Mercado de La Boqueria

Saturday 5th October 2019

Today’s adventure we into Barcelona itself to visit the Mercado de La Boqueria.

The first mention of the Boqueria market in Barcelona dates from 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. It then went on to be a pig market then a straw market. The current name is believed to derive from the Catalanboc, meaning “goat”, therefore a boqueria would be a place where goat meat is sold. The new market building which is now currently here opened in 1840 with its current metal roof installed in 1914.

As we left the van in secure parking a 25 minute walk away. It’s always interesting to discover some of the non tourist parts of a city but we were warned to keep our eyes on our personal belongings today. The streets were filled with little cafes and residents apartments on the floors above. Many with small balconies with their washing hanging or plants cascading over the iron works. As the streets narrowed they became busier and soon we discovered why. We had reached the market.

Our first view of the market.

Where to start, well one end and work your Way up and down. You should have seen all the different food people were walking along eating, chatting in many different languages. It was certainly vibrant.

Rich was like a kid in a sweet shop, wanting to try this and that and for me to try. But stupidly we had grabbed some lunch on route and I didn’t have any room to start.

I think the photos give you the best description of everything on offer here.

Eventually I managed to make some space and we treated ourselves to some of the fine local produce. Tapas, prawns, Oysters (Rich has the oysters, not my cup of tea) strawberries covered in chocolate, again Rich😉 and to take home for desert some locally made Baklava. To be enjoyed with our cup of tea after dinner.

Our lovey day was concluded with a meal in the campsite restaurant. Paella with chicken and seafood for myself and another fish soup for hubby. All washed down with a cocktail.


Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

Friday morning we woke to bright sunshine and clear skies. We were going to head into Barcelona this morning but after a few days driving we decided to enjoy the campsite and it’s surroundings.

We enjoyed long leisurely breakfast, sat outside of Miss Lexy listening to the waves crashing and watching the world go by.

The only trouble with living in a small Motorhome is that you still have to do housework, especially when parked next to the beach, so we set about cleaning up and tidying round this morning. Whilst doing this we thought we should have an ice lolly just to cool us down but the shop was shut. We knew the Spanish had a siesta but the shop was shut from 11.30 until 17.30! Oh well best hit the bar again where we enjoyed a delicious light lunch and cool drinks. We are on honeymoon after all 😉

Aubergine gratin bolognaise
Fish soup

Back to the van and Rich needed a little siesta so I changed and headed of to the beach where I enjoyed a Relaxed stroll on the edge of the sea. As I acclimatised to the temperature of the water I had to give in and go for not just a paddle but a full dip. Bev, you would have been proud. It was like being in the sea in Cyprus. Lovely and warm and crystal clear. Lots of tiny delicate seas shells on the shore line to admire to.

Time to head back to the van, go to the now open shop and head back for a dinner of local melon and Parma type ham and good old chicken and chips. We found some little creme caramel deserts in the little shop to, not bad at all.

The campsite is full of lovely flowers. I’ve no idea what some of them are but here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

Hibiscus with flowers as large as a plate

After dinner we had planning to do. We wanted to go to Barcelona the next day but the bus ride wasn’t suitable for us as it was just over an hour each way and 25 stops. Rich managed to find a secure car park for Miss Lexy and we plan to visit the food market from there.

Watch out for the next blog with our adventures at the food market.

Good morning from The Honeymooners.

Good morning. I hope you’re all waking up to bright sunshine and blue skies.

We have had a long but nice few days travelling as far down to a campsite not to far from Barcelona.

Our journey started Sunday morning, not to early and getting a lunch time train through the channel tunnel. Although we were hoping for better weather than the uk was having we drove through high winds and rain to the point we nearly had to pull over as we couldn’t see the road.

But after a while the skies became to clear and the rain stopped as we headed further south. The wind was still a little tricky in our van but we survived.

