Sunday, 23 August 2015


Well, it took a lot of head scratching and button pressing but here at last is the final part of my first sketchbook.  After changing to Windows 10 Bob found the computer search engine wasn't compatible with blogger, we've changed it now and so far so good, fingers crossed!
Almost every summer when we had the boat we sailed across the channel to France and then on to Guernsey where we moored in the town marina at St peter port.

These three sketches were all drawn from my seat at the back of the boat as we sat in the sunshine.  There are plenty more sketches of the town and island dotted through all my sketchbooks, some of which I'm sure you have seen already.

While we were working we spent every weekend on the boat when the weather was fine and as we were moored in Portsmouth harbour we had the whole of the Solent to sail in with all it's lovely harbours and pretty anchorages.

Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight soon became our favourite destination as we could pick up a buoy outside the main harbour and enjoy the space around us instead of going inside with all the crowds.  We used to take the ferry ashore to walk over the downs to Freshwater on the south side of the island.

We had lovely views from our boat and an endless supply of subjects like this beautiful old motor yacht that anchored a bit further out from us.

When the tide was coming in the boat turned so that we had this view of the harbour entrance from our seats on the deck.  There is a very long wooden pier next to the ferry terminal which is used for the boats coming across the Solent from the mainland at Lymington.

The view continues towards the old church and the rooftops of the George hotel with it's excellent restaurant.

The western extremity of the Isle of Wight is marked by this red and white lighthouse at the end of the Needles rocks.  We often sailed past here going to France or the west country and the current through the narrow part of the channel can be as much as 8 or 10 knots so it was always important to plan our departure to go with the tide!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Every year from 1992 we took our summer holidays on our boat and soon found some beautiful places that we returned to on a regular basis.  We alternated between the south west of England, the Channel Islands and the north and west coasts of Brittany.

L'Aberwrach is at the western extremity just before you turn south to go down the chenal de Four towards Brest and beyond.  It's a deep estuary with moorings close to a charming village with lots of lovely views in all directions.

This is the tallest lighthouse in France, Ile Vierge and it's visible from far out to sea.  There are boat trips out to visit it but we never got around to going.

We usually spent a week of our holiday in this tranquil place, going ashore in the dinghy to shop and eat in the friendly creperie or pizzeria.  As you can see from these early sketches I was busy practising with my fine pens, using the textures I learned from the Claudia Nice book.

The walking was fantastic, along the shores and over the sand dunes to many beautiful beaches. One day we discovered the plage Sainte Marguerite where the kite surfing championships take place every year and stopped to watch for a while and do a bit of sketching.

Another time  it was almost deserted.
A favourite pastime of the French is 'peche à pied' which happens every low spring tide.  Families come out with their buckets and spades and forks to search for shellfish and shrimps in the pools and rocks.

Here's another lovely white beach, this time close to home where we walked when we stayed on the boat in Perros marina before we came here to live.  I can actually remember Bob looking in the estate agent's window and saying how nice it would be to retire to Perros, long before we decided to make the move.
Next time we're going to visit the Channel islands and the Isle of Wight, see you soon! 

Monday, 3 August 2015


The first time we went to Trebeurden it was after meeting some friends who had been there and were singing it's praises but all we had for the navigation was the brochure they gave us and a general chart showing the way from Perros.  We found our way in between the rocks and found a lovely sheltered marina which we visited every time we came to France after then and after buying a proper chart!

When you arrive outside the marina there is a waiting area with several buoys to tie up to while waiting for the tide to rise high enough to pass over the sill that holds back the water.  If the weather was calm we often stayed on the buoy and enjoyed the tranquillity and the beautiful views.

The marina walls are made of piled up granite blocks which as you can see from this sketch rise high above our heads when the tide is low.  I've lost count of the times I've sat here and drawn the boats and the pine trees you can see at the top of the post.

This island is on the other side of the moorings looking north and is a sanctuary for gulls in the breeding season but in summer is popular with families for their Sunday picnics.  We used to sit on our boat and watch as the experienced locals sailed their boats between the rocks to take a shortcut out to sea, something we did not have the nerve to try!

There were always beautiful sunsets at Trebeurden but the best way to see them was to climb to the top of the hill next to the marina and look west out to sea beyond the chaotic rockscape.

This is the local traditional trip boat that's moored in the marina at Perros, it's to be seen sailing most days in the season, crowded with people trying their hand at sailing or just enjoying the ride.

One of the islands off the beach here is called Ile Rouzic and is a famous reserve for gannets, apparently 21,000 couples live there.  We always saw these beautiful birds when we went sailing in the local waters, usually gliding just above the waves, but it was a real treat to see them fishing one day, dive bombing the shoals of mackerel.
We spent many happy times sitting on our boat in Perros harbour, even in bad weather, sheltering under the awning watching thunderstorms over the hills.

Panning left from the picture of the storm you see the harbour wall where the fishing boats tie up to unload the catch before returning to the deep water moorings just outside the marina.
Next time we'll go a bit further along the coast to l'Aberwrach, another of our favourite places.