Staying at Montreuil Bellay for a week we had plenty of time to relax and explore the area. We cycled out a couple of times along the 'Loire à velo' routes and found some pretty places and interesting sites. On the day we went north towards Saumur we turned back after about 10 km as the weather became too wet and we knew a storm was forecast, we were passed by a line of cars full of wine pickers on their way to the vineyards to start the harvesting before the grapes were damaged.
When we went south we found a different landscape, fields of sunflowers instead of vines as far as the eye could see. Some had been harvested but most were brown and waiting for the farmer, however there were quite a lot of self seeded plants in the fallow fields as well as along the verges and I managed to pick one and get it home safely in my saddlebag to draw in the sketchbook. It lasted for over a week in a plastic water bottle vase until after we came home.
The stormy weather blew a lot of bark off the plane trees and I couldn't resist picking up this brightly coloured piece to draw around and colour in using the inktense pencils.
We used the 'escalier St Pierre' to go back down to the campsite from the village after our daily beer in the café. It's a pretty flower lined stone flight of stairs with fabulous views from the top and along the side an old wall with this partly bricked up interesting old doorway.
The yew tree continued to keep me fascinated while I was stitching it's portrait and one day I took a few twigs back to draw. There lots of berries and it was interesting to see the way the unripe ones were hidden under the leaves till they turned red.
After a week we were ready to move on to Chinon, one of our favourite towns where we've been several times since we started our camping car life. I have already drawn the chateau so this time I sat on the wall by the river Vienne to draw the alley of plane trees and since then I have started another stitch picture which I'll share when it's finished.
Here is my interpretation of the plane tree bark and lichens, stitched on a scrap of linen in running stitch and buttonhole stitch.
Have a good week and I'll see you again soon.