Category Archives: 2014

Wooden sculptures in Bersted Park, Bognor Regis, West Sussex

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Bersted Park Community Centre area

 

 

For the last few months I have been enjoying my afternoon walks with Beano admiring the beauty of these new sculptures that have been installed in the last year, funded by Berkeley Homes and created by local artist Simon Groves as part of a community Art Project.

 

This new housing development is only a couple of hundred meters from my house and the land where it stands has been totally transformed in the last 5 years, from farmland to housing.  It would be fair to say that, although we didn’t welcome all the noise, dust and traffic problems from the building of the new site, the end product is rather pretty and it has definitely been an improvement to the area, providing affordable homes to young families.

 

The first sculpture I come across on my walk is the one of 3 egrets perched on a pole and it stands on a little island in the large community pond where a couple of swans nest every year quite successfully.  We all look forward to seeing their cygnets in early summer and they have had as many as 7 chicks in the past!  Such a joy to see!

 

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Egrets on the island where swans nest

 

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Swans nesting on the bottom left corner among reeds

 

The second magnificent wooden sculpture I come across is a most original sofa that looks very much made out of leather from a distance, so much so that when I first saw it, I really thought someone had dumped their unwanted furniture there and felt most outraged!  When it became clear what it was, I remember having a good laugh with other neighbours and dog walkers saying that a coffee table and TV might follow!!!  Needless to say we are still waiting.

 

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The comfy sofa, but where is the telly?

 

 

Next on my walk is this superb bench decorated with various carved insects, worms and other superb creatures.  Just look at that dragon fly!

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Beautiful intricate carvings on this bench by school

 

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More amazing carvings on the other side

 

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From a different angle

 

Then we come across this exotic plant that looks like a palm tree.  Again, look at the detail in the wood carving: simply superb!

 

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An exotic plant

 

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Close-up of head

 

Next is this football and cricket combination by the sports field.

 

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Football and cricket rolled into one

 

 

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A better view of the cricket bat

 

Finally , we finish our sculpture trail walk with a representation of The Sword in the Stone right by the new Community Centre and play area.  Isn’t it just wonderful!

 

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The sword in the Stone seat

 

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From the back, showing play area

 

I hope you have enjoyed your walk with me: I know I have and do every afternoon!  Thank you for coming along.

Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex, Sunday 1st May 2016

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The charming Pulborough Brooks

 

We made the most of todays’s warm and sunny weather and decided to go and do a spot of  bird watching at this lovely nature reserve run by RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in the Arun Valley and South Downs National Park.  We are very furtunate to live within half an hour’s drive of this most charming location and our RSPB membership entitles us to free entry, another good reason to come.

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The lovely Jupps View at Pulborough Brooks

 

We spent just under 2 hours following the various trails to different hides from which to watch a number of wading birds, such as lapwings, herons, coots and egrets, one of my favourte birds.  We also spent some time listening to the enchanting nightingales, but unfortunately they did not make an appearence for us today, although we did manage to see a couple spotted flycatchers at one of the pods, a first for me!

 

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Island with shellducks, lapwings and coots

 

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An egret

 

Of course, there were other features to attract bees and other insects to the site and to encourage children to take an interest in Nature.  I particularly enjoyed the Bugs’ Hotel and the Solitary Bee Shelter!  I had never seen one before: just wonderful!

 

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The Bugs’ Hotel

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The Solitary Bee Shelter: Magic!

I was thrilled to get a close-up picture of an Greenfinch and a Long-tailed Tit , even though they may seem a bit blurry (need a better zoom lens, I think).

 

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An obliging Greenfinch

 

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A Long-tailed Tit

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this tranquil and beautiful corner of West Sussex and I hope my readers will enjoy the pictures too.  Do come and visit if you are in the area.

 

Lac de l’Uby, Gers, Thursday 31st March 2016

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Stunning sunset at Lac de l’Uby whilst Adonis enjoys a spot of evening carp fishing

 

We have been on the road for a whole week now, but we have finally arrived at our holiday destination at Les Rives du Lac, Lac de l’Uby, between Barbotan les Thermes and Cazaubon, in the heart of Gascogne country.  We got here on Tuesday morning, but we had to wait for the campsite to open for the season yesterday, so we spent a very plesant and sunny afternoon at the motorhome aire by the Tourist Information Office in Barbotan les Thermes and gardens before driving to the lake for the evening, as Wednesday morning is market day in town and parking is not allowed there, as some of the market stalls are placed in that car park.  It was just lovely being parked near the lake and we were able to take Beano for a walk along the shore.

 

The wonderful thermal baths at Barbotan les Thermes

The wonderful thermal baths at Barbotan les Thermes

 

 

Early Wednesday morning, we thought we’d make the most of the warm and sunny weather and we walked into Barbotan to buy some food at the market and came back with a tub of Paella, a punnet of delicious ripe strawberries, some radishes and, of course, our daily baguette and cake.

