Monday, 22 August 2011

Movie making in a magical forest!

After leaving Ross-on-Wye, we drove through the Forest of Dean. Just past Coleford we saw a sign for a place which had caught my eye, I had read about it a few hours earlier. As it was 17.00 hours, we were not sure if it would still be open but took a chance. Upon arrival we noticed several vehicles which are usually associated with the TV or film industry and a helicopter. We just managed to get in before last admissions.

As we entered the forest, we heard a countdown followed by "AND ACTION!", our suspicions were correct, filming was taking place!

A security person standing by this sign advised us that we could go and watch if we wanted to. So we did just that, we followed the sound of the voices and...

...tell tell signs such as equipment, cables.

We finally reached the scene.

I took a sneaky picture of some of the film crew, among them was Director Bryan Singer (shown below) known for directing/producing films such as X-Men First Class and many other well know movies and TV programmes. (Picture below -

One of the security people spent a bit of time chatting with us about what was going on and pointed to a man in a brown leather jacket, it was the lead actor Nicholas Hoult playing the role of Jack in Jack the Giant Killer (Due to be released in 2012). I didn't take a picture as I didn't think it appropriate, it probably would not have come out well as it was quite dark under the cover of the trees and rocks. We watched as a camera on a zip wire went from one end to another. We were told that the next film they will be working on is the next James Bond....

Nicholas Hoult (Picture -
We left the filming scene behind to resume our walk around the forest. As we had arrived so late in the day, the forest was quiet (apart from film crew), we were the only ones walking around. A BIG bonus for me as I always love having a place to myself. Not quite the same if the forest had been full of people. All we could hear was the sound of the birds, bees and the breeze on the trees.

Some of you may think these pictures look somewhat familiar. Several scenes from the TV series "Merlin" have been filmed here!

The place I am talking about is called PUZZLEWOOD.

Reluctantly time to leave the forest.

Nicholas Hoult walked right past us after the filming was over. I was not expecting to see him then and didn't have my camera ready...isn't it always the way!

I managed to get my camera out on time for the donkeys though....not quite the same, I know....

Although the filming was unexpected and very interesting, it was the forest which was the real highlight of the day for me. The brochure I picked up and my photos just don't do the place justice enough. You have to be there to experience this beautiful and very atmospheric place. It left quite an impression on me.

We ended the day by having a meal in a pub by the canal.

A really good day!

A bientôt!

Isabelle X

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A visit to Ross-on-Wye

Miss P has been away for a few days so Alan and I have spent most of the time catching up on work around the house. Some DIY jobs aren't so easily done when children are around. Alan has been tiling the kitchen walls (pictures to follow in a future post).

However, yesterday we took the day off. We left at around 9am without any set plan of where to go and headed north towards Gloucestershire. We stopped in Chipping Sodbury for tea & cake and then decided to go on to Herefordshire.

I really wanted to treat myself to a bunch of dahlias in Chipping Sodbury but knew that by the time we got back home they would have suffered with the I photographed them instead.

We stopped in Ross-on-Wye to have lunch and explore the town as neither of us had been there before. There were quite a few antique shops, charity shops and pretty individual shops.

There is a very good cook shop in the main street


St.Mary's Church

View looking towards the river Wye and Monmouth

Effigies inside the church

A candle and a prayer for a loved one.

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We returned to the car park right by Pig's Alley ready to explore another place.

In my next post, I will take you to an enchanted forest where we stumbled across a film crew, filming a scene for a movie due out in June 2012...

A bientôt!

Isabelle X

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Delightful Maastricht

On my previous post, we took a trip to Limbourg. The next day we went to Maastricht, Netherlands. It is a very special place for me as I used to go there quite a lot when I was a child. My Aunt and Grandmother had a house in a village in Belgium close to the Dutch Border. When my sister and I stayed there during school holidays, they would take my us to Maastricht for the day, usually on a Friday, market day.

Today Maastricht can be reached in just 20/25 minutes. When I was a child it took 1.30 to 2 hours by bus! That is because there wasn't a motorway then, the bus stopped in several villages and along the canal. When we reached the Dutch border close to a cements work, we had to change buses. Sometimes there would be a 30 minute wait. My sister and I have always liked Maastricht, the sound of its bells, the market place, the shops and a tearoom which we always went to which sadly no longer exists.

This time, it was just Alan, Miss P and I. I enjoyed walking around the market as I recalled how My Aunt & Grandmother would do some shopping there with their basket trolley. Markets on the continent have a different feel to the ones in England and I confess to preferring those on the continent.

This stall had a fantastic array of fabrics and most at only €5 a metre and the quality was very good!

One of the main shopping streets

Pinky sweet shop above has been there for years.

An artist's studio

Look closely at the lampshade on the right, it is made of cups and saucers

After a few lovely days spent with my cousins, we said our goodbyes and stopped in Delhaize (Belgian supermarket) to sock up on things I cannot get easily in England. Pearl sugar for waffles, local beer, biscuits etc...Once stocked up, we headed back to France.

Snack for the journey back to France

Not long after this picture was taken, the heavens opened.

On the last night of our holiday, we took a stroll along the seafront

The day after, it would be time for us to go back to England.

It was so good being able to spend time with my family again. These trips mean a lot to me as we do not live close by and do not see them as often as I'd like.

I hope that you are having a good summer holiday. As I write this, the rain drops are falling against the window...I feel sorry for those who might be camping in this weather. Not what you'd expect for this time of the year but our weather has become so unpredictable these days.

A bientôt!

Isabelle X