Category Archives: Beach

Refresh — Regroup — Relaunch

You may have noticed a significant absence of posts for the last three months — and that’s because Mark has been working away like a busy little bee over in the 1400s house. And I’ve been carefully building a base of clients for my writing and editing business.

We took a much-needed weekend escape at the end of February — over to the far western side of Normandy in beachside Brehal. We didn’t do a lot — ate, slept, read, watched movies, and had a few outings in the icy cold weather. But it was a good break and we came back feeling refreshed.

Mark looking out to sea in Brehal, Normandy, France

Mark looking out to sea in Brehal, Normandy, France

A moules (mussels) farm at the seaside in Normandy, France.

A moules (mussels) farm at the seaside in Normandy, France.

On an afternoon drive along the seacoast, we stumbled upon this medieval chateau ruin from the 14th Century in Regneville sur Mer and had a quick walk around. It’s a tiny but very pretty village facing the sea.

The corner of a 14th Century chateau ruin in the seaside village of Regneville sur Mer, Normandy, France.

The corner of a 14th Century chateau ruin in the seaside village of Regneville sur Mer, Normandy, France.

What was meant to be a short hop back over to England for Mark’s parents’ 40th anniversary party ended up being a two week visit instead. It’s always wonderful to visit with them and see all of the other assorted family and friends, but everyone in the house ended up sick as could be with whatever lurghi was hanging around England at the time and I ended up in A&E getting meds for a chest infection when our local GP couldn’t see me. Aarrgghh!

Margaret & Brian Harmes at 40th Anniversary Party

Margaret & Brian Harmes at 40th Anniversary Party

We arrived back in France exactly 4 weeks after our icy cold visit to the seaside in Brehal — and everything here at the farmhouse in Notre Dame de Fresnay had burst into bloom!

View of the Normandy countryside through the bedroom window in Notre Dame de Fresnay.

View of the Normandy countryside through the bedroom window in Notre Dame de Fresnay.

Daffodils beside the old well.

Daffodils beside the old well.

Down by the duck pond.

Down by the duck pond.

We’re preparing to move on from here in three very compressed weeks. But we’re headed to the OTHER large house belonging to the owners of this house — and we’ll be there for 6 weeks whilst Mark does renovation work on it. I’ll send pictures of that project as it progresses.

The REGROUP and RELAUNCH part of the title refers to us regrouping, going over to England for several weeks at the end of June, and trying to decide if we want to settle down or continue to work and travel for awhile longer. That’s a longer stand-alone post about the turbulent social and political factors at play here in Europe right now, so we’ll save that for another time.

I have to be truthful, it’s one of those things that sneaks up on you a bit as you get older — the mental cushion of a home base. And right now our ‘home base’ is a huge storage unit full of our possessions in England — one we refer to far too often when we reach for something and then realise that it’s in the $%^&£@! storage unit!

In the next couple of months, we will be relaunching ourselves away from here. And I have ALSO just relaunched my personal website — but I’ll leave that for a follow-up post.

Back soonish!

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

By The Sea in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK

By the sea is where I wish I was right now. But in lieu of that reality, here’s a flashback photo essay from a trip to the lovely seaside town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk in the UK.

By the way, not ALL beaches are sandy. This one is a perfect example of that. Enjoy!

 

Medieval Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK, built in 1520, with the village memorial cross to the left.

Medieval Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK, built in 1520, with the village memorial cross to the left.


 
A seagull sitting atop one of the medieval brick chimneys on Moot Hall,.

A seagull sitting atop one of the medieval brick chimneys on Moot Hall,.


 
Fishing boats on a gravel, sometimes called shingle, beach in the UK.

Fishing boats on a gravel, sometimes called shingle, beach in the UK.


 
Close-up of a the beautifully coloured pieces of stone comprising a gravel beach, sometimes called a shingle beach, in the UK.

Close-up of a the beautifully coloured pieces of stone comprising a gravel beach, sometimes called a shingle beach, in the UK.


 

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Ice Cream in Winter — By The Sea?

When Mark and I met in London at the beginning of 1994, I commented one afternoon on an activity that the Brits engaged in — quite regularly — that I considered to be quite odd behaviour given the weather.

That activity? Eating ice cream — LOTS of it — usually in cone form — in the dead of winter. No matter how icy the temperatures were, we saw people in every city we visited perched on a ledge eating an ice cream cone or sitting on a bench at the seaside doing the same thing. There might be ice on the roads, occasionally even a smattering of snow, but there they sat, bundled up to the eyeballs and eating an ice cream.

What I found even odder, and sweetly funny, were the people who would drive to the seaside to purchase their ice cream from a mobile van or a beachside hut and then sit in their car with the heater running as they gobbled it down whilst watching the icy waves crashing upon the seashore.

 

Even on the coldest winter day, British people seem to love to go to the seaside to sit in their heated cars, staring at the crashing waves in freezing temperatures, and eat an ice cream cone.

Even on the coldest winter day, British people seem to love to go to the seaside to sit in their heated cars, staring at the crashing waves in freezing temperatures, and eat an ice cream cone.