Our first nights stop was in a little campsite just south of Paris in a village called Olivet. It was the last night of the season for the campsite which I still think is odd that they fully close down. We had a woodland pitch and when we woke in the morning realised was surrounded on two sides by fields.

Arriving hungry we were very happy to discover that there was a pizza van parked up on site and still open. So we parked up, ordered and whilst the pizza was cooking organised the van. It was the best French pizza, cooked to perfection. You can’t beat a good pizza oven.

Desert was a piece of vanilla sponge wedding cake and a cup of tea. We really are now officially a married couple 😂

The next morning we felt refreshed and continued our journey. I was quite excited as today’s stop was to be at the Chateau De La Lande.

For any of you that don’t know we are fans of Escape to the Chateau with Dick and Angel. Chateau De La Lande appeared on Escape to the Chateau DIY which is the follow up programme.

Each week Stephanie who owns the chateau produces a Vlog on youtube called the chateau diaries. It often features some of her family, mum Isobelle and husband Percy, Gerry her Scottish brother and some others from the Chateau. Today we met all of them plus David and a volunteer Ian.

Our first view of the Chateau
Peacocks on guard

We parked the van in the court yard and met the Peacocks. They were quite happy sitting on the roof of a car and watching our every move.

We then headed in and came into the kitchen. What an impressive room. She has two huge old fashioned ovens, one original from the chateau. She has a huge dresser with beautiful blue and white china displayed on it.

Just as Stephanie, David and Ian made us a cup of tea Rich told Stephanie how I loved the programme and was so excited to be here. How it is Jo’s moment of relaxation each week and time out from what is happening at home. Although I have to say my husband seemed positively star struck. He was so excited. A new huge fan who will be watching each week.


Stephanie asked what we would like to eat and set off to pick tomatoes to make tomato soup whilst we got to tour the Chateau.

What an amazing place. Every room was filled with treasures and something else to catch your eye.

Our room was almost the size of the upstairs of our house with a bathroom you could dance in, it was so big.

Our bathroom

We explored all the the time outside meeting the sheep and taking in the breathtaking views.

Jerry came to find us and let us know it was time for dinner. We sat down to a very prettily laid out table and warm bread with Stephanie’s home made tomato soup. Now I’m not a fan of tomato soup but boy this was delicious. Thank fully Stephanie has now shared the recipe with us.

Next was to be Steak with the nicest roast potatoes, roast carrots and broccoli. For desert David bought out his home made watermelon sorbet with a honey crumble on the side. David, you make the best sorbet.

Rich asked if he could have an Irish coffee to follow which had to be the entertaining highlight of the evening. Stephanie and her family had never made an Irish coffee but gave it a go. We could here the laughter from the kitchen and a short while later Stephanie and Jerry appeared with the coffee. Irish coffee number two! Then just as Rich was about to sample it Isabelle also came out to witness the tasting. It was a tense moment, but sure enough it was a hit. Well done guys.

If any of you would like to see the coffee in the making please have a watch of the Chateau Diaries episode 84.

We are chuffed to bits that we were mentioned in the vlog. It made our evening watching it. I should mention that Stephanie and her family also treated us to the dinner as we were newlyweds.which was very kind of them and very thoughtful.

Breakfast at the Chateau.

The next morning after chatting with our new friends we departed to head towards an abandoned French village. However the weather had followed us from Blighty and we were in the midst of horrendous rain and thunder. So our plans altered and we headed south. A few hours later and in the dry with 22° we arrived in a small campsite just outside of Toulouse. We are discovering that all the campsites we have stopped at in Europe have much better facilities than at home and spotlessly clean and tidy. Although outside the campsite for this seemed a little rough so after a good nights sleep and an easy supper of chicken noodle soup, we headed yet further south to Perpignan.

So the south coast of France is windy today, lots of kite surfers out in the sea. We went to have a swim in the indoor pool, but I dipped my toe and had second thoughts. Rich just jumped in🥶apparently it was a little chilly and soon regretted it, but if you can’t swim, best go have a cocktail.

