Monday, 14 November 2011

The Drive south......

Many of my readers will know this drive so well, but I thought that I would put on a series of photos for readers from other parts of the world.  Sadly the sun always seemed to be in our eyes, whichever road were were on, and many photos were taken on the move with my £70 Samsung, so I ask your forebearance with the  quality!
Autumn colours by the side of the M20 heading out of London to the Channel Tunnel
Not sure, but this was probably a junction between the M25 and M20, but I thought it was an interesting photo of the four level intersection.

The Folkestone White Horse is a stylised figure carved into the chalk of Cheriton Hill near the Kent  coastal town; an echo of the more famous and much older similar figures in southern England.  It overlooks the English terminal of the Channel Tunnel and was completed in June 2003.

In the queue waiting to board the train that takes us through the tunnel

and on the train.  I may add here that I hate the tunnel; when on my own I always travel by ferry. I am not happy with the closed in feeling and being under the sea!
 
Environmentally friendly maybe, but I am still happier 'on top'.

In my view, the French have brilliant graphics on their motorway  signage and the signs often inspire me to dig a little into the history illustrated on them. This sign, and the one that follows, are in northern France  and depict events from the Second World War, fought bitterly in this area.

La Coupole is bunker complex built by  Nazi Germany in 1943-1944 to serve as a launch base for V-2 rockets against London and southern England. Constructed in a chalk quarry, the complex comprised an immense concrete dome above a network of tunnels that were to house the rocket launch facilities.  However, due to heavy bombing by Allied forces, the Germans were unable to complete the work and it was captured by the Canadian Army in September 1944 The site was subsequently abandoned and it lay derelict until the mid-1990s when it was redeveloped by the French into a museum.


Eperlecques is the site of another part completed rocket launch base, built and captured in the same time scale as La Coupole. It was designed to launch up to 36 rockets daily and was constructed with the aid of 2000 slave workers. Today, the bunker is preserved as part of a privately owned museum that presents the history of the site and the German rocket programme. It has been protected by the French state as a Monument Historique since 1986.

A shorter route south was suggested to us, and mistakenly we thought Paris might be quieter on a Sunday, so we took a trip on the Paris "Peripherique" (ring road)....    Not a good idea!

Most of the views we had of the great city (above and below) were all underground!! I wouldn't like this in the daily rush hour!

Beauce  is a highly productive, very flat, agricultural region southwest of Paris planted mainly with wheat, sugar beet, maize (corn) and barley.. Production has been diversified to include rape seed, potatoes, vegetables (for the canning and frozen food industries), and pulses.

Wind turbines as far as the eye can see.....


Valencay is  in the Loire valley. Its 12th century Castle was rebuilt in 1540, but an owner in 1747 knocked down a lot of the building; the much reduced castle is  what can be seen today. Its owners seem to have struggled with finance and taxes – nothing changes!

Le Dorat is an ancient town in the Limousin area, with fine examples of Romanesque architecture, especially the 11th Century Collegiate of Saint-Pierre, pictured here.

We took many pictures of road signs, but due to the adverse light conditions, the above were the only ones worth publishing!!


Finally we made it home!

and the boxes and furniture arrived the next day

to await unpacking!

This post has, with Nigel's help, taken several days to write.  I am still not well and I have a really bad cough which is causing major headaches.  What with lack of sleep I am not a very happy person at the moment. I see the Dr again this afternoon so fingers crossed......  I will get back to blogging eventually!

112 comments:

  1. Feel better soon, Diane. You have your work cut out for you...but then, no one has to rush to work anymore :) I am curious about the tunnel from England to the mainland. How long, do you drive, or does it take you along on a conveyor belt? How long to pass through. Someday, that might be an option for us. Thanks.

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  2. Susan we simply drive on to a high speed train. We get fire doors closed between every few cars and then the train takes off to the other side. We then just drive off the train. Thirty five minutes and we are there. Generally it is more expensive than the ferry, but more reliable in bad weather and very definitely quicker.
    I certainly ope that I will feel better soon! Diane

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  3. hi diane, really enjoying looking at the photos..i've never been to those places and it's great seeing some of photos that you put up here. Why horse on the hill? does that symbolize something? also very interesting when you mentioned abt the tunnel under the sea and the underground roads. You take a good rest and get well soon!

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  4. What a drive Diane!! I hope that you feel a lot better after the visit to the doctor (Yet again)...

    I know you don't like the closed in feeling, but it is certainly quicker for you .. I think you needed quickness this time.

