Travels 2013

Hi my name is Diesel and my Mum is the Pet Ranger. She has given me my own page to tell you about going on holiday with your dog, and other things I might like to tell you about.

Me in Switzerland, what views and walks My sister Winnie swimming at the source of the river Taw on Dartmoor. Me again, looking handsome in the woods near Sandy Park, Chagford

This is me on my first holiday in Saanen, Switzerland, as you can see the views were amazing and I had some great walks too. This is my sister Winnie, swimming at Taw Marsh on Dartmoor and me again, this time in the woods near Sandy Park, Chagford.

Well I do have some news for you. As of the 1st of April, Pet Rangers dog walking and pet sitting will now belong to Rebecca, a nice lady, and she will be calling the business ‘The Pet Care Guardian’, which means I can retire. However, Pet Ranger is still here and we still have the dog grooming and we will be back!

I am going to be going travelling with my sister Winnie and my mum and dad. We will be in our lovely Motorhome, a Rapido 791ff- for those of you interested in motorhome stuff, and I will be keeping a diary of our travels. I can’t leave this important bit to my mum, as she will forget. So if you would like to follow me and Winnie, then here is the place to do so. And if you would like to ask me any questions about our travels you can use my mums email address I am sure she won’t mind. It would be nice to hear from you.

Our travels so far:

Monday 10th June 2013:

Eventually left our house to go and stay at Dawlish Warren, my Grans house, with a ferry booked for tomorrow, but my sister Winnie became unwell, so we had to book a vet visit and delay the ferry. I actually felt sorry for her as she was so tired, she didn’t want to eat or play, but on the other paw, it did give me a bit of a break…I mean that nicely though. We were worried about her.

Tuesday 11th June:

Early vet visit for Winnie and a blood test, but the results took the whole day to get to us, and she was unwell, so she wasn’t making it up. She had been told to rest which was good as we were now going to be travelling for a while. She had a lot of fussing, which I didn’t mind on this occasion, as long as she doesn’t get too used to it, as of course I am the main dog in this house, with priority fussing.

Arrived at Headcorn Airfield for our night stop over, in the early hours of the morning, all of us were tired, my dad was a bit grumpy from driving too long. Can’t wait till we get to France for my mum to drive as she doesn’t get grumpy….

Wednesday 12th June:

Up early, breakfast, walk around the airfield and we are off. My dad kind of likes these places and I have become used to the sound of aeroplanes, I could even recognise the sound of a Piper Cub engine.

On the ferry, off the ferry and first stop the Aire at Calais for a walk and lunch….we have landed! But raining at 20c, at least its not muddy.

Straight off then to St-Valery-sur-Somme and the campsite Le Walric, we have been here before. A nice tidy site, individual pitches and good facilities, but bit dissapointed that they didn’t recognise me.

Went straight to the town to have a walk along the canal and yes a swim, well we’re not used to 20c. We met a chap on the mud flats who was collecting something in the weeds, my mum and dad thought it was birds eggs, but I realised straight away that it was the leaves they use in salads. My dad spoke to the chap and asked what he was collecting, I could tell they didn’t understand a word he said, but he gave them a leaf each to try. ‘very salty’ they both said, but my dad didn’t realise my mum had spat hers out when the chap had gone, as he had eaten his.

Thursday 13th June;

St Valery this morning and out for a walk with our dad as my mum gets the van ship shape…..but on no….he hurt his back picking up one of our throwing toys, not a good start….and thats him out of action for a few days. So now not only my dad is out of action but Winnie is just only recovering. My mum has been intouch with Uncle Philip at Okeford Vets and he has advised a second blood test to see she is on the mend. My mum and dads French isn’t that good, so this should be interesting.

Eventually arrive at our friends Iza and Arnaud and their twins Charlotte and Arthur. Boy have they grown since I saw them last, but at least they remember me and they actually like Winnie too. My mum was really pleased when Iza and Arnaud took them out for a meal, not because they were going out for a meal, but because it was in Iza’s new Fiat 500 convertible. My mum says she would like one of those, but its hardly practical for a family of 4 and a Kayak on the roof…

Friday 14th June;

Cissey to Bagnoles de l’Orne.

and the lovely camp site, Camping de la Vee, Bagnoles De L’Orne ( very clean and tidy and an easy walk into town. Would we go back again – yes. more to come.

Saturday 15th June;

Bagnoles de l’Orne to Lessay.

and an airfield, to a fly in to meet with more friends and fly – more to come.

