A Fitting End to a Fantastic year

Boxing Day (or for those of you outside the UK not familiar with this term–the day after Christmas) found us pulling up the anchor and heading to new territories.  We decided we wanted to remain in the Narbonne area because there are so many places to explore here.  Nature is abundant—a true paradise!

So away we went a bit further south and west to Leucate, which consists of a village and  expansive beaches on the Med as well as secluded spots on the inlet.  We found one Aire that cost €10 a night and decided to explore another Aire closer to the Med and just a few miles away.  Alas, this one was closed up for the winter so we made our way back through the mostly deserted village and returned the to first Aire.  It is terraced and faces the inlet with fantastic views.  This is a popular spot for wind surfers and there is even a school here for this sport.  On this particular day, it was still quite windy and there were many enthusiasts out taking advantage of it.   When dusk fell, they made their way back to their cars and departed for the evening, leaving just us motorhomes.

We were well spread out, so didn’t feel hemmed in which is always nice.  That night we enjoyed our supper with a fantastic sunset that filled our spacious window.  What a lovely spot to dine and enjoy our meal….once again we gave thanks for this fabulous life and all it has to offer.

The next day dawned sunny and with the promise of warmth as the day evolved.  We had our breakfast and then set out with the girls to walk the beach.  They both love this kind of adventure as it provides so many places to run and so much to delight their noses.  We met a nice English couple along the way and chatted for awhile.

After our walk, Paul headed off for his “me” time and the girls and I parked ourselves outside to soak up some sun and do a bit of reading—another heavenly winters’ day in southern France!

The following day found us once again blessed with sunshine and warmth.  It was a day of doing errands for us, and after some research done by Paul to locate the gas we needed and dog food along with an organic food store, we set out for the south towards Perpignan.

There are many beaches along the route but it is quite flat and not particularly interesting.  We accomplished our errands as expeditiously as possible and headed back to the inlet at Leucate.  Paul had found the road to a secluded spot the day before, and we decided to spend our night here.

Shortly after we got set up for the night, a lone long distance bicyclist showed up and asked if he could park in front of us, which was no problem.  We were the only motorhome there and happy for it.  The price was right!

When we awoke the next morning we found there had been a somewhat heavy frost the night before.  But the sun prevailed and shortly after sunrise it was all gone.  We enjoyed another breakfast with a stunning view and then set out along the coast with the girls.  They had a blast on the beach and explored the myriad of smells–they were in heaven, and so were we.  Paul had found a nice hidden little spot where we sat down and just soaked up the ambiance of our location—once again giving thanks for this incredible lifestyle that puts the world at our feet.

We fell in love with Leucate and will be returning here numerous times before we once again head north.

Friday the 30th, we decided we needed to stock up with food and other necessities and off we went to Narbonne to do so, with a quick side trip to Peyriac de Mer along the way.  Wow, were we surprised and delighted!  This sweet little village reminds me so much of some of the ones I visited earlier in Provence.  We did a bit of exploring and found an Aire at a sports park where they had tennis courts and a rugby field.  It was spacious and grass covered and very affordable at €5 a night.

The next morning I awoke to find two ponies in the rugby field in front of us.  And a few minutes later I heard them galloping through the lane between the parked motorhomes. I decided I needed to check out the situation, as it was obvious to me that they had gotten out of a pasture in the area.  With my background of being around horses, I was afraid they might take off for the road, and that could be a disaster with all the traffic on a holiday weekend.

As it turned out, they had made their way back to where they had escaped.  The dilapidated fence/gate was the scene of the crime.  I managed to get them back in the pasture and fixed up the gate so they could no longer escape. I felt sorry for them, as it was obvious they wanted attention, so I made my way back to home and cut up some carrots which they relished.  I saw there was no water in the tub so Paul very kindly filled out 10 litre water can and replenished the water.

The next morning, I took them more carrots and Florence came along with me.  As I was taking some photos of them, Florence snuck under the fence and was nose to nose with one of the ponies–please see this heart-warming photo in Paul’s post.  It was so sweet as neither one of them was afraid of the other and I was touched by this display of affection between the two of them.  I know Florence has never been close to a horse.  I was quite surprised that she showed no fear, but also delighted this was the case.

New Year’s eve afternoon found us taking a walk to the village which was full of people in the square starting their early New Year’s Eve celebrations at the local restaurant and tabac shop. We took some photographs along the charming streets and then settled into the cafe for some some coffee and tea as we watched the rugby game on the telly.  I am not familiar with the game, so Paul filled me in on some of the details.  I have never been interested in American football—it is too boring.  Though I did go to university with the famous OJ Simpson so I was exposed to the best of college football.  I find rugby to be much more vibrant and interesting.

That night we celebrated quietly, alone in the aire, with the local rugby club just a stones throw away, in a building where food was being prepared on an outdoor grill and music was emanating from inside.  All very peaceful and acceptable.

We enjoyed a nice leftover of our Christmas beef bouguignon (which I had frozen) along with a bottle of organic champagne followed by a little cognac and some organic chocolate.  How we made it to midnight to ring in the new year I will never know, but we did!

On next weeks post I will spend some time looking back over the previous year and addressing the highlights.

Wishing all our dedicated readers a most fruitful 2017!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Clive murphy - January 2, 2017

What a blog you write with wonderful humor, thank you paul for taking the time to write it, i wish you both very good health and enjoy your fantastic journey look forward to next blog i have started my extra job to earn extra cash so that will be saved for my boat i am going to purchase
Kind regards to you both clive .

    Paul Smith - January 3, 2017

    Thank you for your kind comments Clive. The blog is useful to Cynthia and I too. In years to come when we are old and grey, or greyer in my case, we’ll be able to sit in front of a fire with a rug wrapped around our legs and remember the wonderful life we’ve had.

    Good luck with your saving and your boat plans.

John Canning - January 2, 2017

Hello Paul & Cynthia,
Wishing you a Happy New Year.
Greetings from central Indiana ( Indianapolis ) I really enjoy
your travel blog,thankyou.
I know that Cynthia likes to read and I wonder if she is aware
of the books by Martin Walker about Bruno Chief of Police.
The setting is in a small village in rural South of France.Which
is the area of France that you both love.She has possible read them,
if not I recommend them.
Safe travels.

    Paul Smith - January 4, 2017

    Thanks for the advice John. I have downloaded a sample of the the first in the series to Cynthia’s Kindle. I hope she enjoys it.

Stuart - January 2, 2017

I see your enjoying your new adventure I can see it in both your writings it great to read how people take to the road/ canals I am looking forward to it my selfless if ever I get the chance that reminds me my boat is nearly ready for spring Can you send to silverlady858@gmail.com not to sure how to let others know but I have found other boaters I have subscribed too not all.

Derrick Powell - January 6, 2017

Hi Paul, Cynthia and the Girls. Thanks for an interesting account of your exploits sounds as if life is good for you all, you deserve it so grab it with both hands and enjoy to the full. As I read your blog I cunger up the pictures in my mind so thanks for the discriptive words which take me to places I’ve never seen but I might one day.Keep up the good work as it’s a pleasure to get in grossed away from our frosty days although the sun has been warm and bright.
Best wishes for 2017 and beyond.


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