 
The lighthouse at Whitley Bay, a seaside town near Newcastle UK, on a stormy winter day. B&W

The lighthouse at Whitley Bay, a seaside town near Newcastle UK, on a stormy winter day.


 

So here we were on a wintery day two years ago in the north of England, at Whitley Bay on the seacoast just outside of Newcastle. The wind was so high that afternoon that it knocked me sideways when I got out of our own vehicle! The second picture that is just of the seaside and the lighthouse is a more accurate idea of how bleak it was that day. Absolutely no one was game to sit on those seaside benches to watch the waves on that particular afternoon. Brrr!!!

But back in the parking lot — yes — the Mr. Whippy van was doing a good business. The lot near the lighthouse was full of people happy to sit with their engines running and the heater on as they ate their ice cream and watched the crashing surf beyond. Crazy, eh? Or just sweetly eccentric perhaps.

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

A Wistful Farewell To Normandy

Quick photo for you today whilst I am editing another book. This is a shot of Mark by the seaside in St. Martin de Brehal — saying a wistful goodbye to Normandy in April before heading to Paris and Brussels the following day for a short holiday.

We lived for long periods of time in 2011 and 2012 in both Normandy and the Midi-Pyrenees and we continue to love both places for very different reasons.

There was always something heart-tugging about the energy of Normandy, by the seaside especially, and our last few months there were hard to document photographically. We both still miss it — in my case, every single day.

 

Saying goodbye to the Normandy seaside

Saying goodbye to the Normandy seaside


 

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Momentum In Melbourne

For the last several months, I have been p-a-t-i-e-n-t-l-y (for the most part!) breathing deeply through all of the pre-launch-date stages of presenting some NEW BOOKS to the world. These are the first of a series that I’ll be producing and I will be offering them in both print versions and ebook versions. Also, you’ll have a choice of two types of hardback version or the equally groovy paperback version. And for those of you who just love your iPad, I’ll be creating a downloadable ebook version, too!

In the meantime, in addition to actually creating even more books, I am setting up new pages or sections on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest because if you don’t NETWORK like crazy, you aren’t ‘with it’ in the greater scheme of independent marketing. And all of that set-up takes time, too. Thank heavens I have thousands of images to draw upon from our years overseas.

Now — wasn’t that worth waiting for? I’m practically dancing in my chair as I type!

So — here we go…

Do you have older family members who were in Europe during World War II? Parents or grandparents perhaps? Are you a military buff? Are you simply curious about that time period? Then the first of my new books, Echoes Of Place: The Haunting Energy of War in Battlefield France, is for you.

EchoesOfPlacePageCropped760

Click On Links Below To Order

Echoes Of Place in PRINT

Echoes Of Place in EBOOK

Come back soon for the launch of another book (and another, and another…).

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Lovely By The Seaside at St. Kilda In Spring

The throngs are yet to arrive — it’s only Spring y’know — but several dozen people were sprinkled up and down the beach and boardwalk at St. Kilda Beach this week. We’re lucky to live in such a pretty place, but I’ve lived in seaside towns in the USA and the UK and there certainly was a familiar feel to our stroll along the boardwalk. In spite of the whipping wind, the smallest bit of sun appears and off come the shirts, out comes the lily-white skin, and up go the refreshed signs from the local council telling folks what they are and are not allowed to do on the beach.
 

The sparsely populated St. Kilda beach and boardwalk on a sunny Spring day in Melbourne, Australia

The sparsely populated St. Kilda beach and boardwalk on a sunny Spring day in Melbourne, Australia


 
Spring sunbathers at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia

Spring sunbathers at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia


 
Sand sculpture of a shark at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia

Sand sculpture of a shark at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia


 
Woman on a bike at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia with her Jack Russell dog sitting in the front basket

Woman on a bike at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia with her Jack Russell dog sitting in the front basket


&nbsp
No dogs allowed on the beach at St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia, during the 5 months of high tourist season

No dogs allowed on the beach at St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia, during the 5 months of high tourist season


 

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Sunny Shiny Sydney Beaches on Mother’s Day

It’s not the kind of Mother’s Day celebrations I would have ever thought about, but apparently one of the ‘things to do’ on Mother’s Day in Sydney, Australia is to take your mother to the beach to celebrate if it’s a nice day. And Coogee Beach was a perfect example of the packed-with-people spots. The ‘Pram Brigade’ of young parents pushing children in strollers was certainly out in force!

The skies were gorgeously blue, the winds were ever-so-slightly brisk, and the temperatures were warmer than the norm. So it was a perfect day for a walk along the boardwalks and footpaths at the seaside with a hearty cafe lunch as a reward.

 

Danger sign on the clifftop walk to Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia

Danger sign on the clifftop walk to Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia


 
Boardwalk along a section of Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia

Boardwalk along a section of Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia


 
Every single bench facing the ocean was filled on Mother's Day at Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia

Every single bench or seat facing the ocean was filled on Mother’s Day at Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia


 

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.