 

By the time we came back, the campsite had already opened and we duly checked in and set up for the week.  We were able to have lunch and dinner outside in the sun and indeed spent all afternoon and early evening outdoors by the lake, soaking up the much needed rays of sunshine and loving the early spring warmth.

 

Setting up camp for the week

Setting up camp for the week

 

Our pitch seen from across the lake

Our pitch seen from across the lake

 

Adonis got very lucky with his fishing on our first day here and caught a 19 lb (9 kg) carp soon after our evening meal and his luck has continued today with 3 more carp of 17, 25 and 29 lb respectively, even though the sunny weather has left us for now and it has been a very wet and blastery day.  Still, the weather is supposed to improve again for the weekend and we still have another week here, as we are leaving on Friday 8th April.

 

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The first carp of the holiday at Lac de l’Uby in the early evening

 

On the journey down, we stopped at our usual motorhome aires at Wissant, Pont de l’Arche, where we bought some lovely Nids de Pâques (Easter Nest cakes) for our morning coffee break, Villedômer, Verteuil-sur-Charente and a new one for us, Capian, near Bordeaux.

 

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Delicious Nids de Pâques from Pont de l’Arche bakery

 
 
 

Villdômer motorhome aire, one of our favourite stops

Villdômer motorhome aire, one of our favourite stops

 

We really liked the aire at Capian, which also offered a nice dog walk for Beano, past the cemetery and on the edge of the vineyards towards the woods at the far end.  We didn’t visit the Châteaux this time as we still had quite a bit of wine from our shop at Bouloge-sur-Mer, but we’ll make a point of buying some of the local products next time we are in the area.

 

The very attractive motorhome aire at Capian amongst the vineyeards

The very attractive motorhome aire at Capian amongst the vineyeards

 

We also tried stopping at La Bastide d’Armagnac aire, but it was mainly on grass and, as it had been raining, we didn’t think it would be very sensible to park there, although it would have been lovely in drier weather.  We finally stopped briefly at Notre Dame des Cyclistes chapel, but it was closed and couldn’t visit inside, althogh we still managed a couple of photos outiside in the rain.

 

Getting wet at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

Getting wet at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

 

I loved this gate at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

I loved this gate at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

 

I am afraid to say I have a bone to pick with the Lady of the Cyclists as I had a puncture on my bike this morning on the way back from the wonderful bakery at Cazaubon, just opposite the Château, and had to walk back (about 15 minutes), but Adonis has replaced the inner tube and hopefully, I’ll cycle into Barbotan les Thermes tomorrow and take some pictures of this most charming of towns.

Amboise, Indre et Loire, Sunday 3rd January 2016

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Lovely Christmas decorations and lights in Amboise

 

At glorious Amboise again!  We got here just before 2pm yesterday after doing battle with the SatNav leaving Châtillon-sur-Loire and a shop just north of Orléans at Saran North Shopping Centre, which was very good, and then continued on the A10 to junction 18 for Amboise.

 

We had a lovely afternoon and early evening in town, all fabulously decorated for Christmas, and enjoyed a beer sat outside one of the bars by the Château, as it was very warm for this time of year and dry, as well as watching the world go by and taking pictures of the illuminated street with its various Christmas trees, fairy lights, etc.

 

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Fabulous Christmas decorations in Amboise

 

We then strolled gently along the Loire back to L’Île d’Or, where the motorhome aire is and our usual stop here at Place Gaston Pailhou (€12 a day with water and electricity).  We finished the evening with a very tasty king prawn curry we’d bought at Carrefour and a game of cards followed by another episode of Boardwalk Empire before bed: only one more episode to go before the final installment of the series, and very enjoyable it has been too!

 

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Strolling gently back along the Loire

 

This morning, we walked into town again and had a lovely coffee and hot chocolate à la ancienne (traditional) at the quaint Bigot Patisserie and tea room in the corner of Place Michel Debré. It filled up very quickly and all the tables were taken only a few minutes after we got there: I am not surprised, as it really is a very special place.

 

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Christmas decorations by the river

 

We were very glad to discover that the Sunday market was on and bought some black pudding and vegetable fritters for lunch and a tub of paella for tonight.

 

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The brilliant paella stand!

 

On arriving back to the aire, we found our next-door neighbours’ motorhome stuck in the mud and tried to help them using our bread crates, but that didn’t work and the neighbours on the other side joined us too and tried pushing the motorhome all together, but sadly to no avail either.  In the end, the unfortunate motorhomers had to call the rescue service to get out, who came quite quickly, thankfully, and finally our fellow travellers were on their merry way to Normandy as we sat down for lunch.