Sunday 16th June;

Lessay to Pirou.

just a few miles down the road. A campsite on the beach, Camping Municipal – “Le Clos Marin”Pirou, very basic site, Wifi with a weak signal but free, not worried about dogs and their mess, would we go back again – no, however it is a good location for the beach, but not much else. – more to come

Monday 17th June – Thursday 20th June

OMD ( or if you are not familiar, oh my dog) we are finally on our travels. I am sending this to you from Normandy, at a town called Granville. We arrived here at the campsite after lunch, a nice quiet site called Camping de l’Ermitage ( Donville Les Bains, clean and tidy site with good facilities, Wifi all around but a weak signal and charged for, right near the beach…..but it rained and we had a thunderstorm. Would we go back again – yes. So much for my Mum and Dad wanting to find the sun.

this is my sister Winnie on the beach at Pirou, just up the coast from Granville

From Granville to Beauvoir near Le Mont-St-Michel. More to come…..

Thursday 20th June:

Mt St-Michel, camping on the Aire at Beauvior – more to come – but first I must congratulate my best friend Pixel and his sister Pocket (a working cocker like my sister) on their new brother Monty, born today to their mum and dad Sally and Simon. we can’t wait to meet you little Monty.

Friday 21st June:

From Beauvior to Paimport.

and an Aire by the sportsground. Now if one more person asks if Winnie is my ‘Bebe’ I really will be annoyed. Ok, so she is the same colour as me but thats all, for goodness sake what is wrong with these people, look at her ears….but what upsets me most is….do I really look like a girl… look at my handsome features and big bears head…. – more to come

Saturday 22nd June:

Paimport to La Roche Bernard and Winnies first Kayak….more to come

I will fill you in on the other days soon, but I just wanted to let you know we have arrived!

Saturday 22nd – Monday 24th June;

La Roche Bernard, we came for one night and stayed for 3 at Camping Municipal “Le Patis”. A lovely spot on an old harbour, with good facilities, walks and places for me and Winnie to swim. More to come

Tuesday 25th June:

Roche Bernard to La Palmyre:

an Aire near the beach. A long day travelling, but me and my sister were really good as always, but we did have stops and walks. My Mum and Dad get quite upset about the French and their dogs, it seems we have to be on the lead all the time, even on the beaches . A lovely beach and sea front and we did get a swim, but in the harbour…lots of looks and smiles from the locals especially as I am very good at carrying my thrower, even when its hot and I need to pant.

Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th June:

La Palmyre to Mortagne-Sur-Gironde:

an Aire at another harbour not very far at all but took us nearly 2 hrs. A lovely sunny day from 22-27c, just what we have been looking for ….but now too hot! As we were driving along the coast, my mum driving, my dad navigating…they saw a sign for a small port, ‘shall we head down there’ they said ‘do you think it will be busy?’ Well, you would would think they had never been in a motorhome before…a small harbour, nice local shops, of course it’s going to be busy. There were vans everywhere, but a lovely spot. So as we could, we stayed for 2 nights.Some good walks for us but now where really to swim unless the tide was in, in the harbour. My dad has been teaching Winnie a few things whilst we have been away, sit, fetch, run along this bench…kind of agility stuff. Well he seems to forget that I can still do these things too and I really impressed my mum and dad with a few tricks I had up my sleeve. Ok, so picture this…a wooden bench in a nice grassed park, Winnie doing her jump on, run along, jump off stuff…but wait…who is that big brown bear, he seems to be doing the same…but better…but not so fast! Yes that was me.

Friday 28th & Saturday 29th June:

Mortagne to Lalinde:

along part of the D17, stopped at an Aire at Lussac for lunch, nice park for me and Winnie to explore and eat. So now my mum and dad are raving about all of the vineyards, lots and lots everwhere, mind you we are near Bergerac in the Dordogne. We stayed here for 2 nights at a site on the river Dordogne, and I mean on the river, have a look at the photos. Camping Municipal Du Moulin De La Guillon, a grassy site, no hard standings so we had to be careful where we parked, especially as this area has had a lot of flooding recently, due to the heavy rain fall and melting snow from the mountains. Its about a 20 minute walk along the canal from Lalinde and not bad for swimming, the canal that is, as the river is still very fast flowing and not safe. A very nice spot, so as we could, we stayed for 2 nights. So far we have found all of the sites we have turned up to have been quiet and take 2 dogs, so no problems so far, but then we are out of season, we might not be saying that in August! We walked into town on the Friday night as they had a big do on. The whole of the town were there…but no dogs. We had a look around, a lovely place so they say, and walked back. Good walks too on Saturday, I really am enjoying this, Winnie is having a great time but seems to want to run everywhere, something to do with her being a Spaniel I believe..and a puppy.. She also made a couple of friends, a couple of French boys, they couldn’t speak English and I know she can’t understand French, but she did manage to teach them how to throw her toy and how to say ‘sit’ in English.