Or two lol

The restaurant seemed to have a good menu so we chose pork wrapped in Chorizo for myself and steak for Rich. A good move as no one feels like cooking and especially washing up after lots of driving. Again another top notch meal. I don’t eat pork at home but in France it’s normally very tender and this was no exception.

When the high winds had died down the following morning I headed out to the path that followed the beach to grab a few geocaches. It was a beautiful morning. Extremely bright and sunny and warm if you are sheltered from the wind.

Sunrise near Papignan

Thursdays drive was to get us down to a campsite just outside of Barcelona. A very scenic drive with mountains and olive groves. It was going so well until I managed to miss a turn off the motorway and ended up with lots of Spanish traffic round the city itself. Oh well another to add to experience.

When we eventually reached the campsite we discovered we had a pitch facing the sea, just a few motorhomes though had pitched in front of us, although today they have either left or gone out for the day so we have a perfect view of the sea.

The campsite itself has so many different types of pitches varying from motorhomes to little cabins to prepitched tents. They even have dish washers in the communal, something I think English campsites should introduce.

When we arrived we again treated ourselves to dinner in the restaurant and a cocktail. What a lovely way to relax at the end of the day.

The perfect wedding

Saturday 28th September 2019

The wedding day is finally here. I wasn’t sure we would get to this day as the last two months have been extremely challenging one way or another. We woke at 5am, wide awake so we sat in bed chatting with a cup of tea ensuring that we had thought of everything we needed to do.

The hall way was full of flowers, butterflies and other pretty things to decorate the reception and two fridges full of deserts and sweet treats.

Sam and I had planned to be in bluewater by 9.30 and Rich and Mark a similar time. Some new caches were published earlier in the morning so we went of to find a couple as none of us could stand around, to excited.

The bridal party had our make up done and the boys treated themselves to a posh shave and pamper. It was then rush home to have our hair done whilst the boys went of to get ready at a near by hotel.

Whilst we were being pampered Bev, Dean and Yvonne were busy bees taking all the decorations and food to the reception venue. I think those of you there will agree they did a sterling job as it looked so pretty, again perfect.

After a few hours the bridal party was ready to leave. Many people had asked me running up to this if I was nervous or excited, but it wasn’t until now that my stomach had butterflies. We pulled up at Danson house and after waiting a few minutes we were able to make our way in. Who could not be spellbound by this gorgeous venue.

Danson House

I walked in to everyone waiting and my fabulous man standing waiting for me. He looked so handsome. It was also wonderful having Ben walk me down the isle. He also looked so handsome dressed in his suit with matching tie. He made me a very proud mum.

After the vows we could relax and travel back in style to Stone Pavillion where the reception was to be held. We felt like royalty being driven in Dean and Yvonne’s car which was all dressed in Ivory Ribbon.

Everyone could sit where they liked and enjoy their meal of fish and chips which I have to add was superb. The fish and chip shop did a top notch job with delivering and ensuring the food was hot. Deserts followed which was a range of mini pastries and bite size deserts all served on vintage style plates.

We would have to say at this point we really realised how many great friends we have. So many people pitched in to help with serving and clearing up. Thank you.

A while back Rich had suggested we had a hand fasting at the reception. We found out the information and asked our good friends Matt and Adam if they would perform it as we wanted it to be relaxed and something our guests could join in with. I personally loved this part as I was so much more relaxed than at the registry office, I could take it all in.

The attention to detail was incredible, Matt had asked us which colour Ribbons we wanted and had even put some round the cuffs of his shirt to match in. Adam and Matt also had butterfly themed clothing so that they coordinated. Brilliant. The words Adam chose again perfect for us. Thank you both.