    Take care Anne xx

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  5. The pictures are beautiful Diane! gloria

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  6. Lena the the white horse was planned as a Millennium Landmark, but it got delayed for one reason or another. There are many white hoses of different shapes and sizes around the UK, some so old that the history is still a mystery. See my blog http://lifeincharente.blogspot.com/2011/02/uffington-white-horse-and-castle.html
    I hope to get well soon, thanks. Diane

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  7. Crikey Diane, you should have an, "I survived the Paris Peripherique" medal.

    Long journey for you both though...bet you were glad to be home,

    SP

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  8. Anne you are right the speed was necessary for this trip and the ferry not really an option. I will let you know how I get on this evening after the Dr visit. Hope you feel better Diane

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  9. I've been working sick and it is no fun... the whole crew came down with a cold so everyone is sneezing and sniffling. So hard to get things done. Feel better, rest... you have all the time in the world now to bring it all together!!

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  10. Thanks Gloria I am sure they are quite different from your part of the world. Diane

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  11. Hi Dianne,thanx for sharing this! I swear I would go crazy if I go to England and France for wanting to see everything. Would love to go through that tunnel though I would feel queezy too! Love the French signs. Hope you feel better soon! xoxo

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  12. SP never again, I will stick to the route I know despite the tolls being a bit more expensive. The traffic is so much quieter 'my' way. It generally takes me about 7 hours, ferry to house, this time it was 8 with the sun in our eyes and the joys of Paris! Diane

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  13. lostpastremembered, sadly there are quite a few things to be done which are quite urgent with the switch from one country to the other. Also, I really do need to get the neighbour's barn unpacked so he can get into it. I just hope the visit tonight will come up with some new answers :) Diane

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  14. Liesl, I hope that you get here one day, but yes what do you decide to see and what to miss. There is just so much between UK and France worth taking a look at:))) Diane

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  15. In all the 8 years I used to live in London I never took a ferry, I loved the tunnel. Thanks for bringing back the memories!
    Hope you get ebtter real soon, too!

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  16. Cuisine de Provence Nigel is more than happy with the tunnel I do not like being in enclosed spaces!! Glad you enjoyed the memories. Diane

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  17. Thank you for the interesting trip, Diane!
    So lively description in conjunction with beautiful pictures, I was also with you!
    Your house is beautiful, I wish you good installation and good health!
    Slowly the work, to take care of yourself!
    Many friendly greetings

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  18. Hi Diane, thanks for taking us on your journey, it was really interesting. I've never been on the euro tunnel before - it does look simple to do.
    At least you are there now and can take your time unpacking and getting organised.
    Hope you feel better real soon. Take care!!!

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  19. Thanks Magda, I am glad you enjoyed the drive. Take care Diane

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  20. I do hope you are feeling better by the time you read this. Your post today was fascinating and I am glad you were able to capture the roads on camera for us. It must feel wonderful to finally be at home. I hope you and Nigel have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  21. Hello Diane:
    We are so sorry to read that you are still unwell. Just about everything seems impossible when one is under the weather and you must be straining at the bit to get on with things. Nevertheless, take care until you are fully better, things never seem so bad when one is fit!!

    We have enjoyed the trip down to your lovely home in the Charentes. We travel by the 'Chunnel' often but must admit that we really prefer the ferry as we leave the White Cliffs behind!!!

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  22. I love this horse figure-it looks so surprizing on the hill

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  23. Good Morning Diane, welcome back. I'm sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. You've been very busy before your trip and undertook a major move. A well deserved good rest is in order. Thank you for sharing the photos with us.

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  24. So sorry to hear about your cold/flu condition! I enjoyed the pictures tremendously, a bit of a tour most of us wonder about. Thank you. Hope by the time you read this you are feeling better.

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  25. Hope you are feeling better soon. It's always a long journey.

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  26. Sorry to read that you are unwell at the moment. Is it the thought of all the unpacking you have to do? Only joking ..... :o)

    Get well soon so that you can make the most of your new beginnings together.

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  27. Thank you for taking us on this road trip which so puts into perspective the countryside you traveled through. At least when you weren't underground. No thanks to a tunnel under the channel. I'm with you on the ferry. I really do like the road signs depicting a highlight of the area. But could live without that city traffic.

    Glad you are Home and hope you feel better soon. Big Hugs!

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  28. Hope you are now well on the way to recovery. It is a fantastic post - so much fun to see the whole journey - but miserable when not feeling well :( Looks like there is a lot of unpacking ahead of you - I'm sure all will be wonderful in a week or two!
    Mary x

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  29. best wishes for quick recovery !

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  30. Hi Diane,

    Hope you are feeling better real soon--- Keep us posted after the docs... Welcome back to France and hope you are able to enjoy some sunny weather outside in the garden..

