Friday, August 31, 2012

The Willows in France

Many of you probably know about the intrepid band of explorers which has been winging its way around the bloggers of North America and Europe, but for those of you who are new to the team, here they are, sunning themselves, in Haute Garonne, France (the département number for Haute Garonne is 31, so this photo seemed appropriate!):
Here are Ratty, Toad, and, balancing precariously above them, Mole. They had a bit of a sabbatical over the summer holidays, with some interesting travel arrangements and absent hosts (including me), but were safely tucked up chez mois when I returned (finally!) from Italy. I instantly plunged them into more down-time as I was far too busy hosting parents in law and then visiting my dad and his financée, but now here we all are together, back in le trente-et-un, or the sunny south of France, to non-French readers.
I wondered for a moment how to entertain them, and you, dear readers, in the time they have left with me, and the answer came quickly: la rentrée! The French Back to School is upon us, and I'm going to aim for a short post per day over the coming week, to keep you up to date with the Willows (for those of you who are following their adventures) and to give all readers an insight into the serious but rather beautiful business of getting back to school in France. This will give us a nice run-up to my now traditional Rentrée Resolutions and Giveaway, and then I'll post the Willows on to their next stop, spring-time Australia!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In Edinburgh and Not Blogging!

My sister snapped this photo of me (she said I matched the plate, so the snapshot had to be taken)...

The boys and I are here visiting my dad and his fiancée. Life continues to be too busy and too pleasant to find time for blogging - but I haven't forgotten you, my friends!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Well, yes, many of you were right, we went to Italy! It was wonderful...
We started off just over the French border, in Pietra Ligure, which is a fairly standard seaside town but just what our sea-starved British souls needed:
We were getting very good vibes about Italian campsites, which seemed cheerful, shady and relatively quiet. Our next stop, in Siena (close to Florence - well done, guessers!) was an incredible campsite actually within the medieval city. We visited the sites by day (too hot) and then by night (wonderful).
On to Rome, where another city campsite on the banks of the Tiber was calm and relaxing - and much appreciated as we visited Rome:

and the particularly wonderful Herculaneum:

Exhausted by a lot of walking and driving (these sites aren't near each other!) we headed off to the Apennine mountains near the Adriatic sea. Our final campsite was a tiny one in an olive grove, full of very friendly Dutch people:
It's where we got to make (and eat) pizzas with the local pizza chef!
It was a wonderful three-week holiday, made very easy by great campsites, a GPS system and good-natured family members. One of my French trainees asked me: 'Was everyone happy, all of the time?' and the answer is, of course not! We just worked on the theory that everyone would have their off moments and that this wouldn't matter. It didn't. We will be travelling like this again!

Friday, August 17, 2012


I've enjoyed reading your comments and guesses, and have a tiny bit of time to tell you more about our travels, and some newly arrived travellers who have been even further than us!

I'm not going to make it too easy, though - here are some photos to go with my original clues:
"We left France and camped by the sea..."

"Then by a medieval city..."

"Next on the banks of a mighty river curving around an ancient city..."

"and finally stayed in the mountains near a second sea..."
So those are my clues, and now, those charming Willows have arrived and have been sunning themselves on the banks of our less mighty, but equally warm, river:
More on them, and on our travels, later! Can you guess where we went, yet?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Wanderers Return...

We've been away (as you may have noticed) for a long, long time. It's been wonderful! I'm longing to tell you more, but life is quite astonishingly busy on our return, and finding time to sort the photos and write about it all is low on the list, I'm afraid. I'll just leave you with a guessing game: we left France and camped by the sea, then by a medieval city, next on the banks of a mighty river curving around an ancient city and finally stayed in the mountains near a second sea. How near can you get to guessing our itinerary?