Sunday 30th – Monday 1st July:

Lalinde to Cenac.

Another municipal camping site and on the river Dordogne again, what a chore…more swimming! A nice site with lots of locals around and dogs too. Luckily here they aren’t so fussed about us being on the leads. The river is still running really fast and it seems that this is most unusual as you can normally walk accross the river in places, but not at the moment. Me and my mum went for a swim and we are both quite strong swimmers, but as hard as we tried, swimming up river, we could only just keep pace, like an ‘endless swimming pool’. Quite hard work. We also took the kayak out for a spin, I just love it, first in every time in my nice lifejacket, Winnie has one too. It was quite hard for my mum and dad to paddle as we were heading up river – all the other canoes and kayaks were heading down the river, they just had to sit there and stear as the current is that strong- it was fine for me and Winnie. We carried on up river to a small island which for about 10 minutes we had to our selves and then a whole group of canoes arrived. I didn’t mind too much as they kept on saying how handsome I was and how sweet Winnie was..well some people just go too far. We played with our throwers in the water for a while and then headed back. I take it from the looks, smiles, photos and comments we had that 2 dogs in a kayak isn’t the norm around here. The river is quite peaceful here apart for the NOISIEST FROGS you every did hear and they are all over the banks. Just before we left on Tuesday we visisted the local market and not only did my dad get to try out some of the local meats, but so did we. The market man gave us a slice each, I think we had Duck, but my dad tried…..wait for it…Donkey, can you believe that and my mum is the Pet Ranger…

Tuesday 2nd – Wednesday10th July;

Cenac – Luchon in the Pyrenees.

When we left Cenac this morning it was 31c and when we arrived here at Luchon it was 18c, yes 18c, mind you, we can see the snow on the mountains from here. We are staying at the campsite Pradalonge, a lovely site with good clean facilities, individual pitches and most importantly a dog walking field. On our journey here we drove along the river which was bit of a worry for my mum and dad as there had been the floods that I mentioned earlier and this is where it was worse. We could see trees like sticks up the river banks, flooded fields and damaged houses, what a awful shame. The Tour de France comes thorough here on Sunday 7th and I beleive the riders donated their wininnings to one of the local villages to help with the repair work. I have got lots to tell you about this week, especially the Tour that we watched on the mountains, just below the Col d’Azet. Winnie sat on the roof of the van with my mum and I was down in the crowd with my dad. It was very busy, very loud and very exciting. I have got some good photos to add too, not just of the Tour but also some of the walks we have done in the mountains… lots more to come….

Thursday 11th – Sat 13th July:

Still at Luchon in the Pyrenees again lots to tell, including our cycle to the chair lift at Luchon, taking it to the top and our 2 hour walk back down the mountain, part of the GR 10 which goes from the Med to the Atlantic across the mountains, along with another thunderstorm…But, and you won’t believe this…on Friday 12th we drove to an airfield, I know…swam in a lake, my mum went paragliding on a tandem of course, and…my dad left his shoes on the back of the van to dry. He realised when we stopped for luch that he had done this and his shoes were no longer there…obvious really after a 1 hour drive along a windy mountainous (new word) road. So as far as we were all concerned the shoes were history, or were they….du, du, du. On driving back to our site, along the same windy mountainous road, my dad saw one of his shoes at the side of the road OMD ….and, you really won’t believe this, but we found the other one at the side of the road in the town, the shoes had been saved, phew I hear you all say. Mind you, if you had seen the state of them you woudn’t have picked them up either.

Sunday 14th:

Luchon – Andorra.

