) for the motorhome that had travelled the furthest to get there and, guess who won it? Yes, you’re right: yours truly: 150.625 miles (241km) from Bognor Regis to Stratford’s Race Course, with good old Adonis at the wheel. I’m so proud of him for driving all that distance in heavy traffic after a hard day’s work! He more than deserves that bottle and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it soon enough.

I loved the inside of this RV.  Thanks Sue for showing me around!

I loved the inside of this RV. Thanks, Sue, for showing me around!

More wonders!

More wonders!

And they just keep coming!

And they just keep coming!

Getting bigger!

Getting bigger!

Enjoying a walk with Beano round perimeter

Enjoying a walk with Beano round perimeter

An alternative kind of town!

An alternative kind of town!

You just have to love this!

You just have to love this!

I am already looking forward to next year’s gathering!!!

And it was sunny, warm and with blue skies!

And it was sunny, warm and with blue skies!

Blaichach, Germany, Monday 13th July 2015

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Stunning setting at Blaichach Stellplatz and camping

Stunning setting at Blaichach Stellplatz and camping

For once we stuck with our plan and did cross into Germany on Saturday 11th, our first stop being Haslach. The aire or Stellplatz here is free and flat in a car park by a pretty church and gardens and we parked under the shade of a tree, arriving in time to witness a wedding celebration, as the guests were enjoying some drinks outside in the gardens by church. We felt it was very quaint and felt very happy for witnessing this special occasion.

Stellplatz at pretty Hashlach

Stellplatz at pretty Haslach

Park and Gardens by Stellplatz at Hashlach

Park and Gardens by Stellplatz at Haslach

Haslach itself, like all the German towns we’ve visited so far, is a very attractive location, made all the more special with the bunting and flags hanging all over town for the summer celebrations . It was very hot and, after strolling around enjoying the sights and photographing the picturesque fountains and buildings, we sat down at one of the bars near the Rathaus (Town Hall) to cool down with a couple of beers.

Attractive Hashlach

Attractive Haslach

Ready for summer celebrations

Ready for summer celebrations

Enjoying the sights

Enjoying the sights

Interesting and original fountains in Hashlach

Interesting and original fountains in Hahlach

Humourous sculpture

Humourous sculpture and fountain

I just love this outside Rathaus

I just love this outside Rathaus

On Sunday, we left for another Stellplatz at Kißlegg, mainly because there was swimming available and the weather was rather hot. This is a very good Stellplatz for 7.50 a day, situated by an excellent leisure area by the lake with amenities and entertainment for all the family, including some very cool floating apparatus I had never seen before, shaped like a planet surrounded by a ring, a bit like Saturn. I loved watching various families riding on them and seeing the Dads having as much fun as the kids. I felt tempted, but I thought it best to leave it to the ‘other’ kids (I am kind that way, and of course,  and not because I was terrified of making a fool of myself at all). The toilets and shower facilities were spotless and everything was very well organised, as you would expect in Germany. We really liked it there and would have stayed another night had the weather stayed hot, but it clouded over on Monday morning with a little rain and we decided to move on.

Lake at Kißlegg with lots of activities for all the family

Lake at Kißlegg with lots of activities for all the family

Water rides for kids of all ages!

Water rides for kids of all ages!

And a swimming pool to

And a swimming pool too

We continued our way south east towards Austria and found this delightful Stellplatz/campsite just north of the border and west of Immenstadt in Blaichach. It’s cost us €15.10, but it has lovely and clean facilities with stunning views of the Alps and with an easy walk to the lake, suitable for swimming and, by the looks of it, for fishing too, as there were a couple of set up swims for that purpose. However, the day’s been overcast and not too hot (25ºC in the van) and we didn’t feel the need to cool down with a swim. This site stays open all year and a fellow camper showed us pictures of what it looks like in winter and we felt like we might like to visit then.

Blaichach lake

Blaichach lake

We are crossing into Austria tomorrow, with the intention of stopping at a campsite in Obermoss, south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and north west of Innsbruck. Will we make it, though?

Day 5 of 5-Day Challenge

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Schloss Neuschwanstein, the stuff fantasy is made of

Schloss Neuschwanstein, the stuff fantasy is made of

For the last day of this challenge, I’ve chosen a childhood fantasy: Schloss Neuschwanstein, near Fussen, Germany.

Like many people my age, I was fascinated and enchanted by the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: I think I went to the cinema about 8 times to see it with different people as I just couldn’t get enough of it. This castle, of course, features in it as the home of the Baron and I knew one day I would get to visit it. Well, that dream came true 3 years ago, in the summer of 2012, when DH and I finally made it to Bavaria, a stunning region whose beauty cannot be described in words and to which we’re returning this year.

I would now like to nominate Pedmar10 from http://paris1972-versailles2003.com/ for this challenge. Pedmar is a keen traveller based in the Morbihan, Brittany, France, with many a story to tell and photographs to share.