    Big hugs to you..
    Leese

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  31. Great pics Diane - I do that every time we drive down, only most of mine end up in the 'delete' box :) Will never do the Chunnel, even though David investigates the cost/time advantages every now and again. I've only just become used to the road tunnel at Angers - claustrophobia rules! Hope you have had a breakthrough at the doctors this evening - please try to rest up.

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  32. Hi Diane, I've got mixed feelings because as much as I loved reading your post and seeing your photos I'm sad to hear that you are unwell. I really hope you feel better soon. x

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  33. I hope you're feeling better soon. Personally I much prefer the tunnel (so easy and quick and no worries about gales) but I hate the Paris périphérique. The French motorway signs always cheer me up on a long drive but have you ever noticed that some French motorway bridges look like owls rising out of the ground? Or maybe that's just me and too many late nights. Get well soon.

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  34. Oh that is too bad you are still not feeling well. I sure hope you get this bug figured out and get rid of it! I feel the same way about tunnels and closed in spaces. I really have to block it out of my mind when I was taking the underground in London. I couldn't imagine the tunnel to France under water. Whe we would travel from Michigan to Canada through Detroit I would always opt for the bridge ovet the river rather than the tunnel under the river.

    Thabks for sharing the photos with us, now I can picture a little better the trip over.

    Take care of yourself.

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  35. I'm so sorry you're still feeling under the weather. Please take care and get enough rest. It was great to see your photo journey. You'll have these for your memory books over the years to come. I'm glad the move happened in Fall when you could enjoy the Fall colours and not have the heat of summer with which to contend.

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  36. Ellie the tunnel is wonderful if you do not mind being in enclosed places. I can just about manage it with Nigel there but certainly not if I am alone!! Diane

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  37. Mary it is great to be home at last in France. The visit to the DR last night seems to have come up with some answers but I have to see how I go over the next few days. Thanks for caring. Diane

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  38. Jane and Lance you are so right the white cliffs are more than worth the trip on the ferry, it is an amazing view.
    The Dr came up with a few new ideas yesterday so now I have 3 days to see if it works. Otherwise I am off to the specialist! Diane

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  39. Ola there are many white horses around the UK in the chalk hills. Many way back in history and they are not even sure how they got there. Diane

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  40. MARCO PASHA great to hear from you. I hope that all is well with you again now. I am sure I will be better soon it is just dragging on a bit. Take care Diane

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  41. rosaria I do feel a bit better this morning, maybe the Dr has just found the answer, time will tell..
    Glad that you enjoyed the journey. Diane

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  42. Niall and Antoinette, I am feeling a little better this morning. I hope I will soon be fighting fit and ready to take on the world once more! Diane

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  43. GaynorB I felt ill packing, so unpacking should be easier except where does it all fit in!
    I hope that we will soon be able to enjoy our permanent life in France. Diane

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  44. Thanks Gaelyn, oh the ferry is so much better and the view is a huge improvement on the chunnel. But the latter is so much quicker!!
    The French road signs are fantastic, I am only sorry we did not get more pictures but most were scrapped because of the bad exposure. Diane

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  45. Mary (Mum's Kitchen) Glad you enjoyed the journey. The unpacking is one thing but where to put it all is yet another!! Diane

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  46. Thanks anni, I hope that recovery is quick as well, I have now had enough! Diane

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  47. Leesa the weather has been just amazing but it cannot last much longer!! Diane

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  48. Jacky Saw the Dr again yesterday as the coughing was worse than ever. He has put me onto some special tablets which are based on an allergy and today, though I am still coughing a little I do seem to be quite a lot better. I have 3 days as then I will have to see the specialist if I am still coughing. These tabs are wonderful all I want to do is sleep!!
    If only you had seen how many pictures went into our delete box, the sun could not have been in a worse position!! The tunnel has its advantages if the weather is bad but I am not happy even though it is a short trip. Diane

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  49. Happy Frog I hope the Dr got it right last night and the new tablets are solving the problem. Three days to go or I see the specialist! Glad you enjoyed the trip. Diane xx

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  50. Phil in the Kitchen I could not agree more the chunnel has many advantages, great if you do not mind being in closed in places :(
    Now you will have me looking out for every bridge to see if I can get the idea of an owl peering at me haha. Diane

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  51. Lyndsey so glad you enjoyed the journey. I am hoping that last night's visit to the Dr was successful, I have 3 days to find out or I am off to the specialist! Diane

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  52. Joyful I cannot tell you how happy I am to be in France full time. Now if the Dr has solved the problem with my health I hope we can start to enjoy like once more :) Take care and thanks for the comment. Diane

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  53. Oh dear!
    You're still with this cough??
    You should take it seriously, it can become chronic!
    I hope this time your are here for good and it is the removal trip!
    Take some rest, the boxes can wait a couple of days!! :)
    Get better soon!
    Love to both of you!