What a long day. And from 22c to 14c. If anyone tells you that Andorra isn’t all shopping, then take a drive into and out of the country on the CG1 and see what you think. Shopping centres at the start and shopping centres at the end, and loads and loads of people shopping. You can buy anything. We were all very dissapointed as we had expected lovely countryside. We stayed at a site in Andorra for the night as we were all tired and Winnie met her first boyfriend, Black, a black lab cross type of thing, but I did check him over in my brotherly way, and he was ok, didn’t speak English mind, but they seemed to understand each other. I did tell Winnie not to get her hopes up as I am sure he wouldn’t write..and sure enough he hasn’t so far, not that she seems that bothered mind. She has already moved on…

Monday 15th:

Andorra – Vinca. 14c – 34c.

A drive through Andorra again and we stopped at a ski resort. It was cooler again and we had a nice walk in the mountains, but my mum and dad say they think Andorra would look nicer in the snow. A long drive again to Vinca which we are looking forward to as we are going to be staying on a lake, so we are looking forward to a swim. We did stop on the way at Villefrance to ahve a swim in the river as now it was getting hot, but it was just as well, as when we arrived at the site, it was 34c and the lake had been closed due to a ‘plague’. It had been officially closed by the Mairie until further notice and to make it worse my mum and dad took us for a walk around it….we were looking longingly at the water…what were they thinking…. Mind you, the water did look very thick and green, so not like the water we are used to on the moors, so I suppose we can forgive them. We had planned to stay here for 4 nights, but due to the ‘plague’ we moved on.

Tuesday 16th & Wednesday 18th:

Vinca – Leucate Plage ( The Med!)

Not a bad drive and arrived at the Med, yes the Med…I can’t believe we are here. From Taw Green to the Med OMD…how lucky are we. We stayed here on an Aire, totally packed with motorhomes and just enough space for us. Set up camp, lunch and off for a swim, the water was lovely and warm, straight in for all 4 of us, still warm at 32c. My mum and dad had planned to leave us for a while but we had a huge storm, thunder, lightening and very strong winds, so they stayed home with us…result.

The next day we went to the beach again, too hot to walk, only swim. We had a great morning, swimming, digging, barking…luckily we found a spot away from anyone else. But, and I say But, can you belive this, Winnie had her thrower with her and managed to lose it…yes..lose it..she dug holes and holes and managed to bury it when digging her holes. Me and my mum and dad, dug and dug to try and find it with no luck, she is really dim sometimes. Anyway, we then gave up and went for lunch, but me and Winnie weren’t feeling too good, too much salt water, went right through us, but I won’t go into detail. We all felt a bit tired so had a bit of a siesta, and then it was T time. A late swim before bed, what a day. I really wanted to sleep on my mum and dads bed tonight and did get my own way eventually…they are so easy to manipulate, just give them that…’but I am such a handsome dog and I love you so much’ look…works every time. Now I am not sure if my mum and dad are being a bit paranoid, but they think they are being followed by a man with a strimmer, yes I know how it sounds. It does seem that almost every site we have stayed at so far, there has been a man with a strimmer, or just as we are driving along. At the site in Luchon, at the road side in the Pyrenees, at the site in Andorra, I am sure there will be more to come.

Thursday 18th July:

Leucate Plage – Port Vendres.

Another Aire with a very chalky parking area, everything covered in white dust. Another hot day 31c. Me and my mum seem to find we can’t stand the heat. If there is a breeze it’s not too bad, but if it’s just hot we can’t do a thing, even walking is out of the question, whereas Winnie and my dad are ok. It could be as we have both put on weight since we have stopped work, body fat isn’t good at keeping you cool. Actually, talking about body fat…my mum and dad think I don’t know what they say about me…thay have been calling me ‘fat tail’, just because I have put on a few pounds, but if they keep feeding me, what do they expect, any way my mum can talk…not looking so slim in her bikini these days hey…but she says ‘body fat is less offensive in brown’…who is she trying to kid. The French seem to have a lot of signs on the beaches with lots of ‘DO NOT’S’ Do not swim, do not fish, do not dive etc, so we get to the beach to see it full of people fishing, swimming and diving….oh yes and no dogs, we ignored that one.

Friday 19th July:

Port Vendres – Roses (Spain – Costa Brava)

From Chiens to el perro, only 33 miles from one to the other but long windy roads and no where to stop for Motorhomes. Now we are in Spain, but we had been warned, be careful “you might be gassed in your beds..don’t stop for the Police as they may be muggers…tie your front doors together at night…” the Spanish eats dogs….OMD. But what we can be sure of is the Spanish are ‘so loud’. We can confirm this, all of us…We found one site when we arrived but it was so cramped and expensive, and no dogs on the beach so we moved on. We were then all so tired so we stayed at the second site. but, not a good one either. We went for a walk in the evening and a meal and the waiters were really good to me and Winnie, one of the waiters – I think he was called ‘Manwell” or something – but he really liked me as he had a Labrador too. We asked where he walked his dogs as all the beaches said ‘no dogs’, but like France we found they are only ‘advisory’ as it seems he walked his dog, along with lots of other dog walkers at night…in the dark.