The challenge is: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

Day 3 of 5-Day Challenge Photo

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Migrating geese at Climping Beach, West Sussex

Migrating geese at Climping Beach, West Sussex

For the third day of my 5-Day Photo Challenge I’ve chosen this picture of migrating geese (might be Canada geese) at Climping Beach in West Sussex not far from our home.

I’ve chosen this picture because I’ve always been fascinated with bird migration in general, as these amazing creatures travel thousands of miles every year, crossing entire countries, continents and oceans to breed and rear their young. I think I am even jealous of their freedom and ability to go wherever they please without getting lost, as my sense of direction is not so great, although it has improved over the years, especially since I am the navigator during our travels in the motorhome. To summarise, this picture speaks to my heart: travel and freedom and… what is beyond that horizon?

I would now like to nominate Steven Saysell (are we related?) from Sayvan Photography at https://thisthatandwhateverelseicanthinkof.wordpress.com/ for this challenge. Steven is another keen traveller and photographer based in Ontario, Canada and he never fails to delight his readers with his stunning shots.

The challenge is: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

Pagham Harbour, West Sussex, Sunday 17th May 2015

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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

Geese Migration, Climping Beach, West Sussex, Sunday 22nd February 2015

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A magnificent sight!

A magnificent sight!

Continuing with our relaxing walks on a Sunday morning on this gorgeous West Sussex coastline, we were lucky enough to witness the most amazing geese migration, which, to our delight, came in wave after wave completely by surprise and flew right over our heads!

Here are a few shots of the beach near Littlehampton and the mesmerising geese.

The forerunners (or should I say forefliers?

The forerunners (or should I say forefliers?

Closer!

Closer!

And closer!

And closer!

Going...

Another wave!

Going...

Going…

No, wait!  Another wave!

No, wait! Another wave!

Saying Hello!

Saying Hello!

And stopping for a much needed rest

And stopping for a much needed rest

And the sleepy beach groins witness are quiet witness to this beautiful sight

And the sleepy beach groins are quiet witnesses to this beautiful sight

Let's go back along this peaceful shore

Let’s go back along this peaceful shore

 

Dell Quay and Chichester Marina, West Sussex, 1st February 2015

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Chichester Marina

Chichester Marina

We won’t be travelling in our motorhome until the Easter holidays, so we thought we’d take advantage of the dry weekends we’ve been having here in the south of England and enjoy the beauty of our surrounding area. Then I thought I could share this most charming of natural harbours with you all, just in case you feel like paying us a visit.

A grey Dell Quay to begin our Sunday walk and the tide was out!

A grey but serene Dell Quay to begin our Sunday walk and the tide was out!

Looking back to Dell Quay pier and pub

Dell Quay 

Waiting for the tide to come in

Waiting for the tide to come in

Further on our walk and you can see Chichester Catheral in the backgroudn through branches

Further on our walk and you can see Chichester Catheral in the background through the branches

Last week, we ended our long walk around Dell Quay at the marvellous Crown and Anchor pub, which is typical of this area, where we had a refreshing couple of pints of real ale. We liked it so much that we booked a table for lunch today, as pub was heaving with customers and by the time we left there were no tables available. I am very happy to report that we were absolutely delighted with the service and the food (local Sea Bass and Plaice served with mushy peas, thick-cut chips and Tartare Sauce) and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Must do this type of thing more often…

Enjoy the photos and thank you for reading!

But today was a much brighter day!

But today was a much brighter day!

But today was a much brighter day!

And the local birds were enjoying it too as we spied from the hide

A large flock of geese

A large flock of geese

And a family of swans

And a family of swans

A welcome sign after a long and thirsty walk

A welcome sign after a long and thirsty walk

And we were ready for lunch

And we were ready for lunch

The patio

The patio

And the beer garden right on the quay!

And the beer garden right on the quay!

A tribute to our travelling companion: Bramble Saysell

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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

French windows, shutters and doors

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I know this is a bit of a lame topic, but I have to admit that over the last two years travelling through France, I seem to have developed an obsession with French windows, shutter and doors, often staring at them for ages and losing my husband in the process of photographing them.

There is not much to say, just that I think they are beautiful and I will understand if nobody else agrees with me or people find the topic boring or uninteresting.

For those of you who might be interested, here are some that caught me eye.

Arles, Provence

 

Arles, Provence

 

 

Arles, Provence

 

Arles, Provence

 

Mers-les-Bains, Le Somme

 

Mers-les-Bains, Le Somme

 

Mers-les-Bains, Le Somme

 

St-Cirq Lapopie, Le Lot

 

St-Cirq Lapopie, Le Lot

 

Rouen

 

Rouen

 

Rouen

 

Tours

 

Tours

 

Tours