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  54. Bugga Diane - I'm lost in the quagmire of 52 comments - you are such a popular floosey...
    This post put such a smile on my face. What a journey and I think, "try Australia to CDG and then you know what travelling is like".
    Time to sit back, relax and get well.
    Good health to you from us.

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  55. Hope you feel better by now..Take good care and rest well. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

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  56. Noushka I am doing my best to get well and Nigel is being a star with looking after me. I am hoping that last nights visit to the Dr has solved some problems but we need a few days to be sure. Take care Diane

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  57. Leon nobody is lost in my comments, I read everyone of them :) I am trying to relax...... have emailed you with more details. Diane

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  58. Sonia glad you enjoyed the trip. I am trying very hard to get better soon :) Take care Diane

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  59. Glad you arrived safely and hope you are feeling better soon. Interesting journey down, love the idea of doing the photos I shall have to remember that one.

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  60. Thanks Karen, the visit to the Dr last night appears to be successful but I must give it a few days to see. Take care Diane

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  61. I too prefer the ferry to the tunnel. I loved your drive through France - makes me want to be there. xxxx

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  62. Sorry to hear that you're not well at the moment Diane. If you caught it in the UK I wonder if it was the same virus that I had while I was there in August, a fever for several days, sore throat for a day and then weeks and weeks of a terrible, hacking cough, needing antibiotics when I got back here. Fingers crossed that it's not the same one!

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  63. I've just read through all your comments again - properly this time lol - and your illness does sound a bit similar to what I went down with. The village doctor here said that I'd had an allergic reaction to the virus, which was affecting my lungs very badly. Thank goodness I haven't had a fag since February! Get well soon.

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  64. Beau périple et belles photos. Ca vaut le voyage.
    See soon.

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  65. I am feeling your pain Diane. I am sick and feeling terrible too. I also just moved and I am so grateful to be done with unpacking boxes. Hope you feel better soon.

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  66. Nice! I like the colors on the tree.:-) Hugs Stina

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  67. Diane, these are some nice pictures. I appreciate the little tour of your trip. I wouldn't terribly care for the tunnel either; I prefer to be out in the world. That said, I have driven through several miles long tunnels here, but I prefer bridges - claustrophobia, you know. Your poor garage is stuffed, but you have Nigel to help you deal with it.

    Mostly, I hope you are feeling better very soon. Early winter colds really seem to hang on, and I hope you can shake this!

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  68. I will definitely show this post to my husband. It`s really an impressive trip, which also happens to be very symbolic. You`re really arriving into a new life.

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  69. Hi Diane,
    Thanks for your words of support. It's lovely to hear from you, and to see your blog too. Hope you are feeling better with your cough!

    70 pounds for a samsung sounds like a bargain to me! It's great to see the White Horse - I visited that in 2005. And your other travel photos and anecdotes are, as usual, interesting and always help me learn something new about France. I love those signs for each new area.

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  70. Nadji, Merci pour votre visite et commentaire. A bientôt. Diane

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  71. Oh Pam I feel very sorry for you, moving and not feeling well is not a good combination as I have discovered!! Take care and hope you soon feel better. Diane

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  72. Thanks Stina, autumn colours are always so beautiful. Diane x

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  73. Marjie I could not agree more, rather out in the world than under it :) I am improving though be it very slowly, have to speak to the Dr again tomorrow. Diane

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  74. I do hope you feel better soon:)
    This route will come handy (I do hope so next year) handy one day:))

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  75. Thanks Olga for your kind comments, yes it really is a whole new life although we have owned the house for a while. Diane

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  76. Diane the ferry is so much more interesting though time factor was important this trip so I had little choice. I am so enjoying knowing that I do not have to return to the UK again other than for a holiday :) Diane xxx

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  77. Brittany the Samsung was a supermarket special, it is the only camera I have and works wonders on normal items. I just do not understand the settings when it comes taking into the sum etc!!!
    The French signs are really special especially if one has the time to look up the history of each one.
    Take care, Diane

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  78. Dzoli I also hope that I feel better soon. There has been a small improvement over the last couple of days but I have a long way to go yet. Diane

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  79. Glad to hear your improving a little :)

    I'm having trouble with an eye infection they don't seem to be able to get to the bottom of yet - should get some test results tomorrow.

    Good luck at the docs tomorrow x

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  80. Hope you feel better soon. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I enjoyed the information about the two German sites and Valencay which is also a source for one of the very good wines from the Loire Valley.