Saturday 20th- Monday 22nd July

Spain – Costa Brava.

We didn’t like the site we were on, far too busy, so my mum and dad decided to look for somewhere else. My dad went off on his push bike for a reccie and we walked with my mum to the Tourist Information. It seems there are only 3 official dog beaches in Spain, but luckily one was accross the river and there was a campsite too, so off back to base to let my dad know. On the way back we walked along a track and I found a piece of bread…well I am a Labrador and I do like my food…but no sooner had I started to eat it, that I realised it was covered in ants, boy did I spit it out real quick and even luckier was that my mum has seen what had happened, she put her hand in my mouth and took out all the ants, and off my nose, and off my snout, and off my head….well I won’t do that again in a hurry. Any way, we went on to our new site, set up camp and off to the beach. It was 32c and the thought of the sea was keeping us going. It was a bit of a walk, but the sea was calling, and one of the only 3 dog beaches in Spain, here we come. It was at the end of the beach near the harbour entrance and it was busy. So many dogs all doing their own thing, digging, swiiming, barking, it was great for me and Winnie as we could make as much mess, dig as many holes, bark as loud as we liked and swim. I don’t know if it was the Karma of the place, but there were no arguments on the beach, all the dogs were getting on, even I didn’t feel the need to chase other dogs, or growl, much to the surprise of my mum and dad.

The next couple of days we enjoyed on the beach, still can’t believe we are in Spain on the Costa Brava, we come from Taw Green you know..We came to meet a friend of my Dads here, he came to collect us in his car, me and Winnie went too. A restaurant on the beach, nice spot, no dogs allowed on the beach though, unless it’s after dark of course….its been great on the dog beach, busy at the weekend and so many dogs, all shapes and sizes and all getting on. I was having swim races with my mum in the sea. My dad would stand on the shore, me and my mum on the shore line…ready, steady, go…my dad threw in my thrower and we were off..but can you believe..I beat my mum every time…result..

We have been having trouble with the GPS in the van and now have to go to Castres to have it fixed, so over the next couple of days we will be making our way..

Tuesday 23rd July:

Spain – Roses – Trebes:

We aimed for an Aire on the Canal Du Midi at Trebes, but it is no longer there so had to stay on the only campsite. A Municipal and not the greatest, but at least they has a space for us. We had a good walk along the Canal in the evening a lovely spot.

Wednesday 24th July:

Another walk along the river this morning before we head off to Castres.We stopped at a lake along the way, Lac de Montagne for lunch and guess what…a swim..Arrived at the garage to have the GPS looked at, my mum and dad don’t speak very good French, so talking about the GPS will be interesting..It seems ‘the GPS is broken, and we can’t really say how long it will take to be sorted..” This is all in French by the way…but my mum and dads reaction was totally in English, me and Winnie had our paws over our ears at that point…

Tuesday 6th August:

Cordes to Les Cammazes in the Tarn region.

CastresThe floor of the Rigole, made of tilescycling along the Rigole, me with my dad and Winnie with my mumNo its not Blackpool, its me and my dad in a photo frame near Les CammazesJust to show you my mum did come with us, this is in Cordes the hillside town.

It has been a while but I am finally back. OMD has there been some bad WiFi around here. My mum and dad have been frustrated to say the least. From what I understand the signal has been really weak in most places and they have had to pay by the half hour so needless to say my ‘dog blog’ has been side lined, but I haven’t complained, actually I have been so tired with this heat I don’t think it would have made much sense any way.

Today we left early so we could visit the town on the hill Cordes. We did try and walk up yesterday but it was far too hot for my mum let alone me and Winnie – 32c. So today its only 25c and not too bad, I must be getting used to it.

A nice hillside town with lots of cute little roads and arty shops, but if you ask me, seen one hill side village and you have seen them all, just like St Jimmin ah no in Italy, I have been there too, but of course its all new to Winnie. She gets excited about anything.

We left the village and headed for Les Cammazes via Albi, looked nice mind but we didn’t stop, temperature now back to 32c and air con on in the van.

