• PLACES,  SERIES

    FRANCE 2013: BEDENAC

    At the end of news broadcasts there’s usually a lighter item preceded with the words “and finally..” and I suppose this is it for our holiday in France 2013 (although we still have the 8 hour drive to Roscoff tomorrow and the sailing). We rented a gite in Bedénac in Charente owned by Sue and Paul Wright in 2011 and…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: ARCACHON

    In my mind there are Beach People and for the record I’m not one of them. Beach People thrive on finding a spot amongst hordes of other sun, sea and sand worshippers and laying out between swims like seals basking in the sunshine. They have mastered the knack of dressing and undressing under a multicoloured towel slightly larger than a…

  • FOOD

    FISH & CHIPS – FRENCH STYLE

    Fish and chips are, well, fish and chips, but if you’re in France and cooking an evening meal why not put a spin on the traditional and try them with La Difference. We used Ray for the fish, bought frozen and quite inexpensive in the local Auchan supermarket. The chips were in fact chunky cut from locally grown potatoes –…

  • PLACES

    BASTILLE DAY 2013 (BORDEAUX, FRANCE)

    Just in case you weren’t already aware Bastille Day is the French national holiday when the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, which resulted in the French Revolution and the birth of the Republic, is celebrated across France and in French communities across the world. For The Ban Chéile* and I, it has become a bit of a…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: LA ROCHELLE

    I have to admit I have a soft spot for La Rochelle despite its typical touristy feel and constant throng of people. We have stopped off in La Rochelle on almost everyone of our 5 trips to France, sometimes just for a few hours and on one occasion staying for a few days. The winding streets and always upbeat atmosphere…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: ROCHEFORT

    I have to admit Rochefort on the west coast of France had little to show for the two hour drive from our rented gite in Bedenac just north of Bordeaux. The main attraction is an exhibition based around what appears to be a very slow restoration of an old fashioned sailing vessel and the old rope making factory. Neither of…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013: BLAYE MARKET DAY

      Wednesday and Saturday are the big market days in France – although there are various types of market held on other days during the summer months but they’re specific to certain towns and villages. We decided it was time to have that market experience once again and so The Ban Chéile (henceforth TBC) and I set out on a 30…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013 – COGNAC BLUES

    My Ban-Cheile* and I took a trip into Cognac to catch some of the ambiance of the Blues Festival. The festival runs from July 2nd -July 7th and attracts people from all over the world and not just France. The one hour drive north from Bédenac took us through undulating vineyards as far as the eye could see, interspersed with…

  • PLACES

    FRANCE 2013 – ANGOULEME

    Captain Haddock: I thought you were an optimist. Tintin: You were wrong, weren’t you? I’m a realist. Captain Haddock: Ah, it’s just another name for a quitter. Tintin: You can call me what you like. Don’t you get it? We failed. Captain Haddock: Failed. There are plenty of others willing to call you a failure. A fool. A loser. A…

  • PLACES

    9 THINGS I LIKE ABOUT FERRIES

     I must admit I was never particularly enamoured with flying and only ever saw it as a means to an end, so making a list of things I like about ferry crossings could easily be renamed “why I prefer a boat to a plane”. After an almost 10 year hiatus from starting every holiday with the drudgery that is plane…