Sunday, 18 June 2017


We have just returned from our summer camping car trip to the Loire valley and the alps.  We started at Briare where there is a renowned canal bridge over the river that we had wanted to see for some time.

Here is a photo I took of the canal bridge with a boat passing over the river.

We took our orchid houseplant away with us as the neighbour who normally cares for it was away on holiday at the same time. It travelled in the shower room and sat on the dining table when we were parked up.

As we drove down the motorway my eye was caught by the tall slim trees overtaken by mistletoe, I love the shapes that show up before the new spring leaves come out and hide the clumps.
This looks like an interesting possibility for a needlepainting.

We cycled into town on Sunday morning and sat in the shade of the parasols outside the café with a coffee before going to look at the canal bridge. The cathedral at the end of the square was an interesting structure but impossible to draw so I decided tp concentrate on a small section.

We had a lovely pitch by the river and a view of the trees and wildlife.
My new sketchbook is made with a combination of 2 different papers, A rough Arches watercolour paper and some very smooth Vivaldi drawing paper.  It was really nice to have the contrasting surfaces to work on

The Loire valley has many cycle paths along the river and the canals which are perfect for exploring the area, being mainly flat.  We took advantage of them while we were at Briare to visit other villages and enjoy the wildlife we saw along the way. This is the otter we stood and watched for several minutes as it swam along the canal.

The campsite had a large shower and toilet block with open rafters where a flock of swallows had taken up residence, building their nests in almost every nook and cranny they could find, even on the light fittings.  I spent some time just watching and listening to them chattering to each other as they worked collecting twigs and mud to make their homes ready for their families.  I would love to have been there when the eggs hatched and the fledglings came out for their first flying lessons!

 Another day we cycled to Gien along the paths through the countryside for a tasty lunch out and a visit to the town where Bob had bought the first pieces of pottery that began my collection 45 years ago. 

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