As we were arriving at the new campsite – ‘Camping de La Rigole” the temperature is starting to drop, now 24c as we are now near the mountains and ……water, bring it on. Our pitch is by the edge of the woods and the Rigole. What’s a Rigole I hear you say….well a bit of history for you. It is similar to the leats on the Moors but much bigger. It takes water from the mountains to the Canal du Midi, a canal that runs from Sete on the med to Bordeaux on the Atlantic built as a short cut for transport and built around 1666.. And wait for it, me and Winnie have swum in the Rigoles, actually, don’t know if I should mention it really as it is a UNESCO world heritage site, oops.

This isn’t the usual stuff I would write, but my mum told me I couldn’t just write dog stuff.

Wednesday 7th August.

What a storm last night, but much more like it for me today 18c. We had a good walk this morning along side the Rigole, and yes of course we did swim. Back for lunch and then out again on the bikes and trailers. My mum and dad took us to a lake 12km away and at least it was flat for them, they’re not as fit as they used to be you know. As I have already mentioned my sister likes to run, so along the cycle my mum lets her out of the trailer to run beside us, she thinks it’s great and my dad says to me ‘Diesel do you want to come out?’ I just gave him one of my ‘you are joking’ looks and stayed put. It was slow going even though it was a flat cycle but they managed, and it was worth it for me and Winnie. when we got there as we could swim and swim, we had the lake to ourselves. My sister isn’t too bad really and is getting quite good at swimming now, she will even do that, running and jumping into the water bit. My dad thinks its great, but he seems to forget I taught her everything she knows, although I never did the running and jumping bit, but I did explain how it could be done and how I had seen some of my friends do it and how you had to check the water first to make sure it was safe and…..well that’s enough, you get the picture.

Sunday 22nd – Tuesday 24th September


OMD I can’t believe I am so far behind! I have a serious amount of catching up and filling in to do….Today Sunday 22nd September we drove from Lake Annecy in France to Geneva airport to drop my mum off. She is flying home to collect our Gran who is coming to stay with us at a Chalet in Switzerland….it would be a bit tight for her to stay in the van with us, and any way, she snores…After we drop my mum, the 3 of us head to a lovely site at Chateau-d’Oeux. My mum has told us to behave and not play up our dad…as if. We set up camp and off for our first walk in the mountains, this is more like it.

We did our best with our dad, but compared to our mum he is usually quite boring, but, and it’s a big but….he has pulled out all the stops this time…we have walked in the mountains, been up in the cable car at Rellerli, had lunch and walked back down, we have swam in the river and generally had a great time. He has even remebered what to feed us and when. Now if it was up to my dad we wouldn’t be allowed on the bed, and each night time we were sent to our quarters….but….me and Winnie, and she is learning fast….worked as a team and …result…we got on the bed. So its dark, we are in the van, its 3am…Winnie starts pacing on the floor, the sound of her nails on the flooring start to stir our dad in his sleep, I then start my quiet ‘woof’, he looks up and we know we have him….we are on the bed.

Tuesday 24th – Friday 27th September:

We are now at the Chalet, half way between Chateaux-d’Oeux and Saanen- yes the name of the white goats (my mum and dad used to have a Saanen goat called, guess what….Snowy…how original. Before my time mind you). So we are now getting settled and getting things ready for the arrival of my mum and Gran. Walks as you would expect here in the mountains are amazing, as are the views…I do have some photos to come.

Friday 27th September.

My mum and Gran arrive and all peace is lost…but the whole family is back together.

Saturday 28th September – Saturday 5th October.

What a week it has been. My mum brought a hire car with her so we have been out and about….and Gran came too.

Tuesday 22nd October:

moving on from Switzerland today, back to France, then heading for Itay.

Thursday 24th October:

Italy at last!

Finally crossed into Italy at the ‘Col du Petre St Bernard’ A very long and windy approach and a long and windy decent. 7100 ft at the Col and 9c, we were at the snow level so me and Winnie had to get out of the van for a walk and to make a few “snow dogs angels”. I love eating snow balls and Winnie is getting the hang too.

Wednesday 6th – Thursday 7th November:

After driving for 2 hours accross the South Eastern corner of Sicily we have arrived at ‘Camping Luminoso” Punta Braccetto, Ragusa, thank goodness as the last site was….excuse my language…quite simply “pants”. At least we have a beach here, and can walk unlike the other site which was in town…how did the parents get it so wrong. I don’t think they even liked dogs, eventhough me and Winnie did our best. The good thing about this site is the owners are friendly, there are lots of other dogs and according to my mum and dad, the longer you stay, the cheaper it gets.