 

It’s been a very wet day, so Adonis has moved the van forward so that the front wheels are on the tarmac and not on grass in order to avoid being stuck in the morning.  He also took Beano out this afternoon while I caught up on social media and poor Beano came back wet as a drowned rat and covered in spiky seed pods, which were obviously distressing him, and I just had to cut his fur off, as I could not pull them off.

 

After such an eventful day, we are looking forward to our paella tonight and plan to stop at La Suze-sur-Sarthe aire tomorow to make use of their electricity suppy, as our leisure battery seems to be on the blink and we don’t want to take any chances. We will probably use aires with electric hook-ups for the rest of the holiday and have the battery replaced when we get home.

 

 

 

Chavannes-sur-l’Etang, Haut Rhin, Sunday 27th December 2016

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Motorhome aire in Chavannes-sur-l’Etang, La Porte d’Alsace

 

I am happy to report that Christmas dinner was a great success and that the chicken cooked perfectly well in our Andrew James multi-cooker, even if I had to cover it with some foil before placing the lid on top. It only took about 90 minutes and this was followed by the roast potatoes and parsnips, which only took about 15 minutes. On the vegetable front, I boiled some sprouts and carrots and even managed to to make some gravy with some Bisto granules I brought from home. It all turned out rather well and we have proved that it can be done without great difficulty and just a little bit of organisation. The pumpkin soup we bought from the Traiteur was also very tasty and we had this with some fresh pretzels we bought from one of the bakeries in town. Not bad for our first Christmas in the van!

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Preparing Christmas dinner in Hymer

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Chicken looking good in Andrew James multi-cooker

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Enjoying Christmas lunch in festive Hymer

 

The weather was sunny and bright, around 12°C, and that made the day even more special. The night before Christmas Eve, we enjoyed a lovely view of the full moon and all the other motorhomes decorated for Christmas around us. The temperature dropped yesterday and we needed our hats and scarves to walk into town, but it was still sunny and bright: just perfect for this time of year. It dropped even further last night to freezing temperatures and there was frost on the ground this morning at last!

 

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Full moon on Crhistmas Eve

 

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Other festive motorhomes and full moon at Obernai’s Camping Municipal Le Vallon de l’Ehn

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You’ve got to love some people’s festive spirit!

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icicles formed overnight above wheels!

 

The veal pie we bought in the same shop as the chicken was also very good and we still have some left. This was a bit trickier to warm up in the multi-cooker as it was very thick and compact inside and, as I didn’t want to burn the crust, I cooked at No 3 for 20 minutes, but this wasn’t enough and I then tried again for another 15 minutes at No 4; the crust at the bottom burnt a little, but the rest was lovely and hot. Next time, I will cut the pie into quarters and see if that works better.

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Reception area at La Porte d’Alsace on a frosty morning

 

We left Obernai this morning after finding out that barrier at campsite needed a magnetic card to exit, which we didn’t have, and had to wait until someone turned up with one, which thankfully didn’t take too long. That must be a problem for people who wish to leave early in the mornig as, if they have a card, there is nobody to give it to. Being a Sunday, Reception didn’t open till 10am and we were ready to leave for 9.30am, as we had paid the day before. There is a slight flaw in the system, me thinks.

Finding an open supermarket today was our second challenge of the day and we decided to leave the A35 motorway at junction 28 south of Colmar to try our luck in the villages along the national road N83 to Belfort, as we are only about 10 miles east from there. We found no supermarkets open, however, but were lucky to find a bakery on the south sid of Cernay where we bought some orange juice and water, as well as the daily baguette.

 

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Map with walking tours at La Porte d’Alsace

 

We got here at La Porte d’Alsace for 11.30am and it’s been a lovely sunny day again, reaching 12°C outside and 26°C inside, so no heating needed. We are the only ones here, so it’s been very quiet except for the traffic on the D419, which has been quite busy today. The motorhome aire is open, but the electric hook ups and the water taps have been turned off. Still, it is a lovely spot.

I enjoyed my walk with Beano around the field adjacent to the motorhome aire, except for the final 100 metres or so, where there is no path and, as I didn’t want to walk on the busy road, I stayed on the field and my trainers got clogged up very quickly, making it very difficult to walk. Thankfully, it wasn’t far to go and I rinsed the mud off when I got back to the van: the trainers are as good as new!

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Bautiful frosty landscape at Chavannes-sur-l’Eetang

 

The sun’s going down, as is the temperature, but still blue skies all around. Adonis is putting the windscreen cover on the outside for the first time this holiday, as forecast is 0°C tonight.

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Frozen Chavannes-sut-l’Etang in glorious mornig light

 

I might cook a Spanish omelette to go with the rest of the veal pie tonight and tomorrow we are heading for Baume-les-Dames, about 40 miles south west of here on the way to Besançon.

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