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  81. Wonderful autumn colours on top and the carved horse is really someting!

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  82. Diane I have enjoyed this drive to the Charente with you very much. A wonderful post full of history which you know I love. And your photos do it justice.

    I really hope you are taking care of yourself and get over this bout of illness so that you can enjoy your new life to the fullest.

    Dream of spring my friend, and your plans for that lovely garden of yours :) x

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  83. I hope you start feeling better soon. Looks like you had a great trip. I loved the photos.

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  84. Oh Diane, I sent you a message just now but then I had no idea you had been unwell. Do hope by now you are feeling better, you have had a stressful time recently and are probably very susceptible to catching things. I enjoyed your trip even the tunnel, I always said I would never travel this way when it was being built! I have have got used to it now and it is better than suffering a rough sea! Take Care.

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  85. Jacky sorry to hear about you eye. Hope by now you have some answers.

    There is some improvement with my cough but it is certainly not cured. I have to let the Dr know again on Monday how I am doing.

    Fingers crossed for us both. Diane

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  86. chcmichel thanks for the kind comment and interesting news re the wine. Hope all well. Diane

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  87. chcmichel thanks for the kind comment and interesting news re the wine. Hope all well. Diane

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  88. chcmichel thanks for the kind comment and interesting news re the wine. Hope all well. Diane

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  89. Thanks JM, I am sorry that the photos are not better! Diane

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  90. Dolly spring cannot come quickly enough for me at the moment. My cough has cetainly improved with the latest medication but I have a long way to go.

    Glad that you enjoyed the trip and the history. Nigel gave me a lot of help as I just cannot concentrate and cough at the same time:)
    Take care. Diane

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  91. Words Of Deliciousness glad you enjoyed the trip and yes I feel a little better, I hope by next week I will be much better! Diane

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  92. Linda I prefer the rough sea anytime but it is most annoying when the ferry is just cancelled. The Tunnel does have many advantages, I just do not like it!
    I have just sent an email as well. Take care Diane

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  93. Could you please take me next time you travel? Pretty please :)

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  94. Marla only a pleasure if you can here :) We will not (I hope) be doing it so often now that we are living only in France. Take care Diane

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  95. wow..pictures says it all;) good to know everything went fine! Good day!

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  96. Hi Diane .. I hope you're feeling slightly better by now .. but the pics are great - I love their signs .. rather than our brown ones!

    Enjoy being home and together .. love your walled house with its green paint .. looks cosy and welcoming .. and those boxes - soon to be unpacked .. cheers Hilary

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  97. Thanks te-Jan, all did go well now I just need to sort out my health! Take care Diane

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  98. Hilary there is some improvement but I feel like I have a long way to go, I speak to the Dr again on Monday. The signs are really lovely around France and if you have time to look up the stories that they tell....
    We are unpacking very slowly, but the pile is slightly smaller!! Take care and thanks for the comment. Diane

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  99. I feel like I've just traveled with you. Fabulous post!

    Red

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  100. I enjoyed the trip with you. Pictures were wonderful..Very sorry to read you are still not well..Hope they find out what it is..Sending you good thoughts..xoCarolyn

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  101. Boye By Red so glad you enjoyed the trip, take care Diane

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  102. Hi Carolyn, looks like I am set to see a specialist next so maybe I will get some answers! Glad you enjoyed the trip. Diane

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  103. Welcome back to France, but your route seems a long and expensive on, I know the tunnel is faster than the ferry, but for example Calais - Bordeaux 529mile 8hours, Caen - Bordeaux 362 mile 5 hours 45min, I haven't however added the UK side of the drive.

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  104. Paul and Roz the ferry from the UK to Caen is far too expensive for us and it is much cheaper to go to Calais. We have a small car that runs on the smell of fuel. The extra driving time is not important to us, the costs are. I have to say we would never do this particular route again, we tried it on a recommendation and it was rubbish. We normally go from Calais around Rouen, then straight down to the Charente. No traffic as such and easy driving. Diane

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  105. Such fun photos, thanks for sharing and hope you are feeling better!

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  106. The Café Sucré Farine thank you for your visit and comment, much appreciated. I am a little better but not right yet!!! Diane

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  107. Belas fotografias...Espectacular....
    Cumprimentos

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  108. I love that Whitehorse folk stone, so neat!

    take care.

    Rose

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  109. Fernando Santos, Cumprimentos Obrigado pelo comentário. Diane

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  110. Rose the white horse is actually carved into a chalk hill. The area is called Folkestone. It looks a happy sort of carving to me :) Diane

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