Friday 8th November:

Italy – Sicily- Punta Braccetto:

Well this is really bad news, I am a month behind, how will I ever catch up? So much has happened and we have been to so many places, but as you can see we are now in Italy and Sicily no less. The weather is in the 20’s, the sea is warm, the Kayaking in Sicilysky is blue and the sun is shining, what more could a dog want and my mum and dad are happy too. We are staying on a lovely site called “Luminoso”, right on the beach. The owners are very helpful and friendly, there are lots of dogs here, but at the moment we are the only English. Its quite funny really, but we have only been here a couple of days, but we have got to know all the other dogs and we are like a big family. There is Maxie from Germany, a small something, CeeCee also from Germany, a rather loud Jack Russell also from Germany, in fact they are nearly all German. But I did meet a local girl today, a Golden Lab, she was quite something, I feel my chemical castration is wearing off! We have been kayaking today and swimming too, the beach is good and soft on my paws. Winnie as always has been ‘non stop’, a term that all the Europeans seem to understand. I say she is ‘Special’.Well we are going to be staying here for a couple of weeks, so I hope I can catch up with my ‘dog blog’ at least. I know we have some bad weather coming next week, so I can stay in and catch up. By the way, I don’t actually do the typing, my mum does ( I have bad paws you know, but that’s another story) so if there are spelling mistakes it is her fault.

Saturday 9th – Monday 11th;

The weather has been great here and we haven’t been far yet as we are making the most of the sunshine. The beach has been busy with dogs and people. On Sunday, eventhough it was sunny, it was very windy, and so the windsurfers and kite surfers were on the beach, along with the English, us and our new friends Tom, Ellie and Will with their mum and dad Rachel and Jim. Not another person in site and there we are sat on the beach, in the wind, with jumpers on, just like and English summer and not a German in speedos to be seen.

Today, Monday and last night we had some serious wind and more to come. We were being buffeted around in the van all night and today is much the same. I will show you two photos of the same bit of beach, one from Saturday and one this morning, you can see what I mean by the wind. I know some of you will be pleased to see us having some bad weather, but it still 20c and its not muddy!

Tuesday 12th:

Another lovely day here in Punta Braccetto. Woken in the van with the sunshine……I generally like to have a lie in, but Winnie needs to ‘go and run to stretch her legs’, or so my dad says. So I say, let her go and run and stretch her legs, I am having a lie in…..I say that mostly every day. My dad and our new friends dad – Jim – went to collect our hire car this morning from Comiso airport. We are going to use it everyother day, can’t wait as I love going in the car. Winnie kind of likes it too, but she can’t keep still. Another one of those facts I have to let you know about, is that from Comiso Airport, flights have just started to the UK. Stanstead with Ryanair. Walks and swimming today and my mums first serious atempt at exercise. There is a small gym here at the camp site with enough equipment to keep her going, so she has no excuse now. Off she went with her Ipod on, listening to ‘Dance music’ she says it help to motivate her….bet she will be aching tomorrow.

Wednesday 13th:

Usual morning start, breakfast, walk and today…off in the car. My mum can be quite organised sometimes and has even brought our car seat cover with us so we don’t put dog hairs on everything. Bit fussy really if you ask me. Off up the South coast today to Syracuse, a Greek city with lost of ruins to see. Well we arrive at the ‘Neapolis Archaeological Area’ and try and find a place to park. Now you think my mum and dad would be starting to get wise to the touts, the ticket touts, the car park touts, the …well you get the picture. But no, they get taken again by the carpark touts. Ok, so they keep half of the gate closed to the carpark, they stand outside with tickets, they offer you a parking place on the road side, and then charge you for it……duh. When will they learn, don’t trust anyone outside the official gates of the car park, the ferry terminal, the historic Ampitheatre…Any way, we went to see all of this and it was amazing I guess. the Greek Theatre, the Altar of Hieron 11 – not sure I liked this though as it was where they used to make sacrifices to the Gods with Bulls…The Orecchio de Dioniso – The Ear of Dioniso – a huge quarry which was also used as a prison. Ok, enough of the serious stuff, any way, when we went to get our tickets, the 2 people on duty both happened to love dogs, so me and Winnie won them over without too much trouble. The chap knew Winnie was a Cocker, but hearing it said with and Italian accent sounds quite funny!