We had fun choosing the flavours of the wedding cake. I originally wanted to make it myself but thought that may be a little stressful so we went for the option of buying a plain cake that I could decorate. We were pleased as punch with it, and displayed on the logs Rob had cut for us it looked pretty good, even if I do say so myself 😉

We thought it was now time to party but our friends Jules and Jono had a surprise for us. We were asked to cover our hands in hand-cream them hold hands and dip them in a bucket full of pink goo. Mmm we weren’t sure about this but we gave it a go. We stood holding hands for a few minutes until the goo turned grey, then tried to remove our hands. Easier said than done. We both needed help pulling our hands out but once the suction was released they came out easily.

We won’t show you a picture of the hands yet as they have still to be completed but here is one of us all in action 😂

We had such a fun day and evening, we managed to have a good dance with our friends and of course each other.

The DJ did a great singing set before our first dance, Perfect by Ed Sheeran.

Thank you everyone involved in our day, love Mr and Mrs Hurcombe x x

Behind the scenes

Hello from warm rural France.

We have made a start into our honeymoon and so far it has been fantastic. But more about that later.

My husband and I wanted to now share some of our wedding planning photos with you before we share more of the wedding and our travels.

When we decided to get married we visited quite a few locations. Some were stunning, some shocking and some way to small. But at least it helped fix our ideas on what we really wanted and that would fit into our limited budget. We were determined we could all have a fabulous day with our family and friends without spending silly money on things that just were not us.

One Sunday we visited Danson house whilst they had an open day. We were blown away with its history and architecture. It was bright and colourful, the staff made us feel extremely welcome. So we booked it and I hope those of you that came along loved our choice of room as much as we did.

Next was to find a venue for the reception, not to far from home but with a bar and somewhere we could treat our guests to something nice to eat. Ben used to go to Stone Pavilion as a cub and they had recently redecorated it.

Now the fun could begin, the dress and suits were chosen along with our colour theme. I never wanted a proper wedding dress and was going to just buy a pretty. Summer dress. However an event popped up on my Facebook page for a sample sale so I went along. You have never seen so many wedding dresses in one room. Must of been hundreds. I slipped into dress after dress until I came to my chosen dress. It needed some alteration but it was the one and a bargain at a quarter of its original price.

I wanted to make my own Bouquet so we found some very realistic artificial flowers and I managed with the help the help of you tube to put it all together. This made Sam’s bouquet fairly straight forward to.

Brides bouquet.

The bridesmaid bouquet.

Next was to think about the cake. We had great fun sampling different variations, fruit, sponge, chocolate and lemon. In the end we chose to have a fruit base with a vanilla sponge top layer and a chocolate gluten free cake.

During the year we have been trying to attract more butterflies into our garden and so as we have a huge love of the outdoors, butterflies were chosen to match in with out colour theme.

Everyone had instructions to let me concentrate for the day whilst I made endless amounts of butterflies and then stick them to a polystyrene cake. Once we were happy I next made 147 butterflies for the final cake and left them to dry for a few weeks.

Now the logs were interesting. If you were to purchase slices of log you can pay a pretty penny for them, so after passing a tree surgeon one day we acquired ourselves a couple of stumps. Just now need to get them cut. Our friend, Rob offered to cut them and made a marvellous job of it. We just had to store them and treat them in cooking oil until the dried out. These gave the cake and some other decorations a real lift on the day.

As if doing all that wasn’t enough. I decided to spray up and old hula hoop and cover it with lace and flowers. Again recycling what I had in the house, I used the ivy from our fireplace and artificial flowers. With a few butterflies added in to keep it to the theme and a Mr & Mrs sign picked up as part of a bargain accessory bundle. I’m very happy with it, now where to put it.

Then we needed table decorations. We had been given some wine bottles with lights in them and some round mirrors so to add to the display I prettied up some glass jars and Sam and I filled them with flowers. We had a lovely afternoon sitting in the sunshine in the garden two days before the wedding.

For the favours we had decided upon personalised love hearts. We ordered 200 packets of sweets but when they came we had to stick all 200 labels on the sheets as they had come separately.

