Friday 5 July 2024

France part 3

 Sunsets and the beach... sunset was about ten o clock, and most nights we went and watched it from the beach. There were a  couple of rainy nights when we didn't bother - one night  there was a tremendous storm with the whole sky lit up by lightning for the best part of an hour. I was glad we had re-waterproofed the tent last summer. The bird is a bin for rubbish, there was another one shaped like a fish, and one which was modelled on the traditional fishing cabins. 

The bathing huts weren't there for the first few days and I missed them, but then one evening we saw some wooden foundations being put down, and the next morning the huts were there. They were fairly cheap to rent for a week, and would have been great if you were staying further away from your home base than we were. 

Wednesday 3 July 2024

France part two

 Talmont-sur-Gironde was founded in 1284 by Edward 1st of England (two years ago we visited a castle in Normandy built by Richard 3rd - one forgets how much of France used to be held by the English. It's a very small town (cited as having 100 occupants), and is totally pedestrianised which made it very pleasant to wander around. A little romanesque church dominates the town, and hollyhocks spring up all over the place. 

Monday 1 July 2024

France June 24 - part one

 As I said, this was our laziest holiday for a long time. We walked plenty - it was about a 2km (1.25 miles) walk along the beach into town, and we did that most days and twice a couple of days, and I swam most days. But we really only visited a couple of places, a small town about 10 km down the road, and another town where we went on Sunday morning hoping to find a car boot sale. I think it was probably rained off - I checked a couple of websites before we left the campsite, but there was no update and we decided to risk it. What we got instead was a lovely walk upstream along the river into the countryside, and then a walk downstream along the river into the centre of the town. But as it was raining all the time, I only have a couple of photos from there, and none of them made it into my Google album (Charentes Maritime, June 24) . We really enjoyed the fact that all along the length of the river there was a trail with reproductions of paintings by Gaston Balande, who was born in Madrid but grew up in Saujon.  As it pretty much rained all that day, we also went to an exhibition in Royan, an interpretive centre of the architecture and heritage. There was a very informative video - the town must have been beautiful in its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it became popular as a seaside resort. But it was seriously bombed in WW2, destroying over 80% of the buildings, so it is now a very modern and (to our eyes) rather soulless town. There were some very interesting models of some of the classic buildings that survived and some of the major new ones, and a reproduction of a Seventies kitchen and sitting room which we enjoyed. 

So I guess in this post I'll add a couple of  Gaston Balande's paintings and a couple of photos from the interprative centre, and save the rest for two more  posts.  The next post will be the other town we visited - Talmont-sur-Gironde, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was founded in 1284 by Edward 1st of England - and the rest can wait till later in the week...

Picture trail along the river Seudre, paintings by Gastone Balande. 

Model of Japanese-style house in Royan

All the paraphernalia associated with comfortable camping! We hired a fridge this year, because last year often the only time we needed to go out in the car was to buy ice blocks for my good coolbox. And I must say it was very nice to be relying on either a small portable solar panel or a long drive to keep our phones, camera and Kindle charged. We bought the large black trunk a couple of years ago to make packing the car easier, and it's great on-site for waterproof storage and an extra surface for food prep. New this year was a little CampinGaz grill, which was great not only for burgers and skewered meat, but with the addition of a pizza stone it was excellent for cooking pizzas - widening our options. We bought the stools last year, and they are brilliant because they telescope right down to just a couple of inches high. 

I was going to add a video of a sparrow enjoying a dust-bath, but as I only took it on my phone I don't think it's worth it.  We had a lot of birds on our pitch - both male and female blackbirds, robins (we saw a red squirrel a couple of times too), pigeons galore, and while I only heard an owl a couple of times, the last few nights we could hear a night jar regularly.

Sunday 30 June 2024

June Favourites

 I have more cards than I expected - I think because we only went on holidays for two weeks instead of our normal three.

It was also our laziest holiday in a LONG time, we stayed in one location just beside a beach. So most of my photos are sunsets, and they need some serious culling but I hope to get a few uploaded soon.

What I couldn't find was a single photo from last year to use as a blog header. I was starting to wonder if I had accidentally deleted a folder, but then I remembered that we came straight back from holidays to my aunt being in hospital, and July was a pretty hectic and exhausting month. Instead I used an older photo taken in Farmleigh.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Anniversary time...

 I didn't post this card last Friday, as I thought I'd keep it to mark today. It's the first time since COVID that we've been home on our anniversary. Last year we planned to have our celebration dinner in the campsite restaurant the day we arrived - but it turned out to be closed on Mondays during the off-peak season.  I bought a bottle of wine and three eggs in the shop when we checked in and discovered this, and we had an omelette after setting up camp.  So we then planned to have our celebration meal on the last night before we moved on - but they had decided not to open on Tuesday either that week. We'd been out all afternoon after taking the big tent down, and had a long drive in heavy rain on very windy roads  and didn't really feel like driving back into the nearby town to buy anything, so we made do with whatever was easy to find  - I think it was crisps (chips), fruit and some biscuits.  I was a bit annoyed because when I was paying for our stay, I asked did I need to book for the restaurant (we had needed to the previous year) and specifically mentioned that we wanted to eat there that evening as we would have packed everything up.  And nothing was mentioned. There was still a chalkboard outside saying "open Tuesday to Sunday" - although when we went down to try to eat, there was a very small sign in the reception window - and we weren't the only people who had missed seeing it.  At the time of writing this, I'm not sure that we'll be having a fancy meal this year either, as I have to work that day, and I'm also trying to run the fridge and perishables down before our holiday, but I did get this light-up card made for C.

Friday 31 May 2024

May Favourites

 Despite working several extra days, May has been a better month than most recent ones. Perhaps with the brighter evenings I've felt more like making something in the evening after dinner.

The header photo is from the Bambouseraie in the Cevennes last June. I was finding it hard to choose between that photo and one of a frog on a lily leaf, so perhaps I'll add the frog one at the end here. Choosing the dragonfly was dictated by my last card, where the dragonfly was created with fantasy film. The lizard and the card underneath it were both attempts at stencil rubbing with crayons.