Wednesday 27th November;

Moved on today after nearly 3 weeks at Luminoso. On the way we had a plan but in true Italian style, 3 sites later we arrived at Camping Valle dei Templi, Agrigento. It seems that even though camp sites are advertised as ‘aperto’, even when they confirm in emails that they are ‘aperto’, when you turn up they are actually ‘chiuso’. Any way, the site was ok and very quiet, only us and one other van. Poor wifi though my mum and dad said as they had to go to the reception area to get a signal.

Thursday 28th November:

our first day, so off we go to walk the streets and see whats going on. Good faclities around, supermarket, bread shop…more dough for my mum and dad, pet shop….how sad but my mum was really excited as they had Naturesdiet food, one that we have from home, a vets and lots of restaurants, oh and lots of stray dogs too. So far the stray dogs have been cautious of us and not aggressive, so far. We found a nice long beach to walk and the sea was calm so…..yes, swimming.

Friday 29th November:

A morning walk along the beach then my dad went for a cycle to check out car hire, then we were so excited as our family friends ‘ Team Clarke’ turned up. We took them for a walk with us to the beach later and then had t with them in their van.

Saturday 30th November:

Usual walk, then my dad went to pick up our hire car a Fiat Panda. It was ok, and how I love going in the car. We went straight out to the mountains tombs and mud volcanoes.

Sunday 1st December:

Our friends moved on today and we went off for a drive to Torre Salsa, a lovely spot on the coast with good walks along the beach and cliffs. We stopped for our lunch on the beach, my mum had been organised and made sandwiches, I love sandwiches from foil, all hot and soggy. having found a nice spot to sit and eat, I sat really close to the ruck sack and waited. ……not for long though till my mum gave in and gave me some of her food. My dad was getting pestered by a wasp so he did’nt sit still and kept swearing at the wasp, as if it knew what he was saying. My dad then made a boat with the foil from his sandwich wrapper and put it in the river, but he was so annoyed with Winnie as she kept jumping near it, it eventually sank. We then drove onto Sciacca, a nice looking town and very large carpark that you could easily wild camp at.

Monday 2nd December:

After seeing the good walks at Torre Salsa, we decided to go for the day and walk the beach and cliffs. Can’t wait. More sandwiches made, rucksac packed, car packed and ready to go. We arrive at the beach to find a stray dog hanging about at the carpark, my mum couldn’t resist and gave him some of our sandwich….that could have been for me…but I was happy to let him have some as I felt sorry for him too. Any was, we get on to the beach and Winnie, who is normally flat out running was very quiet…totally unusual. she didn’t want to run or even walk come to that. She kept asking my dad to pick her up…so now we are all worried about her. My mum and dad check her over and find a lump on her right thigh. As much as they tried she wouldn’t walk, unbelievable as she was totally fine this morning. So back in the car and straight back to the vet in Agrigento, luckily we know exactly where they are. Meanwhile Winnie is very quiet and my mum and dad are thinking the worst. At the vets, my mum goes in, and comes out with a lady, the receptionist I think, they take Winnie straight into to the wating room and my dad takes me back to the camper. Ok so I don’t want to be on my own but Winnie needs a vets help again. Second time on this trip. So back at the vets. Mum and dad take Winnie into to the consulting room, which also happens to be the reception with lots of people coming in and out, lots of kissing of cheeks going on with vets, recptionists and who knows who. An examination then x-ray. Now I can hear you thinking that my mum and dad must speak really good Italian by now to understand what is going on, but, all of this is being communicated on the lap top by ‘Google translate’. So they give my dad a special apron and he takes Winnie in for and x-ray….they wouldn’t do this in the UK! they check the results but nothing, so ultrasound next and they find a foreign body, Winnie is then sedated on the table in the consulting room and taken to surgery. 20 minutes later the vet presents my mum and dad with an inch long thorn, that has been in Winnies leg for at least 2 months….who would have thought the day would end up like this. So after recovery at the vets, Winnie comes back to the camper to recover and we are all exhausted. My mum then stays with Winnie whilst my dad takes me out for a walk. I was a bit dissapointed as I was looking forward to a long walk and sandwiches today, but once more Winnie needs some attention….its becoming a bit too regular now.

Wednesday 25th December:

We are here in Luminoso and my mum is back with our Gran in Dawlish Warren, Devon…..