Only another 199 to go!

For the music for the evening we wanted originally to have a live band, but the cost was out of our reach. So a friend recommended us a young man called Matthew Crane.

This is his website so you can read all about him.

He sang during the reception and his voice was captivating. Even my dad said how good he was ( for those of you who know my dad, that doesn’t happen very often 😂)

After he sang, he played an assortment of tunes for us to dance the night away.

So if your thinking of getting married and you do not want to spend a fortune, remember you can do things on a budget and make your day special. We certainly did x

Keep smiling

Whilst watching Gardeners world this morning it made me realise how much the outdoors has helped us and supported us over the last few months.

The previous two months have been filled with so many hospital visits for Rich and my dad, my emotions have been all over the place and I’ve had to take time out from work with all the anxiety of it all.

Rich is always the most positive upbeat person but I am the one that gets emotional whilst still trying to be strong and organised. All of a sudden I couldn’t do this. I fell apart. We had a fabulous holiday booked to Austria and Italy with Dad, Ben and Bev and we had our forthcoming wedding to look forward to. But the holiday was cancelled, and I often wondered if we would actually all get to the wedding day with energy and our health.

I was referred for counselling, great. I was happy to do this, but as with our very over used health service their is a long waiting list and I am still waiting. I needed to do something, I couldn’t wait indefinitely as I still had to be strong to support everyone else.

So I turned to the outdoors. Although I didn’t have time to go on many long walks, in fact some days I couldn’t even get out to walk Suzy as I needed to be here, Ben took over head dog walker which I thank him for.

Whilst the dinner cooks I could start to steal 5 minutes checking the flowers, did any need deadheading, did the sweet peas need tying up, the fish could be fed. Any little job that could be started and stopped at a moments notice became very important as it got me outside. A change of scenery and a breath of fresh air.

Two months ago I was extremely tearful and couldn’t hold a conversation without feeling overwhelmed or the feeling my throat was closing up on me.

Now I walk round the garden studying what new bud is in bloom, what butterflies are we attracting, what can I change for next season, pick the raspberries or just take a moment with a cup of tea and watch the fish flip on the surface of the pond. But most of all I take time to breath, think positive thoughts and think about how beautiful things are and how lucky we are to be surrounded by bright colours.

I may not have been to see a councillor as yet but I feel so much better. I continue to build on that by signing myself up to do an online horticultural course to continue to improve my knowledge of plants and gardening and bring new life into our little space.

So if your having a stressful day or a bad nights sleep, get outside. Look at the little bugs on the leaves, smell the flowers, touch the petals and the leaves and plan something new for the spring. Something you can focus on and look forward to seeing how it grows. It doesn’t have to be a big project. Baby steps.

My positive thought for the day, I’m marrying a wonderful, positive, caring man today. I look forward to seeing our family and friends today enjoy themselves and smile. I hope the flowers Sam and I put together brings you happiness like it does us whilst we sat in the garden crafting them.

A day in the garden.

Mid September and the sun is shining and good weather predicted.

I decided to tackle the new garden project today. Bev has kindly offered to split her ornamental grasses with us so the area for them needed preparation. It’s been covered in pebbles and grass for years but we thought it would be ideal to soften the edge of the pond.

Me and my bright ideas. It was easy to lift the stones and weeds but digging the grass area was back breaking. So my genius hubby to be produced a very large drill from the shed and suggested drilling through the soil to loosen it. Brilliant, worked a charm. We recycled some bricks that were stored by the greenhouse and I under dad’s guidance learnt how to bed them in to make a border.

We have to admit it’s starting to look so much better than before. Friday we shall plant up the grasses and some Allium bulbs ready for spring.

Our new plants that we put in last autumn have been colourful and enticed many more pollinators into the garden this year as well as adding so much more colour.

This is our Heleanthus, Lemon Queen. Stunning yellow fresh flowers and covered in bees this morning in the dazzling sunshine.

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